Monday, April 18, 2016

Fun with Kids

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
There's something lovely about lazy holidays with family.

Last week was my boys' spring break, and we ended up with plenty of lovely weather. We caught up on Agents of Shield, made it to the Seattle Art Museum, and even snuck in a few minutes of driving practice instead of forcing the oldest to look at colleges. Then he headed out to win fame and glory at his Latin convention, so that's enough planning for the future. When I picked him up he was standing next to a boy holding a shield, so I shouted at him "Where's your shield? I told you to come home either with it or on it!" which made me happy even if I was referencing the wrong ancient culture.

The Book Date is collecting the roundups of what everyone is reading and talking about this week. I'll also look in with Teach Mentor Texts which does the same thing for kidlit, which I read four books this week. Five if you count Hild, which you may.

This week I finished six books:

Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah SampsonThe Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah SampsonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of LeningradThe Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1)An Inheritance of Ashes

Nicola Griffith. I made it to the end of this wonderful audio, which I read as part of my Reading My Library Quest.

* Soldier's Secret, Sheila Solomon Klass. I checked this out meaning to check out The Secret Soldier, which was my book club's actual book. It's about the same soldier, Deborah Sampson, who dressed as a man and joined the American Army during the War for Independence. This one is aimed a little older, and includes an imaginary romance with a doomed soldier as well as a smitten Tory starlet.

* The Secret Soldier, Ann McGovern. My actual elementary school book club pick. This is a short history of Deborah Sampson, soldier at the end of the Revolutionary War. The author tried to stick as close to known facts as possible, although she narrates the story to make it more accessible to children. The kids liked it, but most hadn't read it recently (I think it was a class book the year before).

Symphony for the City of the Dead, M.T. Anderson. The last Cybils YA Nonfiction book. After taking a few chapters to catch my interest (I thought I had finally found a dud in the bunch!) I ended up being riveted by the story of Russia under Communist rule, staggering under the assaults of Stalin before reeling from Hitler's attack. I knew nothing about the composer Shostakovitch before reading this book, but Anderson made both his life and his music come alive to me. I tried to interest the boys in this, but they ignored me.

Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King. I'm reading for tomorrow's movie, having finished the book. I still don't see the point of the traumatic deception, since they can't sustain it when it matters.

* Inheritance of Ashes, Leah Bobet. Now I'm reading my way through the YA Cybils finalists, which I hope my son will read alongside me. It took me a while to warm up to this protagonist, but Bobet hooked me before the end.

* Books I started this week. Most books tend last for weeks on my lists, because I have this habit of reading dozens of things at once. But occasionally I keep focus for several days on end.

I started and am still reading two more books:
Unnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh, #3)A Spool of Blue Thread

Unnatural Causes, P.D. James. My next audio book for my Reading My Library Quest. I've read this before, but decades ago.

A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler. I started my next Reading My Library Quest book because I wasn't enjoying Sisterland. Tyler I can trust to entertain me.

Bookmarks moved in several books. This list is getting a bit out of hand, but the Dewey 24 Hour Readathon is next Saturday, and I hope that helps here:
Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)CruxChild of the Ghosts (Ghosts, #1)Blake: or; The Huts of AmericaArchangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8)SisterlandTell the Wind and FireThe Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)Lemonade Mouth

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo. A lot of discussion about how amazing Faith is, as we saw in last week's segment.

Crux, Ramez Naam. I need to read faster to keep up with all the characters.

Child of the Ghosts, Jonathan Moeller. More secondary characters are disposed of, and I think umbrellas are key survival tools in the big city.

Blake, or the Huts of America, Martin Delaney. This is the first book on Nisi Shawl's Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.

Archangel's Enigma, Nalini Singh. Alexander's lair wasn't as hard to find as he thought.

Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld. My next Reading My Library pick. Not my cup of tea, really. Daisy/Kate operates her life from long distance, not really seeming connected to any of her family.

Tell the Wind and Fire, Sarah Rees Brennan. The real boy is missing and the doppleganger smirks about it.

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemison. This is one of the Sword and Laser picks for this month (they had a vote, which had a tie). So far there are three strands, each of them powerful. Even the one in second person is gripping me, which is amazing. The plot raises interesting questions about power and control in societies.

Lemonade Mouth, Mark Peter Hughes. I got this back from the library and found my place again, which is right as they begin preparing for the Big Stunt.

The next few books I'm not really reading, just dipping into between the books I'm trying to finish so that I can pretend that I'm going to read the books on my bookcases.

A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)Midnight Crossroad (Midnigh...The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)KenilworthReading and Learning to Read

A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George. The police has lives of hidden complexity.
Awakening to the Sacred, Lama Surya Das. Fasting for fun and serenity.
Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris. The town rallies to rescue their kidnapped friend.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens. The dwarves have the older kids (to the delight of the brother) and the youngest has been poisoned. Things look grim for our Heroes.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott. Our hero meets an annoying boy who helps him with his horse.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca. Questions to ask young readers to help them gain and control their comprehension.

2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 20 out of 82. I finished YA nonfiction as well as the first (well, third) YA fantasy.
  2. Reading My Library:  Reading Sisterland. Not enjoying it. Also reading A Spool of Blue Thread, which I am enjoying. Finished listening to Hild, started disc 1 of 8 of Unnatural Causes.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 20/50.  Nothing new.
  4. Full House Challenge: 25/25. DONE!  I set up the card again.
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 69. I do love me a good public library.
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: Kidlit: 10/12. No change. Adult lit: 6/12. No change.  Tracking sexuality this month; so far I read mostly books about straight people (9 straight, 1 bisexual). If the authors mention a spouse or partner on their web page, I guess their orientation: 3 straight, 1 gay/lesbian.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  11! 
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 16/20. No change.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 8/12. YA is good for the apocalypse spot.
  10. Surprise Me Challenge: My April book arrived from the library: The Year of Living Dangerously. Now I just have to read it.
  11. Flash Bingo: Got an L. Two bingos!
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 10/12. I'm zooming through these. On the higher level, I'm at  15/36.

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