Monday, May 23, 2016

PTA Party

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
After a week of collecting clothes for our PTA fundraiser, I zipped off to a PTA conference. Wow are there a lot of people at a conference. I alternated between attending ginormous business meetings, smaller training sessions on how to stay legal while being a PTA, and huddling in my room reading books.

In other words, a great weekend away!

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/UnLeashing Readers which does the same thing for kidlit, since I read a lot of that this week.

This week I finished six books:

Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about EverythingBlake: or; The Huts of AmericaReady Player OneTwin Spica, Volume 8Lemonade MouthShades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories, #1)

Living With a Wild God
, Barbara Ehrenreich. The next Library Quest book. A very personalized look at the history and science of religion.

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. I also think my copy is missing a lot of the text, so I'm going to check a different copy to see if it has the rest of it. I know the book is unfinished, but I think what I read is more unfinished than it has to be -- so far it's hard to see how it counts as science fiction. But once I got used to the period style (and the dialect spellings) the story worked, and it was a vivid mirror of the realities for African Americans before the American Civil War.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline. This was a lighthearted romp that made me feel very old. It's like finding that I remember events covered in books that win historical fiction awards. But I'm glad I read it because now I've caught up with my kids, who enjoyed the gaming parts while tolerating the nostalgia bits -- I suspect that we have reversed experiences in that way, although I bet I do more gaming than they do nostalgia.

*Twin Spica 8, Kou Yagimuma. OK, it's true that I get confused about who is who, especially during backstory flashbacks, because basically everyone in a graphic novel looks alike to me. If anyone changes their hair to indicate the passage of time, it takes me an amazingly long time to realize this is not a completely new person. But it does a great job of capturing the camaraderie of school years, where everyone is working towards goals that mean breaking up your friendship groups, so suddenly you realize the cost of achieving your hearts desire, and that life means giving up things to get things. And it's done with rockets!

Lemonade Mouth, Mark Peter Hughes. I read half of this a few months back, and then the library called it home, so now I finished it. It took me a while to remember which typography went with which character (everyone in the band got to narrate their own account), but then I got into it again. It's a fun mix of early teen political activism (don't sell out our lemonade!) and music and angst (school is hard! romance is fraught! parents are mean! life messes us up!).

*Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal. This has been on my list for ages, and I finally read it for last month's Vaginal Fantasy alt pick. It's a Austin pastiche with extra magic, where young ladies add glamour to their musical and artistic talents. It had kind of a Sense & Sensibility vibe, with the older sister tied to common sense and the younger one dashing off being an idiot. Good enough that I will look about for the sequels.

* 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.

There were also several short stories I read as I continue down Nisi Shawl's Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction. I'm doing OK in getting (free) copies of her list, thanks to Project Gutenberg and by back up amazing library, Seattle Public Library, which often does better with obscure texts. Otherwise I turn to library loan, which is slower. Anyway, the short stories were:

"The Goophered Grapevine" by Charles Chesnutt, and "The Comet" by W.E.B. Du Bois. The longer texts earlier in the syllabus should be showing up at the library soon. The Chesnutt was tall tale that is probably notable for its place in literary history; the Du Bois was a powerful story with a stinger ending.

I started and am still reading books:
Breakout (Dred Chronicles, #3)Thomas Jefferson: The Art of PowerMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Breakout, Ann Aguirre. Last in the series, and from my own personal shelves. I'm enjoying this, and it's my go-to paperback in my bag.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Jon Meacham. The next Reading My Library book. Chosen for the author's last name (mine is Mitcham).

Missoula, Jon Krakauer. I've only read a few pages in this; I started it while waiting for some panels go get going at the conference. It looks a bit more high-brow than the Aguirre.

I read some picture books in the library:
The Mighty Avengers: An Origin StoryTake Away the A

The Mighty Avengers, Rich Thomas. This is a simplified summary of a comic arc, so it reads fairly blandly to me. But now I'll have an idea of what the people who read the comics are talking about. I found some resonances with the Civil War superhero movie I saw last week.

Take Away the A, Michael Eschoffier. A book based on an Electric Company game, with illustrations showing two words, the second one formed by removing a letter from the first, all marching through the alphabet. It's cute but not sock-removing. Fun for kids who like wordplay, and I can see teachers using it in a kindergarten to help kids get word-wise.

Bookmarks moved in several books:
Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)The Flowers of AdonisLeft for Dead (Ali Reynolds, #7)Crux (Nexus, #2)Silver on the Road (The Devil's West, #1)The City's Son (The Skyscraper Throne, #1)Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo. Major battle in the spa room of the cruise ship. Makes me think about signing up for a massage this summer.

The Flowers of Adonis, Rosemary Sutcliff. The king of Sparta had a son while he was away. Funny how these things happen.

Left For Dead, J.A. Jance. My audio book for my Reading My Library Quest. The cop hero is getting framed while he fights for his life in the ER!

Crux, Ramez Naam. People worry about their choices.

Silver on the Road, Laura Anne Gilman. Our heroine isn't sure whether she's a hapless pawn or a budding adult.

The City's Son, Tom Pollock. Beth is obviously the coolest character. Her friend Pen may mean well, but she's an idiot.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, ed. Genevieve Tucholke. Definitely horror. And I'm definitely NOT a horror reader. So I'm going slowly.

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.
Awakening to the Sacred, Lama Surya Das.
Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens. The treasure room is found.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca.

2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015:  26 out of 82. Reading the last SF for Young Adults.
  2. Reading My Library:  Left For Dead is on disc 4. Finished one, started another, grabbed the next pile from the shelf.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 24/51. The kid's body was in Ohio in Ready Player One. And Lemonade Mouth is set in Rhode Island. Left For Dead is an Arizona book, so I should stay on target in May.
  4. Full House Challenge: 25/25.  I set up the card again. 4/25 
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 90. 
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: Kidlit: 10/12. No change. But a waiting Cybils book will fill out the Holocaust spot.  Adult lit: 8/12. I've got some books out from the library that will fill some spots. I'll keep tracking the economic class of my characters -- Upper (6), middle (6), or lower (7). I seem to read about the rich and the poor.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  16.  Sort of. I got the paper copy from the library, but remembered I had the book on my NOOK, and mostly read that.
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 16/20. No change. The next ones look hard.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 10/12. I need a debut author in 2016, and an immigrant experience book. 
  10. Surprise Me Challenge:  I received the May book, and plan to slip it in between Cybils categories.
  11. Flash Bingo: Blackout! 
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 10/12. I'm stuck on horror and classics. Cybils to the rescue!

1 comment:

Akilah said...

Holy wow, I thought I read a lot of books at once. I've heard good things about Ready Player One--especially the audio. And I found Lemonade Mouth okay. Good luck with all of your challenges and moving those bookmarks.