Monday, October 17, 2016

Books For the Fall

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I like books.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading and I'm going to sign up. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and as that is a particular interest of mine, I check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My pile of books for this week:
Dead in the Water (Daisy Da...Bet MeSheer Folly (Daisy Dalrymple, #18)A Mourning Wedding (Daisy Dalrymple, #13)Nursing Homes Are MurderThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)The Adventures of Young Jos...Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits

Dead in the Water, Carola Dunn.  Daisy and Alec are feeling out their more solid relationship, while she works on her articles and he works on a murder case. She helps him out a bit more than he'd like, and he feels the burden of her comfort among the aristocrats that will never quite accept him.  This is a very fun way to get a sense of the times (I hope Dunn knows her stuff, because it feels so real I'm accepting it!).

* Bet Me, Jennifer Cruisie. Our Tuesday night pick, pushed by me because I remember liking it and it's among my sister's favorite. Also it's frothy and snarky, which is a welcome relief after the heavier stuff we've been wading through, filled with angst and murder and darkness. I think we're going for urban fantasy next, which will be another comfortable read.

* Sheer Folly, Carola Dunn. Daisy and Lucy are collaborating on a book and make a journey to see a rebuilt folly owned by a plumbing magnate. It's fun to see the two friends working together, not just on their project but also needling a rude lord ordering them about (Daisy offering to drive his car if he'll point out which pedal is the brake was priceless). The crime is unexpectedly dramatic, but the tensions between the changing classes are what makes the story so fun.

* A Mourning Wedding, Carola Dunn. Daisy is now expecting a baby (HA! Twins are in your future, my dear!) and she's down for her friend's wedding. This would have had some unwanted tension for me (I'm reading these books for sheer escape, not drama), but luckily I've read books set in the future so I was not concerned when shenanigans broke up the engagement on the eve of the (postponed for murder) ceremony.  I tested my theory about how to spot the bad guy and was proven correct, but I still have fun watching Alec question people and Daisy wrinkle out interesting confessions.

* Nursing Homes are Murder, Mike Befeler. A Reading My Library pick that got jumped up the queue because of the mountains on the cover. This is from a series about an octogenarian with severe memory problems (he forgets everything between sleeps) who somehow is used by the Hawaiian police to go undercover at a nursing home where an incredibly dumb crook is attacking the inmates. He amuses himself with terrible puns and jokes about his memory, which he shores up with elaborate journal entries. It would have worked better as a novella; the ridiculous premise keeps the mystery from having any tension after a few page turns.

* The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley. My Friday night book club pick was a blatant excuse to have pie for dinner, and well worth it. The book itself provided enough discussion room, with comments on the society mores at the time, how realistic the child's behavior was in terms of competency, lack of concern about the family's impending bankruptcy, and sisterly relations. I wouldn't mind reading more by this author, although I doubt I'll seek them out.

Under the Same Stars, Dean Hughes.  Ten year old Joseph Williams goes to Missouri with his family and other Mormon converts. Joseph adores and admires Prophet Joseph Smith, but he also wants to fit in, not be pointed out either as Mormon by outsiders or as tapped for greatness by fellow followers of Mr Smith. He wrestles with this as tensions between his community and the locals of Missouri rise -- prejudice against the new religion and resentment of the large group of immigrants who could tilt the electoral balance against slavery mean hatred and eventual brutal violence that threaten Joseph's family.

Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson. This husband and wife team produced a few elemental short story books, usually alternating places. Dickinson was better at keeping his stories short -- I know McKinley accidentally wrote two novels trying to finish the Fire book and the Pegasus series was also supposed to be a story for Air. These water stories are powerful and interesting -- Dickinson looks at religions and cultures and is willing to inflict permanent losses on his characters and people; McKinley is more about romance and decency, and I finally know who that last person in the fountain of Damar is! I'm glad I finally got around to reading these, even knowing there won't be any more.

(* Books I started this week.)

I found some picture books to read at the library:

A Bean, a Stalk and a Boy Named JackYoung Charlotte, FilmmakerTommy Can't Stop!Do Princesses Have Best Friends Forever?

A Bean, a Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack, William Joyce. A little too pat but I can see having fun reading it aloud. The pictures were lively and detailed enough to be interesting on repeat visits, and the combination of a known story with good-hearted twists would be appreciated by the sophisticated pre-schooler.

Young Charlotte, Film-maker, Frank Viva. This book, like Charlotte, is very proud of itself and it's icon-breaking willingness to go its own way. It has a lot of fun with black and white images, and letting shadows shape figures, and morphing from plebeian colors into the more sophisticated monochromes preferred by the hero. Again I think it would work well as a read-aloud.

Tommy Can't Stop, Tim Federly. As an adult, I found Tommy annoying and self-centered, and didn't have much sympathy for the way he let his love of continual motion destroy the happiness and belongings of those around him. I suspect kids would not worry about this as much, instead enjoying the energetic illustrations that encourage Tommy in his various over-exuberate gaits, which turn out to be the precursors of immediate talent on the dance floor. I just hope his sister gets a chance to have some time to herself now that she just has to gush over his success, not endlessly clean up his messes.

Do Princesses Have Best Friends Forever?, Carmela Coyle. I think this is part of a series, where girls who dress up call themselves princesses but then go on to have an ordinary day, in this case a play date complete with little brother and a trip to the zoo. It seems rather inoffensive, perhaps on the dull side but kids do like stories that feel like they could have lived them, and this certainly qualifies. It comes with a set of friendship bracelets which were still intact in the library's copy, showing either that kids in my neighborhood are very honest or that I'm the first to turn the pages, I'm not sure which.

This week I started and am still reading a few more books:

Trial and Temptation (Mandrake Company, #2)Damsel in Distress (Daisy Dalrymple, #5)The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)

Trial and Temptation, Ruby Lionsdrake (Lindsay Buroker). The next in her space romance series, so I'm hoping for snarky protagonists, intelligent but clueless lovers, and lots of clever plot shenanigans.

Damsel in Distress, Carola Dunn. Daisy bring Alec down to meet her family, but the kidnapping of her old friend Philip's girl complicates the introductions. It's fun to see how he actually pops the question.

The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater. The 4th (last?) book in the Raven Boys cycle. I'm hoping that Gansey somehow lives, and that Blue gets a good path forward. I'm fairly sure I'll get that second, but I'm a little nervous about the first. The instant Gansey appeared it was with a big foreshadowing death prediction over his head.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)PegeenIron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)Memory Man (Amos Decker, #1)Once a Rancher (The Carsons of Mustang Creek, #1)

The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu. Back to the game, which involves strange things happening and people failing to figure them out and everyone dying.

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. Lining up more backstory which I hope will pay off soon. Luckily the characters are fun to hang out with.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. Proof positive that a god still lives! Curious and curiouser.

Pegeen, Hilda van Stockum. This is the part of the book where the little girl makes mistakes and grows from them. I hate that part, so I'm dragging my feet over it.

Iron Kissed, Patricia Briggs. I've reached the part where Zee gets arrested. Maybe I'll try reading from the back in.

Memory Man, David Baldacci. My second attempt at a book from this library shelf as part of my Reading My Library Quest. So far I've gotten a good bite out of the book. Hmm, our memory man is so good at figuring things out that the FBI are looking very suspiciously at him.

Once a Rancher, Linda Lael Miller. I chose this next audio Reading My Library book based on its location -- Wyoming. It's a cowboy romance, and I find the names hilarious: Slater, Drake (isn't that a duck?), and Mace (the weapon? the spray?). Actually I've sneaked in a Daisy Dalrymple so I only listen everyone once in a while.

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. I admit I haven't made much progress with all the Tapir reading I've been doing.

A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)KenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to ReadThe Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen

A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott.
Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.
The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca.

2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 43 out of 82. Well, I would be in good shape if I ever read any of these...
  2. Reading My Library: Still working on Once a Ranger and Memory Man. Snuck in Nursing Homes are Murder during the week.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 39/51. Picked up Hawaii. I'm working on Wyoming. I need the Dakotas, Utah, and Arkansas, among others.
  4. Full House Challenge:  25/25!
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 208.  Thanks, library!
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: 12/12. 11/12. Poetry is the tricky one. In October I'll looking at how many Native Americans appear in my books. So far, still none, but then I've been reading a lot of British detective stories.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  48.  Time to make my shelves my BFF. Looking first to my shelves to handle Tapir problems.
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 19/20.  Still need a Pulitzer.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 12/12!
  10. Surprise Me Challenge:  I keep almost reading Positively. Picked the October book.
  11. Flash Bingo:  Summer still needs a book about books, and an Australian book. I'm setting up the Autumn books now.
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 12/12. Now I'll work on the 36 challenge -- 33/36

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