Monday, October 17, 2016

Reading Too Much

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I like books. And I need to stop reading a book a day for my Team Tapirs, because things like laundry and volunteer emails are falling by the wayside.

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:

Damsel in Distress (Daisy Dalrymple, #5)PegeenThe Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must DoThe Spirit Thief (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #1)
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)The MarvelsBone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, #4)A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen, #1)H is for Hawk

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.

Pegeen, Hilda van Stockum. The happy ending did not come as a surprise, but how much I enjoyed the reconciliation between the big sister and the pesky girl did. I appreciated the chapter where little Peg works at being nice. I'll keep my eye out for more van Stockums; I like their clarity of vision and belief in the competency and importance of children.

The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater. The 4th (last?) book in the Raven Boys cycle. The book series works to its inevitable end, with death and rebirth inherent in all the foreshadowing. I like how different characters define kingship differently; some lose themselves in it while others gain themselves. My favorite characters is still The Grey Man.

* The Trouble With Boys, Peg Tyre. This was a hard book for me because I wanted to agree with many of her prescriptions but I had a fundamental problem with her basis. Tyre argues for schools that are more relevant to active children, that don't require kindergarteners to sit for reading lessons for hours without a recess, that accept more boisterous behavior and risk taking from higher level students. She seems to think that these are things that boys need, rather than things that many students, some of (most of?) whom happen to be male. Despite some lip service to the idea that differences between individuals are much vaster than differences between male and female students, she never looks back from the idea that boys need some things and girls need others. Even her example of having two sons so she knows about what boys need strikes me as supremely illogical. Wouldn't it make more sense to make unfounded generalizations if she had one active boy and one quiet girl? How does she know that her kids aren't showing a common family trait? Is her more active son more of a man then whichever one is quieter?

* The Spirit Thief, Rachel Aaron. Fun little story of a country that bans wizards, and then finds itself with a few too many. The magic system is innovative and gives a reason for our hero to be Special (TM) as well as for his companions to also be distinctive. No earthshattering emotional insights, but a quick and interesting read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, although I expect things to deepen a bit.

* Iron Kissed, Patricia Briggs. I'm continueing my complete read of all things Briggs in preparation for seeing her at Foolscap in February. This is one of the squickier books in the series, because the magic the bad guys bring against her works on her consent rather than just being super strong and lethal. But Mercy's loyalty to her friends and lovers stays steadfast, and knowing that she survives makes it worthwhile.

* The Marvels, Brian Selznick. Another mix of gorgeous drawings and suspenseful text from the Calicott winning author was a great way to read a 600 page book for my Tapirs. I could not sink completely into the pages because I read it on my computer, which is not a great way to appreciate the pencil drawings, and because I was so indignant at the treatment of the main character by his parents, school, uncle and chance-met acquaintances that I was distracted from the stories within the story.

* Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs. Book 4 in the Mercy Thompson series gives a more convincing depiction of recovery from trauma than the last chapter of book 3 hinted at, which helps ground the story. I vaguely remember the next few books, so it was fun to pierce out the plotting of the vampire bosses even as Mercy had to suffer through the torture and problems they considered incidental to their plans. Mercy is a real hero, unwilling to let children come to harm or to let her friends sacrifice for her, although she is learning to accept help where she thinks it will do good.

* A Fashionable Indulgence, K.J. Charles. This is a non-magic series from this author, with men living in the political upheavals surrounding the time after the French revolutions. Our hero is plucked from poverty and groomed to inherit his father's wealth, but the old man is disgusted by his republican past and his father's politics. It takes a while to feel sympathy for Harry, since his immediate willingness to abandon his friends for a chance at money isn't the path of most romance heroes, but eventually he learns to balance his conscience with what he's willing to pay his grandfather.

* H Is for Hawk, Helen McDonald. This is a very interesting memoir, which tells the story of how the author reacted to her father's unexpected death by raising a goshawk and rereading T.H. White's book about doing the same thing, only badly. She mediates her grief by subsuming herself into the hawk's world, isolating herself from the too-painful world of humanity, but never able to escape completely because she's responsible for Mabel's (the hawk's) care. And meanwhile she compulsively rereads White's description of his time with a goshawk and she understands how he used that experience to deal with his problems, and eventually draws parallels to how Mabel is helping her handle her own. A gem of a book.

(* Books I started this week.)

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)Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)Memory Man (Amos Decker, #1)Once a Rancher (The Carsons of Mustang Creek, #1)Trial and Temptation (Mandrake Company, #2)Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1)

The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu. I really like who ibooks handles footnotes. It's even better than having bookmarks in a print copy and flipping around.

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. The political situation is laid out for us. Adele knows where to focus her information gathering.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. Aunts may be almost as scary as living deities.

Memory Man, David Baldacci. My second attempt at a book from this library shelf as part of my Reading My Library Quest. I don't really expect a lot of characterization in this genre, but making the main character emotionally handicapped by a brain injury may be taking things too far.

Once a Rancher, Linda Lael Miller. I chose this next audio Reading My Library book based on its location -- Wyoming. Time for the characters to get it on -- it's the end of their second date, so it's not like they are rushing anything.

Trial and Temptation, Ruby Lionsdrake (Lindsay Buroker).  So far I really like the very different viewpoints of the hero and heroine, and I'm surprised by how sympathetic I find him.

Dark Witch, Nora Roberts. I'm finally making progress on this old Vaginal Fantasy alt pick.

2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 43 out of 82. No change, although I have the last middle grade sitting on my bedside table.
  2. Reading My Library: Still working on Once a Rancher and Memory Man. 
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 39/51.  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 212.  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. Mercy Thompson is half Blackfoot, so that is upping my numbers: 4 books with American Indians, with 3 books identifying the tribe.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  50.  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:  Read the September book: The Trouble With Boys.
  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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