Monday, April 10, 2017

What I Did Instead of My Taxes

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
This year I've barely been reading at all. Even my picture book consumption is down. So I'm practicing binge-watching TV (currently watching Great British Baking Show). Maybe I'll find a new hobby. But in the interests of future me, I'll remind myself of what I was reading this week.

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 I read a couple of YA, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:

Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4)Passing StrangeLeague of Dragons (Temeraire, #9)Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous

Manners and Mutity, Gail Carriger. The final book in the YA series has the same syncopated rhythm, with our heroine wavering between farce and real emotions. We learn secrets about some old friends, which I would appreciate more if I had read the books closer together so I could remember all the bits that were hints. Now that I'm old and forgetful, I had to be reminded that Soap had been werewolfed at the end of the previous story, which now I recall was a major event. Fun and frothy, with a bit of real emotion weaving through.

* Passing Strange, Ellen Klages. I've met and talked with Klages, which is a great way to keep me buying books, and with Klages I'm never disappointed. I've loved her short stories and her children's books; there's always a through-line of emotional realism and respect for characters in all her varied writing. I think this started as an online novella for Tor, but I read it as a printed novel from the library; I highly recommend it for it's delicate romance and peek into a bit of San Francisco history, with a bonus touch of magic and sabotage for extra flavor.

League of Dragons, Naomi Novak. I confess that I didn't race to read this book; the Temaraire series had seemed to be morphing into a bit of a travelogue -- interesting enough but lacking in narrative cohesion. And I loathed the amnesia subplot in a recent book. But I grabbed it in audio book for my Reading-My-Library quest (and luckily also picked up a paperback copy since Disc 6 was unreadable) and this conclusion worked really well, finally incorporating some actual character growth that resulted in different choices by the dragon and his captain. Several scenes were laugh-out-loud delightful, and I only occasionally wanted to pour a bucket of cold water over Laurence's head.

(george), E.L. Konigsburg. I remember liking this as a child, so I grabbed a copy when I saw it somewhere (book swap? used book store? no idea) and finally got around to rereading it. I vividly remembered that it was about a bright boy who had another personality inside him that adults didn't believe in, but as an adult *I* wasn't sure I believed in George either! It was really interesting to read it from the opposite perspective, where instead of rooting along with a smart kid being misunderstood by bumbling adults, I also sympathised with (some of) the adults who sincerely cared about him.

Super Famous: Ms Marvel Vol 5, G. Willow Wilson. Evil people put up a billboard of Ms Marvel promoting them, and now everyone hates her. Because the world is stupid. This is believable (hello, President Trump) but not fun reading. Also, she's having problems jugging her Avengers work with her school work. I confess that as the balance shifts from defeating evil doers to dealing with regular people I get a bit bored, so I hope we get more action and less teen drama in the next few.

(* Books I started this week.)

I started but didn't finish:
The Span of Empire (Jao #3)Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)The Enemy (Jack Reacher, #8)Boy, Snow, Bird

The Span of Empire, Eric Flint & David Carrico. The Tuesday book club is reading the first of this series, which I read and liked and which is available from the Baen Free Library. I hadn't realized that the death of Eric's co-author was the reason for the delay until I heard about the new book on the Baen podcast. Also I only vaguely remember the second book. I'm expecting long descriptions of weapons, fairly repetitive characters, and a victorious ending that is good fun along the way.

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. This is the book for next month's book club, which the library surprised me with a few weeks early (it had a lengthy hold list, which is why it's next month's book). It's a YA heist book that I would enjoy more if I weren't so squeamish about child pain involving teens 16-18 (my children's ages) and the enormous heaps of tragic backstory and current physical and emotional trauma the author delights in heaping on them. I would have loved it at any other time, though, and I've already recommended it to said offspring.

The Enemy, Lee Child. This is the book for THIS month's book club, which meets this Friday. It's a Jack Reacher story, and from the first chapter it may chronologically be the first book. It's set in North Carolina, which means it might also be the setting for the book by Diane Capri about the search for Jack Reacher, which I read before any actual Jack Reacher books. We'll see what dim memories it illuminates.

Boy, Snow, Bird Helen Oyeyemi. This has been on my to-read list for three years, so when I saw it on the next shelf of audio books in my library I picked it up. So far I like the narrator and her understated New York accent, and I think I can make it through eight CDs.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)By JoveThe Stolen Mackenzie Bride (MacKenzies & McBrides, #8)Summer in Orcus

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. They are rescuing their client, the son of a master spy, after he got himself kidnapped by the first captain he talked to before his mother took over his affairs. More proof she had a good idea what she was doing. The short women of the crew have a chance to show their stuff, as they are the non-intimidating staff sent to negotiate with the under-smart criminals.

By Jove, Marissa Doyle. I can't remember how I got this book, although I think it was a give-away, but now I need a book about a Greek God, and I think these people consider themselves both. It's a slightly old-fashioned sort of romance, but so far I'm enjoying it.

The Stolen MacKenzie Bride, Jennifer Ashley. This is my next text Reading-My-Library quest book, and I'm really not enjoying it. In fact, I've started reading from the back when reading normally gets too annoying. This shelf has been a real bear -- this is the third or fourth book I've started and I'm determined to finish this one but I really dislike the romance hero, who starts off by bullying the heroine which of course intrigues her (ick). He falls in love across the room (ick) and she can't resist his animal magnitism (ick). Basically it's all the things that made me avoid romances for years. Spoiler -- it will end with most of the family miraculously surviving the battle that kills 90% of people without special author protection and then they apparently go on to have kids who show up in romances that have already been written.

Summer in Orcus, T. Kingfisher. I've been reading this as long as Kingfisher has been writing it (it was a patreon funded work-in-progress) but it turns out she writes faster than I remembered to check, and also I've been savoring it. Very interesting kids book that plays with convention and with clear, vivid images and a strong central character.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. Need to finish these up. I own the last one, so it keeps getting pushed behind due library books. Focus!
  2. Cybils 2016! 2/ a lot. Still haven't counted, but I managed, almost by accident, to read two: Super Famous: Ms Marvel 5 and Every Falling Star, a non fiction. I've got another non-fiction that my Tuesday book club will be reading, so that will be three books!
  3. Reading My Library: I gave up on A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea as too grim and managed to listen to the entire League of Dragons and started Boy Snow Bird. I finshed the Jo Beverley book and am wrestling with the much less enjoyable Ashley romance.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 12/51. Starting over! Already behind! This year I'm just recording the first book I read in each state or country, and not bothering with a map. I think I like the detail better, but experiments are the staff of life!


Jane @ Raincity Librarian said...

That's still a pretty good book haul!

I wonder why they changed the title of The Great British Bake-off to The Great British Baking Show for American viewers? Did they not think you'd understand what a bake off was? It's fascinating to see what things get changed and adapted when programs (or books, for that matter) make the leap across the pond.

Beth said...

Yes, I wondered as well. And Netflix claims to have Seasons 1 & 2, but everybody keeps talking about the past, and when I looked on my sister's DVR it's called seasons 3 & 4 (I think). Humph!

Elizabeth said...

ENJOY your reading week and your books.

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