Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day and Son-Day

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Mother's Day, the great holiday to celebrate guilting our children! Mine was quite nice, involving a breakfast in bed -- cooked, tasty, but without napkins or flowers. My teens are still works in progress, but they were cheerful and willing about it, so I think that's a win. Then I drove them back to their dad's house, instead of making them take the bus; after all, it was also SONday (get it? get it? I almost didn't).

Then things go rough with some extended family, but I still had a nice dinner with my siblings. It's hard to be a teenager, and it's so easy for them to be completely self-centered, which is really hard on the family around them.

The weather is getting nice, and I've started a walking pledge with some friends. We've started with an absurdly low goal, but if the sun stays out maybe we'll slowly extend it. The first result is that I refuse to move a millimeter without my phone on my person, because that's a step I could be missing!

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 finished some kidlit books and a few picture books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Raymie NightingaleBlood, Bullets, and Bones: ...A Long Way HomeBlack Butler, Vol. 6 (Black Butler, #6)

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. This was for Friday's book club. It turned out I was the only one who finished it, as the library stalled on delivery for everyone else. The few who received it couldn't make any traction. I think they would have liked starting with the original series better; this one assumes you understand the world. I liked it, but found the pain quotient extremely high for my tolerance. I am weak for characters my kids age. Next year I will have to avoid college books -- eep!

* Strangeways, Bob Brunner. No cover art because this is a manuscript the author gave me to read, which is very exciting. It's a thriller set in a men's prison, so not my usual genre, but it was smoothly written so I always wanted to keep going and there were some good twists (and gruesome bits). I sent it back with my reactions, so it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Raymie Nightingale, Kate DiCamillo. (Cybils audio)  The ending worked well for me; there were few unfired guns left on the mantlepiece but the connections were smooth and not forced. Beverley and her mom were left a bit underdeveloped (the dog? really?), but Raymie found a firm footing within herself and among her friends, one that didn't depend on her almost invisible mom or her absconding father.

Blood, Bullets, Bones, Bridget Heos. A Cybils NF finalist. This was for my Tuesday night movie/book club, where we share a book and watch a movie related to it. We went with a YA nonfiction book, which was a bit of a disappointment; it had interesting facts but the parts didn't add up to a better whole. Oh well, it gives lots of scope for our movie choices.

* A Long Way Home, Saroo Brierley. After seeing Lion I was interested in the story behind the movie, so I put myself on the waitlist for the memoir and it did not disappoint. Brierley is not a professional writer, but his sincerity and emotions are clear on the page. I also liked seeing how the movie adjusted things for the big screen; I don't think they distorted much and I approve of how they did it, but I also liked seeing what really happened in his family and his travels. I also liked the idea of his recreating his train odyssey as an adult.

* Black Butler 6, Yano Toboso. This wasn't my favorite entry in this manga; I found many of the new circus characters confusing and I had forgotten the backstory with the Grim Reaper. But I liked it enough to add the next on to my request list.

I started but didn't finish:

In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor, #5)Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)

In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor 5), David Weber. Mostly. This is a book of short stories in Weber's Honorverse, one by him and others by Jane Lindskold and Timothy Zahn. And then there seems to be a technical spec on ship design (???). I liked Lindskold story about a refugee who doesn't submit, and I'm hoping to like Zahn's story, although it's harder to sell me on stories in the Soviet-Russia-ish People's Republic.

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. This is the new Baen Free Radio audio serial, so I won't finish it for ages and ages. In fact, I think I won't even let my senior listen along, because he'll be off to college before it's done. But I may give him a few of the other Liaden stories. I'll also dig up the one before this, because I've fallen behind.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Boy, Snow, BirdCity of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)PalimpsestMaplecroft (The Borden Dispatches, #1)The Door at the Crossroads

Boy, Snow, Bird,  Helen Oyeyemi. My reading-my-library audio. I'm still don't forgive Boy for sending Snow away. I'm impatient to get an explanation, but the filter through Bird means that is slow to come. At least now she's corresponding with Snow, so we get more of a panorama. Disc 5-6/8.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. Sigurd to the rescue! Lots of flashy battles and mysticism for the ending.

Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente. Again it's a lush verbal landscape, spinning a lot of wheels (although there is a plot if you are patient enough). I don't think my Tuesday club would have liked it, so it's just as well we jumped to her kidlit.

Maplecroft, Cherie Priest. Despite helping pick this I didn't manage to read it with my book club a few months back, so I'm diving back in. This time I'm invested; the danger is real and not just gross, and the characters have my sympathy.

The Door at the Crossroads, Zetta Elliott. Another Cybils finalist, I'm having trouble making progress because these teenagers are in definite peril. YA has gotten so hard for me!

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenKenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. Men drink a lot and lose things.

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

Picture Books (read in the library while waiting for my kids to rendezvous):

What To Do With a BoxCandy PinkKenta and the Big WaveViolet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm BookFlora and the PenguinThe Riddlemaster

What to Do With a Box, Jane Yolen. Fun, good but unobtrusive rhymes. I think adults are more pleased with these "boxes are cool" books, because it's not news to kids, but this addition to the genre is fairly fresh and has details that should keep children's attention.

Candy Pink, Adela Turin. The message about girls deserving as much freedom as boys was very heavy handed but that might make it more accessible to kids? They'd probably appreciate this more. I think this book was written a generation ago, because I was expecting things to go in a more trans-gender way, but it stuck to the traditional feminist message that pink enclosed pedestals are not as fun as men like to pretend.

Kenta and the Big Wave, Ruth Ohi. I gave this five-stars because it resonated so much. Kenta endured a tidal wave that destroyed his house and stole his soccer ball. He mourns without self-pity and helps his family rebuild. He didn't endanger himself and others by foolishly chasing his dropped ball. So when another child finds the ball on the beach and mails it back to the carefully inscribed address, it seems like a fitting return from a just world, a symbol that you can sow as you reap.

Victor and Violet Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book, Alice Kuipers. I thought Violet was bossy to the point of unpleasantness, and Victor was unrealistically patient with her. It's not easy to make me dislike a picture book about books, but Violet managed it with her casual disrespect for her brother and willingness to ignore everyone else's preferences in pursuit of her own fun.

Flora and the Penguin, Molly Idle. This was a lot of fun! I noticed the fish early on and thought that was just the kind of detail that makes for a fun shared read. (Especially in a wordless book the child can read to the adult .) And then a fish became a character, and there was conflict, and someone had to die. My sons would have liked this book as preschoolers, especially with the creative use of lift-the-flap pictures.

The Riddlemaster, Kevin Crossley-Holland. This was not a winner for me. I found the illustrations unappealing, the children tiresome and the riddles a bit lame. I mean, puppies ARE dogs.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. (No change from last week)
  2. Cybils 2016! 5 / a lot. Finished the audio and the nonfiction. Struggling with the YA.
  3. Reading My Library: Now on disc 7 of Boy Snow Bird. Picked up a book from the next shelf.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 18/51. The author thinks his book was set somewhere around Kentucky or West Virginia, and I need Kentucky -- can I just tell him the setting is now definitely Kentucky?


=Tamar said...

I idly wonder, having noticed that you said Earwig and the Witch was the last, whether you have decided that The Islands of Chaldea is not a "true" Diana Wynne Jones book.

Beth said...

Good golly, I missed that one! I am rushing out to fix that mistake. Wow, what an unexpected pleasure, a new DWJ book!