Monday, July 31, 2017

Working Man

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?My son finally found a summer job, which means I have volunteered to wake up at dawn to get him to the bus. It's fun to have a chance to talk with him, but then I go home and sleep all day to recover from the dawn trauma. Finish by staying up too late and then repeat!

I had a fun trip to the zoo with three generations, so we let the young folks zip around while we older types concentrated on a single section. Bears were cooperative, wolves were shy.

I'm still doing my summer reading thing of starting a book every day, which will probably mean ending up with a few dozen bookmarks by the end of August, but that's how I like to roll in the breaks between routine. Currently Reading is about 22 books right now.

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 a pile of picture books, a YA and several kidlit books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

This week I started:
The Princess Bride The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant ChildThe Youngest Miss WardWhen the Sea Turned to SilverWhite Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)Echoes in Death (In Death, #44)Blowing My CoverThe Soldier's Scoundrel (The Turner Series, #1)

Princess Bride, William Goldman. My Tuesday book club is rereading this. The framing story gets more annoying each time I reread; it's one of the things I think the movie does better. And I wish Buttercup wasn't as dumb, or that Wesley wasn't supposed to be so smart. But the story is such fun!

The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child, Francisco Jimenez. Vivid descriptions of a childhood spent working the fields and snatching at a few weeks of school when chance allowed.

The Youngest Miss Ward, Joan Aiken. I like Aiken's books in general; I'm a bit concerned that this one is based off Austin's Mansfield Park, of which I have only the vaguest memories.

When the Sea Turned to Silver, Grace Lin. The next audio book for the 2016 Cybils finalists.

White Hot, Ilona Andrews. Book two in a newish series. I liked the characters and the action, and I would have found the sex hot if I hadn't been hyper aware that my 18 year old son had read it the day before.

Echoes In Death, J.D. Robb. I believe this is the latest Robb book -- I have caught up! Go me! The victims this time seem more likable, so this will be grimmer.

Wildfire, Ilona Andrews. The sequel to White Hot, and a nice pause in the series, which may or may not be continued. This time I grabbed the book before my kid, which was less awkward for me (although he said it was much worse for him).

Blowing My Cover, Lindsay Moran. Quick and fun memoir of a woman's foray into spying with the CIA, which she soon found was not the career she had imagined. Fun but superficial details of training and policies showed why her frustrations with the bureaucracy and mismatched ideals meant this was not a long-term career for her. I also found a fun review where an old CIA hand thought she handed out top secret reveals of training and stuff, which seemed ludicrous -- if anyone knowing that we train agents in driving fast cars weakens our defenses, we're doomed already.

The Soldier's Scoundrel, Cat Sebastian. M/M Regency romance that I found while leaving a library book club a few weeks ago, from their display celebrating GLTB stuff for some reason. It was a fun story, dealing with the social difficulties of an aristocrat who falls in love with a commoner, not helped by the fact that their love is illegal.

I finished:

Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen KellerStrange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats, #1)The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy DogThe Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant ChildRemnants of Trust (Central Corps, #2)The Dark Is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2)White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)The Soldier's Scoundrel (The Turner Series, #1)

Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, Sarah Miller. A surprisingly (for a kidlit book) nuanced book about Annie Sullivan, the teen-aged tutor who helped show Helen Keller what language was. The book emphasized her own youth and insecurities, as well as her period-appropriate willingness to use brute force with her charge. 

Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor. I was really enjoying this until the very end, when the two characters became stupid and annoying. There will be a sequel where they deal with the consequences of being stupid, but that doesn't really appeal to me. I describe it as "what if Romeo and Juliet's suicides failed, and they didn't learn anything?"

Traitor's Blade, Sebastien de Castell. A fun fantasy that was a bit predictable but otherwise fine. I won't seek out the next book, but if it falls in my lap I'll read it.

The Inquisitor's Tale, Adam Gidwitz. This audio 2016 Cybils finalist was beloved by everyone but me. I found most of the narrators dull, especially the Inquisitor who finished it off. The tone seemed wildly uneven, with modern and ancient ideas and words jostling each other depending on what came easiest to the author, and with rapid switches between honest emotions and unimportant slaughter. It just didn't work for me, but again, I seem to be a tiny minority.

The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child, Francisco Jimenez. Apparently there are more of these biographical stories; I think I'll seek them out.

Remnants of Trust, Elizabeth Bonesteel. Part of my Reading My Library Quest. It took me a while to engage, partly because I started with the second of the series and was suspiscious that I was missing stuff, but it turns out the author told me what I needed to know. I liked how incompetent the military was in spurts, as well as the people, who were also realistically flawed and who misjudged each other while still trying to make connections. I will add Bonesteel to my author list.

The Dark Is Rising, Susan Cooper. Rereading this makes me want to read it aloud, but I have nobody to foist myself on. Sometimes I'm really ready to have grandkids. How did I miss reading this to my own kids? I think I was scared off by the descriptions, but I bet they would have loved it.

White Hot, Ilona Andrews. Andrews continues to supply fun reads, so I'll continue to grab her books.

Wildfire, Ilona Andrews. It was fun to have these come out so close together. I'm hoping there are more in this series, because I liked the large family dynamic.

The Soldier's Scoundrel, Cat Sebastian. This was a fun enough story that I want to read more from her.

Hmm, I started 9 and finished 10. Go me! I shall celebrate by starting another book.

Picture books and Short Stories:
Boom Snot TwittyThe Favorite DaughterThe SquiggleDuck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at NightThe Pout-Pout Fish

Boom, Snot, Twitty, Doreen Cronin. I have liked books from this author before, but this one was a disaster for me. I kept praying for a large bird to swoop in and devour Snot, who was incredibly snotty. I think mismatched expectation was the problem -- I thought the story was about three friends, but apparently it was about two stepchildren and a golden child (Snot) and I was supposed to root for the kid who has everything.

The Favorite Daughter, Allen Say. In this case, my expectations were exceeded! I was expecting a story about how all daughters are the favorite or something, and instead it was a meditation on biracial identity and individualism but without being didactic. Lovely illustrations didn't hurt.

The Squiggle, Carole Lexa Schaefer. Fun and lightweight, this call to imagination and energy doesn't take itself too seriously.

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night, Kallie George. Cute story with a silly twist (snoring is always funny), but my favorite part was that the dinosaur sibling to the duck babies was completely taken for granted. I think this is part of a series, so maybe it does get a story, but I thoroughly enjoyed just having it be a fact.

The Pout Pout Fish, Deborah Diesen. I found the denial of the protagonists's feelings a bit disconcerting and the ending rather creepy (in a sexual consent kind of way) but I can see some kids getting into this. What is the picture book deal with forcing fish into rigid forms of social conformity? Pout Pout Fish and Rainbow Fish should form a support group. Maybe I'm sensitive since I've recently been told (along with my attractive young niece) to "smile".

"Feldspar," by Philip Kramer. This was a fun story about how to exploit small steps to make possibilities, as well as a vindication for gamers everywhere. I was sad that the astronaut never had a moment of awesome, which is sort of a normal thing for astronauts. I think the author might want to try expanding his reading list a bit.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)Desperate Hearts

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 10. Actually, this was replaced by "Feldspar" which won an award. So I just started this installment.

Desperate Hearts, Rosanne Bittner. Our heroine has fled from sophisticated New York, and is a bit shocked to be dealing with stagecoach romeos, stagecoach robberies and wrecks, and a handsome, wounded vigilante rescuer. Also, she has a Dark Past.

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)The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.

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

The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens. Ooh -- their nemesis may not have perished after all. Tune in for more!

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2016! 8 / a lot. Finished The Inquisitor's Tale. Started When the Sea Turned to Silver. Made no progress on anything else. 
  2. Reading My Library:  Finished one! Oops, it was the second one, so I'm trying to hurry up and finish the Bittner. 
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 26/51. Read several books only to find I already have Alabama, Texas, and Montana. Actively looking for Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware and Georgia.

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