Monday, October 28, 2019
Undecorated Home: No Kids So No Halloween This Year
Most of my attention is still on the Cybils reading I've been doing, but I have poked my head out a few times to see people. I met up with a friend and her family for dinner -- we've been missing each other for months and with both our sons in college we need to make an actual date to see each other. It was fun doing sushi with them and I always come out with some book recommendations that I am resolutely ignoring for a few months.
I also have a daily date with an elderly cat who lives down the highway, at least until her keeper returns from vacation. I'm enjoying the chance to plow through some audio books in the car, which are entertaining me enough that I'm always pleased to see traffic slowing down my journey.
I was a bit nonplussed to fail the exam to give blood, but I will try again soon. And I managed to plow my way through the two page voting ballot so I'm feeling the bloom of civic pride. I cooked on both of my cooking nights (Mexican lasagna and a quiche) and enjoyed the delicious family dinner made by my sister, and we also saw my brother and his wife at the dinner so it was a nicely full table.
My reading pile is still dominated by the Cybils High School / Junior High nonfiction I'm working through, but so far it's really enjoyable. I'm enjoying the emphasis on true stuff.
This is a shout-out to my great libraries -- between King County Library System and the Seattle Public Library, I so far have access to every longlist book I want to read. I have summoned them ALL.
My currently reading shelf continues to hover around 20. This includes six I only touch in between other books, one from my shelves, a serial audio from Baen, an audio CD for the car, and an audio book from the library that I like better, a KINDLE app book, a Cybils longlist pick (this takes precedence over all else), a book for fun, and two book club picks, an old pick and another I'm reading on time. Also five books I'm only pretending to read but leave on my Goodreads list out of stubborness.
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 so I'll try to sign up there if I'm not too late. Ditto for the children's lit focussed version at sign up at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers. I'm certainly eligible this week with both Cybils books and picture books!
Secret Soldiers: How the US Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis, Paul B. Janeczko. Cybils longlist read.
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza. Cybils longlist read.
Shakespeare's Trollop, Charlaine Harris. Continuing to plow through these Lily Bard stories.
The Disappearing Spoon: Young People's Edition, Sam Kean. Cybils 2018 nonfiction. I don't know who adapted this one.
The Miracle and the Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets, Sarah Miller. Cybils longlist read.
Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicine, Sarah Albee. Cybils 2017 nonfiction.
Grave Sight (Part 1), Charlaine Harris. Comic book version of the book.
Shakespeare's Counselor, Charlaine Harris. The last Lily Bard book.
Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World, Anna Crowley Redding. Cybils longlist. A fun biography of a man determined not just to be rich, but to be a world changer. Redding is uncritical of her subject, from his bullied youth to his corporate hi-jinks and scientific breakthroughs. She takes time to glance at the other major people in his life (parents, siblings, wives) but doesn't really have a taste for gossip. It was an interesting read but felt a bit shallow; I want a biography to fact check their subject's memory.
Shakespeare's Christmas, Charlaine Harris. Another Lily Bard audio. I'm not sure I read this one before! I looked at my records, and it's not on any of my lists, so I'm guessing I just somehow skipped this one! I enjoyed seeing Lily deal with going back to her family, and how she reluctantly admits that Jack is more than just really sexy for her. And I like how Harris does kids, and Lily's discomfort with them.
Secret Soldiers: How the US Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis, Paul B. Janeczko. Cybils longlist read. Although there are pull-outs for specific artists, Janeczko mostly keeps a distance from this troop of camouflage and trickery. He's more interested in what they did than the people who did it, although he's careful to point out that it's impossible to know exactly which effects worked. But it's an interesting view of a small piece of the war, probably better for people already interested in WWII than as a lure to bring people into history.
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza. Cybils longlist read. This is not a history of Indigenous People in the United States, it's a history of the United States told by Indigenous People, from the initial invasion through the determined ethnic cleansing and genocide from one side of the continent to the other. I suspect many of the exhortations to look something up or think about something come from the adaption; they felt a bit overly didactic. But it's a powerful look at how framing a discussion changes its interpretation as well as a grim look at what America has been up to.
The Disappearing Spoon: Young People's Edition, Sam Kean. Cybils 2018 nonfiction. There was a lot of fun stuff here about chemistry and the elements, with good examples of how scientists work, with opinions and prejudices and jealousy. It didn't really hang together for me as an entire work, although sometimes I was glad that Kean was willing to dive down any rabbit hole if it looked interesting enough.
Shakespeare's Trollop, Charlaine Harris. I am falling sadly behind on all podcasts as I devour the Lily Bard audios in the car. Wrong turns are causes for rejoicing. Anyway, in this one Lily confronts her reluctance to be vulnerable and how that is changing. Both murders are explored in how she judges people to protect herself, and how she is now strong enough to let that go. I mean, she can still judge people, but for how ethically they act, not how much they remind her of the horrors in the past. I read some reviews that thing this book judges Deidre for being promiscuous and almost seems to justify her death, but I strongly disagree. I think it's about Lily realizing that she is doing this and fighting back against it because of how wrong that is.
The Miracle and the Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets, Sarah Miller. Cybils longlist read. My previous knowledge of the Dionne Quintuplets was that there were five of them and they were a thing in the black-and-white era. So almost everything in this biography was new, and I was fascinated by the discovery of the rest of their family and how the Quints were pulled from them and then stuffed back in and how this affected them all their lives. The writing was good but not outstanding so it wasn't always easy to keep moving along, but Miller kept things balanced enough that I made it all the way.
Grave Sight (Part 1), Charlaine Harris. Wow, a lot of Harris's book have been turned into comics. I had fun looking at the characters although my face-blindness in graphic novels was a factor. I could tell Harper from her brother but all the lawmen ran together. I did enjoy the extra feature at the back where they show the notes that led to the final versions -- "making of" bits are always a pleasure. I'll look out for the rest of these.
River of Night, John Ringo and Mike Massa. Completed is a bit of an overstatement, as I started skimming about halfway through. Too many different characters and threads, and so many of them deeply unpleasant. I'm in these books to watch intrepid people battle great odds (go Faith!) so spending so much time watching mean and petty or psychotic people scheme and be evil wore on me. Also, the women are mostly so strange to me, and the consistent way that everyone forgets about birth control baffles me. The Combat Administrator is the real hero and should get at least 75% of the pages from now on.
Bookmarks Moved In:
Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia. 65/? Baen's podcast serial. The main character is being dragged kicking and screaming into contemplating a good (not lawful) deed.
Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 3/10 discs. It's possible the two strands will merge soon.
Book Lust, Nancy Pearl. Made it to the Cs! Still very few book emergencies.
One Good Dragon Deserves Another, Rachel Aaron. The bad guys are still advancing.
The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang. Last month's Sword and Laser pick. OK, the library took this back, so I'll being going on the hold list again.
Inkheart, Cornelia Funke. For my Tuesday night book club. Characters continue to be unsympathetic. Also, they can't seem to remember whether or not the live in the real world -- are police real or not?
Carrot Soup, John Segal. I could not enjoy this book because it centers around the kind of surprise I find very stressful. But I bet most kids would enjoy feeling they know more than the rabbit as it runs around not noticing the story in the background.
Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes, Hena Khan. Vivid colors and lovely illustrations (although the human characters tended to dip into the hidden valley for me) make this a good book showing Muslim features around the world. Apparently each spread highlights a different country but I didn't get them all and was wishing for hints in the back or something. But as a book of shapes it fell a bit short. The spotlit shape was often partially obscured and although there was some effort to repeat it in the background it was spotty.
These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.
A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.
The Educated Child, William Bennett.
Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson. The dad is going to be mean about the party. And possibly also arrested for bribery. At the party?
Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt. Teenage girls being awful. And then wondering why they are unhappy.
Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. How to evaluate your evaluation of student reading.