Tuesday, November 12, 2019
All The People
I always feel odd about announcing on my blog that I'm traveling, which is silly because I've seen the readership on this and literally no one is reading it. But I spent a lot of the past two weeks (since Halloween) flying around seeing people.
I went to Austin and saw my best friend and her family, all of whom I like. There we had brunch with an old high school friend. I met up with another old friend who drove me from Austin to Houston and then we all had dinner with my mom. On the way home from Houston I had a long layover in Salt Lake City and my brother drove out to the airport so I could have dinner with him and his family, all of whom I like. Then we walked around downtown Salt Lake (lots of PokeStops at the Temple, so we had fun seeing what tourist information I could come up with). And as soon as I got home, I climbed into my car to drive to Oregon for Orycon.
My son came up on Saturday to hang out with me there, which was a lot of fun.
And this may be too much information for the internet, but I would have had a lot more fun if I hadn't gotten my period for that convention, along with a huge wall of cramps and uncomfortableness. I possibly would have been a better sport about it all if I weren't 51 and TOO OLD FOR THIS. I feel personally betrayed every time I have to restart my menopause clock, and honestly the experience hasn't been this bad since my teens. Driving home Sunday was the worst. At least my cats were happy to host a pity party for me, and I spent the entire Monday with them layered on time of me while I felt sorry for myself. That's why this blog is late.
My currently reading shelf continues to hover around 20, but really I'm only actively reading about five books.
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.
An Invisible Thread, Laura Schroff. Cybils nonfiction longlist.
The Dozier School For Boys, Elizabeth A. Murray. Cybils nonfiction longlist.
Disaster Strikes, Jeffrey Kluger. Cybils nonfiction longlist.
Sapphire Flames, Ilona Andrews. Friends book club pick.
Grave Sight, Charlaine Harris. Another audio Harris. Doing some driving this week.
Dissenter on the Bench, Victoria Ortiz. Cybils nonfiction longlist.
Ice Cold Grave, Charlaine Harris. Another audio Harris. For the drive back.
An Invisible Thread, Laura Schroff. Cybils nonfiction longlist. A young woman befriends a homeless boy, and that relationship changes both their lives. Although most of the time is spent seeing the effects on the boy, the writing makes it clear that the story is told by the woman. It took me a while to figure out how old this story is (the boy has children of his own now) so I was a bit confused by some details until that clicked (where did she find that watch? Oh, duh). I'd like to talk to someone about this book to sort some stuff out -- to me it felt a bit preachy, both in the studious way it avoided mentioning drugs, instead referring to vague "sicknesses" that looks a lot like opiate addiction or alcoholism and in how virtues like punctuality, perseverance, etc. are shown as new vistas opening before the boy. It reads like it suffered a bit in the transition to a Young People edition, where some things were pushed down too far in ways that don't seem to respect actual Young People.
The Dozier School For Boys, Elizabeth A. Murray. Cybils nonfiction longlist. A history of the abusive reform school run in Florida for boys who ran afoul of the law and didn't have parents powerful enough to protect them. It details the conditions (in both sides during segregation, where things were much worse for those kept out of the white dorms), official intentions and rules, and the often abusive punishments as reported by survivors, ending with the exhumation of the graves and how that connects to the abuses. Although no prosecutions resulted, the text is gravely committed to believing the reports brought forward by men who remembered their years there. It's a grim story on how children were treated by authorities.
Small Kingdoms and Other Stories, Charlaine Harris. I love how the protagonist of these short stories (an retired spy operative/killer maintaining a cover as a school principal) is among the most conventional heroines Harris has produced. But I have to say that reading Harris's book about small town life does not make me one to try out local restaurants to eat it while driving around highways. There's dark stuff in there.
Disaster Strikes, Jeffrey Kluger. Cybils nonfiction longlist. Another space book! (Kluger even mentions in several of his chapters that they are adopted from earlier works.) This one looks at the things that have gone wrong, since the dangers of space are so vast that the smallest mishap can be deadly. That said, his enthusiasm for space flight is allowed to soar, along with the courage of all the astronauts and cosmonauts from early Gemini and Soyuz flights through Christy McCullough's delight in being picked. A deliberately episodic book that highlights a lot of the space age, covering space travelers from all over the world with detail, suspense, and excitement. A fun book to read while traveling since it was coherent but each chapter was distinct.
Shakespeare's Counselor, Charlaine Harris. The last Lily Bard book. Wow, I liked this audio book so much I finished on the plane, and I very rarely listen to books while not driving. But my eyes were getting tired and I misread the due date so I was eager to get back to it. It leaves Lily and Jack in a solid relationship and an understanding of the importance of that and their community, especially in comparison to the awfulness of the murder family. I like how Lily is still left as a rather harsh character, but one with a good expectation of happiness.
Grave Sight, Charlaine Harris. The pun in the title is perfect, even though this is not the light-hearted cozy mystery that usually indulges in such puns. The cover does kind of warn about that. Harris delivers deeply damaged and flawed characters in strange but understandable situations, then watches them go. In this case, Harper and her brother have had tough childhoods that still affect how they react to things, and they are making a living in a way that incites disgust and disbelief in people around them while involving them in dark parts of many peoples lives. Yet they still manage to carve out meaning for themselves, and work to keep others from pushing their guilt where it doesn't belong.
Sapphire Flames, Ilona Andrews. This was a mixed bag for me. There's a violent problem to be solved (a double murder that turns out to be a murder/kidnapping) that kicks off a clan war on the way, and that part is fun. And there's a hot guy who I don't think is a good romantic prospect but that the main character is all in for. So I liked when they fight bad guys together, but I cringed every time I'm supposed to enjoy the romantic sparks. I just don't see a good future in meeting an internet crush; in fact for a long time I hoped he was someone else in disguise but nope. He was in fact the douche he appeared. So I'll read the next one because the action stuff is always worth it and I like the puzzles, but I have a bad feeling these two will end up together because that is the genre. Also book club was canceled.
Bookmarks Moved In:
Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia. 67/? Baen's podcast serial. Didn't finish. There is no podcasts, only Charlaine Harris.
Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 3/10 discs. I think I recognize the village.
Book Lust, Nancy Pearl. This one didn't go on the road with me.
One Good Dragon Deserves Another, Rachel Aaron. Made some progress.
The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang. Last month's Sword and Laser pick. Waiting to recover it.
None this week.
These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading. And since I wasn't home, I didn't read them this week.
A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.
The Educated Child, William Bennett.
Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson.
Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt.
Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.