Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Same Same

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?Knock knock.

(Who's there?)


(Stella who?)

Stella 'nother week at home!

Washington, and more particularly King County, is still in Stage One of reopening (although Stage 2 is looking close!). So it's been another week of staying home, with my car leaving the garage only twice -- once to mail back an old router and once to walk in a park and then get donuts. 

I'm incredibly lucky that this has actually been rather pleasant for me. I've started walking a lot, and Alexander has started often walking with me, lured by my Pokemon Go game and his far superior game play. I'm actually in better shape than I was at the beginning; I'm eating more healthily and may have actually lost weight. I still get most of my book clubs in, and those were my favorite forms of socializing. I joke that I've even learned a foreign language, but really I just made it through Duolingo Greek, which is one of their shorter courses. I'm now trying to read some of the baby books left over from my kids' babyhood, and I can confidently say I do not actually speak or read Greek.

College semesters are officially over for my boys, and they aren't particularly interested in rushing out to find summer jobs, at least until we know that the pandemic has really settled down. So they are home and being mostly good housemates. We each take over one big job and then help out in general. My jobs are the biggest, but it's my house, and I'm slowly pushing the stuff I like least out onto their backs. So lawn care is not my problem, and now cooking isn't either -- my younger son decided that if I'd do the meal planning he'd take over actually cooking as one of his roles. Woot! So far I've made him make Thai chicken curry and Mexican lasagna.

I've hung out online with my regular book club/gaming group on Tuesdays (we're currently back to Minecraft and we read the four Murderbot stories by Martha Wells. Thanks Tor.com for the gift!) The library had an interesting professor tell me (and some other folks) about crows and ravens. I organized an expanded family Zoom session on Sunday, which went pretty well except for one Aunt whose audio took a vacation. And I met up with a real person on Saturday for a social distanced walk in a park, complete with masks. Then I celebrated Krispy Kreme's last BeSweet Saturday by picking up two dozen donuts for me and my nice neighbor.

My currently reading is currently 19, which seems a lot but is low for me. It also includes twelve books I claim to be reading but have no intention of finishing anytime soon. I'll have to concentrate on some library ebooks I carelessly checked out for a while; unlike regular library books nowadays, these will have to go back to the library fairly soon.

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 sign up there. Ditto for the children's lit version which I only qualify for on the strength of my Greek book and my one Cybils read. I'll sign up at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers.

Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4)Magician: Apprentice (The Riftwar Saga, #1)Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle, #1)Hero Code (Star Kingdom #3)

Exit Strategy, Martha Wells. Murderbot #4. For my Tuesday book club.

Magician: Apprentice, Raymond Feist. Sword and Laser pick.

Witchmark, C.L. Polk. For my Tuesday book club.

Hero Code, Lindsay Buroker. Fun author.


The Great AloneRogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4)Ship of Ruin (Star Kingdom #2)The Witches Are Coming

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah. (spoilers) Ugh. I was really enjoying this book -- the complex emotions, the descriptions that made Alaska seem beautiful even to timid little me, the revisiting of my youth -- I was only a little bit younger than Leni and grew up among the same historical event. And then we hit the end, where the author makes everyone suffer a lot, and worst of all, a last twist, where Leni ignores all advice and confesses to a pointless crime. As it turns out, this doesn't matter at all to anyone (or the plot) so the only effect was to make her seem like an idiot. I'm not sure why it was so important that the reader not respect her. It's rather spoiled the book for me; I hope as time goes on I forget the ending and only remember the powerful beginning and middle. It added about a week to the reading time because I just didn't want to go back to spend time with a woman who I now suspect will spend the rest of her life looking for a man to abuse her, despite the temporary happy ending on the last page.

Rogue Protocol, Martha Wells. Murderbot #3. My reread of the Murderbot books has really sealed how great they are. The first time I read them there was a month or so between them as I ordered them from the library; this time Tor.com gave them away as ebooks to celebrate the new novel and my book club read them all in two weeks. It brings clarity to Murderbot's emotional journey as it runs from emotional entanglements but then tiptoes back toward friendships. So Murderbot has no intention of going back to its guardian/owner but just happens to decide to find things to give her. I also like the way the titles mean several things -- Murderbot has gone rogue, but so has Miki. Miki's owners programmed free choice into it. Occasionally humans surprise Murderbot.

Exit Strategy, Martha Wells. Murderbot #4. This had a great balance of Murderbot being very good at being a security bot and very bad at understanding its emotions. It is good at getting people out of dangerous situations and using any tool at hand to facilitate that and bring confusion to its enemies; it is very bad and knowing when it is having a bit of a mental breakdown or recognizing a friend. Also, Wells is very good at pleasing me as a reader and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Ship of Ruin, Lindsay Buroker. The complications, moral dilemmas, and triumphs continue to pile up for Cosmir and his friends. Who stole the design for the robots? Who should have access to the deadly but potentially gamechanging artifacts? What do friends owe each other? When is violence morally acceptable? And is that woman trying to flirt with him? Buroker is good at having her characters solve their immediate problems but have that solution leave them with bigger issues to deal with in the next book. 

The Witches Are Coming, Lindy West. For my feminist book club. Lindy West again being willing to assert herself and not squeeze herself in the smaller space reserved for women (or the even smaller space fat women are supposed to occupy).  I found myself not enjoying this as much as I did Shrill, although I found her viciously accurate and still funny and enjoyed watching her skewer the people who would deprive women of health care, of safety, of standing as human beings. And I think the reason is that I don't share her optimism -- I fear that the witches are coming but they'll be gunned down by men and the people who support them, the people who elected Trump. I've lost faith in the basic humanity of Americans. Yuck.

Bookmarks Moved (Or Languished) In:

Tender MorselsThe Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #2)Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellUncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington, #14)
Rediscover CatholicismWinter Sisters (Mary Sutter, #2)On a Sunbeam

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 5/10 discs. The girls are growing up, which obviously worries their mom since by the time she was their age she had been repeatedly raped. Bear is getting a bit inappropriate. 

Tropic of Serpents, Marie Brennan. The library called this home. I will try to get it back after I finish Jonathan Strange. 

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke. The scene where Clarke tells us that Norrell had no idea that Strange cared about his wife was really well done. 

Uncompromising Honor, David Weber. Baen Free Radio Hour's serial. We're still prepping for the action. This will be a long haul.

Rediscover Catholicism, Matthew Kelly. Final section is the call to action in regard to rejoining the Church, especially if you still have issues.

Winter Sisters, Robin Oliveira. Time for testimony.

On a Sunbeam, Tillie Walden. Just when I was starting to feel complacent about my growing skill in reading graphic novels, I find myself struggling to tell people apart. 

Picture Books / Short Stories:

Το μήλο και άλλα φρούτα - | Public βιβλία

Το μήλο και άλλα φρούτα (Οι Πρώτες Ανακαλύψεις μου), Pierre Marie-Valat. (The Apple and Other Fruit) This was actually really hard, with complete and complex sentences and a lot of new vocabulary. If I have ever read it to my kids, I definitely faked it really hard. I will need to rest my exhausted brain for a week or so after this.

Palate Cleansers

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

The Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeCookieGive All to Love (Sanguinet Saga, #11)Tell the Wolves I'm HomeWool (Wool, #1)Reading and Learning to Read

The Educated Child, William Bennett. Art and music. There is good art and bad art, and you'll know it when you see it, I guess.

Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson.

Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan. 

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt. I am so glad that I never learned how to do existential guilt.

Wool, Hugh Howey.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Teachers should look at how and why they are choosing different parts of a reading program.

Reading Challenges
  1. May Asian Heritage Month: Two books, working on calendar.
  2. Cybils TBR Challenge: #CybilsReaddown: Count now at 12! 
  3. Cybils 2017. Nothing. 
  4. Cybils 2018. Still reading On a Sunbeam. 
  5. Cybils 2019. I bought all the board books. And I think I'll try to read the early chapter books.
  6. Reading My Library. OK, I finished some books but now am deep in book club weeds but this is right there...
  7. Ten to Try. At 9/10. I now have my KCLS staff recommendation. I went with The Witches Are Coming as more consciously current. I still want a better musician book. 
  8. Where Am I Reading: 17/51 states. 13 Countries. The Great Alone is Alaska, and Spirit Hunters is D.C.
  9. Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. 17/24. Six left:  #2 (retelling by PoC author), 6 (play by PoC or queer author), 13 (food book about a new to me cuisine), 15 (climate change), 17 (sci-fi novella), 23 (literary magazine), and 24 (Indigenous author). Hmm. There's a strong discussion of climate change in The Witches Are Coming, but it's not really "about" it.


Kathryn T said...

I know that stay at home got me walking far more too and now that here in NZ we are allowed out far more I am going to keep it up. Easy said while the weather is good but we shall have to see. I read somewhere it takes forty days to form a habit! I kind of agree with you about The Great Alone - it sure was brutal and that ending had me feeling in a similar way and its quite a time since I read it but still remember!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

That's a bummer about The Great Alone. I bought this one and have it sitting in my office just waiting for me to start it. I'm hoping the beginning and middle are still good enough to make it worth the read. I seriously enjoyed the first Murderbot book and fully intend to start book #2 this summer. I've suddenly been distracted by an influx of BRAND NEW Overdrive titles, so I've put a lot of older titles on hold. Our Overdrive library has done a pretty great job of staying up-to-date on new titles and I really wish I could find a good way to financially support them so they'll keep up the good work, giving us easy access from home. That's more than I can say for my local library which, after two months of being closed, has decided to start letting people check out books again. YAY! But their rules are so strict and limiting that it's difficult for a bigger family. For example, they only open 1 hour in the morning (10-11) and one hour in the afternoon (1-2) and they'll only let four people in every hour (every 15 minutes they schedule another person by phone -- you can't show up without an appointment). No one can step into the building to browse, they'll put your books in a box outside the door. Okay, we can totally do all that, BUT... my biggest issues with this set-up is that they've limited every family to only 3 books. Yeah, every family, no matter how many people are in your family, can only check out THREE books for the household. So they called me to say I have too many books on my reserve/hold list. They said I can come to their front door tomorrow to check out just three books. Then I can come back the next day to return them and take out three more (assuming one of the EIGHT check out spots is open for the day). Then I can come back the following day yada yada yada... Unfortunately, this is actually increasing travel and exposure for the families in our community who read more than three books per week. Aaaanyway, I suppose I should count my blessings that I'll get to pick up three picture books tomorrow at 1:15pm. I'll just keep going back to swap them out every few days. Rant over... lol