In a fit of energy, and celebrating the return of more typical Pacific Northwest weather, I've started my running program again. I've gone all the way back to the beginning of the 5K training program, and it's still hard. But I made it through Week 1 and I'm ready for Week 2.
Of course, my other big news is that it's my turn to go hang out with my mom in Texas. She had a big health scare this summer, so all four siblings have taken it in turn to support her. The boys took the first month, and managed to really help get her on her feet again -- she had a really bad infection in her jaw bone, and was finding it hard to eat enough to stay alive, let alone to get healthy. Now this scare has convinced her that it's time to move to be near her children, so my sister helped her do long-distance home shopping, and now I get to help her downsize and move.
Luckily I have one kid taking a break from college so he'll stay to keep my home fires burning, and also be here to help with the actual move. I like how this all fits together!
I did another bird walk, and saw lots of cool things. One of the men on this walk is really good at spotting birds, and then another woman is really good at explaining where to look. I'm getting very good at not tripping while walking around with my head craning at the sky.
I am currently reading 24 books, since if I hit a tough bit on a book I'm reading I pick up the next one. I do not anticipate a cascade of completions soon. I'm still hitting my #bookaday summer target, with the help of some graphic novels. This will get tough while I'm away from home, as I won't have as much opportunity to quickly grab a thin book or a kidlit choice from my shelves, so we'll see how we do.
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 go sign up. Ditto for the children's lit version at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers.
Conductors, Nicole Glover. My eating companion. It's more an adventure than a mediation on eating, but it looked fun.
Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire. 2021 Hugo novella finalist.
Mulan:Before the Sword, Grace Lin. Cybils finalist.
You Should See Me In a Crown, Leah Johnson. Cybils finalist.
Victories Greater than Death, Charlie Jane Anders. Tuesday book club pick.
A Longer Fall, Charlaine Harris. From my shelves (a reread, but I bought it new).
The Russian Cage, Charlaine Harris. From my shelves.
A Wish in the Dark, Christina Soontornvat. Cybils finalist.
Black Butler 19, Yana Toboso. Working through the series.
Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir. Hugo novel finalist.
Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi. 2021 Hugo novella finalist. This was incredibly vivid and angry, showing two siblings reacting to the racism and damage inflicted on them because of their color. One explodes in a fantasy way, magically channeling the future and the past and absorbing powers. The other moves into an SF near future, dystopian and yet just a hands length from now. But it's more emotion and images than a plot, which isn't really how I like my novellas to work. I would have appreciated it more in the smaller categories. I'm shallow like that.
Mulan:Before the Sword, Grace Lin. 2020 Cybils Middle Grade SF finalist. Lin's books are always a pleasure to read, although they have a similar feel to each other. Here again we have an engaging protagonist, this one with vigor and energy but also a lack of confidence as she doesn't fit her parent's idea of a perfect daughter. She meets a magical mentor and they go off on an adventure that is interspersed with stories and legends told by a variety of characters. Little details matter, and sometimes there's a delighted recognition as something dropped chapters earlier pays off in an unexpected way. It's aimed a little younger and I find these great for stretching young reading muscles as the chapters and stories make for good breaks or chances to switch off for shared reading.
In the Forest of Forgetting, Theodora Goss. Despite what the length of my reading time might indicate, I really enjoyed these short stories. They had a wonderful feel of a modern fairy tale, and although the tone was similar in many of them, the twists and outcomes varied -- sometimes people chose poorly, sometimes a happy ending worked, other times receiving one's heart's desire ended up in tragedy. I'm now more inclined to read more of Goss's work. And then I panicked when returning books and handed this back to the wrong library, oops. I think they eventually hand it to the correct one.
A Longer Fall, Charlaine Harris. When the third book came out, I bought all three because I like Harris's protagonists. Lizbeth here is judgemental, but she holds herself to the same standards. She is ruthless, but also compassionate. She's pragmatic but knows when to listen to her heart. And I like when characters surprise me -- Lizbeth was the one who noticed Felix's motivation, but I had the same information. I'm glad to have these on my shelves; I'll enjoy visiting this alternate history again.
The Russian Cage, Charlaine Harris. Finally I let myself have the new one. Lizbeth has to acknowledge what she knows -- she loves Eli, and she'll rescue him. I liked how violent she gets when she's protecting what she loves. She and Felix seem to share that trait. The battle at the house was so well done that even I could follow it, and the stuff with Eli's mom was delightful. I'm glad there will be another book; I want to see how Eli is doing outside of California. And whether the tsar takes Lizbeth's advice.
A Good Kind of Trouble, Lisa Ramee. A fast middle grade book about a new junior high student (7th grade. It's a bit amazing to me how odd I find schools that divide grades differently, even though I know theoretically how varied it can be) who deals with friend troubles as her elementary companions are approaching new peer groups and boys differently, and social issues such as making friends and interpreting boys' actions, while also dealing with racial issues such as Black Lives Matter and the unthinking cruelty of the principal, who thinks the status quo is just fine and protest are inherently violent. Her family is loving but not really communicative, which helps keep our protagonist independent.
Switchback, Clair M. Poulson. This was a very earnest, sincere book, with a detective and a family of ranchers/rodeo types, and they spent a lot of time driving around in northern Utah, and they were just not very good at solving crimes. Like, it wasn't until page 250 that anyone wondered if the ex-wife, who found her freshly murdered ex-husband's body on her ranch (while they were in a bitter custody fight), might be a suspect? And the response of the cop was to wonder the clueless people who made the suggestion were guiltily trying to incriminate her, because what reason could they have for suspecting such a sweet woman?
Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse. Foolscap pick (Native American SF), and also a 2021 Hugo novel finalist. This was incredibly vivid -- several scenes are still playing in my head. In the afterward she talks about wanting to write a big fantasy story but draw on ideas from the Americas rather than Europe or Asia, and I think it succeeds magnificently. The club was positive, and we are looking forward to more. It did lean a bit on being the start of a series -- several characters had arcs that seemed truncated, as if most of their time was spent preparing for things that will happen in the next book, but I felt like there was a good resolution of the main things this book concentrated on. There was a great variety of viewpoint characters, some more competent than others, all with different priorities and skills. There's a theme of justice vs vengeance, and what is a moral satisfying response to being harmed. It's a rich book that stays with you.
Black Butler 19, Yana Toboso. I don't usually laugh out loud while reading these, although there's often both sly humor and slapstick. But this one surprised me. Then things got fraught again, but I'm still going on for more.
Bookmarks Moved (Or Languished) In:
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James. Ancient Sword and Laser pick. Didn't touch it.
The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein, Farah Mendelson. Hugo finalist. Didn't touch it.
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton. A page or so. I am liking it! I need to figure out when I can go to the gym.
The Bourne Supremacy, Robert Ludlum. Didn't touch it.
The Wine-Dark Sea, Patrick O'Brien. Didn't touch it.
Seven Sisters, Lucinda Riley. The library brought it back, but I pushed for another week.
Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Kawai Strong Washburn. Didn't touch it.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Malinda Lo. Didn't touch it.
Gardens of the Moon, Steven Erikson. Tuesday book club pick. Took a week off because I really disliked it (especially against Consider Phlebas) but maybe I'll get back to it.
Vampire Trinity, Joey W. Hill. Didn't touch it.
Picture Books / Short Stories:
These books I'm barely reading; lately I use them bribes to get me to deal with the mail. Hmm. I should get back to that.
The Educated Child, William Bennett.
Wool, Hugh Howey.
Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho.
Under the Eye of the Storm, John Hersey.
Dates From Hell, Kim Harrison & others. She is figuring out what I already knew.
Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Individualizing reading instruction vs individual reading instruction.
- Cybils 2020. Finished Mulan: Before the Sword and started A Wish in the Dark, so soon Middle Grade SF novels will be done complete. Good work! Also reread all the picture books for book club again. Lots of YA books on my shelf.
- Early Cybils: Have Pucker waiting.
- Hugos 2021: Finished Black Sun. Finished Riot Baby novella and started Come Tumbling Down. Working on the selected episodes of Worldbuilding for Masochists podcast, to supplement my random selections.
- KCLS 10 To Try: 10/10. Complete!
- Tacoma Extreme Reading Challenge. 50/55. Counted again, and I must have missed some. Also picked up two by reading Switchback, which shares a title with Switchback.
- Reading My Library. Haven't started my new book yet.
- Where Am I Reading 2021: 30/51 states. Utah! 17 Countries. Hmm. Should I count Mulan as China?
Future PlansI'm putting this at the end because I suspect it's complete fiction, but I feel I should attempt some structure.
I am reading:
- Book I own: Sharks in the Time of Saviors Next: Vampire Trinity
- Library Book: Next:
- Ebook I own: Victories Greater than Death. Next: Profession of Heinlein.
- Library Ebook: Luminaries Next: Bourne Supremacy
- Book Club Book: Victories Greater Than Death Up Next: Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardy
- Tuesday Book Club Book: Victories Greater Than Death. Next: I need to finish Gardens of the Moon
- Review Book: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb Next: Back Home
- Hugo Book: Come Tumbling Down. Next: Harrow the Ninth.
- Rereading: Steerswoman
- Meal Companion: Conductors
- Audio: None Next: I have a book on CD I'll start listening to if I ever catch up on my podcasts.