Monday, August 2, 2021


It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Summer marches along. My sister and her family took a weekend vacation, and my family went out to dinner, which indicates our respective planning capabilities (also, we got take out). Also, my sons finally went up to see their dad for dinner, which has a been a fraught subject this summer.

I attempted to go to a movie last week, but it was Seahawk Training Camp is apparently on again. So there were crowds of people, which made me nervous, and then it turned out that the parking garage was full and we were directed to an overflow lot a mile away. Since some of the elderly members of movie club are already struggling with the walk to the garage, that made things unfeasible. So we diverted to the Renton History Museum for a quick peak (it's one room), and that exhausted us, so it was a good call. This week I'll see if I can get people to drop us off in front of the movies. Other than that we didn't go out much -- it's an odd sense where we are all vaccinated (mostly -- one of us has an experimental shot) but the news is scary about the variants.

No book clubs last week, but I need to read three things by Saturday this week. I'd better get cracking. Also, all the Cybils books I ordered from the library throughout the year have suddenly arrived. And I still have to read the Hugo stuff. 

During laundry folding time I've been watching more Star Trek. I'm finished episode 5 of season three in both Voyager and Deep Space Nine. I have no idea why I chose to alternate these; they are theoretically a few years apart.

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. Hopefully this will mean a cascade of completions soon.  I'm still hitting my #bookaday summer target, with the help of some graphic novels. 

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


Consider Phlebas (Culture, #1)Prince of the Elves (Amulet, #5)In the Red
Minn of the MississippiKin (The Good Neighbors, #1)In the Forest of Forgetting
The Secret Garden: A Graphic NovelGhost TalkersPersephone Station

Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks. Sword and Laser pick.

Prince of the Elves (Amulet 4), Kazu Kibuishi. Working on the series. 

In the Red, Christopher Swiedler. Cybils finalist.

Minn of the Mississippi, Holling Clancy Holling. Newbery Honor on my shelves. 

Kin (The Good Neighbors 1), Holly Black. Cybils finalist.

In the Forest of Forgetting, Theodora Goss. Almost a pick for Foolscap Fairy Tale month, so I got if trom the library.

The Secret Garden: The Graphic Novel, Mariah Marsden. Adaptation of a beloved book.

Ghost Talkers, Mary Robinette Kowal. From my shelves -- I like this author. 

Persephone Station, Stina Leicht. I think this is for Torches and Pitchforks book club.


Aurora Blazing (Consortium ...Prince of the Elves (Amulet, #5)Minn of the Mississippi
Kin (The Good Neighbors, #1)The Secret Garden: A Graphic NovelGhost TalkersIn the Red

Aurora Blazing, Jessie Mihalik. It was fun seeing the sister's point of view. The family dynamics are impossible; I can't imagine a history leading to the present, but I like the present so I'm running with it. The siblings are all supportive of each other and also badass. Mihalik did a good job making the guy almost worth the girl; I still have some gripes with how much of a jerk he is at the beginning but hey, she wants her boy toy and he's pretty, as well as a gene-engineered killing machine, so I guess she can have him. Now I want to read the youngest sister's story.

Prince of the Elves (Amulet 4), Kazu Kibuishi. I really like the art in this; it's slick and smooth and makes me want to keep reading. I'm still terrible at recognizing characters; there's two boys in this, and they look nothing alike, and it takes me a few pages before I figure out which one is in the scene. So I'm usually a bit confused as to what is going on, and I don't even pretend to try during the action scenes, but I usually catch up before the end. I'll keep going.

Minn of the Mississippi, Holling Clancy Holling. I went into this expecting a fantasy, maybe with talking turtles or little people who ride turtles across the Mississippi. It's not that at all -- it's a natural history book with a gimmick of following a snapping turtle from the start to the base of the river, giving details about animals and history and geography along the way. Unfortunately that was not what I wanted, and the tiny print around the illustrations was more frustrating than charming. So this didn't really work for me, although I can see why people liked it enough to give it a Newbery condolence medal. 

Kin (The Good Neighbors 1), Holly Black. 2008 Cybils Young Adult Graphic Novel finalist. I really enjoyed the story, and I barely noticed the art. So much so that every time a panel had a close up of the protagonist I was startled because my mental image of her was completely different from what she actually looked like, which is weird even for me. But I liked the bad families featured in the protagonist's and the student's stories, and how even her found family had some major cracks in it. I will continue on. 

The Secret Garden: The Graphic Novel, Mariah Marsden. I enjoyed this, but that was helped a lot by having the original in my mind the whole time; it's an old childhood favorite. The panel direction was not always clear to me, which might have been more frustrating if I didn't know what it was supposed to be saying. I really enjoyed seeing what the author/illustrators chose to omit or emphasize, and also reading in the afterward some of the reasons for their decisions, most of which I approved. 

Ghost Talkers, Mary Robinette Kowal. I'm discovering that I really like books set around this time, and Kowal does it really well, with both all the stiff-upper lip upper class officers, and the woman pushing against the constraints of a society that is barely willing to take her work but definitely not ready to give her credit, but also looks at some of the other people, such as the Indian troops also fighting in the trenches. The grief of losing a loved one to battle is dealt with really well in combination with the ghost seeing powers of the protagonist. I figured out the main baddie pretty early on, but there were more twists and complications along the way that kept me on my toes. 

In the Red, Christopher Swiedler. 2020 Cybils Speculative Fiction Middle Grade book. A really fun Martian adventure, with an almost old fashioned concentration on using smarts and determination against a stark environment, but with modern characterization and emotional concerns (the protagonist has an anxiety disorder). The main character gets the lion share of attention so that the side characters don't have much depth, but the punishing Mars environment is a character on its own. 

Bookmarks Moved (Or Languished) In:

Black Leopard, Red WolfThe Pleasant Profession of Robert A. HeinleinThe LuminariesThe Bourne Supremacy (Jason Bourne, #2)
The Wine-Dark Sea (Aubrey & Maturin #16)The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters, #1)Sharks in the Time of Saviors
Last Night at the Telegraph ClubGardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)The Last Dragon
From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding HomeThe City We Became (Great C...Vampire Trinity (Vampire Queen, #6)

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James. Ancient Sword and Laser pick. 

The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein, Farah Mendelson. Hugo finalist. 

The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton. 

The Bourne Supremacy, Robert Ludlum. 

The Wine-Dark Sea, Patrick O'Brien. 

Seven Sisters, Lucinda Riley. The library brought it back, but I pushed for another week.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors, Kawai Strong Washburn. A little progress.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Malinda Lo. A little progress.

Gardens of the Moon, Steven EriksonTuesday book club pick. I'm finding this very slow going, so I work to make my assigned portion each week. 

The Last Dragon, Silvana de Mari. Cybils finalist. I jumped over this with In the Red but will try to do enough laundries to finish this soon.

From Scratch, Tembi Locke. This is a great meal companion book, with lots of close and loving attention to food, cooking, and eating while also being a emotional memoir of grief and parenting. I keep getting distracted by parenting details -- how was the kid in her lap when they landed in Italy? Don't Italian airplanes have seat belt rules?

The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin. Hugo finalist. I think I have a better understanding of the geography of New York than I ever did before, and I lived there for 7 years! (Ok, I was newborn at the start.)

Vampire Trinity, Joey W. Hill. I need to get far enough in for backstory to stop and the action to kick off.

Picture Books / Short Stories:

Helicopter Story

"Helicopter Story," Isabel Fall. Wow, I went into this story knowing a lot about the controversy but nothing much about the story itself, and the story is actually really good. I found it 

"Monster," Naomi Kritzer. And interesting day-after-tomorrow story about friendship with bad people, and how we don't see the things we don't want to see in our friends. 

"The Thing With Feathers," Marissa Lingen. A good story to read just before seeing the "Birds" movie. I really liked how much I knew about the wider world just by what we saw and what the characters did and didn't do.

Palate Cleansers

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: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeWool (Wool, #1)Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)
Under the Eye of the StormDates from HellReading and Learning to Read

The Educated Child, William Bennett. 

Wool, Hugh Howey. Lots of fighting and danger.

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho. 

Under the Eye of the Storm, John Hersey. 

Dates From Hell, Kim Harrison & others.  

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Individualizing reading instruction vs individual reading instruction.

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2020. Finished In the Red. Picked up a lot from the library. My stack is quite full.
  2. Early Cybils: Continued The Last Dragon. Read some graphic novels.
  3. Hugos 2021: Finished two novelette (big short stories) and some podcasts. Worked on City I Became.
  4. KCLS 10 To Try: 9/10. Started the last one!
  5. Tacoma Extreme Reading Challenge. 45/55. Nothing.
  6. Reading My Library. Haven't started my new book yet. 
  7. Where Am I Reading 2021: 26/51 states. Picked up Maryland without noticing it a few weeks ago.  15 Countries. Didn't notice that I picked up Kenya, France, The Czech Republic, and Afghanistan.

Future Plans

I'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: A Bollywood Affair Next: Vampire Trinity
  • Library Book: Consider Phlebas  Next: Persephone Station
  • Ebook I own:   Gardens of the Moon. Next: Profession of Heinlein.  
  • Library Ebook: Reckless Guide . Next: Bourne Supremacy
  • Book Club Book: Consider Phlebas Up Next: Bollywood Affair.
  • Tuesday Book Club Book: Gardens of the Moon. Next: I need to finish The Wind Dark Sea
  • Review Book: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb  Next: Back Home
  • Hugo Book: The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein. Next: Joanna Russ.
  • Rereading: Steerswoman
  • Meal Companion: From Scratch
  • Audio: None  Next: I have a book on CD I'll start listening to if I ever catch up on my podcasts.

1 comment:

Completely Full Bookshelf said...

I laughed at your comments about you and your sister's respective planning capabilities—I think getting out for dinner, especially in a pandemic, is worth patting yourself on the back for! I'm sorry about the movie-club parking situation—I'm kind of shocked that the parking garage completely filled up (unless they share it with something else), since the parking lots at the movie theaters I used to visit are enormous and still never quite fill up! I'm glad you all figured something else out with the museum. And good luck with your book club reading this week!

The books you've been reading sound great! It's funny about Kin that the art was so unnoticeable that you created your own mental image of the character. That reminds me of when I read The Girl Who Drank the Moon (which I believe you read recently too)—the dragon, Fyrian, is green on the cover, but I didn't notice, so I formed a mental image of him being red that I now REFUSE to alter. The graphic novel adaptation of The Secret Garden sounds great as well! And I read about 15 pages of Last Night at the Telegraph Club today, and it was the first I had read of it since last Wednesday, so that's bad. Thanks so much for the fun and interesting post!