Anne (AMQS) reads in 2017 - Chapter 2
This is a continuation of the topic Anne (AMQS) reads in 2017 - Chapter 1.
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Welcome to my second thread for 2017!
My name is Anne. I am an elementary school teacher librarian in a little Colorado mountain school. My husband Stelios and I have two daughters: 15 and 18. All of us have tottering piles of books in nearly every room of the house. We love to hike, play games together, and travel. 2017 travel plans include a summer visit to Cyprus, and move-in-to-college-related travel. Hard to believe.
This is my 8th year in this wonderful group, and while there's no place I'd rather be, I found it very hard to keep up in the last part of 2016. I will try to be better in 2017, but please know that I appreciate all of you so very much!
Welcome! I'm very glad you're here.
Always Remember by Cece Meng
It is a rare picture book that handles the death of a loved one with so much tenderness and beauty. "In the end, on his very last day, Old Turtle swam his last swim and took his last breath. With his life complete, the gentle waves took him away. By dawn, everyone who knew Old Turtle knew he was gone."
The sea creatures, while grieving their beloved friend, remember the gifts Old Turtle shared.
The sea otters remembered how Old Turtle would dive and play with them and make them laugh. Old Turtle had loved to have fun.
And the otters would always remember.
Once, a terrible storm tossed and turned the ocean for three long days and nights. A Starfish was torn from her rock and swept away. When the waves became calm again, Old Turtle looked for her and found her and carried her home.
And the starfish would always remember.
Happy new thread, Anne. Love love the illustrations you've opened with. Hugs and prayers to you, family, and Whistler.
I am so thankful for all the well-wishes and love for Whistler. He had surgery yesterday to remove necrotic tissue. He is in a lot of pain, but things are a bit easier here because he is on some pretty strong narcotics and his wound is wrapped. He goes back tomorrow to have his bandages changed. Tonight he is enjoying his new bed, and a drug-induced sleep. I imported the picture about 10 times -- can't get it to appear "right side up."
1. The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
2. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
3. Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman
4. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
5. One Half From the East by Nadia Hashimi
6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
7. A Severed Wasp by Madeleine L'Engle
8. Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
9. Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
10. The Best Man by Richard Peck
11. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
12. Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge up San Juan Hill by Mark Lee Gardner
13. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
14. Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
15. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
16. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
17. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
18. Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration -- Lessons from The Second City by Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton
19. Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young
20. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
21. The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
22. Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami
23. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
24. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
25. The Circle by Dave Eggers
26. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
27. Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
28. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
29. Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
30. The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
31. Emma by Jane Austen
32. When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad
>2 lit_chick: Hi Nancy! Thank you. Whistler was attacked one week ago today. We're moving forward and back, but our journey is easier with your support and kind words. Thank you.
Happy New Thread, Anne. Still sending well-wishes and love for Whistler, poor dear. And that book is definitely I would have added to my library at school in a heartbeat were I still working--looks marvelous.
12. Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge up San Juan Hill by Mark Lee Gardner, audiobook narrated by Danny Campbell
An engrossing audio about a thoroughly mesmerizing personality and a romanticized war. The book makes it seem as though the US entered the Spanish-American War solely on the basis of Theodore Roosevelt's personality, which may be partially true. It seems as though Roosevelt created the Rough Riders out of sheer will, which could partially explain the unpreparedness of the War Department to support them in the campaign, the battles of which actually numbered two. Mark Lee Gardner analyses many primary source documents to support his account.
13. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
The real reason I read Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes was because I wanted to read Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, which was a doozy! This is a terrific adventure/fantasy for grades 4 and up that celebrates the magic of stories and the bonds of friendship. Young bookmender Sophie is charged with a quest to save the Four Questions -- the Books of Who, Where, What, and When to save not only them, and the collected stories of her land, but to save civilization itself. A terrific, fast-paced read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Favorite quote: "Sophie's eyes went wide, and she turned toward the knight. "You're a royal storyteller?" Before this moment, she had not known such a thing existed, but she was nonetheless impressed. She had, in fact, never met an author in person before. As you can imagine, it was a singularly thrilling experience. Should you ever be so lucky as to encounter an author in your life, you should shower her or him with gifts and praise."
>3 AMQS: Poor baby! That's so sad. Thank goodness for strong drugs and comfortable beds. Is he eating ok?
Greyhounds really are all legs, aren't they.
Aw, Whistler. Please pass along more *very* gentle hugs for me.
And happy new thread, Anne!
Lots of love continuing to come Whistler's way via eastern Iowa! And to all of his human family as well; I cannot imagine how stressful this is for you, to see him in pain and not be able to make it all better immediately.
>9 AMQS: I read Edmund Morris' 3-volume bio of TR recently, and the Spanish-American War section was a lot of new information to me and fascinating. It does seem as though Teddy was exremely gung-ho about getting into it.
Happy new thread, Anne! Your topper illustrations are truly lovely. I am keeping you and Whistler in my thoughts and prayers - poor, poor baby.
>10 AMQS: Birdy loved those books.
I love the opening to your new thread, Anne. The book has a lovely cover and an important theme. I love turtles!
Aww, poor Whistler is a mess but it looks like he is resting comfortably. I'm sure all the love and attention will make his recovery move along more quickly. Will his convalescence interfere with any plans for spring break?
It looks like I might be out your way the last weekend in March. Will you be available for a meet up? We need to give Mary a good send-off!
Wonderful review of Sophie Quire, Anne. Love the quote!
Interesting about Roosevelt's personality ... I knew virtually nothing about the man until I became engrossed in Susan MacNeal's Maggie Hope series. In the last one I read, The Prime Minister's Secret Agent, Churchill travels to the US as the latter is about to enter WWII. The personalities of both prime minister and president are wonderfully written!
So delighted to see that Whistler is resting in his new bed. xo
Thanks for the update on Whistler. Poor Baby, glad he's resting for a bit (even if drug induced).
Happy new thread, Anne!
Sending along scratches between the ears for Whistler and hugs for you and your family.
Glad to see you've had some good reads in the midst of all this.
Happy new thread, Anne. Also have my fingers crossed that Whistler will be on the mend soonest.
Whistler update: he returned to the vet today to have his bandages changed. Stelios took some pictures. The wound is now huge, but it is nice and pink instead of black and rotting. Best of all, we can't see it, as it is under wraps, which helps us psychologically for sure. He is still in a lot of pain, but things are looking up!
>12 coppers: Hi Joanne, Whistler is feeling more and more like himself, and is eating pretty close to his normal amount (plus a lot of meds). Sometimes it seems as though he is all legs:)
>13 scaifea: Thanks, Amber! Whistler likes to have his ears scritched, and tends to lean into the scritcher and "purr." He hasn't purred in awhile, but Callia got one out of him tonight.
>14 rosalita: Thank you, Julia. It has been hard. It's hard to see your pet suffer, and it's beyond hard to see your pet rotting. It's been hard to rearrange everything to make sure someone is with him all the time. Thankfully my husband has a lot of flexibility, but a teacher has none!
Yes, the book I read was interesting in presenting TR's gung-ho desire to fight. It didn't seem to matter where or against whom. The author presented an interesting generational divide between those who had known the horrors of the Civil War, and the younger generation who saw war as a chance for glory. TR's father paid someone to fight in the Civil War in his stead, which didn't seem to be too uncommon for the wealthy of the day, and the "shame" of that never left TR. TR was itching to rise and train a regiment of cowboy fighters for WWI also, but by then was on the opposite political side of President Wilson, who wasn't about to let a political rival seek glory. The Rough Riders have such a storied place in our history, but the attention and glory they received really ranked the professional soldiers of the day, who also had a significant hand in defeating the Spanish. Interesting stuff!
>15 drneutron: Thank you, Jim. Today we are feeling more hopeful and less exhausted!
>16 Crazymamie: Thank you, Mamie! Whistler -- and all of us -- are grateful for your good thoughts! I've pressed Sophie Quire on my para. It's terrific!
>17 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe!
>18 Donna828: Thank you, Donna! I think Whistler's convalescence will entirely derail spring break, though to be honest, I don't know that we would have traveled far anyway. It definitely prevented Callia from attending the admitted student days at Willamette, which were not a "must-do" but a "would like to do." She already knows she loves it, and those days are really to give prospective students a taste of what it's like to attend. The first is in another week or so, and the April dates don't look like they will work, either. Ah, well. The veterinary bills have definitely taken a huge dent out of our pockets as well. Maybe just as well to save our dollars for Cyprus. So yes, it looks like we'll be around when you come to Denver later this month. I would love to see you!
>19 lit_chick: Thank you, Nancy! The Maggie Hope series sounds great. I've always been interested in Teddy Roosevelt, and he actually played a huge part in my family story. My great-great grandfather served in the Rough Riders as a veterinarian and general doctor, and was able to write his own ticket with Roosevelt's influence after the war, serving first as the Surgeon General of the Philippines, and then as the Director/Physician of the quarantine station in Hawaii, where his son met my great grandmother. She was traveling with Australian opera singer Nellie Melba, and as VIPs, their party did not have to serve their quarantine period on their ship, but instead were invited to spend it in the family compound. Somehow or other over the years we've claimed TR as "family." :)
>20 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba! We are very grateful for the drugs. He had been anxious and in pain, and we spent many sleepless and restless nights. It has helped all of us a lot for him to be more comfortable!
>21 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! I have read Badger's Parting Gifts, but I had never seen Frog and the Birdsong before. The title itself is lovely.
>22 MickyFine: Micky, Whistler says he is grateful for the ear scritches!
>23 ChelleBearss: Thank you, Chelle! It's not over, but things are getting easier, and we're grateful.
>24 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul. We have real progress this week, and we're thankful.
Hi Anne - I hope Whistler is over the worst part. Poor pup.
>10 AMQS: This looks like another one to add to the Scout collection.
I love the illustrations at the top of your thread, happy new one, by the way.
>27 BLBera: Thank you, Beth! I'd say that it'll be awhile before Scout is ready for Sophie Quire, but then again, time seems to go by in the blink of an eye! On the Whistler front, things are looking up, and we're very glad!
>28 foggidawn: Thank you, Foggi! Whistler is feeling more and more like himself, though he still has a lot of healing to go.
14. Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
This is a charming early chapter book about a young girl named Juana growing up in her beloved Bogotá, Columbia. The text is very visually appealing, and sprinkled throughout with images, graphic features, and Spanish words -- particularly cognates.
Juana is just like any other schoolgirl -- she gets in trouble on the school bus for blowing bubblegum bubbles the size of her head, she dotes on her dog Lucas, adores her family, and struggles with certain subjects in school, namely English. Whyyyyyyy does she have to learn English, particularly when it is so hard and its words are hard to say and not nearly as logical as Spanish? But her family offers examples of why English will be good to learn - Juana's Tía Cris tells her she'll be able to sing all of the great songs that are in English (Juana grumbles that there are tons of great songs in Spanish); the brothers who run the corner market want her to be able to translate their store signs so that tourists can read them; and Abue, best of all, convinces her to learn English because he is taking the family to Florida to visit Spaceland! Juana's big-picture reward for learning English is great:
"And the number-one thing I've learned from coming here to Spaceland in Florida in the U.S. of A. is that I'd love to keep on traveling! Even if Astroman didn't seem to care much about my stories, other people did. Because I speak English so well, I've been able to have fun with a lot of new people and make a lot of new friends. And who wouldn't like for that to happen all around the world?
How is poor Whistler? He certainly looks weighed down by the meds in that shot up there.
>30 AMQS: the gold medals usually help me pick wines and books too!
Anne, I'm so glad to hear that Whistler continues to mend. Happy Sunday to him and the whole family. Ear scritches all around! (The girls may not actually want those; use your best judgment. :-) )
>31 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Megan! Whistler is doing as well as can be expected, I guess. He's still in a lot of pain, but overall feeling more and more like himself, which means he's more restless and does not wish to be confined.
LOL, I don't think my copy of Juana and Lucas had the gold medal on it (Pura Belpre Award), but yes, those do tend to catch my eye as well:)
>32 DianaNL: Thank you, Diana! We're coping. Still rearranging schedules so that one of us can be with him all the time. He is more restless at night, so we're going to change up his narcotic to give it to him when we want to go to bed. Hopefully that will get us some rest as well. Hope your weekend was lovely!
>33 SandDune: Thank you, Rhian -- he will gratefully take them!
>34 alcottacre: Stasia!! It's nice to see you -- how's everything?
>35 rosalita: Happy Sunday to you, too, Julia! I will administer the scritches and let you know how it goes:) . I think we could all use some love, right?
>30 AMQS: The third graders at my old elementary school (where I worked, not where I went to school) seemed to really like the abridged version of Juana & Lucas that I read to them for Read Across America day. I basically read the first few pages and then all the sections about school (skipped lunch and futbol) and about learning English, abbreviating neighbor comments and the like, to fit it into a half-hour period. I had already explained to them that I was donating this to their school library and they could check out the book to read the parts I was skipping over. There's a lot of sophisticated vocabulary in there! And some English words like flapjacks were unfamiliar to them, but everyone in the English transition class knew abrazos. And they all seemed most interested in the fact that it was autobiographical and the picture of the author as a little girl with her hair in pigtails.
Roni, your former school is very lucky! How often do you go there? I enjoyed Juana and Lucas a lot. What a great choice!
15. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Jane Austen is balm for a worried spirit. I loved every splendid minute, despite it being not my favorite Austen. In fact, when I was listening, I was thinking back to a recent conversation about Emma, which is my favorite, for all of Emma's faults. Still, I can tolerate Emma much better than Marianne! Holy moly, she is self-absorbed! Fortunately for the reader she, like Emma, grows and matures over the course of the book. Edward Ferrars is definitely not my favorite Austen hero, in fact he's something of a drip. I kept wishing Col. Brandon and Elinor would fall in love. My daughter Marina informs me this is called "shipping" - readers/viewers wishing fictional characters into romantic relationships, and that it is a common pursuit in the fandom world. I asked her if this makes me (unintentionally) cool. Or hot? Hip? None of them, she says:)
>39 AMQS: I also ship Col. Brandon and Elinor, but mostly because of the film version of S&S.
Well, I learned something new - I had not heard of "shipping". I also love Colonel Brandon and thought he and Elinor would make a lovely pair. You are so right that Edward is "something of a drip" - oh, this made me laugh. I like Sense and Sensibility a bit more than you, I think, although Pride and Prejudice is my absolute favorite followed closely by Persuasion.
Jane Austen is balm for a worried spirit. Indeed, Anne! I've got Austen's six on audiobook for re-read, and you inspire me to get to them sooner than later.
Speaking of classics and balm for the soul, Carsten has set up a March GR for Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall ... interested in joining us? Thread is up.
Our local professional theatre is doing an adaptation of S&S as their final play of the season and I'm really excited for it. I should try and squeeze in a re-read before I go at the end of April. I'm looking forward to seeing if they include
Hi Anne! How is Whistler?
Agree with you about S&S. Also, I loved your exchange with Marina about your hipness ;-)
Persuasion is my favorite because it seems, to me, a little less polished than P&P (which is #2) and I love that raw emotion in it. "You pierce my soul." *sigh*
Hope your Friday is painless and that you have a great weekend!
>43 lit_chick: Thank you, Nancy! I'll take a look at the thread. I am really bad at group reads. I don't know why -- there is nothing better than books and a thoughtful community to read and share them together! And do reread/re-listen to the Austens! I just love them, and love them more with each reread. I reread (on audio) Persuasion and Northanger Abbey late last year. I will for sure add Pride and Prejudice and Emma this year. As there are so few, I try to spread them out to maximize the health benefits:)
>44 MickyFine: Hi Micky! You'll have to let me know if they include it. It does help -- both the reader and Elinor.
>45 katiekrug: Hi Katie, thank you for checking on me and on Whistler! It is a few steps forward and a few back. He returned to the vet yesterday to change bandages, and for the first time since his surgery last week, she was not pleased. Some stitches have failed -- possibly because there just isn't much tissue on the chest of a greyhound to be able to remove a large portion and have enough to stitch closed. So new antibiotics, continued surveillance. He is definitely feeling better, and that helps a lot.
And Persuasion -- ah, I love it so much!
I'm glad Whistler is feeling better but so sorry to hear the actual healing isn't doing as well.
Hi Anne - I'm happy to hear that Whistler is better. It sounds like it's going to be a long haul, though.
I need to reread Austen. It's been a while.
Have a great weekend.
>46 AMQS: I'll try and remember to give you the lowdown after I see it.
Sending yet more well wishes for Whistler and his humans. :)
Oooo, I'm not sure if it wa a similar thing but my first dog Dillon had a big lump removed and had that issue with not quite enough skin to close the wound. It worked out and he even grew enough fur that we didn't remember she'd done a bunch of lattice cuts to get the skin to stretch over the wound. Did they have to remove something cancerous from Whistler? I missed the first part of this. Sure hope he heals up quickly, for both of your sakes. It is hard to keep a dog quiet so he can get well!
>46 AMQS: Ugh, I was hoping everything was going swimmingly.... Hope the new meds help! Skye sends a doggy hug!
>39 AMQS: I picked up on the same thing that Nancy did: "balm for a worried spirit" is a wonderfully acute observation, Anne. I appreciate and admire Austen but I wouldn't number her amongst my absolute favourite authors. That said I do need to get to S&S soon.
Have a great weekend and I hope that Whistler continues to slowly mend and that he keeps away from nasty other dogs.
>47 RebaRelishesReading: Thank you, Reba. Things are still easier for us with the bandage on -- life will get a little harder when it comes off, but for now we're enjoying some peace. It's always a good time for an Austen reread!
>48 BLBera: Hi Beth, yes, I think you're right. Poor dog. We're still juggling. The girls have a high school choir concert this week, so we're trying to decide what to do -- leave him with a cone? Take him over for a playdate at Uncle Max's house? Get a dog sitter? It's a good thing we're as dull as we are:) . As I told reba, things are easier with the bandage on -- it will get harder once it's off.
There's a Scout book up in >30 AMQS: :)
>49 MickyFine: Thank you, Micky -- we're grateful for all the well-wishes we can get!
>50 cammykitty: Thank you, Katie! Yes, it is hard to keep a dog quiet, but I suspect it is easier with a greyhound, as they are champion sleepers. Whistler was attacked by a pit-bull (or pit mix) about 2 1/2 weeks ago. His injuries were and are severe -- mostly punctures. He has about a dozen patches all over his body that are shaved and stitched, but there was one particularly bad bite that went all the way into his chest cavity. It was gruesome, and became necrotic. He had surgery to remove all of the necrotic tissue, which ended up being quite a lot of skin and muscle. Aside from pain, things had been easier after the surgery because of the bandages, but it is not healing as well as the vet would like. And greyhounds have absolutely nothing to spare, so when it's all said and done, he'll be very scarred. Not that he will mind:) . We've been calling him Frankendog. The pain was very hard to manage, but the worst of that is also behind us. Thanks for checking in on him. It is so hard when our pets suffer, as your poor Dillon :(
>51 coppers: Thank you, Joanne! Give your sweet doggie a hug from us! Hope to see you in a couple of weeks.
>52 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, we need our balm in bulk, so to speak. Ms. Austen makes my commute at least worry-free! Many of our local dog-lovers bought pepper spray after Whistler was attacked. He's really not going anywhere for the time being, so that helps.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well! Stelios and I did several errands together today, which doesn't happen as often as you might think. I got him hooked on James Herriot when we drove to Kansas for Thanksgiving, so now he's listening to All Creatures Great and Small in the car. It was wonderful to revisit with him today (more balm), and I thought of you and your lovely Yorkshire spirit!
>53 AMQS: Thank you, Anne. Those Herriot books are great fun aren't they?
Aw, I wish we lived next door - Charlie and I would definitely come and dog-sit for you... Please give Whistler some gentle ear scritches from us.
>54 PaulCranswick: Yes, they are, Paul. We all love them!
>55 ronincats: Thank you, Roni. He's definitely feeling better, but we're not done yet. Thanks for thinking of us.
>56 Ireadthereforeiam: Yes, I guess so, Megan. It was nearly 3 weeks ago that he was attacked. He's come a long way in that time, but we're not done yet. Mostly good news lately, so we're grateful for that!
>57 scaifea: Oh Amber, I wish you lived next door, too! Whistler and all of us would be lucky to have such kind and caring neighbors! I asked Stelios about Tuesday -- I think we're going to try to leave him. Probably closed in our bedroom, with a soft cone, his chest bandaged up, and a t-shirt on top of that. We'll see how it goes.
16. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, audiobook narrated by Jayne Entwistle
Ooh, love Barbara Pym! Mildred Lathbury, daughter of a clergyman, is unmarried, unlikely to ever marry, working part-time and volunteering countless hours to her church -- organizing the jumble sale, taking her turn polishing the brasses, attending the daily services, and attending to the vicar and his unmarried sister. She is one of those "excellent women" on whom one can rely, who make up the backbone of the local church and its goings-on. Her life -- she is considering whether she has earned the right to become fussy and spinsterish -- is discomposed when her new neighbors move in. Rockingham and Helena Napier are ultra-modern: Helena is an anthropologist who has no idea how to wash a lettuce or a teacup; Rocky is a super-charming naval officer recently returned from Italy. The Napiers rely on Mildred -- excellent women are always there to accompany to Learned Society meetings, make tea in a crisis, handle correspondence and furniture disposition in a marital spat -- while Mildred is left to contemplate the role of excellent women in society and her legacy in particular. The book is bitingly funny and vaguely depressing, and narrated to perfection by Jayne Entwistle.
>59 AMQS: I want to read that one too, Anne.
Trust your weekend was a good one.
Morning, Anne! I really love Jayne Entwistle's narration, so onto the list that one goes.
>59 AMQS: I was increasingly intrigued as I read your review, and then -- bam -- Jayne Entwistle. Sold.
>51 coppers: "Bitingly funny and vaguely depressing" is just the way I remember Excellent Women which I read a few years ago. At least you didn't get me with a book bullet for this one!
Oh, poor Whistler. I hope the healing picks up. It sounds like the pain is being managed fairly well, and who cares about scars? Think of all the sympathy he will get when he is out and about.
Are you still up for a meetup this weekend? How does lunch at Sahara on Saturday sound to you? Around 12:30? I wish we had more time in Denver so I could give more options. Arriving Friday afternoon and leaving Monday morning... Hope the time and day work for you.
>60 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! We always enjoy having a weekend. I will say, though, that the girls have so much homework that out weekends are often quiet as they're busy working. Callia was knocked flat last week with strep throat, and spent much of the wee sleeping. This is our last week before spring break, and we're very ready! Hope you enjoy Excellent Women when it has its turn:)
>61 scaifea: Hi Amber, it's a good one! Hope you are having a great week.
>62 Crazymamie: Hi Mamie! I think this is the first narration I've heard by Jane Entwistle, but when I was reading about her I discovered she narrated the Flavia de Luce books, which people love. Those are on the list...
>63 RebaRelishesReading: Yay, got you, Reba!
>64 lit_chick: Hi Nancy! She can be hard to find, at least 'round these parts. I'm going to have to get creative to track down more audios.
>65 foggidawn: LOL, Foggi :) . I was unfamiliar with Jayne Entwistle before now, but I do perk up when I see or hear a favorite narrator's name.
>66 BLBera: Thanks for the recommendation on The Fox Wish, Beth -- it looks lovely. Had you been to Powell's before, or were you completely gobsmacked like I was when I went for the first time last year?
>67 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Barbara Pym is one of those excellent authors I had never heard about before LT. I read Some Tame Gazelle last year and really enjoyed it, so now I have heron my radar, and this one really was terrific on audio.
>68 Donna828: Hi Donna, yes, I am planning to be there on Saturday. This is a quick trip! Why so short? That can hardly be enough Hope time:) . Whistler is doing better. We even managed to take him for a walk on Saturday -- his first since the attack a month ago. He was slow and tired, and is missing a lot of muscle tissue after his surgery, so the vet says he will need to learn to adapt. I haven't actually seen his incision yet -- Stelios is the one who takes him to the vet and he returns neatly wrapped like a burrito. Today most of the rest of the stitches came out and he as a t-shirt on to keep the wound safe from his mouth. Every day gets a little better:) . Thanks for checking on him.
>69 drneutron: Wasn't it, Jim? Wish you could be joining us this time. We've had summer-like temps in the 80s while you've been socked in with snow. Are you tempted?
We had to uh... modify a shirt of mine for Whistler to wear, including tying the excess fabric into an oh-so-trendy knot to make it snug. Stelios says he's rocking the Flashdance look. He is looking pretty fabulous:)
Most stitches removed today, but there is still at least one, and the wound is still draining, even after all this time. Moving forward, at least.
>70 AMQS: You asked "why so short" about the Denver trip. I'm blaming my retired husband who has a busy work schedule! I will be back in the summer by myself with my own car for a much longer Hope experience. Whistler is looking good. Yay for the walk!
Whistler looks fabulous, Anne! So grateful that he has you, Stelios, and girls for family. He does rock the Flashdance look very well!
>71 AMQS: Whistler, you are looking better and better, buddy! I love the Flashdance look — you just need to make him some legwarmers. :-)
Anne - It was my first visit to Powell's, and gobsmacked is a perfect description. I think I might have to move.
Whistler looks very stylish in his T-shirt.
Hi Anne! Stopping by to get caught up. I was so saddened to hear about Whistler being attacked and that his recovery is so slow and painful for both Whistler and your family. Glad to see some progress in the recovery is occurring.
So great to see you again! And what a wonderful meetup! Loved spending time with the gang!
Been away but glad to see Whistler is doing better! Love the fashion look ;-)
Hope you have a great week!
>72 foggidawn: Foggi, I've heard of The War that Saved My Life, but not the other one -- I'll have to look for it!
>73 Donna828: It was so good to see you, Donna! I'm grateful that you had time to meet up even though your visit was so short. And I have a new book recommendation in War and Turpentine.
>74 MickyFine: Hi Micky! Whistler has a revolving wardrobe of t-shirts. Some of them are big enough that when we tie them up he has a large second tail. Quite the look:)
>75 scaifea: Thanks, Amber! We've been able to take him on more walks, though it is slow going and he gets very tired.
>76 lit_chick: Thanks, Nancy! He's wearing a stately blue t-shirt now -- far more dignified :)
>77 rosalita: LOL, Julia -- yes, he does need those!
>78 BLBera: Oh, Beth, how wonderful! I went for the first time last year. We have our beloved Tattered Cover here in Denver, and I couldn't imagine how much better Powell's could be. And then I found out -- WOW! We may have to move! Callia committed to a school in Oregon, so we just may:)
>79 alcottacre: If you have to be injured, at least you can look good! Thanks for stopping by, Stasia.
>80 lkernagh: Hi Lori! It has been a very rough time, but Whistler is getting better and better, and definitely feeling more like himself.
>81 PaulCranswick: Indeed, Paul! We're lucky to have the Tattered Cover here, but Powell's! Powells!
>82 ronincats: Thank you, Roni. Still draining, but the vet hopes he'll start to absorb the remaining fluid. Bandage is gone, but the t-shirts remain.
>83 Storeetllr: Mary, it was great to see you! I hope everything goes smoothly with your move. I will be thinking good thoughts for you and for your feathered friends!
>84 witchyrichy: Thank you, Karen. It is spring break, and Whistler's injuries are the reason we're not traveling. But he is much better.
We all appreciate your well-wishes - thank you!
17. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
This was a BB from Nancy (lit_chick), who described this Yorkshire-between-the wars story as "a perfect, perfect book." And it was. I had my doubts at first, as I was a little lost in early chapters of council meetings and council personalities vying for influence and alliances in the making of local decisions. But before I knew it I was swept away in the stories -- the grand and sweeping and the small and intimate. This is simply an amazing book. Vera Brittain writes in the epitaph (for Ms. Holtby died soon after finishing South Riding in 1935 at the age of 37): "This tale of universal values mirrored in local experience is not only an achievement of the mind; it is a triumph of personality, a testament of its author's undaunted philosophy. Suffering and resolution, endurance beyond calculation, the brave gaiety of the unconquered spirit, held Winifred Holtby back from the grave and went to its making. Seed-time and harvest, love and birth, decay and resurrection, are the immemorial stuff of which it has been created."
The book follows several South Riding characters -- the ambitious new headmistress of the girls' high school; the proud and ruined farmer-gentleman; his odd daughter; the various aldermen of varying political persuasions; the desperately poor family from the shacks for whom education may be a way out, or may be utterly unattainable. We see the intense suffering and small generosities of the Depression, but the reader's emotional connection is compounded by knowing that these characters' way of life is over, and that their world is changing irrevocably. It is not too unlike the present day and the desperate situations of wealthy nations' poor and politically marginalized. While their suffering is real, their former way of life is gone or changed forever. The book is a masterpiece. Thank you, Nancy!
So glad Whistler is doing better. South Riding is now on my wish list. How could a "perfect perfect book" not be :)
Anne I am so thrilled that you loved South Riding as much as I did! Fabulous quote by Vera Brittain, and thumb-up for your review. Agree, this one is a masterpiece.
>96 OK, you've convinced me! Onto the wishlist it goes, Anne. Lovely review.
>87 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba, glad I got you -- it really is a wonderful book!
>88 jnwelch: Thanks for the thumb, Joe! I had never heard of the book before Nancy reviewed it last year. I think it deserves a wider audience.
>89 lit_chick: Thank YOU, Nancy, for recommending the book! I rarely buy new books anymore, but I looked high and low for this one in libraries and used bookstores, etc before deciding that I had to have it and buying it from Amazon. This is the best part of LT, I think, and I thank you!
>90 rosalita: Thank you, Julia! It was a little hard to find, but 75ers are very resourceful when it comes to finding books.
>91 coppers: Oh, Joanne, you won't be sorry - enjoy!
>92 foggidawn: Yay Foggi -- got you!
>93 DianaNL: Hi Diana! Hope your weekend is lovely.
>86 AMQS: I have had that one in the BlackHole forever, but not gotten my hands on a copy. One of these days!
Happy weekend, Anne!
18. Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration -- Lessons from The Second City by Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton
My school district's Library Services Coordinator offered librarians a chance to do a book study with this book, and I jumped at it. I have quite a bit of improv training from working so many years with the Chorale, and I think EVERYONE should do improv -- it's good for you! Among other skills, it forces you to stay in the moment, to be open and flexible in your thinking, to take risks, and to really listen to those around you. Improv training is now huge in the business world, and with good reason. I would love to have my staff do a book study of this book, and for my husband to do some improv exercises with his employees.
So glad to hear Whistler is showing improvement, Anne!
ETA My library has both the book and a DVD of South Riding! The latter looks like a fairly recent BBC production. Did you know?
Wonderful comments on South Riding, Anne. There's a video, too?
I hope Whistler continues to improve.
Improv, interesting. I will check out that book, for sure.
I enjoyed South Riding a lot when I read it some time ago- it's about due for a reread I think. I saw the recent BBC production, but I think it was far too rushed to do justice to the book.
>98 ronincats: Hi Roni! Yes, I think I had seen (recently) that there was a BBC series. I didn't see that it had been well-reviewed, though. Are you going to read or watch it?
>99 BLBera: Hi Beth! Thank you, and yes, there is a video also, though it is not as well-reviewed as the book. And yes - do check out Yes, And. It was a good read, and as I said in my review - improv is good for you!
>100 SandDune: Hi Rhian! Yes, I think I will be keeping South Riding to reread at some point. Good to know on the BBC production -- perhaps I'll skip it:)
19. Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young
I ordered this one for my school based on superlative starred reviews, but something told me when it arrived that I needed to read it myself, and I'm glad I did. This book is about a 6th grade girl trying to find her way through the perils of adolescence, the social maneuvering of middle schoolers, the realm of flirting and relationships, and that awful awkward period where your peers vary wildly in emotional and physical maturity.
As I stated, the reviews are extremely positive. One blurb on the back stated that Ms. Romano Young could be a 12 year-old, she writes so authentically. And perhaps that's my biggest problem with the book -- it does sound like a 12 year-old wrote it. One who might not be an appropriate storyteller. It's not so much the maturity of the subject matter, but how often the language crosses the line into raunchy territory. My elementary students may not perceive all of the (considerable) sexual innuendo, but their parents will. Ultimately I did cheer for Tink, the protagonist (who no longer wants to be called "Tink" (short for Tinker Bell, real name Christine, becomes "Chris" at the beginning of the book but is shouting at people to stop calling her that by the end... confused yet?) as she figures out what kind of person she wants to be, but overall I just didn't like the book. I sent it off to another librarian in my district for a second read. I think it may be too mature for my school, and it is hard to recommend it to a middle school library because a) it is definitely a 12 year-old story and b) I just didn't like it all that much.
I should clarify that district policy states that books need to be recommended for at least two grade levels at a school in order to be added to the collection. My school is a rare one in our district that is K-5th, which means books really should be recommended for 4th grade and up. I regularly bend that rule as I typically do NOT flinch at mature themes and plots (and we're a GT school with many students reading at a very high level), but this one crosses a line, and if I am challenged, probably would not be able to justify its inclusion in the collection. I'm realizing that I'm thinking "aloud" more than reviewing here. Forgive me.
>102 AMQS: It sounds like you're lucky you read this one before you shelved it, Anne. Good comments. Speaking of raunchy, in class today we were reading "Richard Cory," and of course I had to have the class listen to the Simon and Garfunkle version. In that there are "orgies on the yacht." One student asked what orgies were, prompting hilarity from the rest of the class. She took it in good humor, and even told me, when I passed her in the hallway later, "Don't worry, we're not having an orgy.".
To make it even funnier, I pulled up the lyrics on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnJeMnzJOcw
Note the mistake on the "orgies" lyric.
>102 AMQS: Sounds like you made a tough but good call, Anne. On the one hand, it's a shame that librarians have to choose books with an eye toward what they'll be able to defend if parents complain, but on the other hand it doesn't sound like the book rises to the level of artistic merit that would make the fight worth it. Save your bullets for the really good stuff!
>103 BLBera: LOL, Beth! Too funny.
>104 rosalita: Thanks, Julia. Yes, it is a shame. I have a few titles that parents could complain about, but I can justify them being in the collection if I abide by district policy. I am not against children reading Hundred Percent - it would be fine for say 5th-8th grades, but I think it would definitely raise objections, and it doesn't really fall within district guidelines. Thanks for the validation -- I will definitely save my bullets for the good stuff!
20 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by Alison Larkin
Ah... LOVE Jane Austen. This had formerly been the only book of hers I had *only* read, rather than listened. This narration was marvelous, and included regency-era snippets of music between chapters (5-10 seconds). Ms. Larkin was terrific. I didn't love her male voices, but this book is dominated by women's voices, and she brought them to glorious life -- you could tell she really relished voicing the impossibly silly Mrs. Bennet, the imperious and overbearing Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and the oozing-with-spite Miss Bingley. It was a marvelous listening experience. I'm finding my audiobook choices are getting lighter and happier. Is it spring? A reaction to the ugly political climate? Trying to ease myself into life after Callia leaves for Willamette? A deliberate choice, though, and I regret it not!
I too LOVE Austen. I've read most of her books more than once and seen the movies but I've never listened on audio. Must try that some time.
Great comments on the audio Austen, Anne. I should try listening. I'm about ready for a reread.
So glad you loved listening to Pride and Prejudice, Anne. I have read Austen's novels, but have not yet listened to them, and I have the audiobooks waiting in the wings. You remind me I need to get to them!
You are on quite a roll with your reading Anne. I must put things right this year and read South Riding too. Since it is where I hail from I really ought to have read it by now.
Have a lovely weekend.
>107 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba, Jane Austen on audio is fantastic! I've listened more than once to most of her books. I "discovered" Persuasion and audio books together years ago when I was student teaching in a school way up north -- I had a long and yucky commute, and decided to try an audio book. I'm pretty sure I grinned the entire 8 hours!
>108 BLBera: Yes, yes, yes, try listening, Beth! You won't be disappointed.
>109 MickyFine: Hi Micky! Yes, she did a terrific job. It was a very fun read.
>110 lit_chick: Ooh, Nancy, definitely try Austen on audio -- it's fantastic!
>111 PaulCranswick: A lovely weekend to you also, Paul. Yes, do read South Riding - I think you'd enjoy it very much.
21. The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
I am so thrilled that there is more and more children's literature out there with transgender themes. I loved The Pants Project. Liv is starting middle school in a highly regarded school with a strict dress code -- an awful one that requires girls to wear skirts. Trouble is, Liv has known for years that she is a boy. Liv has done the research, and knows exactly which label to use, but knowing yourself and everyone else knowing are two completely different things. Liv's best friend Maisie falls under the spell of some horribly mean girls who already treat Liv cruelly for his looks, but when Liv proudly and affectionately talks about her/his two moms when making introductions to the class, the mean girl vitriol is applied with extra strength. Liv also winds up sharing a desk with Jacob -- the popular and handsome cool guy, who ends up being Liv's unexpected and steadfast ally.
I haven't been able to let go of Hundred Percent, which I had to send off to another librarian for a second opinion. For all its faults, it IS written in an authentically 6th grade voice. The Pants Project is clearly written by an adult. Will kids like it? Jacob, in particular, is drawn with such loving perfection he does not ring true, though I love him. Still, I'm hopeful that this book could be a comfort and a help to a child who may be struggling with his or her identity, and may help to create allies for our vulnerable transgender youth.
These books (George by Alex Gino is the other one I've read recently with a young transgender character) are especially important to me now as a young man from a family we know and love recently revealed to his friends and family that he is a girl. The miserable boy that I've known for years is now a confident young woman, with an amazing family behind her, and the full support of the high school she attends with my girls. Still, her journey is not an easy one. Children's literature with transgender characters is an important contribution to our collective understanding.
>102 AMQS: the thinking outloud section was very interesting for me! Looks like your intuition paid off with this one.
>113 AMQS: Anne - Thanks for bringing these books to my attention. They are valuable in helping kids understand a topic that can be difficult. I'll add this one to my list.
I agree that books with transgender characters are so important right now. I absolutely loved George, so I'm putting The Pants Project on my list!
>114 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Megan! At the very least, you don't want surprises when it comes to content that may be challenged!
>115 BLBera: Absolutely, Beth. Plus, both are terrific books!
>116 scaifea: Hi Amber! I loved George, too, and cried throughout. The Pants Project is for perhaps a slightly older audience, and I read it nearly in one sitting. Enjoy!
22. Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami
Another terrific book for elementary school readers. This one takes place in a busy Indian city. The author brings the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and chaos to life for American readers. Yasmin lives in an apartment building which serves as a micro community. She takes the city bus to school every day with her friends, but the highlight of her day is her daily visit to Book Uncle. Book Uncle is a retired teacher who runs a lending library on the street corner, and has the knack for recommending just the right book to just the right reader at just the right time. Book Uncle is shut down by the city -- they are demanding a permit he could never afford to buy. Yasmin is crushed, but galvanized. Using the lessons she's learned from the books loaned to her, she rallies the community to petition and address all of the candidates for mayor, and once the election is over, uses her young and shaky voice to hold the new mayor accountable to the community. A terrific book for showing kids how powerful their advocacy can be, and sadly, for showing how the political machine is really all about serving its own interests.
Interestingly, this book arrived cataloged and barcoded from our vendor, and it was assigned to the easy (picture book) section. On first glance, I moved it to my BC FIC section -- BC standing for beginning chapter book. Its slim size and youth of the Yasmin on the cover made it seem like it would belong with the Magic Treehouse, Ivy & Bean and like books. After reading it, though, I will move it to FIC. I don't think it would be accessible to younger readers. I do hope this book finds an audience at my school. We have many, many budding activists who would enjoy a story about a young child effecting change in her community, but I also love it because Yasmin's world in a busy Indian city could not be more different than our little mountain community. I want my students to see how similar they and these characters really are.
>118 AMQS: Another one on my list, Anne. I will have to bring Scout to Colorado to thank you some day. :)
>119 BLBera: Hi Beth! I think you should bring Scout to Colorado just because it's awesome! It would be so wonderful to meet two lovely readers!
>120 thornton37814: Hi Lori! It's a good one, and a quick read that provides a terrific glimpse into a different culture. I hope it finds an audience in my library.
>121 ChelleBearss: Thank you, Chelle! Hope your Easter was lovely. Chloe is at such a fun age to enjoy those holidays.
>122 DianaNL: Thank you Diana! Hope yours was a lovely holiday.
>123 witchyrichy: Lovely, Karen -- thank you!
23. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, audiobook narrated by Frederick Davidson
I took Carsten's advice and re-listened to this as a spring tonic -- just as delightfully silly as the last time!
OH, oh, oh -- I never thought of looking for that on Audible. I'm going there right now to do so, however. Years ago we were staying in a Landmark Trust cottage in the U.K. with friends. The husband was not a reader but, since the other three of us were busy with our books, he browsed through the small library that came with the cottage and found Three Men in a Boat. Most of the rest of the evening was spent with the four of us howling from laughter as he read bits to us.
>125 AMQS: I have read that one, but the audio version sounds wonderful. Off to Audible I go. . .
I will save Three Men in a Boat when I need some silliness, Anne.
Who knows, Scout and I may make a Denver trip one day. :)
>126 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba -- it is terrific on audio! There are several productions with different narrators, so choose one you like! There's even one narrated by Hugh Laurie, though that one's abridged. Howling with laughter pretty much sums it up!
>127 MickyFine: It's so good, Micky! A great follow-up is the Connie Willis time-travel novel To Say Nothing of the Dog. Awesome:)
>128 lit_chick: Hi Nancy! That's just what it is!
>129 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! There are lots of productions to choose from. I listened to Frederick Davidson read it the first time around, so I sought him out again. Plus, he felt like an old friend after having listened to him for 60+ hours of Les Miserables last year.
>130 BLBera: Oh Beth, I hope you do! There are so many wonderful things to do with little kids -- that would be wonderful! And yes, go to Three Men in a Boat when you need silly:)
24. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Survival is insufficient.
Station Eleven had a huge impact on me. It disturbed my sleep, it infiltrated my dreams, it captivated my attention, and it hasn't let me go, even though I finished it some days ago. Callia has been battling one illness after another for a few weeks, so perhaps it was not the wisest choice to read a book featuring a flu pandemic that wipes out 99.9% of the world's population (this could also explain why it disturbed my sleep), but ultimately the book focuses on what humans make of "civilization" when it disappears. For the members of the Traveling Symphony -- a group of actors and musicians who wander into communities and give performances (Shakespeare is universally most requested), survival is not enough. There must be some meaning, some greater collective objective beyond simple survival.
The book begins onstage in Toronto when Arthur Leander, a famous but aging actor performing the role of King Lear, has a heart attack and dies during the performance, observed by an 8 year-old actress who returns to this moment and this time in the years to come, for this was also the night the Georgia Flu arrived in Toronto and within days civilization has come to an end. The novel moves back and forth in time, examining the lives of Arthur, his wives and friends, and their fates during and after the pandemic. Ms. St. John Mandel writes with amazing restraint and loveliness. It is an unsettling and beautiful book.
I had to stop listening to Emma -- my favorite favorite Jane Austen book (*sob*)! Narrator Anna Bentinck is a very capable narrator, but is completely wrong for Emma. This experience has helped me understand why some people dislike the book so much -- her reading is very somber and very slow. Perhaps the right tone for another book but not this one. There is no sparkle and zero wit, and the story is completely meaningless without those. Her Harriet Smith is just right, but Emma is all wrong, Mr. Knightley sounds like he is 80 years old, and Mr. Woodhouse is half-dead. I was so looking forward to my favorite Austen (had been "saving" it, so to speak), but when I was reluctant to make the effort to turn it on in the car I knew I had to stop. I have placed two other productions on hold (the magnificent Juliet Stevenson and the expressive Nadia May who made me fall in love with Emma in the first place). I started a different book this morning, and it has made all the difference!
>131 AMQS: I've read the Willis and it's probably my favourite of her Oxford Time Travelers books. So funny. Which is why I really need to read the Jerome as I'm sure there's more jokes in Willis I'd get if I've read it. :)
Howdy, Anne! I have Three Men in a Boat on my wishlist and I really need to read it one of these days; like several others here I first heard about it while reading Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog. Nice review. And how sad to have such a completely inappropriate narrator for Emma — you are so right that somber and slow does not match that book's tone in any way.
How is sweet Whistler doing these days? I'm hoping no news is good news and he is continuing to heal up and get better.
Could not agree more about the importance of the right narrator for a novel, Anne. Glad you set Emma aside and will find the audio by either JS or NM.
Oh bummer!! So sorry about your audio Emma. I, too, love that book and would be rally upset if it wasn't being read well.
I'm so glad you loved Station Eleven; it's hard to describe what makes it so wonderful. I've been teaching it, and the students, overall, have had great responses to it.
Somber Emma? Nope.
I hope Callia is better soon.
>134 MickyFine: I think you would, Micky. Roni found a copy of To Say Nothing of the Dog after I had read Three Men in a Boat and was kind enough to send it to me -- it was very fun to read them so close together.
>135 rosalita: Hi Julia! Whistler is just about all healed up! His fur grows very slowly, so it looks like he is covered in patches, but the wounds are all closed up, and he is feeling very much like himself. It was so wonderful to have so many good wishes when we were going through the worst of it, so thank you!
Hope you can get to Three Men in a Boat soon -- it is so fun!
>136 foggidawn: Oh, Station Eleven was such a great read -- I find I am still thinking about it!
>137 lit_chick: Hi Nancy! I have abandoned audiobooks before, but rarely for a narrator. I actually found a playaway I can try by a narrator who is unknown to me. I may give it a try when I finish my current audio. I was a few hours in, but I think I need to start over!
>138 RebaRelishesReading: Oh, Reba, it was bad! I have been re-listening to all of the Austen novels, and was "saving" Emma because I love it so much.
>139 BLBera: Yes, Beth -- it is hard to describe Station Eleven. What do your students think?
Callia is so ready for the school year to be over. She's always been one who gets one cold after another, but the past few weeks have been another level -- extreme fatigue, strep throat... after her round of antibiotics to knock out the strep she still wasn't better -- we had a coupe weeks of dr visits with blood draws and labs, all of which came back negative. Good in a way -- they didn't find anything wrong, but bad, because it would be nice to take something and be treated. She is feeling better, but she's so busy and I think she just needs a rest. The junior high play wrapped up (she was assistant director and stage manager), her Chorale season (and tenure) wound up, and she's had two finals and one AP exam, so she's knocking them down, but she'll be ready for a break! But... her having one thing after another AND reading Station Eleven was unnerving!
>140 Ireadthereforeiam: Oh, Megan, it's good!
25. The Circle by Dave Eggers
I was disappointed with this one. I read it, of course, because of the movie coming out, though the likelihood that I will see the movie is small. Ugh. I expected better of Dave Eggers, to be honest. This is a great, thrilling premise -- a giant tech company (modeled, I believe, after Google), with a sprawling Silicon Valley campus, attracts young 20-somethings with a coveted job, and a campus they need never leave. The cost is a hyper-connectivity with the company and all within (and soon, all without). There could have been a great story here, but there wasn't. I think the heart of the problem for me was the main character, who I disliked with a passion. Rather than gradually awakening and growing, she gets worse over the course of the novel, and I desperately wanted to slap her. I imagine the movie will change this -- Emma Watson is too smart to play such a clueless character. Blech.
26. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
A nice palate-cleanser:) I enjoyed this GN more than I expected to. It is a Colorado Children's Book Award nominee for next year, so we will be talking about it a lot next school year. Young Cat is disappointed to move from all of her friends to a remote small town on the California coast where the fog should help her younger sister who has Cystic Fibrosis. She is dismayed and creeped out to discover that the town is a ghost-friendly town, with an old mission that serves as some kind of portal between worlds, and the town devoted to the Day of the Dead. She comes to realize, though, that it is a day to celebrate love rather than the macabre, and feels closer to her community after seeing it come together to remember their loved ones.
>142 AMQS: Great comments, Anne. I had high hopes for this one. Maybe I'll skip it and read his latest instead.
>143 AMQS: This sounds interesting. I'll add it to Scout's future reading list. Scout will be moving to a bigger house. My first thought was, "Hooray, more room for books!" My daughter just shook her head.
I read Ghosts a couple of months ago and liked it more than I thought I would, as well. It addressed so many issues in such a very straightforward manner and still remained very sweet!
Glad to hear that Whistler is recovering so well!
I also liked the premise of The Circle, but not the main character. I might see the movie, just to see what they do with it. Sometimes I like movies better if I don't love the books they are based on! (Plus, it will be interesting to see Tom Hanks play a bad guy.)
>142 AMQS: Uh oh. I'm waiting for my hold on that one. I saw the trailer and of course wanted to read it before I watched the film. I'll go in with low expectations and maybe that will help.
I'm a member of the "liked it more than I expected" club for Ghosts, too, as is my wife (walklover). That's a charming little book.
>144 BLBera: Hi Beth -- hope I didn't blow it for you with regard to The Circle. I think it has the makings of a terrific story, but it didn't work for me. It's funny -- my brother gave it as a gift to my husband who has been pushing me to read it for a couple of years. I felt a little betrayed when it was over and have been teasing my husband. I think he was *really* trying to get me to think more carefully about sharing online:)
Surely your daughter can understand the perks of a bigger house when that can mean more books:)
>145 coppers: I agree, Joanne! Really, Raina Telgemeier hits all the right notes in her books (I confess I haven't read any of her Baby-sitters Club GNs). My students LOVE her books -- Smile and Sisters are hugely popular. I'm running a book fair now and replacing my copies of both! Drama is good, too, though I haven't released it into the general collection as it is pretty mature.
>146 foggidawn: Hi Foggi! I have to think that the movie will change it, don't you?
>147 MickyFine: I hope you love it, Micky, despite my feelings about it. It has all the makings of a very good and very relevant thriller, but I just can't stand the main character!
>148 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Yes, it is charming. I was afraid the ghosts aspect of the story would be cheesy, or "it turned out to be the wind in the trees," but it was sensitive and poignant.
27. Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans, audiobook narrated by Karen Cass.
I believe I have Nancy (lit_chick) to thank for this one (and Susan (susanj67) who introduced me to Lissa Evans). I really enjoyed this one -- it felt light-but-not-light. Darkly comic, maybe, but with emotional and moral heft. Young Noel is an orphan who lives in London at the outset of WWII with his eccentric and elderly godmother Mattie, a former suffragette and Ph.D. In the opening pages, Mattie is declining mentally. When she dies, he goes to live with Mattie's distant relations, and then is evacuated to St. Albans, where he is taken in by Vera Sedge, who sees the potential for additional rations. Vee lives with her mother and her adult son, and gets by with odd jobs and small-time scams. Vee and Noel form an unlikely but very successful partnership strategically collecting donations "on behalf of" various charitable organizations. But it is wartime, and things go awry in several different ways.
I wasn't sure about this book when I started it, but I came to dearly love and cheer for Vee and Noel. Despite their less-than-honorable proclivities, they are upstanding characters in their own way, well-drawn, and emotionally resonant. A great read! You know it's a good audio when it comes in the house while I'm cooking dinner or folding laundry -- they're usually car-only!
So glad you enjoyed Crooked Heart, Anne. I wasn't too sure about it either at the beginning, but also came to cheer for Vee and Noel. Love this, LOL: You know it's a good audio when it comes in the house while I'm cooking dinner or folding laundry.
Hooray for Station Eleven and Ghosts! Boo to The Circle. I did like that one either.
Howdy, Anne. Hope all is well.
Another Evans fan here Anne. I'm hoping to catch the film version of her other book before it disappears from the cinemas here...
>151 lit_chick: Nancy, it was a great read -- thank you for the recommendation!
>152 msf59: Howdy, Mark! Nice to see you 'round these parts!
>153 charl08: Hi Charlotte! I'm running a book fair right now, and one of the books is A Dog's Purpose, which is also a movie. A parent asked me if I had seen the movie. I told her we very rarely see movies. When the kids were younger it was hard to go out, and now that they're older we're too busy! If you see it, let me know how you like it!
>154 foggidawn: I agree. Do you think you'll see it?
>155 AMQS: I'm sort of interested, but I don't often go see movies when they're showing in theaters, and then I forget I wanted to watch them by the time they release on disc. I was thinking just the other day that I ought to make a list of movies I meant to see over the past few years and work on catching up. I did just see something about the upcoming remake of Murder on the Orient Express -- I might make an effort to go see that one! It certainly boasts a star-studded cast.
>156 foggidawn: And it's directed by Kenneth Branagh whom I adore. :)
28. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
This middle-grade book is a National Book Award finalist, and a great read. Suzy is 12, and beginning 7th grade in a haze of grief and confusion. The present-day narrative alternates with the back story of her relationship with her best friend Franny. Like many relationships, theirs changed profoundly in middle school, with Franny gravitating to the "cool" clique and leaving Suzy, awkward, odd Suzy, behind. Their last 6th grade encounter ended with Suzy having done something awful and Franny in tears. When Franny drowns over summer break, Suzy is overwhelmed with guilt and grief.
Suzy is like many of my GT students -- amazingly bright, with a curious mind and a prodigious knack for math, but socially awkward. Middle school is a pretty awful time for the most resilient of kids, but for Suzy it is torture. She fixates on jellyfish as the likeliest cause of Franny's death, because Franny was a very strong swimmer, and "bad things happen" does not make any sense. She devotes her life to their study, and feels like she will only come to terms with Franny's death if she can talk to the world's leading expert in a particular species of jellyfish... who happens to live and work in Australia. Suzy's journey is sad, but hopeful.
My favorite thing about the book is Suzy's older brother Aaron, who pops in on a visit from college right at the beginning of the book with his boyfriend Rocco. They're both the best kind of much older brothers -- loving and supportive of Suzy, and their relationship just is. As real relationships are. I love the strides children's literature is taking in this regard -- there's no OMG GAY! aspect of the story -- they're just Suzy's brother and his boyfriend. Good book.
>156 foggidawn:, >157 MickyFine: Maybe I'll try to catch that one, too! I am woefully out of the loop on many things. I never watch TV, and had to stop my newspaper last year because the renewal rates were exorbitant and because I could no longer take the hateful anti-teacher/anti-education bent the paper has adopted. But I miss the paper. I miss local news (except the local news that says teachers are lazy stupid union thugs. I don't miss that). And I miss movies coming out. Not that I would see any...
Hi Anne. I am finding myself with a rare free night to get caught up with some threads. Sorry to see that Callia has been waging an on-going battle of one kind or another on the illness front. Poor Callia!
>150 AMQS: - High praise for the Evans book indeed! I sometimes listen to audiobooks when doing a household chores but for the most part, I reserve my "listening" for when I am walking or crafting. BB happily taken. ;-)
>160 PaulCranswick:, >163 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul! I am drowning right now, but I am very grateful to you for your visits and wishes.
>161 Ireadthereforeiam: Hi Megan, and congrats -- wow! Crooked Heart was a great read -- I think you'd like it.
>162 lkernagh: Hi Lori -- lucky you with a rare free night! I am completely swamped just now, so can't get caught up anywhere but here, and won't get reviews done just now either.
Celebrations and grumblings. Perhaps I'll grumble first. We've got 18 inches of heavy, wet snow, but apparently not enough to give us a snow day. I would appreciate all of you doing a snow dance for me, as tomorrow, with only 5 days of school left in the school year left, would be an excellent day for one. But dear god, how much do we need to get before the school district will close? Is hip-high enough, 'cause knee-high apparently is not. *grumble*
Celebrations! Callia is done with high school and will graduate Saturday! She won the school's outstanding drama student of the year award, and the theater scholarship from the performing arts department! So excited:) Marina, not to be outdone, won the outstanding student awards for english and eastern civilizations classes. Proud mama!
Congratulations on your excellent daughters! You've done something right. Snow? In May? Yes, you definitely deserve a snow day.
>165 AMQS: Sympathies, Anne. We were getting snow on and off through most of April and it was definitely grumpy making.
Congratulations to both your daughters (and to you and your husband) on such fantastic achievements. Good luck making it through those last few days of the school year.
>165 AMQS: Wow. Congrats to both your daughters and to you as mum. Lovely way to end the school year.
>165 AMQS: A great big boo for 18 inches of snow in May! I will send "snow day" vibes out west right now. And congratulations to Callia and Marina as well. What wonderful daughters you've got there!
18 inches?! Whoa. And no school closing?! Another whoa.
But congrats to those two incredibly talented daughters!!
>165 AMQS: Congratulations to both Callia and Marina!! How wonderful for them both! And for you! I hope there are sunny skies on Saturday for Callie's graduation. A friend's son is graduating from Columbine and their ceremony today at Red Rocks was cancelled. :(
Stay safe in all that white stuff out there! I'll wear my pjs inside out for you tonight! :)
So... no snow day. Today we are digging out, but still at school :( Thank you to Beth, Micky, Charlotte, Julia, Amber, and Joanne for your snow wishes and your good wishes for the girls. I am so very proud.
>171 coppers: Joanne, we put the pencil in the freezer, but no luck. The school district has scrambled and relocated most graduations, as Red Rocks and the School of Mines field are both popular spots, and both closed. Most Red Rocks graduations were able to be moved to the Denver Coliseum, so they're losing a whole lot of beauty, but at least they don't have to lose their events! The girls' school always holds their graduations at the Performing Arts Complex, and we are very grateful. In past years they've been at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, but this year it is at Boettcher Concert Hall, which is perfect. It is the Chorale's performing home, and I am thrilled to see Callia on that stage one last time.
Hi Anne, it's doesn't count as grumbling if it's about snow beyond mid-May! And huge congratulations to both Callia and Marina! I'd be a proud mama too!
>165 AMQS: Congratulations to your beautiful and talented daughters, Anne. Marina will always be in mind because of her doppelganger here in Malaysia and I am delighted that english is her thing. Special hug too to Callia on her special day today - she is after all a 75er and we all get to share in the triumph of her graduation however vicariously.
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