foggidawn reads in 2019: thread the fourth
This is a continuation of the topic foggidawn reads in 2019: thread the third.
This topic was continued by foggidawn reads in 2019: thread the fifth.
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Welcome! I'm foggi, and this is my twelfth year on LibraryThing and my ninth year in this group! I'm a collection development librarian/youth materials selector (means I buy all the kids' and teen books) for the public library system in a medium-sized Ohio town, and a voracious reader.
I'll read anything that catches my fancy, but here are some of the kinds of books I particularly like:
Books for kids and teens
Fantasy for any age -- plus the occasional work of science fiction
Inspirational fiction, if the writing is good
Mysteries, particularly cozies and golden age British detective stories
The occasional memoir or biography
Here are some of the other things I like, which can distract me from reading, but which I may occasionally post about here:
Theatre -- both viewing live theatre and participating in community theatre. I wasn't successful in my pursuit of the latter in 2018, but perhaps I will have better luck this year.
Sewing -- it's a love/hate relationship, really. I'm only barely proficient at it, so it's slow going when I get on a sewing kick, but when it goes right, I love the results.
Gardening -- I've been trying container gardening lately, and though I didn't harvest much last year, I'm having better outcomes this time around.
Gaming -- I love board games when I can find people to play them with (which is not as often as I like) and I occasionally play video games, but most often I waste my time playing games on my phone. Right now, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go.
Dogs -- My Sophie passed away on April 12th of this year. I am very lonely without a dog, so am hoping to adopt another later this year.
Family and friends -- I recently became a first-time aunt! I'm always looking forward to my next chance to see the baby, and I'm working on building up his library. Also, my parents recently retired and moved to their newly-built cabin in rural Pennsylvania, so I foresee many visits there, as well. At home, I've just had a college friend move in with me, proving that I can still surprise myself sometimes. Our weird platonic house-sharing arrangement may occasionally be something I mention in my posts.
Thanks for visiting my thread!
2019 Reading Resolution
For the past two years, I've had some success making a New Year's resolution regarding reading. I usually read as my whimsy takes me, but I've found I can manage a small set list of books to conquer. The first year, I tackled some of my oldest TBR books. Last year, I read ten "classic" works that had been languishing on my shelf. This year, I face my no-longer-secret shame: unread Early Reviewer books.
I've been participating in the LTER program for at least ten years now, and I'm usually pretty good about reading and reviewing the books I receive. However, over the years a handful have slipped through the cracks. This is the year to fulfill my obligations to those books. There are only eight of them, though the Jim Henson bio is a bit of a chunk. (Better tackle it sooner, rather than later.) Here are the titles:
The Apprentices by Maile Meloy
Unspoken by Dee Henderson
The Book of Pearl by Timothee deFombelle
Jim Henson by Brian Jay Jones
Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith (ebook, not pictured)
I'm allowing myself to DNF any of these books that don't grab me, as long as I have read enough of them to be able to articulate in a review why they did not work for me.
I don't usually do a lot of challenges, but I'm going to try slotting in the books after I read them with the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I'm going to see if I can be okay with not reading every single category, or if I spend December looking for a self-published business book written in prison...
The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge
1 - An epistolary novel or collection of letters
2 - An alternate history novel
3 - A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018: The Poet X
4 - A humor book: Heart and Brain
5 - A book by a journalist or about journalism: The Undateable
6 - A book by an AOC set in or about space
7 - An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America: Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas
8 - An #ownvoices book set in Oceania
9 - A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads: Finessing Clarissa
10 - A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman: The Winter Promise
11 - A book of manga
12 - A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character: The Lost Girl
13 - A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse: The Girl He Used to Know
14 - A cozy mystery
15 - A book of mythology or folklore
16 - An historical romance by an AOC
17 - A business book
18 - A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
19 - A book of nonviolent true crime
20 - A book written in prison
21 - A comic by an LGBTQIA creator: Something New
22 - A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009
23 - A self-published book
24 - A collection of poetry published since 2014
Books Read (so far) in 2019
(Rereads are in italics, new favorites in bold.)
1. Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome by Ty Tashiro
2. The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen
3. A Rather Lovely Inheritance by C.A. Belmond
4. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
5. The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
6. A Rather Curious Engagement by C.A. Belmond
7. A Rather Charming Invitation by C.A. Belmond
8. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
9. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
10. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
11. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
12. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
13. Heart and Brain by Nick Seluk
14. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
15. The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
16. A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
17. The Undateable by Sarah Title
18. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story by Debbie Tung
19. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
20. In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
21. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
22. Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
23. Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan
24. How to Date Men When You Hate Men by Blythe Roberson
25. The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
26. The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu
27. Level 13: A Slacker Novel by Gordon Korman
28. Kind of Coping by Marzi Wilson
29. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
30. The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
31. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
32. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
33. All Things New by Lynn Austin
34. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
35. Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
36. Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
37. Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
38. New Kid by Jerry Craft
39. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
40. Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas by Juana Medina
41. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
42. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
43. Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu
44. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
45. A Bachelor Establishment by Isabella Barclay
46. Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher
47. Nate Expectations by Tim Federle
48. Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry
49. Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton
50. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
51. My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn
52. Refining Felicity by Marion Chesney
53. Perfecting Fiona by Marion Chesney
54. Enlightening Delilah by Marion Chesney
55. Finessing Clarissa by Marion Chesney
56. Curse of the WerePenguin by Allan Woodrow
57. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
58. Animating Maria by Marion Chesney
59. Marrying Harriet by Marion Chesney
60. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
61. Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn
62. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
63. Owl's Outstanding Donuts
64. Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
65. A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
66. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
67. Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala
68. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
69. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
70. Manfried Saves the Day by Caitlin Major
71. Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis
72. The Good, the Bad, and the Bossy by Caroline Cara
73. Click by Kayla Miller
74. Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh
75. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
76. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
77. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
78. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
79. A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata
80. Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy
81. Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron
82. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
83. Whispers by Robin Jones Gunn
84. Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn
85. Sunsets by Robin Jones Gunn
86. Clouds by Robin Jones Gunn
87. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
88. Camp by Kayla Miller
89. Creakers by Tom Fletcher
90. Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come by Jessica Pan
91. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
92. Blubber by Judy Blume
93. Waterfalls by Robin Jones Gunn
That's it for my stuff -- you can post below!
(94 books read)
The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion -- (Note that this review contains minor spoilers for the first two books in the series.) It's been ten years since the events of the last book. When Rosie is offered a prestigious job back in Australia, Don concurs that it makes sense to move, as he can easily find work there as well. Unfortunately, ten-year-old Hudson is not on board with the idea of such a big life change. In Australia, Don quickly identifies a list of problems, chief among them that Rosie is having troubles at work, partially due to having difficulties with work/life balance, and Hudson is having a very difficult time adjusting to his new school. When Don makes a major faux pas in a lecture and becomes the subject of a disciplinary investigation, he suspends his own work to concentrate on what he calls "The Hudson Project." How can he help Hudson be more successful at school than he, Don, was? Hudson's difficulties have caused the school to push for Don and Rosie to get a psychiatric evaluation done for Hudson, anticipating that he will fall on the autism spectrum. Don has always resisted a diagnosis for himself, though the disciplinary committee would have to take it into their considerations, were he to receive one. But would a diagnosis be the best thing for either of them?
This whole series is amazing, and I have enjoyed every bit. Hudson is a great character and I liked seeing him featured so much, even if I did think it was at the expense of seeing much of Rosie. I think that readers new to the series could feasibly start here, but I'd recommend starting at the beginning.
>4 foggidawn: Some of your new favorites are high in my rankings as well, so maybe I'll browse among the bold ones there I haven't read!
Happy New Thread! I hope you are having a great summer!
I read The Flatshare based on your post and loved it! Thank you!
Thanks for stopping by, Anita, Anita, Jim, Dana, Roni, and Amber!
>13 compskibook: Oh, so glad you liked it!
Happy new thread, Foggi! Glad to hear the settling in with the roommate is going all right so far. I really should get back to the Rosie trilogy as I read the first and then just didn't get around to the next.
>17 MickyFine: Thanks! We are muddling along pretty well, all things considered. As for the Rosie trilogy, some people say the second book was the weakest, though I still enjoyed it.
Happy New Thread, foggi.
I'm glad you enjoyed The Rosie Result; me, too. That series has brought me a lot of laughs and smiles. I like the Hudson character, too, but I did miss seeing more of Rosie this time around.
One of my oldest friends and I are thinking about moving in together after 17 years of friendship. We get along really well and he's neat (much more than me), likes to cook, and appreciates alone time so I think it would be great but I've also not lived with other people in a VERY long time and I'm a bit nervous about that. Wishing you guys smooth sailing!
>19 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! Yes, I could have used more of Rosie in the book, but that was really my only criticism.
>20 leahbird: Last weekend a mutual friend was taking Rob (the housemate) around and showing him the sights, and I tagged along. She introduced us thus: "This is my friend Rob, who has just moved to town, and this is his roommate," and each time it happened my head exploded just a little. I haven't had a roommate since college, and that's been (as they say) a minute. However, I'm finding the day to day less awkward than expected, and I'm enjoying having the company. I'm doing most of the cooking at present, but I enjoy cooking (and having someone other than myself to appreciate my cooking). I still think this is one of the weirdest things I've ever done, but it sounds like your situation would be a lot less strange. I mean, you've been friends for 17 years, whereas Rob and I hadn't actually seen each other in person for 17 years, so.
>2 foggidawn: good job on the ER books. I have a few languishing, too, though I've recently made a more concerted effort to get them done. Oh, and to stay current on the ones I have won!
Glad to hear the roommate situation is going well so far!
>6 foggidawn: I read the first book of this series and liked it a lot. I didn't feel the need to continue, but I might pick them up at some point since you enjoyed them so much :)
>22 aktakukac: Thanks! I do, too (and I think it will).
>23 thornton37814: Thanks!
>24 fuzzi: I really need to get back to that project. Unfortunately, I have a couple of books that I have to read (a book club book, a book sent to me for professional review) and several library books that I need to get read or send back, so I'm not thinking I'll get any of those old Early Reviewers read in August. I'm doing more cooking at home right now than usual, which is also taking up a little bit of my reading time.
>25 curioussquared: He's been here a week, and we haven't killed each other yet! :-D (As I mentioned before, we're both putting in a pretty strong effort to be polite and considerate, so things have been going as well or better than I would have supposed possible.) And I hope you enjoy the other books, if you do pick them up.
Happy new thread foggi!
I lost track of you but this seems like a good place to catch up.
(95 books read)
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb -- Reeling from an unexpected breakup, therapist Lori Gottlieb realizes that she also needs the benefits of attending therapy. In the meantime, she continues to work with her own patients, including a narcissistic man, an elderly woman who is threatening suicide, and a young newlywed who is dying of cancer.
I enjoyed this book. I've never undergone therapy myself, but I've been thinking lately that I ought to, so I was hoping this would give me some motivation to start that process. I think it succeeded in that, in placing therapy in a positive light and reassuring me of the benefits. Gottlieb's part of the story was very personal, and I admire her for placing so much of her inner life on display ("hanging her psyche out to dry," as SandyAMcPherson so aptly put it). I did find myself sometimes wondering, "Why did she include that detail?" Also, there's a bit of unresolved business, which ought to be expected in memoir (vs. fiction), but which I found a bit unsatisfying (
It seems like I have not been reading a lot lately, or at least not finishing a lot lately, so I thought I'd do an update with what I have been reading (just not completing):
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (audiobook) -- I was listening to this, but then I didn't have any long solo drives (my best audiobook listening time) and it got checked back in, and there were holds, so I've waiting for it to come back to me. I just checked and it was available, so I'll probably listen to the rest of it soon. I've liked it so far.
Evicted by Matthew Desmond (ebook) -- a friend was reading this for their social justice book club. I didn't hear about it until the day before the club met, but I picked it up and read a few pages and found it a compelling read, so I may complete it eventually. It's also incredibly depressing, though, so I don't always feel like picking it up.
The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos (book) -- I loved the first book in this series, but I'm having a really hard time getting into the second book. I think it's just not what I'm in the mood for now. I probably should return it to the library and try again later, but I'm stubbornly insisting to myself that if I just give it a few more chapters, I will love it.
Lovely War by Julie Berry (book) -- another that I've started, but it isn't holding my attention. I've loved other books by this author, but right now my attention span doesn't seem to be suited for large tomes.
Beauty by Robin McKinley (book) -- I will finish this one within the next couple days. I'm rereading it (for the umpteenth time) in an attempt to get out of what feels like a bit of a sump.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (read aloud) -- I just started reading this one aloud to my housemate. I think he was a little bemused at the idea, but he said he enjoyed it. I love reading aloud, and I also love introducing people to my literary boyfriend Eugenides, so it's a win all around, right?
>30 foggidawn: Sorcery of Thorns is on my list, glad you're enjoying it!
Can Eugenides be my literary boyfriend too? Is that weird?
>31 curioussquared: I'm already sharing him with Amber (and many others, I'm sure), so why not?
>30 foggidawn: That's a super impressive mix, Foggi. I did two short story collections back to back and even though one was Wodehouse and therefore excellent, it feels like they bog down my reading somehow.
>33 MickyFine: Considering that I'm not finishing most of them, maybe it's too ambitious of a mix? I know what you mean by short story collections. In my 20s, I read a lot of the fantasy ones (the Datlow/Windling compilations and the like), but now I find myself frustrated by them.
>34 foggidawn: Could just be the better weather and the new living arrangements mixing up your life and making reading less appealing at the moment?
>29 foggidawn: A great review, Foggi. Duly upthumbed.
I had a similar reaction to this
I thought I'd post an update on all of my non-reading activities mentioned above (or at least the ones where there's something to say):
Theatre -- I just signed up for an audition slot for a local production of Sweeney Todd. Even if I'm not cast, I'm excited to see the production, but I'm hoping for a spot in the ensemble, to begin to establish myself in the local community theatre scene.
Gardening -- I've had a really good year so far with my container garden! I made some lovely pesto with the basil, and will get another batch off of it before the summer is over, I'm sure. I've had a few tomatoes, not enough to share, but enough to enjoy, and more on the way. And I've had a whole lot of peppers! Last year, I couldn't get my pepper plants to set fruit, so this year I really made an effort to amend the soil, and it paid off! I also have several nice little herb plants that are coming right along.
Gaming -- Game night is coming up this weekend, and I'm taking the housemate along to meet my friends, as he also enjoys board games.
Dogs -- My parents' dog has been bred to a very nice male, so right now we have theoretical puppies. I'm pretty excited, though it will be another eight weeks before the puppies arrive, and then of course six weeks after that before they can leave their mother. Still, there's a definite possibility that I will have a puppy by winter.
>40 foggidawn: Puppies!!! Are they a specific breed? I met an adorable Corgi puppy on the weekend (and I guess her owner) and while I'm decidedly a cat person, she briefly made me consider a dog.
Break a leg with the audition!
>44 MickyFine: English Springer Spaniel is the breed. They’re what I always had growing up, so I’m partial to them. And thanks!
>49 foggidawn: It's been at least a year since I've reread them; I need to fit another one in soon...
>50 scaifea: Especially with the last book in the series coming out next year...
(96 books read)
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond -- In any given city, during any given week, a similar scene plays out: the sheriff's deputies knock on the door and escort the occupants out of the house, then a team of movers comes in and hauls the family's belongings out to the curb. They've been evicted. In this book, Matthew Desmond follows the stories of several Milwaukee inhabitants as they struggle to pay the rent. It's a gripping and compelling read, if bleak. I was particularly interested to read the note at the end about his methodology: he never uses the pronoun "I" in the book, but he's often the unseen observer at the scene. I would widely recommend this book; even though it's a few years old now, it still has lots to say about poverty and housing in America.
>52 foggidawn: Re: lots to say about poverty and housing in America
Society or perhaps, politicians?, generally has/have not addressed the realities of poorly-paid employment and other social ills. It is so devastating to know we (in North America) live in apparently affluent societies yet cannot provide decent living condiotons for an astonishingly high number of families.
I read This Side Up: The Road to a Renovated Life (Amy Mangan) awhile ago, a somewhat similar tale of lost housing and having to move under duress. It was an awful situation for the family. The author wrote with a great deal of courage, given that she and her family went from one disaster to the next with all the stress and desperation one would expect.
I enter into these narratives with too much emotion (sensibility?) and have not been reading these stories in recent times. I admire that you gave Evicted full attention. Your review even tempts me to look for the title myself.
>53 SandyAMcPherson: It was a timely, difficult read for me. I hear what you're saying about emotion and sensibility; I do the same. I'm currently seeking out comfort reads to compensate!
>54 foggidawn: The doctor is IN.
And recommends a Georgette Heyer, or perhaps a Ruth Galloway, if a mystery is more appealing!
(97 books read)
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley -- Beauty, youngest daughter of a merchant, takes her father's place as captive of a mysterious monster in an enchanted castle. (You all know the story.)
This may be my favorite book ever -- it's certainly always in the top three (along with The Blue Castle and Cyrano de Bergerac, if you were wondering). It's been a few years since I did a reread of this one, and I found myself entirely charmed, as if reading it for the first time. It's just so good. The characters, the dialogue, the descriptions... I cannot even tell you how many times I've read it since I discovered it as a battered paperback in the school library in seventh grade. It's my ultimate comfort read. For a fairy tale retelling, it's pretty straightforward -- it doesn't take the story in new directions, the way more modern retellings do (and don't get me wrong, I enjoy those, too). It just fleshes out the story so beautifully. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, highly recommended.
>60 foggidawn: So happy that re-reading that one holds up for you and it provided the comfort you needed. :D
>60 foggidawn: Love Beauty. Probably time for me to do a reread sometime soon, too.
(98 books read)
Awards for Good Boys: Tales of Dating, Double Standards, and Doom by Shelby Lorman -- Comics and essays exploring the ways in which (white, straight) boys get a pass in life for doing the absolute bare minimum.
Mehhh. It's just not my type of humor. If you really feel strongly about this, give it a try, it might be yours.
>60 foggidawn: I think I'll have to try that one. The title is common to one of Sheri S. Tepper's books, which does take the alternate path through the fairy tale wood for sure.
>67 quondame: I've heard of that one, but never gotten around to reading it.
Hey, I just noticed that touchstones now generate a pop-out with the book cover and some details. Pretty cool, LT!
>69 norabelle414: Ooh, let's go see if I want to even open that can of worms...
>70 foggidawn: I don't know what you mean. Some people think it's a cool new feature and other people think it's the downfall of civilization. Perfectly normal.
>71 norabelle414: Yeah, when I went to the thread it was pretty much as expected. I'm just a little wary of posting on site-related topics, as people get very, um, feisty sometimes.
>72 foggidawn: People on the site-related topics can be very hostile, especially toward 75ers and other people who primarily use LT socially and might not be aware of some of the other features of the site. I like to be there to stick up for them! People who use mostly LT mostly for Talk are not less legitimate users. But even I sometimes have to say my piece and then launch that thread into the sun, never to be opened again.
Chiming in to say that I've been silently following the site improvement threads, too, and man, they *can* get intense! Some people are a mystery to me...
Also, I love the pop-up book deets, too!
I should finish a book today, so hopefully more on that later! I'm a little -- not sad, but maybe disappointed? -- that my reading pace has slowed so much, but I'm pretty happy with most other aspects of my life right now, so I guess it's a trade-off. Still hoping to manage a double 75 by the end of the year. Maybe when the weather is not so nice and it gets dark earlier, I'll find more reading time. I also keep thinking I need to listen to audiobooks while I'm cooking, but I haven't gotten my act together on that one yet.
(99 books read)
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes -- Young widow Evvie Drake has a secret: on the day her husband died, she was about to leave him. Now, everyone in her small Maine town thinks she's lost in grief, when her emotions are actually more mixed than anyone could guess. When a friend encourages her to rent a room to washed-up major league pitcher Dean Tenney, she agrees. As friendship turns to love, she starts looking for a way to help Dean get his game back -- but maybe there are some things that can't be fixed.
Okay, this was a weird book for me to read right now, given recent life events. I mean, my life isn't going to go in the same direction (not being fiction, and all), but some of the conversations Evvie and Dean have when he first moves in are weird echoes of conversations I've had with my new housemate (in particular, one about how white the town is, and one about big city vs. small town life). So, that was fun.
This book has gotten all the raves, and I think they're mostly deserved. Evvie's emotional journey is the real focus, and it's complicated and well-developed. The characters are endearing, and there's a secondary relationship (Evvie's with her male best friend) that's very interesting and is given plenty of room on the page in its own right. The romance is sweet and slow-burning (and mostly fade-to-black, if you're a reader who squirms a bit at on-page sex scenes). Recommended.
Right now, Rob is reading: March, Book Two by John Lewis
>77 foggidawn: Interesting that you compare it to your own situation, since I found the least believable part in the book to be how Evvie and Dean moved immediately from strangers to close friends who hang out all the time. It could be because I have never had good luck with roommates but I just don't believe that anyone who has never lived with anyone except her abusive husband would warm up to a strange housemate like that.
>77 foggidawn: That one sounds pretty good! Wishlisted. Love the real-life parallels! Very cool.
>78 norabelle414: Yeah, I hadn't considered that angle, since in my case we have, in fact, known each other for a long time (just haven't spent time together in person for many years). I did feel like the author tried to show the passing of time, to slow things down a little. And I got the impression that, at the start, they didn't interact very much, since he had the ability to cook a little in his apartment. Perhaps I bought the premise because of the parallels to my own life, in a way that I would not have done had this summer gone differently for me.
>79 scaifea: It is a good one! Hope you enjoy it when you get to it.
>77 foggidawn: That one's been fairly popular at my library (I bought 2 copies to keep up with holds) so I'll probably get to it eventually.
>81 bell7: It's a good one! It has a pretty big holds list at my library, too. That's part of the reason I read it now -- I didn't want to have to turn it back in unread, and I knew I wouldn't be able to renew it.
>82 figsfromthistle: Thanks, you too!
I just got notified that I got a callback for the community theatre audition that I thought I bombed. Perhaps I didn't do as badly as I thought? I'm pretty excited! But I can forget about reading much in late September and early October if I get cast...
(100 books read)
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson — Elisabeth grew up in one of the Great Libraries, and her dream has always been to become a librarian, caretaker to the grimoires, dangerous, sentient books of magic. When mysterious events occur, she finds herself caught up in and falsely accused of a plot that could bring to an end the Great Libraries, and the larger world as well. She also finds herself in the company of the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, whom she doesn’t trust... at least, not at first...
I was bound to enjoy this library-centric fantasy. It’s a stand-alone, which is also a point in its favor. My listening experience of the audiobook was broken up because I didn’t get it finished before it went back, and then I had to wait a few weeks to get it again. So, I’m not sure I’m a good judge of the pacing in this case. I will say that I’m not sure what I think of the ending. I like it, but I’m not sure I approve of it. (If you’ve read the book, I’d be glad to discuss what I mean by that!) Recommended for readers of YA fantasy.
Right now, Rob is reading: March, Book Three.
>86 foggidawn: Hmm, library-centric fantasy has me intrigued. I'll put it on The List and see how it goes.
>69 norabelle414: >70 foggidawn: >71 norabelle414: >72 foggidawn: >74 scaifea: ~~~
Just referencing this conversational piece because I am about 10 days late!
I posted a few times on this thread before I knew the thread was slug bait. Woah!!
But you are correct, norabelle, letting Tim know that there is support for the redesign is important.
>86 foggidawn: Book bullet! I'm #19 in line for 6 copies at the library now.
>86 foggidawn: This would have got me, except I already had it on hold :D
Rob will appreciate March Book Three, I think. For me, it managed to top the excellent first two.
>96 jnwelch: He's been loving all of them, as I did when I read them, but I agree that the third one is the best.
(101 books read)
Just Peachy by Holly Chisholm -- A collection of comics about life with depression and anxiety. Many of these images spoke to my own experience, so I'd recommend this book if you have experience with anxiety and depression, or if you don't, and are interested in knowing what it's like for some people. This is a very quick read, so much so that I almost feel badly about counting it in my total for the year, but hey, a book is a book!
Right now, Rob is (still) reading: March, Book Three.
>98 foggidawn: No judgment. I've got a board book included in my count this year - had to review it for ER even if it was intended for my niece.
Glad you enjoyed it.
>99 MickyFine: Thanks! Yes, anything that you have to review should probably count.
Awesome reading tally!
I've several of the "children's genre" in my tally for this year. Nothing wrong with that, it's all a personal fun thing on LT, right? Not like we're surreptitiously reading the likes of a Tony Hillerman or Lois Bujold at work!
>103 SandyAMcPherson: Yes, I sometimes have to remind myself that it's all for fun!
(102 books read)
Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict -- When a case of mistaken identity leads Irish immigrant Clara Kelley to take a position as a lady's maid in the Carnegie household, she finds herself falling in love with the bachelor son of her employer -- none other than the famous businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
I find that I have problems with historical fiction that takes actual historical figures and makes up parts of their lives. It's strange: something like Hamilton is okay with me, though certainly Lin-Manuel Miranda took plenty of liberties with the historical facts there. And something like the Bloody Jack series is okay with me, because Jacky's encounters with actual historical figures are meant to be over-the-top, and Jacky herself is fictional. But this book irked me a bit. In addition to my issues with the historical shenanigans, I also thought that the writing was poor. The author did a lot of that trick where she shoehorns her research into the text, so that characters are telling each other things they already know in order to impart knowledge to the reader. I also thought it highly unlikely that Clara would be able to fake it 'till she made it as a lady's maid, having had no training. I mean, I'm pretty sure I couldn't accomplish the duties of an 1860's lady's maid if I were suddenly thrown back in time, and it's not like Clara's scullery maid mother could have trained her for the job. I grant that she found a book in the family library that helped her, but she seemed to be doing okay even before then, and I just don't buy it.
That's not to say that the book wasn't enjoyable -- I did make it through the whole thing -- but I probably won't seek out other books by this author. I read this for book club, and I think most of us were pretty ambivalent on it.
Right now, Rob is reading: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I mean, we're reading it together, but he got impatient and started reading ahead yesterday, so I'm going to have to kill him, I'm afraid. Or at least hide the book while I'm at work.
I mean, we're reading it together, but he got impatient and started reading ahead yesterday, so I'm going to have to kill him, I'm afraid. Or at least hide the book while I'm at work. LOL
>106 lycomayflower: The following text exchange happened this morning:
Me: I'm ridiculously pleased that you are enjoying the book, but if you read ahead today, I will sulk. Fair warning.
Him: I'll be good.
>105 foggidawn: and #107 we're reading it together
That would never work in our household! Good for you two. I am Miss Piggy and like to have a book all to myself even if I have to wait.
Edited: to also say thank you for the candid review. I had it recommended by a friend (not on LT) and your quibbles would be *exactly* my problem as well.
>108 SandyAMcPherson: One of my favorite things is reading aloud. I read the entire Harry Potter series to my family, among other things. So I decided to embrace my own quirkiness and offered to read this book aloud to Rob, shortly after he moved in. We're almost to the end, and then I think we'll be proceeding to the next book in the series. And speaking of the Carnegie book: yes, I had some issues with that book, to be sure! Glad I could be of service.
>109 foggidawn: Lol, the final Harry Potter book came out while I was in high school and my brother was around 11, so finally old enough to really care about reading it right when it came out. We had to buy two copies -- I was planning on reading it through the night, and no way was I waiting long enough to read it out loud.
I do like reading aloud in general, though :)
>110 curioussquared: I was in library school when the last book came out. Fortunately, my family had already planned to come for a visit, so we crammed in a whole lot of reading and avoided the internet as much as possible for the time it took us to get through it!
>77 foggidawn: My thoughts exactly regarding Evvie Drake. Also, looking forward to reading aloud more as my son gets older. I should probably start a list of chapter books to read aloud now.
>112 aktakukac: I'm glad you liked Evvie Drake, too! It's one I think I might have to buy eventually, as I can see myself wanting to reread it. And yes, a list might be good. I read The Chronicles of Narnia to my cousin when she was younger, and I'm sure I'll do some reading aloud of chapter books to my nephew in a few years, when he's old enough to pay attention for longer than a minute or two. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease is a good resource, and I believe a new edition just came out, or is coming out.
>113 foggidawn: I was very happy with Evvie Drake, one reason being I have read several mediocre romances and books similar this year, and Evvie was so much better. The pacing of the main character's relationship seemed more true-to-life, which I really appreciated. I've got tons of book titles floating in my head that I want to read aloud, so a list will definitely help. I'm always seeing books mentioned on here and elsewhere that I missed reading when I was a kid that I want to read aloud as well...and of course when I'm ordering books for work, I have to make note of ones I want to read. I'll put a hold on the new Trelease resource, for more ideas, so thanks for that!
(103 books read)
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner -- Upon reflection, Gen might not have made the smartest move by bragging about his thieving prowess in every wine shop in Sounis, then stealing the king's signet ring and showing it off afterward. He has plenty of time for reflection in the king's dungeon. Unexpectedly, the Magus, advisor to the king, is the one who gets Gen out of jail -- he needs Gen to steal something for him, and it will indeed take the best thief in the world to accomplish the job...
I first read this Newbery Honor book years ago, but it's the sort of book that sticks with you (well, and I've read it a few times since then, too). This book boasts great characters and more than one twist of plot -- and it almost seems like a spoiler to even mention that there are plot twists, because they are so delightfully unexpected. And, while this is an excellent book, the series increases in excellence as it goes on -- but do start here! If sometimes I say things are "recommended" or "highly recommended," this is a step beyond that. This series carries my highest recommendations.
As you all know, I did this reread as a read-aloud with my housemate Rob. It was his first time reading the book, and he enjoyed it a lot. He speaks highly of Turner's writing style and character development. We'll be continuing with The Queen of Attolia soon.
(104 books read)
Gmorning, Gnight: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun -- A collection of Miranda's inspirational morning and evening Twitter greetings. These little reminders are often clever, sweet, funny, and touching. Sun's illustrations have a Shel Silverstein feel. I've been reading these at the rate of one or two a day for months (when I remembered), and finally reached the end of the book, and was sad. I'll probably keep this near my bed for when I need an uplifting thought.
>116 bell7: Yes, the thought of the last book was in my mind when I started this reread. I had meant to reread them on my own, but why keep them to myself when I can share the goodness that is the Queen's Thief series?
>122 norabelle414: I've heard that he's a really nice person, though I'll admit that his drawing style isn't my favorite. I'll try to check his book out soon.
>120 foggidawn: I always enjoy Lin-Manuel Miranda's tweets. Glad to hear the book is just as charming. :)
>124 MickyFine: He's a ridiculously charming person. I might have a little bit of a crush.
>125 foggidawn: I totally understand that crush. Have you seen the Ham4Ham videos with him and Jonathan Groff? They're so adorable.
(105 books read)
Friend or Fiction by Abby Cooper -- reviewing elsewhere, just including it in my count here.
>40 foggidawn: Excitement!
Oh, alright. With so many recommendations for The Thief I will look for it. I suspect it is already on my wish list, though. I may even have a look at Beauty; I loved the Damar duology but I've been reluctant to read any other McKinleys in case they didn't live up to them.
I've always liked reading aloud to my boys but bedtime reading has kind of fallen mostly by the wayside as they got older and busier. My 15 year old isn't interested any more though my 10 year old is. The problem is that long Harry-Potter-length chapters now make my voice hoarse by the end of one plus my son can't wait for me to read to him so he goes ahead and reads books himself. We've stalled on the prologue of the first Ranger's Apprentice book for the group read, for example, although he has now raced ahead to about book 8.
Any tips for saving the voice and keeping on reading would be appreciated. :0)
And congratulations on reading 100 books!
>130 humouress: My only tips for saving one’s voice while reading are to be in a space where everyone listening can hear your normal speaking voice, so you don’t have to try to be loud. Also, if you try to do funny voices, save them for minor characters.
>131 curioussquared: I love all of her older stuff; some of the newer books are less memorable to me. I enjoyed them, but haven’t felt the need to reread.
My brother and sister-in-law (and the baby!) are in town for the long weekend plus a few extra days, so I haven’t done much reading or posting lately. I have one book I’ve finished and one that I’m ditching, which I’ll post about later.
Sad news on the puppy front: my parents’ dog had a uterine infection requiring emergency surgery. To my great relief, she came through it well and is recovering, but this means, of course, that she can’t have puppies. I’ll still be getting a dog, but probably not that breed.
Oh, and I started reading The Queen of Attolia aloud to the whole crew. My brother has read it and owns a copy, so he and my sister-in-law can finish it together when they go home.
>131 curioussquared: I'd be careful recommending Deerskin ...
It was a great re-telling of an old story, but I had a lot of difficulty the first time I read it
>132 foggidawn: I read Emil and the Detectives our loud recently and tried to distinguish between the boys by using different voices. I couldn’t remember what type of voice I’d used for each boy, though, especially since I didn’t always read on consecutive nights.
Sorry to hear about your parents’ dog but I’m glad she’s okay now.
>134 SandyAMcPherson: Duly warned, thanks.
Charlie and Tomm make fun of me because all of my female voices sound like southern little girls for some reason. Except for the main witch in The Witches, which Charlie has requested we read again this Halloween. I love that he loves it, but the screechy voice I gave her really does a number on my throat!
(106 books read)
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell -- Deja and Josiah have been pumpkin patch besties all through high school. Now, it's their last night working at the patch, and Deja is determined that it's going to be epic. She's going to eat all of her favorite snacks, and she's going to get Josie to finally talk to the girl from the fudge shoppe that he's been mooning over since the first day of orientation. Hijinks ensue.
As I fully expected, this book was adorable. The ending was satisfying (if not particularly surprising), and I laughed several times. If you enjoy graphic novels with romance and humor, this one is for you. Plus, it's the perfect read to get in the mood for fall.
121 First Dates by Wendy Newman -- A how-to guide to dating, specifically online dating. The author found her current partner after 121 first dates, mostly arranged through online platforms. She talks about mistakes and lessons learned, giving advice for those entering (or re-entering) the dating pool.
I'm ditching this book halfway through, because it's totally depressing without meaning to be. My takeaway from reading this is that I'm probably not going to have any success with online dating, because I just can't be the person that this author describes as the successful online dater. It brought all of my insecurities to the surface. My opinions and beliefs about love and romance are in opposition to hers in many ways. Plus, she describes dating in an urban area, and I don't think many of her strategies and advice would work for my location in a smaller town. If you're a city dweller who doesn't mind thinking of dating as a numbers game, this book might be a better fit for you.
>138 foggidawn: I almost feel like I read Pumpkinheads too early. I'm ready for Fall NOW, damn it, stop this 80 degree day nonsense! I want to wear my flannels.
>139 foggidawn: I think I'd agree with you about the author's ideas! I benefited from my SO treating dating as a numbers game; we met online, but it was my second date via the platform and something like his 100th. He has described the strategies he started employing on the site after the first few dates (schedule a certain number of first dates, keep them short, don't waste too much time chatting beforehand, etc) and I don't think I would have had the stamina to keep it up like that or the ability to distill dating down to a strategy.
>140 MickyFine: Yeah, I can't put my finger on a specific one of her short stories that it resembles (wasn't there one set in a Christmas tree lot?), but it definitely has the same feel as her other short stories. But with adorable artwork and all the trappings of fall!
>141 curioussquared: My housemate is trying to get me to try online dating (he's got a first date tonight, as a matter of fact), but I just can't see myself having any success in a system that involves photographs of me as the main form of discovery. I mean, I guess I could set up a profile just to prove him wrong... The whole concept of online dating makes me feel stressed and sad, and I also can't see myself having that kind of stamina, or the ability to make use of a strategy like you describe.
>141 curioussquared: I jumped right into my online dating rant and forgot to say that it did feel like I read Pumpkinheads too early, too! I'm ready for fall, but on the other hand, I've had a really good summer and I'm not quite ready to let go of it. Ideally, I'd have waited another month to read Pumpkinheads, but my hold came in, so I had to get it read and returned!
>143 foggidawn: Upside to living further north. There have been some decidedly fall days already. :)
>144 MickyFine: Nice! I don't envy your longer winters, though. Our weather here has been absolutely lovely -- not fallish, but highs in the low 80s (sometimes high 70s) and cool nights. Remembering my Oklahoma childhood (temps over 100 well past Labor Day some years) I marvel at the weather in this part of the world.
>145 foggidawn: After pulling out the Google conversion form, I can say our highs for the next couple weeks will be in the high 60s to low 70s. As my first anniversary with Mr. Fine approaches I'm just pleased as punch that there won't be the atypical snow we had on our wedding day last year.
>146 MickyFine: Sounds delightful -- and yes, even up where you are, it's too early to think about snow!
I was always disappointed at the first signs of autumn signalling the end of summer. Hah! well now I have summer in spades; although it hasn't rained here in ages (only one drenching in the last 3 or 4 weeks instead of every other day) and everything is turning brown.
>148 humouress: I'll bet you do! I like autumn, I'm just not sure I'm ready for it. But I think I'm getting there.
I did hardly any reading this weekend -- just a few chapters of The Queen of Attolia read aloud. I had a fantastic but all-too-short trip to visit college friends and the church I used to attend. The housemate came along and helped drive (these college friends were also friends of his). So I did some reading during his parts of the five-hour drive, but didn't get many chances to pick up a book other than that. It was such a good time, though -- I can't think when I have laughed so hard as I did on Saturday evening.
>149 foggidawn: Glad to hear you had a great weekend, Foggi! Hopefully your week is just as good.
>150 MickyFine: Fingers crossed! I'm hoping to get a lot done this week, since I don't have a lot of meetings and stuff on my schedule.
(107 books read)
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner -- This series is pretty much impossible to review without spoilers, so I'm not going to try. Suffice it to say that I highly, highly recommend this series, as does my housemate. We're both looking forward to the next book. Start with The Thief if you haven't read the series yet.
(108 books read)
The Dinner Party by Neil Simon -- Six people are invited to a dinner party. Upon arrival, they discover that they are actually three sets of divorcees, and the party was orchestrated intentionally to get them to confront the reasons why each of their marriages failed.
I laughed out loud several times reading this script -- it's really delightful. And it's a good thing that I think so, because I'll be playing Yvonne in a local community theatre production of it this November! (Don't worry, I'm not going to count each reading of this script as a book read -- though that might be the only way to get my reading total for the year up where it's been in the past!)
Right now, Rob is reading They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. I'll be reading it as soon as he's done.
>142 foggidawn: If it makes you stressed, I'd say don't do it. I know people who met online (one couple is even celebrating their 20th anniversary) or through a dating app, but it's never been something I have any inclination to do. And personally, reading about someone making it a numbers game and going on 100+ dates sounds just...exhausting.
>153 foggidawn: Oh how fun,
>154 bell7: I set up an account on one platform -- I told Rob it was mostly to prove him wrong. So far, I'm underwhelmed, but I'll give it a little while. I cannot express how difficult it was to find photos of me that I don't hate. (I settled for a few that I just strongly dislike.) And thanks for the good wishes! I hope you are feeling well enough to go to your cousin's show.
>152 foggidawn: ~ I found it a challenge to review M.W.T.'s Thief series, too.
I hope my comments were enlightening and that I used the spoiler tags effectively.
I'm a stingy giver of stars but admit being totally addicted to reading the series! Kind of like my opinion of the Ruth Galloway series.
Don't you just love these character developments?!
>156 SandyAMcPherson: It's so hard to review! It almost seems like a spoiler to say that there are plot twists. On the other hand, even though I reread the series two years ago, there are details that I forgot. One great thing about reading aloud is that it makes you slow down and pay attention, so I feel like I'm really catching all of the little details on this read-through.
(109 books read)
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley -- Chronicles Lucy and John's decision to have a baby, which turns out to be much more difficult than they might have expected.
I had read Relish a few years ago and enjoyed it, so picked this book up on a whim. I liked it a great deal, finding it funny, informative, and touching. If you enjoy graphic memoir or are interested in the topic, I'd recommend giving this a try.
Right now, Rob is reading Star Wars Omnibus: Early Victories
(110 books read)
I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi -- Blogger and pop-culture critic Ajayi offers some side-eye at all of the things, little and big, that Americans should try to do better at.
I really enjoyed the first part of this book, where Ajayi offers lighthearted commentary on relationships and such. The middle portion of the book, where she delves into heavier topics like feminism, religion, and racism had me nodding my head, but it felt like maybe it should have been a different book -- and, though I agreed with many of her points, I didn't feel like there was anything new or particularly insightful there for me. And the final part of the book, where she talks about fame-seeking, wasn't really relevant to me, so I struggled to stay engaged and finish the book. Recommended if you're a big fan of Ajayi's blog -- otherwise, you can probably skip this one.
Right now, Rob is reading The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs.
(111 books read)
Something New by Lucy Knisley -- Chronicles all of the planning and chaos of the year before Lucy and John get married.
I'm reading these graphic memoirs out of order, I know, but after finishing Kid Gloves I decided to go back and read the wedding story, and it was lovely. The older I get, the simpler any hypothetical wedding of mine becomes (and the more unlikely, I feel), but it's fun to read about all of the little details and fun craziness that goes into planning a huge event like a wedding. This book gave me the warm fuzzies.
(Also, for those of you following along at home, I deleted my online dating profile, because I hated it so much. I didn't last a week! This book may not have been the best thing to read at a point when I decided that Being Alone Forever was better than the prospect of online dating...)
Fulfills Book Riot Read Harder Challenge #21 - A comic by an LGBTQIA creator (Knisley identifies as bi).
Right now, Rob is still reading the last three things I said he was reading.
Sympathies on the dating angst. I hated a lot of the process when I was in it.
Yay for getting a role in the community theatre production though. That's awesome!
If it makes you feel any better you hit me with two book bullets - I've just put Pumpkinheads and Something New on hold at the library.
(112 books read)
Guts by Raina Telgemeier -- In fifth grade, Raina struggles with anxiety-related stomach problems, plus teasing from another girl in her class.
I expect that readers who enjoy Telgemeier's other memoirs will like this one as well, though she's younger here, so readers new to her might benefit from starting with this one. I liked it well enough, though I didn't relate as strongly as I had expected I would. I liked how the book normalized therapy and pointed out that a lot more people go to therapy than talk about it.
Right now, Rob is still reading the last three things I said he was reading.
>166 foggidawn: Charlie is *so* excited about this one! We may have to pick up a copy tonight while we're at Easton...
>166 foggidawn: This sounds like a very sensible book to allay kids' worries about school. I liked what you said about ...normalized therapy and that the author pointed out that a lot more people go to therapy than talk about it.
So many children go to school with anxiety-related stomach problems. I always found that so sad... we send off our kids to grade school, knowing this was happening, not being able to do anything. Children start off so happy and excited about school and by grade 3, are disillusioned. And yes, we sought counselling, only to learn how prevalent the problem was (is).
>169 SandyAMcPherson: I agree, it's a shame this is so common. I know I suffer from stomach issues when my anxiety is bad, and have done so ever since I was in grade school.
(113 books read)
Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, illustrated by Maurice Sendak -- A collection of Yiddish tales, some funny, others quite touching. The title story, the last in the book, was one of the latter, and probably my favorite in this volume. Many are set around Hanukkah, so this would be a perfect read for that time of year. If you have an interest in Eastern European Jewish village tales, or enjoy short story collections in general, this one is actually lovely.
Right now, Rob is still reading the last three things I said he was reading. And maybe this book as well; I'll see if he's interested.
(114 books read)
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner -- Things continue to happen, which would constitute spoilers for earlier books in the series. Just read it, folks -- what are you waiting for?
As with the earlier books in the series, I read this one aloud to the housemate. We're both loving this series (well, I already did, of course), though in reading aloud we have discovered that the chapter breaks are very erratic in this one -- a couple of times I had to stop at a sensible point mid-chapter because the chapter was going on for. ever. and other times I read two chapters at a sitting because they were short. Still, an excellent book, and we've already started the next one.
(115 books read)
Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton -- When Bon Agornin dies, it means change is coming for every member of his family. His two unmarried daughters are sent to live with their more established siblings, but not before there is the most frightful row over Bon Agornin's final wishes. Lawsuits, proposals, and dinner parties ensue as the two younger daughters navigate the perilous waters of courtship while the rest of the family deals with the fallout from Agornin's death.
Oh, did I mention that they are all dragons?
I just loved this book. The world is well-described without being over-explained, and the fact that all of the characters are dragons is not in any way superfluous. I am impressed at the author's range, as well as her ability to meld the style of the nineteenth-century novel with the trappings of high fantasy.
I copied the above review from last time I read this book, as it still holds true. A highly enjoyable read.
Right now, Rob is reading something on the Internet to do with Dungeons and Dragons, and also several of the things I've mentioned before.
>174 quondame: Both were rereads for me. I'm still in something like a reading slump, so rereads and graphic novels seem to be all I can manage at present. Hoping I can get back to something like my usual pace soon, but maybe this is my new normal?
>175 foggidawn: I have done so few re-reads this year, which is very unusual. I think it is because of all the BBs and things I encounter for challenges. I have re-read both of those titles, possibly more than once.
>176 quondame: It's always difficult to balance -- I love rereading, but hate missing out on new, exciting reads that could go on to be old favorites.
>173 foggidawn: Agree with you Foggy - that one is great fun to read.
(116 books read)
The Peacock Detectives by Carly Nugent -- reviewing elsewhere, just including it in my count here.
(117 books read)
Best Friends by Shannon Hale — As she enters sixth grade, Shannon is feeling pretty good about things. She’s sharing a locker with Jen, the most popular girl in school, so she’s definitely part of the in-crowd. Things can get confusing, though: the imaginative games she used to love aren’t cool any more, sometimes the popular kids are mean, which she knows is wrong, and then there are boys... and the rules for interacting with them seem to have changed. Sometimes all of these things make her so nervous that her stomach hurts. Plus, next year she will be in middle school. Will all of the rules change again?
This is Hale’s second graphic memoir, and while I’d definitely recommend it to readers who enjoyed the first one, I think it stands well on its own. I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure that the intended audience will love it even more.
>166 foggidawn: D reads those books, and has loved them. She hasn't gotten Guts yet, but we ordered it.
>182 The_Hibernator: She’d probably enjoy the ones by Shannon Hale, too.
(118 books read)
The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater: Essays on Crafting by Alanna Okun -- Okun's grandmother taught her to knit when she was six, and she's been involved in various fiber arts (mostly knitting, embroidery, crochet) ever since. In these autobiographical essays, she talks about crafting, and also about significant people in her life: boyfriends, best friends, family. My favorite quote from the book is from one of the early essays, "First Rows," where she talks about a friend who died. "I would always want him in a way that he did not want me, but instead of letting that repel him, he would take it and remake it into a firm and constant friendship." She also says a lot of great things in the titular essay about crafting, about crafting for specific people and what that means, or what you might want it to mean. "Because your gift is an assertion. 'I love you,' it says. 'I love you times ten thousand stitches and fourteen consecutive subway rides. I love you enough to keep you warm, and I love you enough to know what you need and therefore who you are, and in exchange I want you to think of me and want me and feel me there even when I am not with you.'"
This definitely has the feeling of a young person's memoir. Okun occasionally wonders about what the future might hold, and there's definitely a sense that she doesn't have everything figured out yet. I'm not a knitter and failed multiple times at learning to crochet, though I do some embroidery (mostly cross-stitch) and some basic sewing. Still, these essays caught my attention and I found them, for the most part, charming. If you have an interest in fiber arts from a Millennial perspective, I'd recommend this book.
>184 foggidawn: Not a read for me (even though I do crochet) but I do enjoy the title. :)
>185 MickyFine: I always think I should crochet -- but I've never been determined enough to pick it up and stick with it, I think is what it boils down to.
>186 jnwelch: It's a great title! I ran across a mention of it in an article I was reading, checked it out from one of my library's ebook providers, and read it in a couple days.
>187 foggidawn: I had the advantage of having my mom teaching me the basics for crochet, which made it easier for me to get into.
>188 MickyFine: Alas, my mother also tried to teach me. It didn't take. :-)
>184 foggidawn: This title is very beguiling.
Since I neither knit or crochet, I'm not so sure it is for me. But a millennial's fibre arts perspective is an attractive theme. I thought your review was very interesting and upthumbed it. I liked the other reviews, too, but this one (foggi's) gave a valuable perspective about crafting that is so incisive.
>184 foggidawn: I think I'd enjoy the fiber arts side, but the memoir part would likely drive me crazy.
(119 books read)
The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman -- Running away from his abusive uncle, Nick stumbles upon Evil Wizard Books, and its crusty proprietor. Could the old man really be a wizard? Nick doubts it -- until the evil wizard declares Nick his apprentice and enchants him so that he can't leave the property. Nick is sure that Smallbone doesn't mean to teach him any magic -- but maybe he's stubborn enough to learn on his own...
This is an enjoyable read for fans of children's fantasy. It's quirky, with hints of darkness, but not anything that will be too scary or upsetting for sensitive readers. I enjoyed it, but didn't find it so compelling that I couldn't put it down. I think it would be a good, cozy wintertime read.
>193 foggidawn: Oops, book bullet!! On order from the library right now (3 of 5 copies available)! And my grandmother taught me to crochet.
>193 foggidawn: I'm glad you reviewed this book (and liked your review with a thumb's up). It seems pretty interesting, so I've looked at our library holdings, sio I can preassess it myself. I am in the hunt for some enticing reading material to give the 8-9 y.o. set at Christmastime.
(120 books read)
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner — Once again, I’m not going to risk spoilers with a review. Suffice it to say that my housemate and I are both loving this series (if you’re just getting here, I’m reading this aloud to him; it’s a reread for me, but the first time he’s hearing it). Highly recommended; start at the beginning.
>193 foggidawn: The Evil Wizard Smallbone
I borrowed this novel from the library and just finished it last night.
I'm not so sure I'd give it as a gift. But it was a clever tale alright. About halfway through I ended up skimming the story, just to see if the conclusions filled my "happily ever after" notions, not that I require syrupy dénouements. It was an 'okay' narrative but not compelling.
I didn't add it to my borrowed from the library collection, so I'm just commenting here.
I'm wishing we (in Saskatoon) had a proper children's librarian. When the new director was hired, the decision was made to abolish specialists. I am still really angry about that as it was a disgraceful decision that did not benefit the patrons. When I ask for help in finding books like a certain type, there isn't anyone who can knowledgeably help. I so miss the specialists who are trained in specific areas.
I will go and rant more on this topic on my own 2019-thread... if the children's librarian specialists on LT read this, perhaps you could wander over and give me some insights. I'd be so very grateful...
>199 ronincats: I liked it better this time through than I remember liking it in the past. Reading aloud makes me slow down and notice things. It’s still probably my least favorite of the series, but least-favorite book of a favorite series is still a book I love. And at one point Rob said he thought it might be his favorite of the series so far, though that was halfway through, so I’ll have to ask him what he thinks now that we’ve finished.
>200 SandyAMcPherson: Yes, I can see that. I also found it not entirely compelling. I’ll head over to your thread with more suggestions.
>201 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi. I saw your recommendations and plan to look in our library system for these titles.
Every one of them is a new author to me! So I am very grateful.
I was floored to find out that the staff member at checkout in the juvenile section had never even heard of The Egypt Game and even more appalling, seemed hazy about what was a 'Newbery Medal'. (Is it just my being unrealistic or is this as devastating as I believe?)
>202 SandyAMcPherson: That’s appalling. Though, being in Canada, maybe the Newbery is not as big a deal? Still, it’s very sad that the expertise isn’t there.
(121 books read)
A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth -- Violet Sterling grew up in one of England's five Great Houses. Her father was caretaker to the house's magic, and Violet knew that she would someday take on that role. A Caretaker puts her house before everything else: king, country, family, even her own life. And Violet is willing to do that for Burleigh House. But then her father is charged with treason and sentenced to House Arrest -- he will be stripped of the key that enables him to channel the house's magic, and without that, the house will slowly consume him. His only companion is Wyn, the foundling boy that he adopted, supposedly to be a companion for Violet -- but it seems that he actually had other plans for Wyn all along. Years later, when Violet gets the news that her father has died and Burleigh House is in a sorry state, she begs the king for the opportunity to go back to Burleigh and restore it. Wyn is still there, but his experiences have changed him. He's bitter and harsh, and tells Violet that she should run now, while she still can. Violet is determined to save Burleigh, no matter the cost -- even if it means repeating her father's treason.
This is a fascinating, dark fantasy. The house is an ambiguous character, slightly menacing but also affectionate at times. I had trouble relating to Violet's choices and never got a real feeling for the romance between her and Wyn (which never really advances beyond a finger stroked along the side of a face, and maybe some anguished looks). If you like dark fantasy and sentient houses, I'd recommend this one. I didn't like it as much as the author's first book (The Light Between Worlds), but that one is hard to top for me. Fantasy fans should take note of this book, nevertheless.
Things are going really well for me. The housemate situation continues to be positive -- we're still getting along better than I expected or hoped. I'm in the thick of rehearsals for my play, with less than three weeks (!!!!!) until performances begin. I'm spending this coming weekend at a cabin (Hocking Hills, for those familiar with Ohio geography) with some ladies I used to work with, and since cell reception is said to be poor and wifi nonexistent, I'm hoping for a lot of reading time (plus board games, yummy food, and time in the hot tub). Oh, and...
I'M GETTING A PUPPY!
So, as you may remember, I was going to get a Springer Spaniel puppy from my parents' dog, but unfortunately she developed pyometra, so she will not be having puppies. (She is otherwise fully recovered, to my great relief!) However, the breeder who owns the stud that she was bred to had a litter from another dog, and he sent photos to my mother, who sent them to me. They are awfully cute, so I was easily convinced. I've been so pitiful without a dog in my life. Several people have asked what Rob thinks of this, and my typical response is that he's pleased. After all, as he likes to say, he loves animals so much that he refuses to eat them. I'm planning on naming the dog Charlotte, and calling her Lottie for short. Here's a picture of Lottie with one of her sisters -- she is the puppy on the left:
They have to stay with their mother a couple more weeks, but I should be getting her in mid-November.
PUPPY!!! She is adorable :) Congratulations! Post lots of pictures!
Charlotte is absolutely adorable! Looking forward to hearing puppy stories next month. :D
Thanks for the good puppy wishes Nora, Roni, Natalie, Susan, and Micky! I'm smitten, and will totally post pictures and tell stories.
>204 foggidawn: Coincidence! (Snap!?)
I just started reading The Light Between Worlds.
As you know, I am exploring the 'tweens' literature. Weymouth is a new author for me.
Have only reached page 12 so far, so no commentary yet.
Not so sure that A Treason of Thorns is going to appeal to me, but I think Wonders might.
Oh, yes, PUPPY!
I grew up with springers, so I am totally on your page.
>212 SandyAMcPherson: I'd say Weymouth is more teen than tween, but that's a blurry line, especially when I remember my own reading (i.e. anything I could get my hands on) at that age. And it's certainly not that there's anything inappropriate, content-wise, in her books -- just maybe some thematic stuff that will go over the heads of some youngsters.
>213 SandyAMcPherson: We had a Springer when I was small, and then again when I was a teen, and my parents have one now, so I have a definite bias towards them. My Sophie was a terrier mix, and I loved her beyond reason, so I thought about getting another terrier mix, possibly from a shelter or rescue, but then Lottie came along. Maybe at some point I'll get a rescue terrier to keep Lottie company. "One dog at a time," I tell myself.
>205 foggidawn: Puppy!!!
She looks adorable. How old is she and when does she come to your place?
I am so happy for you! Everything seems to be going well and a puppy! I have always loved the name Lottie, even with the character in A Little Princess! Take lots of pictures!
OH, yay for the new friend! Lottie is adorbs.
>204 foggidawn: Adding that one to the list...
>218 scaifea: Thanks! And I hope you enjoy the book when you get to it.
(122 books read)
Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption, edited by Daniel Jones -- Perhaps you're familiar with the Modern Love column in the New York Times? This book collects some of the best essays from that column's 15-year history. Most relate to romantic love, but some look at friendship or familial love. I thought the funniest was Aaron Long's "First I met my children. Then my girlfriend. They're related." and the most touching was one I had already read when it was originally published in the newspaper, Amy Krouse Rosenthal's "You May Want to Marry My Husband."
If you're a long-time NYT subscriber, you'll doubtless have already read all or most of these, though I'm sure they'd make for pleasant rereading. However, if you're someone who, like me, may have read a few Modern Love columns but hasn't plumbed the depths, this is a sweet and enjoyable collection of the highlights.
>221 MickyFine: Yay! I thought you might have come across this one already, professionally. I've been reading a lot more nonfiction than usual this year; I'm working on reading a memoir right now, as a matter of fact.
There's a Hulu show based on Modern Love (not sure if it's this particular collection or other essays) that came out last week. Can't say I've been tempted, though it's got a good cast.
>223 norabelle414: I had heard that there was a show, but hadn't looked into it at all yet.
>222 foggidawn: Surprisingly, I somehow hadn't. Just added it to my current cart at work. :)
So, the breeder sent me a really cute picture of Lottie, and I can't resist sharing:
You can get a much better sense of what she looks like in this one. I'm so excited, and can hardly wait until she comes home to me!
>232 SandyAMcPherson: She's dangerously cute, I agree!
Had a great weekend, and got some reading done, as well as some board gaming, cooking, hiking, hot tubbing, campfiring, and canoeing. Book reviews to come!
(123 books read)
Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper -- As granddaughter of the pastor and founder of Westboro Baptist church, Megan Phelps-Roper grew up in a warm and loving extended family . . . who went out every day to picket various functions and organizations, hurling invective and carrying signs that the vast majority of people find extraordinarily offensive. As she grows from a teen to a young adult, Phelps-Roper becomes her mother's right hand in her work with the organization, and one of the most prominent social media voices in Westboro. However, as the church leadership shifts, she starts questioning everything she's ever been taught. A secret online conversation with a kind, patient lawyer makes her wonder: what if she were to leave?
I found this hard reading, especially some of the descriptions of the abhorrent things done and said by Westboro members, and Phelps-Roper herself prior to leaving the church. It also felt like Westboro was reading an entirely different Bible from the one I grew up reading. I feel that Phelps-Roper does a good job of showing the brainwashing that takes place, as well as her complicated feelings of affection for her family, even as she becomes convinced that what they are doing is wrong. As someone who converted from an Evangelical denomination to the Eastern Orthodox Church in college, I could sympathize with some of Phelps-Roper's experiences, though mine were in every way more gentle. I would have liked to see a little bit more about the romance between Phelps-Roper and the lawyer, whom she eventually marries -- I'll admit, the age difference between them squicks me out just a little -- and a little bit more of her life after Westboro. Still, a great read, especially if (like me) you've ever wondered how a group that's purportedly "Christian" could spew such hatred.
(124 books read)
Frankly in Love by David Yoon -- Frank Li is in love with Brit Means. She's nerdy, cute, smart, funny, and kind. There's just one problem: she's not Korean, and Frank's parents would flip if he ever started dating outside of his culture. Joy Song, daughter of his parents' best friends, has a similar problem: her secret boyfriend is Chinese-American, and her parents would similarly lose their cool if it was revealed that she's dating him. So, Frank and Joy hatch a plot: they will fake-date, in order to keep their parents happy and still be able to spend time with their chosen dates. What could go wrong?
The first half of this book is the lighthearted rom-com that I expected, given that summary, but the later half of the book delves into deeper issues. The writing is delightful, and you can't help but like Frank, despite the fact that his failure to let Brit in on the deception is obviously going to come back and bite him. The secondary characters are great, especially Frank's best friend Q. If you enjoy realistic young adult lit, don't miss this one!
(125 books read)
How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway -- Mel has had some bad experiences with men lately, particularly with men met through online dating. In a fit of vengeful pique, she codes JerkAlert -- a site where women can "review" men they've met through online dating sites and warn other girls to steer clear of the cheaters, the misogynists, and the compulsive senders of dick pics. She means to delete it after sharing it with her closest friends, but JerkAlert proves surprisingly popular. Meanwhile, a cute co-worker asks Mel out, and she really likes him -- but her recent experiences, plus seeing all of those JerkAlert reviews, make her insecure and paranoid. Plus, she's not about to tell him that she's the creator of JerkAlert. As their relationship deepens, the secrets and lies threaten to bring everything crashing down around Mel's shoulders.
Ugh, online dating. Everything I read about it (news articles, how-to guides, this book) makes me feel depressed. In this case, it was just painful to watch Mel self-destruct. It's a romance, so hardly a spoiler that things turn out well, but the middle part was hard for me to read (well, listen to, as I checked out the audiobook), and the eventual resolution felt like too little, too late to me. However, anyone with a happier view of online dating than I have might enjoy this book more.
>235 foggidawn: I've been resisting this one (I follow Penguin Teen on Instagram and they have been promoting it to the point where I just got annoyed) but your review made this sound really cute! I'll put it on the list.
>237 curioussquared: They have been pushing it pretty hard. The cover is amazing, though. (Oh, and the content was good, too.)
It's a bit late, but congrats on getting a new puppy! She looks absolutely adorable! I want to read Frankly in Love at some point, but I've got a few other YA books I want to get to first.
>239 SandyAMcPherson: Hope you enjoy it!
>240 aktakukac: You're right on time, actually -- Lottie is coming home to me tomorrow!
The original plan was for my parents to bring Lottie with them when they come to see my show in mid-November, but Dad suggested that we could meet halfway tomorrow, so we're going to do that. I may be a little crazy, acquiring a puppy during tech week for the play, but Rob is willing to help out, and I just couldn't wait any longer!
>241 foggidawn: Oh that's great! Good luck with Lottie and everything for the play :)
Looking forward to yakkety and photos of Lottie. It will be a lovely dose of sanity and cuteness (at least on my end).
I well remember the trials and tribulations of a little puppy: it was like having a baby in the house again!
Yay, it's almost puppy day!! So excited for all your pictures. Getting Otter was an adventure even though he was already 10 months, and he's still a little challenging seven months later :) But he's the best! I can't wait to see and hear all about Lottie.
It looks like I dropped by the thread just in time to see lots of puppy pictures! *Waits patiently*
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