“What Are You Reading?” Wednesdays (February 18, 2015)

The SilmarillionWhat are you currently reading?

I’m kinda/sorta (re)reading The Silmarillion, but I will be honest with you: I’ve been in the worst reading slump. I just can’t focus on anything, and it’s awful.

What did you recently finish reading?

Since I last updated, I’ve read: In Real Life, Take Me Out to the Yakyu, The Hobbit (can you tell I’m on a Middle-earth kick?) and the online edition of Nimona. (I can’t wait for the print version this May.)

What do you think you’ll read next?

Ugh, I don’t know. I just hope I’ll find something to pull me out of this slump.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (January 28, 2015)

“What are you reading?” Wednesday has been absorbed into Musing Mondays over at Should Be Reading, but I’ll continue posting on Wednesdays.

What are you currently reading?

Lately, I’ve had a hard tine focusing on any one thing in particular even – especially? – if it’s really good. I’ve been on the same page of Iron-Hearted Violet for almost a week now, though I did get halfway through Capture the Flag before one of my students borrowed it off my desk. I checked out The Hobbit from our secondary library, too. I think the difference is, Capture the Flag and The Hobbit are in print, but Iron-Hearted Violet is an ebook.

I hope I can snap out of this slump soon. As a young and unsettled expat, 99% of my library is on my phone.

What did you recently finish reading?

When You Reach MeI read When You Reach Me in about two days, after an SLJ review suggested it for people who liked The Riverman. I still haven’t made up my mind about The Riverman, and I won’t until at least I’ve had a chance to read The Whisper, but probably not even then, until the third book comes out. I’ve accepted the possibility that I might never know.

I do know how I felt about When You Reach Me, though, and that is: it was awesome. It was awesome in a quiet, creeping way that sticks with you, but I dreamed about it both days I read it, and that’s always a sign of a book really sinking it’s teeth into you and not letting go. (This book was also in print, from our school library.)

What do you think you’ll read next?

I need to get through Iron-Hearted Violet. It’s really frustrating me that I’m having such a hard time focusing on my phone, because, you know, this book is really good and filled with things I love (headstrong, imperfect girls! the multiverse! things seeping through the walls between worlds! clever metafiction!) and for some reason, I just go crosseyed looking at it. Sigh.

If this ebook slump continues, then I’ll make my way through The Hobbit and then, if I’m still having a hard time, onto The Fellowship of the Ring.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (January 21, 2015)

“What are you reading?” Wednesday has been absorbed into Musing Mondays over at Should Be Reading, but I’ll continue posting on Wednesdays.

Iron Hearted VioletWhat are you currently reading?

Iron Hearted Violet, by Kelly Barnhill, and it’s so good. I have a few other books on my ereading app (don’t I always?) but this one has just been so amazing that I haven’t even been tempted at all to see what else I’ve got on there.

What did you recently finish reading?

I read (and reviewed) Vivian Apple at the End of the World.

During my lunch breaks at work, I read Afternoon of the Elves, the 1991 Newbury Medal winner, in the Open Library online reader. It was … okay, I guess, but I’m surprised it was a Newbury Medal winner. Was 1990 just a slow year for children’s fiction, or something? It wasn’t bad, exactly, but with that golden sticker on the front, I was expecting better.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have Shadowplay on my phone and I’m about halfway through So You Want to Be a Wizard. I should probably try to get through my backlog of half finished books before I start anything else, but “should” doesn’t necessarily mean “will,” because one of my students is reading The Fellowship of the Ring and another student is reading The Golden Compass and I want to reread both of those things now so I can talk about it with them. (Not that I haven’t almost memorized both of those books, but, you know.)

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (January 14, 2015)

“What are you reading?” Wednesday has been absorbed into Musing Mondays over at Should Be Reading, but I’ll continue posting on Wednesday because I am a creature of habit and I hate change.


Vivian Apple (2)What are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m reading Vivan Apple at the End of the World (also known as Vivian Versus The Apocalypse across the pond). I’ve only just started, but so far, I like the style, I like the POV character, Vivian, I like her makeshift family of her bestie, her bestie’s brother, her bestie’s brother’s boyfriend, and her bestie’s brother’s boyfriend’s little sister.

Like, did the Rapture really happen, or something else? Only a handful of chapters in and I’m already concerned about Vivian, which is a good sign; usually I can’t “do” apocalyptic stories, so I have to be really invested in the character to not just bow out and head for the safety of the real, not ending, world.

I happened across this one by accident, but I’m already glad I did.

I still have both Diane Duane’s So You Want to be a Wizard and Laura Lam’s Shadowplay all set up on my ereader, but somehow they both fell by the wayside, so I’m kinda/sorta still reading. During my lunch break at work, I’ve been reading 1990 Newbury Award winner Afternoon of the Elves, by Janet Taylor Lisle, via Open Library.

What did you recently finish reading?

RivermanThe Riverman, by Aaron Starmer, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I don’t even remember where I heard about it but as soon as I did, I knew I had to read it that very instant or I would die. I made it through my work day, got home, acquired the ebook immediately, and started to read. I devoured it, but I’m not sure what to make of the ending, and I don’t even know whether I liked it or not.

On one hand, it feels like Aaron Starmer wrote this book for me. On the other hand, I won’t know if I like it until I find out if Aquavania is real or not, and what happens in the sequel, The Whisper, due out later this year.

The other book I read last week was Thanha Lai’s Inside Out & Back Again. One of my library regulars adores this book, and I finally got around to reading it as part of my resolution to read more poetry and read more books by/about people of color, but mostly because this is a community of readers, I respect this patron as a reader, and I wanted to read the book she recommended me, because this can’t be a one-way street.

It was amazing.

I took photos of my favorite bits.

Iron Hearted VioletWhat do you think you’ll read next?

I already have Iron Hearted Violet transferred over to my phone (which conveniently doubles as my ereader, because I’m cheap), ready to go. I enjoyed The Witch’s Boy, also by Kelly Barnhill, when I read it last year, and Iron Hearted Violet promises a lot of the things I love in books: a princess who is “plain, reckless, and … too clever for her own good,” a storyteller, taming dragons, magic books, you name it. From the description, it reminds me of a Book of Shadows, at least, I think it sounds like Violet and Charlie would be good friends.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m suddenly ravenous for books, and I’m tearing through them at a decent clip – at least for me, while working full time, etc. I have a bunch of stuff lined up, but does that mean anything? Nah.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (January 7, 2015)

So You Want to Be a Wizard What are you currently reading?

I was thinking recently that I really liked Diane Duane’s So You Want to be a Wizard (though not, as I remember it, the rest of the Young Wizards series), so I figured now was as good a time as any to reread it.

So You Want to Be a Wizard counts towards both my Flights of Fantasy and Diversity on the Shelf challenges; it is a fantasy story about (as far as I can tell), a biracial Hispanic girl (Nita) and a Hispanic boy (Kit).

I also have Laura Lam’s Shadowplay on the back burner.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading A Christmas Carol, and then I sat down with Tiger in my Soup, a book purchased to the library that was shipped to my home over break to my place instead of the school. It’s really sweet and I can’t wait to read it with my students.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have The Golden Compass on my desk again, but in the interest of reading something new this year, I might also pick up Half a Chance. My students and coworkers keep telling me it’s so great, even the patrons who usually stick pretty closely to fantasy or adventure genres. High praise, then, for a realistic book if they can’t stop telling me that it’s so great!

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesdays are hosted by Should be Reading.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (December 24, 2014 – Christmas Eve)

A Christmas CarolWhat are you currently reading?

‘Tis the season and all, so I’m reading A Christmas Carol. I grew up with the 1983 Disney special Mickey’s Christmas Carol and the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, and I designed a book jacket to fit the local library copy for a project during high school, but I’ve never actually read it; my one encounter with Dickens (Bleak House) scared me off of that for a very long time. Now that I have the time and motivation to read it for my own edification and of my own free will, I’m finding that it’s not actually so bad.

I do have a problem with hearing some parts in Gonzo’s voice, because they’re directly quoted in Muppet’s Christmas Carol. 

I’m happy to finally be reading this book. It’s helping me to keep in the Christmas spirit and not be such a Scrooge.

A Christmas Carol

The colors matched up when printed. This is the problem when designing in RGB for print in CYMK.

What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve been on vacation, so I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of reading this week.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish LieutenantI read Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant in two sittings: once right before bed and then immediately as soon as I woke up (and wrote my morning pages). I grew up on black and white manga, so I struggle with the information overload of full color comic books, but it was beautiful – the art and the story, both. I guess it’s the first in a series, and I hope I get the chance to read the rest of it.

I finished Pantomime and it was excellent. (Review.)

Keeping with the season, I read My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, which I enjoyed, but I also docked a star because there was one token queer couple, two cis gay boys, and exactly zero queer women or trans people, which is just such a bummer.  You’ll have to do better than that if you want an ally cookie. (Review.)

Then I read Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, which I liked a lot at the beginning and wanted to like at the end, but it didn’t quite work for me. (I can’t really say what bugged me about it without getting into spoiler territory, but it really just didn’t seem to “fit” for me. Suffice to say, I think the ending would have been better left ambiguous.)

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not really sure why I haven’t immediately jumped into Shadowplay, considering the first thing I did when I finished Pantomime was run out and get it? (Metaphorically.) So… probably that!

I’ve read 98 of my 100 books for the Goodreads challenge. This isn’t to say that hitting 100 will stop me, but expect some MATHS soon. For someone who had to take my math gen ed pass/fail, I really like crunching numbers.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesdays are hosted by Should be Reading.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (December 17, 2014)

What are you currently reading?

Pantomime

When I first head about Laura Lam’s Pantomime, I really had no interest in reading it, because the blurb made it sound like some kind of hetero paranormal steampunk fantasy romance. Which, I mean, okay, fine, that’s cool I guess but I don’t really care.

Oh, except that Micah is a bisexual intersex trans man. That is much more relevant to my interests, thank you. I didn’t learn about that until I read the blurb for the sequel, which made me go back and get the first book. I’m glad I didn’t recognize Shadowplay as the sequel of Pantomime when I first saw it, or I would have skipped over it and gone to something else. Instead, I went back for the first book and it’s really good. I’m looking forward to the second already.

I also got a shipment of library books to my place, since they were arriving after vacation started, which means that I have a copy of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant just sitting there, waiting for me. I’ve read a few pages and I’m already in love with Delilah.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished (re)reading Scott Westerfeld’s So Yesterday, a book I’ve mentioned that I adored in high school. I’m not sure it entirely stood the test of time, but part of that is because it’s so dated. 2004 is a decade ago, and because so much of the story relies on trendiness and cutting edge technology, it’s a little jarring to read about tiny, blurry pictures taken on flip phones as a cool new thing.

PlayI also picked up Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. We got it for the professional development collection at work. It was okay. The research was interesting, but the author’s casual classism and sexism really made it hard to focus on the science. It was very, like, “boys will be boys and girls will gossip.” Uhm, no.

I also, admittedly to catch up on my Goodreads challenge, marked Shadowscapes Companion as “read.” I’ve been using it for tarot since February, and I’ve memorized most of the cards. It’s not really the kind of book you read front-to-back, but I figured it was close enough. I’ll never really be finished reading it, as long as I still practice tarot with that deck, you know?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Shadowplay. Obviously. I can’t wait to get started on it. I only picked up Pantomime on Monday, and I’m already 150+ pages into it. (I read really slowly. That’s a lot for me.)

I also borrowed The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic from the library at work to read over vacation when none of the students needed it.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesdays are hosted by Should be Reading.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (December 10, 2014)

23281884What are you currently reading?

A Mad, Wicked Folly is on my phone, and thus the one I’m carrying around with me. (True story: I have a repetitive stress injury in my shoulder from check-in/check-out at a very unergonomic desk set-up and a mouse I can’t reach. Carrying books around is painful.)

It’s… It’s interesting. I think I’ll save my thoughts for a proper response. We haven’t had a My Thoughts On… in a bit.

On my desk at work, I’ve still got So Yesterday left to finish. It’s quite the nostalgia bomb, first published ten years ago, and I read it maybe eight or nine years ago, when I was in eleventh grade. I wonder how the story would have to change if it took place in 2014 instead of 2004? I’ve been thinking about that a lot as I read.

What did you recently finish reading?

An elementary student borrowed The Hunger Games with her mum but returned it to my check-in box, which means it ended up on my desk to be dropped off in the secondary library. I just held onto it for a few days in between and reread it in a binge. It’s so disturbing, but also so compulsively readable. I made the mistake of reading the first few pages, and that was it.

The Problem With Being Slightly HeroicI also finished reading The Tastemakers, which was the book on my phone. I liked it! I guess I never thought too hard about food trends before, because I’m neither a foodie nor a trend…y?, but I think that’s the best kind of popular nonfiction, a book that illuminates, in a readable way, something you didn’t know about – maybe something you didn’t even know you didn’t know about.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I try to encourage a community of readers in my library, and that means my students give me recommendations, too, reader-to-reader. I don’t just suggest books from on high. Today I told them I have another ten books to go if I want to reach my goal of 100 books in 2014, so they made a pile of their favorites for me to read: The Problem With Being Slightly Heroic (sequel to The Grand Plan to Fix Everything), Absolutely Almost, and Inside Out & Back Again. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to read all three before the week is out, but I can borrow them over the holiday and give my eyes a break from squinting at my phone screen all day.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (December 3, 2014)

What are you currently reading?

The TastemakersAfter last week’s big push, I found myself in a slump. I read all the good stuff and I didn’t have anything left that really excited me. But with a month to go until my Goodreads 2014 Challenge closes, it’s crunch time. I have to keep reading; I have just under a month to read twelve books. Now was not the time for a slump.

So what did I go?

I got more books.

I’ve read a lot of nonfiction this year, which is new for me, but often I find that it holds my attention, even when fiction falls flat. I mean, there’s just so much cool stuff out there in the world, ways of considering things I took for granted. So right now, I’m reading The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue.

What do I know about food blogging? The closest I get is sharing photos of cakes on Instagram. I’m not a foodie, but The Tastemakers has been fascinating.

I also started, then set aside, Reading Like a Writer. I think Francine Proses’s book will be a good one for honing my writing craft, but a chapter dedicated to the singular importance of a the perfect word in a well constructed sentence… Well, it’s not very appropriate reading for the last week of NaNoWriMo, so I put it down for awhile with the intent to come back at a more opportune time.

Meanwhile, because I don’t want to be reading no fiction, I’m continuing my reread of Scott Westerfeld’s So Yesterday, which I started during our school’s D.E.A.R. program. I loved this book so much in high school.

What did you recently finish reading?

23281884As part of my NaNoWriMo participation, I (re)read along the week-by-week chapters of founder Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! for helpful tips and pointers I forgot in the seven years since I won. That was the only book I finished reading this week. All of my time went to writing.

What do you think that you’ll read next?

I’ve got A Mad, Wicked Folly on my phone, because it keeps coming up on book blogs and hey, women’s suffrage.

Other than that, I don’t have anything in particular lined up, because a) that’s not really a thing that I do, and b) I’ve got to be reading a lot, and while a list of possibilities is helpful in keeping me motivated, a list of “requirements,” or a list that feels like a chore to complete, will only make me drag my feet.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesdays are hosted by Should be Reading.

“What Are You Reading?” Wednesday (November 26, 2014)

Brown Girl DreamingWhat are you currently reading?

I’ve wanted to read Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming since I first heard about it, but after National Book Awards, I knew I had to read it. (I hadn’t known that Jacqueline Woodson grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, which made me that much more interested in her memoir. I was never religious, but my BFF in high school was a Witness and I used to read the Watchtower and Awake! magazines.)

I can’t wait to get this book into my library. I think it’s so valuable, and so important, and so good. My students love novels-in-verse historical fiction – the older students’ teachers read them Tofu Quilt and I have a few girls who rave about Inside Out & Back Again, and I think this will be an appreciated addition to the collection.

I also started The Twistrose Key while waiting in line at the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater for a friend, and I … read a bit, and then checked Twitter or Facebook, then read a bit. I don’t know. Lately talking animals just don’t do it for me? That’s what made me put down Hollow City, too. It’s weird, because I grew up on the Redwall books and, duh, Iorek Byrnison in The Golden Compass, but I dunno. I’m going to keep at it, but slowly.

What did you recently finish reading?

Last week, I was eight books behind on my Goodreads Challenge. This week, I’m only three. I read Mem Fox’s Reading Magic, hoping there would be some useful tips for teachers, not parents, but there wasn’t much.

finally finished Superman: The High-Flying History of the Man of Steel and The Cambridge Companion to Children’s Literature. (I was nearly finished with both of those things, anyway. I just actually got around to finishing them this week.)

The Story of Fish & SnailI read all of Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. I was super excited for this book after Kelly Jensen‘s glowing review, but I found it a little bit meh. Maybe it would have been better in print, or even on a bigger screen, so I could get a better view of the photos that accompany each poem?

In my library collection, I had the opportunity to read Fortunately, The Milk in one short sitting during an inservice day, and the good luck to read the utterly delightful The Story of Fish & Snail. I read it out loud eight times from Monday to Friday, and I liked it more and more each time – definitely a keeper. One class even asked for an encore. It’s so much fun to slam the book shut when Fish says “THE END.” and the students can see there are still pages left. (I like that the end then is a new beginning, and doesn’t say “THE END.” I liked how cleverly the illustrations are used to be in the book/about the book. It’s meta, but it’s subtle.)

What do you think you’ll read next?

Well, like I said… I’m not so good about TBRs. I think The Twistrose Key will be a lingering read. That’s not a bad thing, just different. After Brown Girl Dreaming, if I’m not burned out on novels-in-verse, I might pick up Inside Out & Back Again. One of my students adores this book, it seems like a good “readalike,” and I know she would be thrilled if I picked up a book at her suggestion.