"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Snapshot Saturday...September 20

We visited the animal barns while at the Washington State Fair (The Puyallup Fair) yesterday:

Mohair Goat. Love the hair!
Belgian butts

Percheron giant weighing in at 2200 pounds.
Being silly in Sillyville.
Snapshot Saturday is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Friday memes...September 18

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader
The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice

Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't select their favorite, coolest or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading.

I'm reading---

Book: True Sisters by Sandra Dallas

Book Beginnings: July 28, 1856. The two sisters leaned forward, their hands flat against the rear of their handcart, waiting, fidgeting, impatient. It was late in the day, and they had been ready for hours, had stood there behind the spindly cart that was piled with all their worldly goods, listening for the command or maybe the sound of the cornet that would send them on their way.

Friday 56: She had so much to learn to please her husband, so Louisa was satisfied at the rare words of approval. There was no further talk of food until they reached camp and the women took out their bacon, rancid now, and meager ration of flour and prepared a dinner tht all of them hoped would not be their usual fare in the valley.---from page 156.

My thoughts: The book is historical fiction about the western migration of Mormons seeking the land they call Zion, in Utah territory. It is pitiful what these poor people had to endure including a high death rate from starvation, exhaustion, and exposure to the elements.

Monday, September 15, 2014

TTT: Authors that don't get the love they deserve

Top Ten Tuesday's topic is authors I've only read one of their books. I am putting a twist on that theme and will focus on authors who do not get the love they deserve by students in my library. (In no particular order.)

1. Garth Nix: I am crazy about the Abhorsen series by Nix. I practically have to beg for students to start the series, let alone finish it.

2. Patrick Ness: The same thing goes for Ness. Kids are a bit intimidated by the Chaos Walking series by size. Once they start the series, however, they are likely to finish it.

3. David Levithan: LGBT students often search for authors that speak to their issues but Levithan is often overlooked. His most popular book at the school is The Lover's Dictionary, which wasn't written as a YA book, and Every Day which isn't a LGBT-themed book. Sigh.

4. Stephanie Perkins: Shockingly Perkins isn't as popular as you would think based on all the love she gets on the blogosphere. Kids like Anna and the French Kiss, but practically ignore Lola and the Boy Next Door. Her new book has been checked out once, but the school year is new. Teen readers are so streaky.

5. Cory Doctorow: I am crazy about Little Brother and have two other Doctorow books in the library which are all largely ignored. I sometimes wonder if students avoid books because I am pushing them.

6. Sara Zarr: Her most popular book in my library is her first novel published in 2007, The Story of a Girl. Students will read it if I remind them but don't usually make their way to her other books.

7. Marcus Sedgwick: The Printz Award winner, Sedgwick is a top-notch writer but students are reluctant to select his novels, even Revolver which is a mystery that involves a gun. Admittedly, though I liked it a lot, Midwinterblood is a very different story that is difficult to understand unless approached by a sophisticated reader.

8. Terry Pratchett: Pratchett fans will read everything by this author but that has been very few students over the years.  Those that find Pratchett, though, LOVE him (and should.)

9. Libba Bray: in one of my top five favorite YA authors. She doesn't get near the love she deserves in my library from the students.

10. A.S. King: another top-five favorite author of mine whose books don't circulate as much as they deserve.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Salon---September 14

The plate we created for our parents on their 50th wedding anniversary. This year they celebrated 63 years together.
Weather: Beautiful blue skies, temperatures in the low 80s. It is a lovely end-of-summer day.

"If you give a moose a muffin" event. Are you familiar with the children's book If You Give a Moose a Muffin? If you do give the moose a muffin you get trapped into doing a chain reaction of other things, like making blackberry jam to go on the muffins, and picking the blackberries to make the jam. The moral of the story, don't start or it will lead to something else.
     Well our "moose-a-muffin" project started a few weeks ago when we bought a new car. That meant we would need to clean out the garage so there would be a place to park it. But cleaning out the garage meant buying shelves to put the stuff on and building a shed for all the gardening supplies...you get the idea. We started phase two of  "moose-a-muffin" project this week-end. We bought shelving units, put them together, then moved our garagey items onto them.  We are half way there. Next week-end we start the garden shed. We have lived in this house for seventeen years. What has taken us so long to get with it?

Saying good-bye: The youth director at our church is moving after serving our church for twenty years. Today was his last church service with us and tonight was the farewell party. I had no idea that I would take it as hard as I did. At one point in the service, our education director ask everyone in the congregation who has ever been part of the youth program with Brett to come up. The front of the church was jammed with all these adult-looking people. I started bawling and basically cried the rest of the service. My daughters both grew up in the church under his leadership. Farewell, Brett, we love you and will miss you so much.

Books read this week: None completed but I am working on a lot of books because...

50 Page Project: I am trying to read at least 50 pages of a bunch of YA books we are considering for our Mock Printz list of books.  Here is my progress:
  • Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon---pg 30; I will read on. 
  • The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming---pg. 75; I will peruse more pages.
  • The Here and Now by Ann Brashares--- 1 audiodisc of 6 completed; I will continue listening.
  • Starbird Murphy and the Outside World by Karen Finneyfrock--- page 66; I have read enough.
  • This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki--- page 50; I have read enough
  • The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean telt by hisself By David Almond---page 9; I have read enough. It is written in vernacular and is very difficult to read.
  • A Time to Dance by Padima Venkatraman--- page 31; I will read on.
  • Through the Woods by Emily Carroll---page 208; oh, I just realized I DID finish one book this week: this one.
  • She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick---complete. I read this book last week but it is another selection being considered for the Mock Printz.
Up next on my 50 Page Project: All these books are either here in a pile or on-hold for me at the public library.
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Otherbound by Corrine Duyvis
  • 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
  • Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
  • The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  • The Tyrant's Daughter by JC Carlson (audiobook)
I know that this sounds like a lot of books. I want to read a bit of all the books I can on our list and by committing to reading just 50 pages I get a nice feel for the storyline and the writing style without bogging down on one book. Of the nine books I read a part of last week I was able to weed out three that I am really not interested in adding to our list; three others deserve a few more pages before I decide; and I will recommend inclusion of the last three based on the pages I read.

First World Problems: While cleaning out the garage, my husband and I were forced to make decisions  that would make people in other parts of the world cringe. Should we keep the bread-maker machine? We haven't used it for years but still, we may want to. The huge Pioneer speakers
that have been taking up room in the garage for the past ten years need to go...but we bought them when we were young and poor. Should we keep this or toss that? We have so much, it seems so selfish of us to even ruminate over STUFF.  On that note, for your listening enjoyment, Weird Al Yankovic: First World Problems.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dedications... take a look

While nosing around on Twitter this morning I ran into this list of 26 of the Greatest Book Dedications You Will Ever Read (Buzz Feed). Please take a look at the whole list. I know you will enjoy it.

Here is one of my favorites from The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer:

The list got me thinking how I usually ignore the dedications in books. I jumped up to peruse my bookshelf to see if there were any hidden gems.  Most of the dedications were predictable but a few were worth mentioning:

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig: "To Ann and Marshall Nelson. In at the beginning and reliably fantastic all the way."

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: "For Kari, who's better than fiction."

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger: "To Robin: The country ahead is as wild a spread/As ever we're likely to see/The horses are dancing to start the advance---/Won't you ride on with me?"

All of these are sweet and thoughtful, then I opened up Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach and just about lost it. This doesn't really need any explanations!

Ha-ha! Woody! Get it?

Snapshot Saturday---Fans!

Last week-end my husband, Don, and I attended the University of Oregon v Michigan State football game at Auzten Stadium. It was a lovely day, even verging on a bit too hot. At half time a fan-cam was set up in the center of the field to take a 360-degree photo of every fan in the stadium. We watched the camera and when it swung our way we mugged for it. We were sent a link to the complete photo and it was hard to find us among the 59,000 fans present that day, But here we are.

Don is in the front center with a thumb up. My cousin Steve is next to him making an O with his hands. I am behind Steve. We tagged the photo and a green O was placed over me and we couldn't figure out how to remove it. Behind Don, with the yellow hat pulled low, is my sister Kathy. Next to Kathy is my Dad.  He has binoculars around his neck. Dad is standing next to mom who is listening to a friend, Jim. Next to me on the other side is Janelle, a friend of my cousin Anne. Anne is at the end of the row behind the guy in the green shirt. We don't know anyone else in the picture. Can you tell we were having fun?

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Quotes

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader
The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice

Check out the links for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Participants don't select their favorite, coolest or most intellectual books, they just use the one they are currently reading.

I'm reading---

Book: The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Book Beginnings: 
Chapter 1- THE BOY WHO WOULD BE TSAR. On a frosty March day in 1881, the boy who would become Russia's last ruler glimpsed his future. That morning, Nicholas's grandfather, Tsar Alexander II, was riding through the streets of St. Petersburg when a man stepped off the sidewalk. He hurled a bomb at the imperial carriage.
Friday 56:
Little did they know that the real danger to Nicholas's throne was not Alexei's hemophilia. It was the dark clouds of social unrest gathering across his empire.
My thoughts: 
     Two thoughts. 1) I am thrilled to have a nonfiction book written for teens on the topic of the Romanov family, the last Tsar of Russia. Typically nonfiction books are written for younger students or for adults. This seems perfect for the high school set. It is highly readable 2) I predict that this will be relatively popular in my library. I hope so anyway!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer may be over but all the reviews were not done, until now.

Summer may be over but I still need to review books I read in the sun. The last week of summer I read three fabulous YA books. All of them deserve their own book review but alas, no time. All of them deserve any and all positive attention they receive and I hope my voice will be heard in the chorus singing their praises.

Never Ending by Martyn Bedford
     Shiv and her family are vacationing in Greece where her brother dies. Shiv feels responsible for his death. Months later she still can't move on from her grief and her guilt. Because of this she agrees to go to inpatient treatment at the Korsakoff Clinic which employs very controversial treatment methods. Told in alternating chapters between the past in Greece and the present at the clinic in England, the reader is strung along wanting to find out what really happened to Declan on that fateful day.
     Bedford's writing is so descriptive and vivid it was more like watching a movie than reading a book. The ending is amazing but one has a lot of pain to get through to get there. This was the only book read this summer I couldn't read fast enough. Grade: A

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles
     Quincey and Biddy are both graduates of the high school's special education program. They are also "graduates" of the foster care system. When they are placed together in a living situation it doesn't seem like it will work out since the girls are so different in character. Quincey is a good cook and a hard worker but she is also very critical and angry. Biddy is kind and simple but also very scared of people, especially men. Surprisingly they find that they can bring out the best and find ways to help each other. Told in alternating Quincey/Biddy chapters we get a lot of insight into the multiple ways that humans can make the world a better or a worse place for people with learning disabilities. As the story unfolded I found myself empathizing with both girls and cheering for them as they make their way in the world. Grade: B+/A-

She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
      Laureth Peak's dad has taught her a lot of things about patterns, logic, and coincidences. She has also taught her to be independent even though she is blind. When he goes missing and no one else seems to care or notice, including her mother, Laureth knows she has to find him herself. The only problem is how to get to New York via Heathrow airport by herself as a blind person? Benjamin, her seven year old brother is enlisted to help. Once they pass all the gates and they are actually in New York how will they find their father? And what if he is in trouble and needs help? The story develops into quite an exciting mystery.
     I listened to the audiobook version of She is Not Invisible. The book is read by Anna Cannings, an actress who is blind. She read the book from braille. The listeners are told this from the outset and it made such an incredible impact on me as I listened. When Laureth, the character, talks about ways that people treat her like she is invisible, I couldn't help but wonder if Ms. Canning had similar experiences. It was very impactful. I highly recommend it, especially in this audio format. Grade: A-

Monday, September 8, 2014

Project 50 Pages

I dropped by the public library today and picked up six YA books that we are considering for our Mock Printz Workshop. With the demands of a new school year on me right now there is no way that I'll be able to read all six of these additional books plus the two I have sitting around home already before the selection committee meets at the end of the month. So, it is time to instigate Project 50 Pages. I commit to read 50 pages of the books then evaluate and grade them as to their worthiness to be selected for our Mock Printz list of books.

List of books:

  • This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
  • Starbird Murphy and the World Outside by Karen Finneyfrock
  • Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
  • The True Tale of Monster Billy Dean Telt By Hisself by David Almond
  • The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
  • A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
  • She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick*
  • The Here and Now by Ann Brashares