Cammykitty's Reads 75 in 2014, second try
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And here are my reading companions. You'll hear a lot about them on this thread.
Sage takes a break from doing the laundry to read a book. He learned that from me!
Wanda says "read me more about that dog Saloop that doesn't like Dr. Siri."
TIOLI Index http://www.librarything.com/topic/80417#1680410
January TIOLI: http://www.librarything.com/topic/162802#4426392
1. Suite Francaise is 5. Read a book set in France before the 21st Century
2. Toning the Sweep is #16 a book with an ugly cover
3. Angels and Insects for #6 a Yorkshire Borne Writer AS Byatt
4. Darkness, Take My Hand for #12, a mystery novel with pro detective not member of law enforcement.
1. Hard Love is #22, book with lgbt characters
2. There Never Was a Once Upon a Time is #3 short stories
3. One Day of Life is #18 read a book originally written in a romance language
4. Trash Sex Magic is #1 read a book from the library of the LT member with the greatest weighted number of books which match your own.
I, too, have been eyeing the Dr. Siri books, but not wanting to start any new series. Hmm...
Yes, we started the year off with Dr. Siri and I enjoyed it, not for the mystery but for the setting and characters. I loved puttering around with Dr. Siri and his ghosts.
Paul! I'm harder to scare away than that. I work in a middle school after all!
Dog pics! When it was warm (it's so cold the cancelled school today) a friend and I took 4 Water Spaniels to an off leash dog park. One is old and didn't get in the picture, but here you are:
Eugenie (belongs to breeder), Wanda and Sage in that order
A snow day! I love those, except that we have to make them up in June. Then I don't like them so much. Great photo -- looks like fun!
End of SPOILER. The second story I really loved, "The Conjugial Angel." It is one of the only stories I've read that walk the fine line of Spiritualism between belief and fraud. Reading this, I can see why so many learned people including Arthur Conan Doyle, became such a part of the Spiritualist movement. It is sort of a story about lost loves, but it is also a thinking story involving poetry, Swedenborgian angels, the place of man in the world, men's worlds vs women's worlds and the nature of soul mates.
Thanks Paul, for giving me an excuse to pull this one off my shelves.
Have a lovely weekend.
Well, on to the book. I gave it a 5 star rating. It's a story about a straight boy who becomes close friends with a lesbian, and all the awkwardness that comes with that. If he hadn't been a teen and dealing with his sexuality, it may have been easier for him but he surprises himself. He thinks he can be friends with her as though she were just anyone. Very well done. Great characterization and it doesn't have the "oh too bad" feel of Make Lemondade that borders on the offensive. That said, it isn't appropriate for the same age level as Make Lemonade. Make Lemonade is a safe book. Hard Love is not.
Here's a scene from it:
Enjoy your 3-day weekend! It's coming at a very good time, and I definitely plan to read!
In my school, the second most common country of origin for the Latinos is El Salvador. This book has raised some questions for me about them. I know they've been coming to Minnesota since the 80s because of war and political instability in their country. Now, I think it's mostly because other family members are already here. I've heard many families have taken seven or nine years to get the money and papers together needed to bring the rest of the family over. So, are the kids I'm working with sons and daughters of peasants? In the book, it made it clear that most of the peasants were taught in a Catholic school and attended when they could, not regularly. They often dropped out by second grade and if you could stay in until sixth grade, you were lucky and considered educated. Often they wouldn't use their skills at reading, so they would eventually forget to read. Is that the background of some of the parents of kids I'm working with? If so, how did they get to this country? I'm thinking scraping up the resources to emigrate must be difficult, whether it is done legally or not. I'd expect to find that most of them came from the cities instead, and in the book, it did mention that a lot of the children left their homes and went to the cities to try to get ahead.
#33 - This sounds fascinating. I'll put it on the wishlist.
I think perhaps the English department at my high school was not very well organized, because somehow I ended up reading The Crucible twice. The first time was in 10th grade, and it was sheer torture from beginning to end. The next year I read it with a profoundly gifted teacher who brought it to life in ways I had not thought possible. That made an impression on me -- how a teacher can make a huge difference. Time of life is important, too.
Regarding Billy Budd and Crime and Punishment, I read both as an adult. I'm quite sure I would have hated Billy Budd in high school (or any Melville, for that matter), but I've always thought Crime and Punishment would have appealed - creepy, murder-filled, grim. Like most teens, I either had to directly relate to the characters in terms of age/experience (The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird), or it had to be weird and creepy (Jane Eyre). I remember loving Jane Eyre in 8th grade!
I wish I'd had the chance to read The Crucible with your teacher. I read it as an adult, but have heard later that it's also a response to the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities and the blacklisting of so-called Communists. I totally missed that when I read it.
And as for Trash Sex Magic, weird. I'm not really sure what to think of it. Generally positive, just because everything in it was so unexpected. It involved yes, trailer trash, lots of sex and a wild earth magic. There was so much sex in it that it ceased to be sexy. Really. Gnats having sex? Ick. Basic plot is a developer has bought the land across from a dilapidated trailer park that has become as strange as the small town in Deliverance. The developer cuts down a tree, not knowing that the tree controls the river and the generative energy of the land and the human women in the area. I can't say much more without supplying spoilers. If you are looking for a strange ride, this may just be the ticket. If you got a problem seeing the n-word though, avoid this. It was a little over-used, as was the word Okies. Okies? They weren't from the Great Depression and they weren't from Oklahoma. I don't get it.
I didn't catch that, either, but I get it now! I miss Mr. Knight.
So here's my recent reading:
#17 is an ER novel The Well's End. It was a fast paced science fiction thriller. The too good to be true love interest was SORT OF SPOILER in fact too good to be true, but I'm sure he'll redeem himself in the sequels. END SPOILER It also has the mad/semi mad scientist father figure going on. He's either a hero or a villain, but either way, there are a lot of secrets around him.
The plot, a fake reporter comes to Mia's elite boarding school. He is pretending to interview her, but obviously he is really there to send a message to her father. Her father works in "the cave" doing something secretive "for the government." After this meeting, a virus that ages people rapidly (and to death) is unleashed on the campus and her father somehow knew it was going to happen. Mia and her friends have to escape campus, find her father and figure out what is going to happen.
Warning: the novel ends with almost as many questions as it answers. It is obviously a set up for a sequel. I really enjoyed it, and the ending didn't bother me too much, but only because I'm getting used to the trend in the industry of writing books in trilogies. If I hadn't read plenty of books that were bigger offenders, the ending would certainly lower my 4 star rating. But it's YA thriller/sf so of course they expect the kids to plow through three books to get all the answers. Geez, am I becoming complacent? This kind of ending would usually make me want to tear a publisher to shreds. What if Fishman never writes the next book? Or what if it stinks? Ugh.
I am starting to feel better, but my voice is still gone! At school, I've been writing my conversations down, mostly on a whiteboard but sometimes on paper. Here's a paper I found from the first day "Way cool! Wish I had that. Sheep eyeballs." Really, it made sense if you heard what the kid said too.
And as for Wanda! She says she's been neglected.
Have a lovely weekend.
This is stained glass that was made from one of the pages of the book.
And speaking of Magic Dogs, here's what mine did today. They found water where there usually wasn't water and played in it. The tennis ball was floating there already. I didn't encourage them. No need to.
I suppose it's time for a reading update. Not much activity this month. I'm reading The Pre-Diabetes Diet Plan which wasn't too painful until it got to carb counting. Shoot me, I'm not going to count carbs. Watch them, yes. Count them. No. That's just too fiddly and mathematical. & I'm a little over 100 pages in to Lies of Locke Lamora. It has two timelines going, and I'm much more interested in the young timeline (interludes) than the main plot timeline. I hope that isn't a fatal flaw! The author, Scott Lynch, is going to be a guest at CONvergence and I'm on the decor committee. We've been joking, or maybe not quite joking, about making a cardboard photo shoot - the kind with a hole for the face - of Chains, the blind priest that has chained himself to his church.
Yup, this is up my geek alley, and I'm grateful that Sage and Wanda don't fit any of the severe cases in the book. They don't really fight. Occasionally they'll squabble over a rawhide, and Wanda doesn't like Eugenie, the puppy she used to live with. Other than that, no fights. I'm partly interested in Fight! because of my work at a doggy daycare. Preventing and breaking up fights is all part of the job, and except for the dog who just loves to fight, I've seen lesser versions of all the types she profiles. Don't worry. I do a lot more preventing than breaking up fights!
And as for reading slumps, I better get out of it now! I'm in 3 summer school reading classes and have to be an eager reader to get the kids going. Being surrounded by all those books and having to think about recommendations is kind of infectious.
Or I could join you on the Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle....
And Happy 4th!!! Dog lovers in the US hate this holiday though! I'm in the basement with my pooches because the neighbors are shooting off fireworks.
Here is hoping the fireworks are not too disruptive for your pooches and Happy July 4th!
I probably OUGHT to read Salt, Sugar, Fat and try to improve my diet. I don't feel much motivation to do so, however...
Rhonda, if you're putting Salt, Sugar, Fat in the "ought to" category, skip it and read a real nutrition/health book if you truly need info or support.
I was at CONvergence this weekend and went to a how do you know the science is sound panel, and they talked about two books Bad Science and Pharma Science that sound like they cover the same ground as SSF, only for the pharmaceutical companies and the panelist raised a good point. In the US and parts of the Commonwealth, drug companies can advertise their products directly to the public and apparently in these places the marketing budget is higher than the development budget for drugs. Then doctors get push from their patients to prescribe something that maybe isn't necessary or even helpful. That advertisement can't be for the general good. Not saying communism is great, but some things in a capitalist society are definitely broken.
The Ice Owl has an interesting world, one where religion separates class and a tone like music from the spheres separates the day. Teen-age Thorn has lived over 100 years, but not really. That's her planet-hopping age. When persecution shuts down her school, she finds a new teacher and that new teacher is somehow linked to her past on a planet during a genocide. The teacher's characterization, the description of lost artwork, Thorn's relationship with her mother and her Gminta Hunter (think Nazi Hunter) boyfriend are great. I just wish she'd gone the extra mile to flesh out Till's story more.
Also finished book 31 a couple days ago The Pawprints of History by Stanley Coren. Compared to the only other dog history I've read, A Dog's History of America, it is history Lite. It is mostly anecdotes from China, Europe and North America, about people who were (mostly) positively affected by dogs. A Dog's History of America has few anecdotes and covers Native American dogs, conquistadors dogs, the import of dog fighting etc. After reading A Dog's History years ago, I remember thinking that dogs accompanied us in every awful event in history. Coren includes some of the not-so-good moments in history such as Custer's Last Stand and the Red Baron, but it doesn't feel so awful because his focus is on the relationship between the human and the dog. Also the positive stories, such as Freud's use of dogs in psychiatry, outweigh the other ones. Of course there are a few naughty dogs, and these stories are worth the price of admission. I'm dying to tell you, but won't but Napoleon and Pope Clement VII weren't big hits with the pooches.
Morphy - I understand totally. It is a thoroughly depressing book dressed up like a clown - sort of. I think
Dors - I loved Slow River! I bought a small book of her short stories when I was at Diversicon. Aqueduct Press was there and they forced books on me. (yeah, sure. you believe me.) I'm looking forward to reading more of her writing. & yes, read Our Lady of the Assassins if you get a chance. I had a little trouble getting hold of a copy in English. I had to request it from the library because my branch library doesn't have it. It's worth reading though, and I hope more South American works get translated into English. I can read Spanish, but my Spanish certainly wasn't up to that novel.
Kim - Argh is right!!! That's the worst thing about e-readers. When they go missing, they go missing with tons of books. It's worse than misplacing the novel of the day. I wonder what Bokonon would have to say.
I just got back from a Geek Partnership Ice Cream social - no need for dinner now. Someone made some awesome hot fudge. & Di and I recruited a convert from Good Reads to join this group. Or at least he said he was going to come over here. If & when he does, I'll let you know so we can all welcome him.
Rhonda - I'm curious too. I've heard that Slow River is her "best" work so I started at the right place. I've gotten the impression that she writes with wildly different styles so reading one book means I don't know her writing style at all.
Great reviews here, Katie, though I have to say that a zombie book that shares a name with my daughter is a little creepy:)
Hope you're having a great week.
How cool that you've connected with people to join a real life book club! That's awesome!
Dors, I love Octavia Butler too. I just read the title story. I'd read it before but all I remembered was the eeeyou feeling. It was interesting reading it again knowing what was coming.
So the book haul is off bookmooch:
The Tenderness of Wolves
Slow Dancing on Dinosaur Bones
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
Skeletons on the Zahara
And two to grow on from B&N:
Cuentos en el exilio by Victor Montoya for next years category challenge. Got it used!!!
Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha L. Womack on my Nook - She will be next year's Guest of Honor at Diversicon.
Now, is there a moochiversary??? And if you're in the Books off the Shelf challenge, can you do this Hobbit style where you give away a book for every year you've been a part of LT?
Plotwise, we follow Will Rabjohns, a photographer of dying animals and extinctions, through his travels back and forth through memory and through the world - Canada, San Francisco, England, the Hebrides. His friends are going extinct too from the AIDs epidemic, but he finds himself unable to be whole and deal with it until he confronts an undying, charming killer from his childhood. Plot may not sound that great, but believe me, Barker pulls it off. I haven't read enough of his work to say this for sure, but this felt like the novel that he was meant to write, the one that is nearest and dearest to his heart.
Wanda says "All those treats for me?" She had her first obedience class tonight and was the star of the class. Really, she was a ringer. Doesn't really count when Mom is an assistant instructor who has put off official training for 1/2 a year because the other dog has more issues. Well... Wanda has her issues too, but they magically go away when hot dog is involved.
Too bad about The African Shore--it sounds like it OUGHT to be good, but isn't.
And yes, Rhonda. It should have been good. Perhaps if I'd been a guy... Or hadn't read that underbelly of the drug world novel more than once already.
Hope you're having a great weekend!
Weekend is over, but it was good. Hope yours was too!
I'll have to say, reading in Spanish has helped me when I work with kids who are learning reading strategies. Reading came so naturally to me that I had forgotten, if I ever knew, what it was like to learn to figure out vocabulary from context clues, make predictions, make connections etc. Now I know what it's like to spend so much time trying to figure out the words that the sentence structure is something that needs to be puzzled out and predictions/connections don't always happen. Many of the kids speak Spanish but don't read it and are very amused when I start talking about my experiences reading their language while they are trying to read my language.
Have a lovely week.
I loved your description of re-learning reading strategies while reading in Spanish. Good for you!
Hope you're having a great week.
So far the week is so good, but I'm supposed to become the Future Problem Solving coach for my Middle School. Things have been going slowly, and now I'm told I should have already started with my teams (what teams?) and I need to go to coach training and was told the website and the weekend, but there isn't coach training on the day I was told??? And I've got no $ or PO and it costs $? And I'm terribly confused and wondering why I agreed to this!!! Oh, and the deadline to register is today. Confusion!!!
First real problem for the group looks like it is on processed food. I've only glanced at the research articles so far. Now I'm really glad I read Salt Sugar Fat earlier this year!
#45 Regarding Ducks and Universes was fun but not fabulous. Felix A is a middle aged man who writes cooking tool manuals but really wants to write a mystery. He goes to alternate Universe B to make sure his alter hasn't gotten around to write the mystery before he has. Quite the middle agey type of book. Someone is trying to kill him. He loves the "tree" murder mysteries of Universe B finds romance which he pursues in a middle agey sort of way. The world she creates is interesting - two alternate universes that are linked together - but what will make or break the novel for you is the main character. If you connect with him and like hanging out with him, you'll love it. If not, don't bother.
#47 Boxers! I don't know if I'm going to go on and read Saints, but Boxers was very good. It is about a serious subject, China's Boxer Rebellion but
the beautiful illustrations gives this book a sort of Justice League feel. No wonder it attracts middle school boys like a magnet attracts iron. Each of the Chinese members of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist are temporarily possessed by a god when they go into battle. What made this book for me was how Little Bao is forced to question his values because of the circumstances he finds himself in (and because of his god, Ch'in Shih-huang).
>177 cammykitty: - This actually sounds kind of fascinating to me, despite your reservations. Actually pop biographies are fun to consume as audiobooks, so I'll see if I can find it.
>190 cammykitty: - Oh, good! I must get to this one, as I love Octavia Butler. I know someone who interviewed her for a master's thesis and she was apparently wonderful and very gracious. Such a loss.
On to FPS! I'm overwhelmed! First thing to do is put together a timeline for myself. Another thing I want to do is to give them a targeted fiction reading list. The qualifying problem (shhh, it's a secret) is on propaganda so, can you recommend any books suitable for good readers between 6th and 8th grade that feature propaganda!
Current list is:
Animal Farm??? I haven't read it and have a friend who read it in high school and hated it. I think she saw herself as one of the animals.
Fahrenheit 451 (which is more censorship?)
#50 Eleanor and Park I see why people want to ban it, but hey, kids don't live in a cuddly world. & if I can say something rude, time and energy spent on banning this book would be better spent on preventing/treating the problems the book talks about. Just saying.
#51 Homesick by Jason Walz was a graphic novel/autobiography about losing a mother to cancer. Not really a subject I wanted to read about right now, but it was very well done and worth the time.
#52 Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - geez louise! What a weird book. Duh. Of course it's weird. It's Garcia Marquez. It is the story of how a town reacts to a murder that is about to happen. Every one knows about it but the victim, so who is going to tell him?
I'm still batting around the idea of the propaganda list, but I haven't met the kids yet and am feeling a bit daunted by the thought of reading all of them first. I don't want to get side swiped by some naked something scene I'd completely forgotten about! I'm much more conservative about what I recommend as a representative of the school and what I'd recommend as just plain me.
Rhonda - Isn't Christopher Chant fun! Have you read Charmed Life? I guess that's the next one but it sounds like it has a very different cast.
>227 cammykitty: Adorable! I wish Geezer understood toys, but he doesn't (we got him when he was 4 or 5 and he probably lived in a kennel his whole life). He just looks at us like we're nuts when we try to engage him with toys. :-(
I've known a few dogs that just don't understand toys. It's kind of sad. I keep hearing you can teach them, but for the life of me I don't know how. Maybe a zombie ball? They sure got my two going! Sage isn't into balls unless they squeak. He grew up in a multidog house and I don't think the bigger dogs let him get the tennis ball. So when there are tennis balls around, he chases the dog chasing the tennis ball. Pathetic!
Of dogs and toys, Chica didn't have any interest in toys when we got her, and we got her lots of toys, which she ignored. But then, about a year later, we got Francis the cat, who loves chasing crumpled paper, and got lots of attention for it. Chica then began to try carrying paper around and you could see her wondering what Franny liked about this. Then she started defending her toys from the cat, and actually playing with them
From my house to yours, Happy Fall:
Linda, Thank You!!! What a beautiful house. Love your puppy. Things are looking more on the wintery side of fall today, so bright flowers is a welcome sight!
#56 V is for Vendetta was a little bit different from the movie and I like the differences. It's an uncomfortable book.
Dors, I always did have a thing for Spock, but for this particular elf, I think it was his "dark red" hair which I imagine to be almost black with red highlights when the sun hits just right, which in my world would be all the time.
Rhonda, I went looking for a handsome elf for you, but all the ones on line are the blond variety or they look like they have foul tempers! Here's the closest I could find for you. Switchblade ears!
WARNING: Mini-review might be a tiny bit spoiler-ish.
"I found the fairy tale writing style a little off-putting and the heroine was a little wimpy. She didn't do anything really strong until the next to the last scene in the book. There was a character that I suppose you could call a fairy godmother that helped about a third of the way through the book, but it felt jarring - more of a plot device. The story itself kept me interested but I've read better McKinley's."
Huh, it seems like it should have gotten a 6/10 review at the max.
I'll also admit I've kind of had a blah feeling about Robin McKinley since she was the Guest of Honor at WisCon, and was just about the worst GoH ever. She hid in her room. She is very shy and I'm sure she did the best she could, but I have to fault her for accepting the invite and for WisCon for hounding her to come. I suppose I should forgive and forget! That's part of why I dropped the book though.
To be honest, I didn't do much to celebrate Thanksgiving either. I spent it with the dogs boarding at the daycare. Crazy puppies!!! And then celebrated our new national holiday of consumerism by going to Barnes and Noble and buying a new e-reader. Saturday, I'll dig into the obligatory turkey. Not much turkey in Malaysian cooking, is there?
Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
All Art is Propaganda
and since Orwell's review of Henry Miller was so intriguing
Tropic of Cancer
+ Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 and I picked up Blacksad: Amarillo today. In English, not Spanish, but it's my copy, not the library's! I'm not sure I could find a Spanish copy for sale around here.
So, I very well may not finish a single book by the end of the year.
Effortless Bento - a Christmas present from a friend who knew just what I wanted!
African-American Religion: Interpretive Essays in History and Culture
The Good Women of China - bookmooch
Skeletons on the Zahara - bookmooch
Solar Storms by Linda Hogan
The Spirit Catches you and you fall down
The Day it Snowed Tortillas
Cuentos en el exilio by Victor Montoya
Barrow, poems by Bryan Thao Worra
And the housecleaning help:
Bright of the Sky
The Gumshoe, The Witch and the Virtual Corpse
The Princess Diaries
Cooking with Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon
Essentials of Asian Cuisine
So, does that get me to 75 books in spirit?
The book doesn't sound very appealing, and to be honest, I finished reading it feeling soiled. But, it is also a fascinating and fun read. His descriptions are so alive and dead on and his characterizations so unkind but loving that it is hard not to admire the writing. Orwell also points out that Miller is a happy person and that the book describes a happy man. Broke and starving, not always sure where he was going to sleep, but happy. Quite happy. Which is the counterpoint to my thought all the way through, that the misery was somewhat self-inflicted. These starving artists could've found jobs. Really. They could've. Occasionally they did, but often the employment didn't last long. Looking for another job never seemed to be much of a priority though.
Another point I just have to make - the whores. At some point I made a link with sex and artistic creativity. The point of sex and creativity is to create, but in Tropic of Cancer the sex only creates the clap and as for the artists, they aren't having much better luck with their arts. When someone does