Monday, April 28, 2014

Nightstand, 4/28/14

I cleaned up and cleared off my nightstand today, and selected the books I want to focus on this week. I hope I can dip into all of them at some point.

Book Read, Week of 4/21/14

Just one book finished this week: Alice Munro's The Progress of Love. We had a great conversation about Munro and her short stories last night at the Excellent Women's Book Club. I liked these stories more after I was done with them and could think about them. Many of them are dark, and they all have lots of layers. The story is revealed slowly, and at first it's often even hard to tell who will be the main character and what they problem is, much less what insight they will have -- or not have. Several times, she changed the perspective, giving us glimpses of two or three characters' points-of-view.

They are dark, and often weird, but somehow real, and I want to read more.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nightstand, 4/21/14

Good stuff here! Lots to look forward to. Some were in the stack last week, and some are new. We'll see which one(s) I can finish up this week.

Books Read, Week of 4/14/14

I had read about the new book, Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain, around the time I was reading Lisa See's Dreams of Joy. Finally got it from the library. It's a nice introduction. I like the way Freedman uses the poetry carved into the walls of the barracks to tell the stories.

In honor of Camp NaNoWriMo this April, I re-read Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. This was one of the first books I ever read on writing, and it took me right back to my college days. Her thoughts on writing are simple yet wise. I especially appreciated her comments on how to go about editing.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nightstand, 4/14/14

Some new books here. Fun! I'll do my best to stay on track now and post tomorrow about what I read this week.

Books Read, Week of 4/7/14

This was an awesome week of reading! I'd been working on Americanah for awhile; I loved it. The book cover is really neat -- you can see it in the photo below, and in the link, but you can't feel it. The brown paper bag quality is nice. But I really like the paperback cover, too. Here's what I read this week:

I'd had Ten Poems to Change Your Life going for awhile, too, reading one poem each day. I liked some of the poems, but the essays to go along with them I could take or leave. Or, actually, leave. Makes me want to read more poetry, though.

After completing these two books, I jumped into a few short ones:

~ I came across Brushing Mom's Hair when looking for juvenile novels in verse for a library display celebrating National Poetry Month. It's a breast cancer story, told from the point-of-view of the survivor's daughter. It's lovely.

~ I was hoping I'd like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel better than I liked the actually novel, but no luck. I can see why some enjoy it, but I really just get a kick out of the gimmick involved rather than the story created around it. It takes itself too seriously for me, I think. Skye's friend lent this to her, and I think she's going to read it. It will be interesting to hear her thoughts.

~ I loved the way Dept. of Speculation was written, and I think I'll re-read it, as I know I missed a lot.  But it was so sad.

Nightstand, 4/7/14

Did some shifting of books this week. Removed some and added others. I guess I'm always doing that, aren't I? That top book stays the same, though, and now it seems I've got a bottom book that's always there. Bookends.

Books Read, Week of 3/31/14

Guess what? We read another Warriors Cats book! And immediately picked up the next one, which is the last in the (first) series. I had been reading these aloud to both Skye and Felix at bedtime, but about two-thirds of the way through this one, Skye had had enough. Too many innocent cats dying! (We joked that it was Divergent for cats.) So, Felix and I finished it up together, and we started a new bedtime book for the two of them. (Stay tuned to find out what it is!)

Nightstand, 3/31/14

After last week's small stack, this one is big again. Lots of good stuff here, including a couple of titles I purchased in Stevens Point, Wisconsin on our little spring break trip: I picked up NurtureShock at Book World, and the second "Call the Midwife" memoir, Shadows of the Workhouse, came from Kindred Spirit Books.

Books Read, Week of 3/24/14

I loved this book. Loved One Crazy Summer, too; this is its sequel. I hope Rita Williams-Garcia writes a third book about the Gaither sisters. "Surely do!" I listened to some of it on audio, but once I got two-thirds of the way through, I didn't have the patience to wait for my next car ride to see what was next. Glad to have my own copy. (Thanks again, Mom & Dad!)

I'm going to post Mac Barnett's judgment again, because what he says reflects how I feel about this book: "This novel is always nuanced and frequently, quietly, profound. Williams-Garcia has the grace to nod toward the truth instead of jabbing at it with an index finger."

Nightstand, 3/24/14

Here's my next nightstand post. Can you guess which one I finished this week? (Hint: I mentioned it in my last post.)

Books Read, Week of 3/17/14

I'm playing catch-up here. Funny that Easter Sunday is the quiet day that works for me to do this. It's not quiet! But perhaps quieter than usual...

Here's one view of the books I read this week:
And here's another view:

Those covers for Boxers & Saints are so beautiful that I have to show them both ways.

I was really looking forward to reading Midwinterblood, especially after it won this year's Michael L. Printz Award. It just sounds like my kind of book. I was excited to see it was in School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids' Books, which made me pick it up sooner rather than later. And I got a copy from my parents for my birthday! It's a quick read, but I found it unsatisfying. Mac Barnett's judgment (it was up against P.S. Be Eleven) expresses many of my feelings -- although I'm not an expert in premodern Scandinavian literature, like he is, so I missed some of those things. (Cool author facts!) I love what he wrote about P.S. Be Eleven, also. Such a lovely book. But that's for me to tell you about later...

Now, I get to tell you about the lovely set of books, Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang.  Reading American Born Chinese several years ago (another Printz Award winner), I quickly became a fan of Yang's. This work is just as beautiful. Skye read them first, and insisted I pick them up immediately. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed this interview with the author, and you can read/see an excerpt from Boxers there, too.