Saturday, November 12, 2016
at 10:34 AM
Thursday, November 03, 2016
The triumph of seeds: How grains, nuts, kernels, pulses, and pips conquered the plant kingdom and shaped human history by Thor Hanson. I must've started this 18 months ago, shortly after I got back from PNBA. I wanted to like it: the author was personable and a good speaker. I did like it, or at least, I have the impression that it is a good book and I should like it. But I am unable to finish it. I can't really specify what is missing. I passed it on to a coworker who enjoys plant-centric nonfiction. It is a great match for a smaller group of readers.
at 12:44 PM
Sunday, October 16, 2016
The blessing way by Tony Hillerman. I couldn't get into this, largely because of the language. I read for a while, wavering between "it's artistic\experimental" and "this author never talks to real people." In the end, it doesn't matter, does it? Not-natural language is not-natural language.
The actor who plays Eustace does a fantastic job! That role, done poorly, could really have broken the movie. I cannot comment obviously on the adaptation, but as a movie it's a good one-- I enjoyed the effects without feeling they were overdone, the characters were believable, the action was good.
I'm not going to continue because the main character is so purposefully self-destructive. I've watched a couple other things in which the main character is a destructive, unlikable, unredemable person, but the secondary characters are so interesting and well-drawn they make it worth continuing. That is not the case here.
The main character is great, and she carries these books. She, along with the well-incorporated natrual setting, is the only reason to continue reading. In the first book, problem include:
-character makes major oversight in trying to solve the murder. You call yourself law enforcement?
-secondary characters lack depth and are little more than sterotypes.
-messy resolution and no follow-up.
Problems from the second book:
-bipolar secondary characters: you tied him up and left him to work his way out when he threatened to kill you; you run into each other the next day and he helps you fix your boat?
-other secondary characters were indistinct from each other and too numerous.
-the what-happened-after-she-cornered-the-bad-guy was better, but this time wrapped up perhaps a little too neatly, like the author checked off boxes for each character to close up the last chapter.
at 3:00 PM
Sunday, September 04, 2016
We are on the Little Peninsula* to attend an event this afternoon but I am sitting at me in-laws' house waiting for everyone to get back-- my husband woke me up at 8:32 and said "Can you be ready for church at 9?" No, I can't be presentable in 25 minutes when 4 or more people are competing for one bathroom. On the plus side, I've gotten to enjoy several cups of coffee in quietness. First, though, I picked up my book. I was excited to crack the next one in Jodi Taylor's series. I had looked at it a bit dubiously when I checked it out yesterday: having read the title list a few times, I thought the title I had in hand came farther down the list. But, 1) I ordered the titles in order on successive ordering carts, so trusted that they would arrive in order, and 2) the back of the book shows the cover images of the first three books, which encouraged my belief that this was #4 in hand. After reading a few pages, I was surprised that some obviously big life events had apparently happened between books. After a few other catching-the-reader-up-to-speed info-bombs, I determined this was not, in fact, book 4. In actuality, it is book 7.
*not its real name.
Brave with Kelly Macdonald. I've watched this once (maaaaybe twice) before, but I don't think I wrote it down. This is a fun movie and I like the music. It keeps the silliness to a minimum, but unlike Inside Out, it is definitely a kids' movie (although, in the way of most Disney/Pixar, still fun for grown-ups). Not one I feel driven to own, but I'll probably watch it again sometime.
He spends a significant amount of time talking about himself, his history, his feelings; is he that much of a celebrity in Great Britain that those are topics of interest? I will be skipping all his other documentaries Netflix suggested.
at 10:05 AM
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Giant days, vol. I, by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, Whitney Cogar, and assorted others who are not listed on the front cover, only the title page. What... is this? Why is this "critically acclaimed?" The art is nice enough, and the characters are distinct and likeable, but it doesn't really do anything. It is mostly a random assortment of non-connected events in the lives of a small group of college friends. The book refers so heavily to events that took place before the start of this GN that I kept eyeing the "volume one" notation dubiously. The events the girls experience are run-of-the-mill sorts of things, and the ones that have the potential to be life-changing or character-building aren't examined in enough detail or given quite that much weight. Why bother with the story? It adds nothing to my life as a reader.
Lost on a mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler; read by Amon Purinton. The cover image specifies "by Donn Fendler, as told to Joseph B. Egan," and I'm not sure what that means. The Wikipedia article makes it sound like a co-author, like for a celebrity or something.
I downloaded a couple of audiobooks for a long drive, just the boy and I, were taking today and this was the first one I played on the way out of town. I had picked it out of what showed up among OverDrive's currently-available Juvenile audiobooks because the boy has been somewhat fixated on survival stories this summer, since he got into Gordon Korman's "Island" survival series-- he picked the first one as his SRP prize, and gobbled up the others. The "Everest" books were also well-liked. (I have been trying to get him into survival books in general, as they were a particular favorite of mine when I was young, for the last year or more, and Gordon Korman in particular over the last six months. This cannot be pointed out, because the idea that Mom, a librarian and avid reader, could be right on this matter is blasphemous.)
I enjoyed this on the drive, and my son *loves* it. He wanted to leave the beach earlier than anticipated in order to get back into the car to listen to it, and we are all now listening to it, sitting in the living room. A second read-- it's true love.
The writing is approachable for kids, but has a nice older style-- simple enough sentence structure, frequent use of things like "fellow" and "queer" and "fool," and regional terms, too-- sounding like an old neighbor or uncle's storytelling style. I was pretty impressed with the young reader; he's a natural. The overlay of sound effects underneath the narration is a very nice touch, especially, I think, for the intended age group (grades 4-8); it is used not too frequently so it's a nice addition instead of being a constant.
The boy's opinion is that it is "great." His favorite part was the leeches, or, for a direct quote, "when the bloodsuckers suck him." The news that there is a graphic novel adaptation created quite a stir.
I would have like to know some more information to round out the story, like how far he went while he was lost, or more specifically when and where everything happened instead of "generic northeastern woods," but, with only general prompting, the boy states nothing was lacking from story.
at 9:32 PM
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Inside out with Amy Poehler. I had heard this was excellent, but I hear a lot of good things about a lot of movies and books and, on those occassions I read/watch, I usually wonder what the reviewer was on. But this movie demanded to be watched recently: someone used a scene as an example in conversation and included a recommendation. Later that same day, I was shelving and this appeared in my hand, so I checked it out and took it home. Within 48 hours, before I could watch it (because of busy outdoor summer plans), my brother-in-law, who goes through movies the way I go through books, said he watched it for the first time recently and said it was excellent. And this is a guy who usually likes silent '50s Italian films. So I finally watched it.
The book is approachable and understandable. Relatable. The author writes about her family experience, and between each chapter is a short section-- a page or two, three at the very most-- that is more researchy: it has statistics or support group resources or some other information. The format works very well, because it allows her to tell her story without trying to weave in facts which she wants to include but didn't know at the time.
This book can be highly recommended to just about everyone.
This is dramatic and moving and sad. There were a few problems with the flow of the story-- it alternates between a before-time and the after-time, but it isn't always clearly labelled, which can be confusing. It is hard to recommend, since that means suggesting one thinks the prospective reader might enjoy spending an hour choked up and clutching a tissue, but it is a very good book.
I have no idea what this is. People with bird heads and half-dressed people as food. If the author is trying to make some statement, I am not receiving. The drawings aren't pleasant or funny or insightful. Pass.
Stiff upper lip, Jeeves, with Michael Hordern and Richard Briers, from BBC Radio 4. These radio dramatizations are generally fun to listen to, but this one in particular substituted quite a bit of the narration with sound effect and such, so I felt like I missed out a bit. There were also a few problems where characters talked over each other, or over other sound effects, and it was not possible to hear what everyone was saying. Still, quick and good for when I have to drive across the Peninsula alone.
When a child is born by Jodi Taylor. This is labelled "a seasonal short story;" short is right. I should probably say it's my fault for not checking the item's metadata before purchasing; I'm used to between-the-numbers installments being in the novella, 50-75 page range. This is 19, four of which are cover page, also-by, etc., leaving 15 pages of story. 15. Without exaggeration, it took me longer to input my new bank card into my Nook than it took me to read this. I have heap big buyer's remorse.
at 7:08 PM
Sunday, July 24, 2016
at 9:16 PM
Saturday, July 23, 2016
I read these on our family camp trip earlier this week (before the 48 Hour Reading Challenge) and wanted to post about them on their own. Let's see what I can remember from that long ago.
Time thief by Katie MacAlister. I had completely forgotten but I have absolutely read this one before, although I do not have a note to that effect anywhere in the blog as best as I can tell. It didn't seem familiar but as soon as I cracked the cover the first night, rolled up in my sleeping bag, there was definite deja vu. I read a few pages, skipped ahead, didn't recognize the new part, skipped back, became more convinced, skipped farther ahead, and finally said out loud, "I'm pretty sure I've read this before." My husband helpfully responded, "yeah, you did; I recognized the cover."
at 5:32 PM
(When we did finally cross the bridge, we could see the top bit of a submarine sticking out of the water as it moved down the Canal, so that was cool.)
Belfair State Park, of the Washington State Park System. I chose this park for one reason exclusively: it was the closest campsite to where I was stashing my child. It was a very short drive to my in-laws, and conveniently three and half miles from a grocery story in case of food emergency. If you are looking for anything else, as we usually are, when choosing a campground (such as views, site spaciousness, site privacy, hiking opportunities inside the campground, other recreation outlets inside the campground, or proximity to hiking/recreation nearby outside the campground), Belfair SP would severely disappoint. The campsites are much smaller than other state parks we've camped in and there is nothing except a few ferns between each site, affording zero privacy. A few sites on the edge have a nice view and easy access to the water and beach, but most are back under the trees (where it is humid). The frequently-placed water spouts in my loop were all out of order. There is a token-operated shower, but the shower room has only one bench (dirty) with no hooks, and it had a bug problem. I cannot recommend this park. Fortunately, it met my limited criteria, which pretty much involved being a place where I could toss up a tent and build a fire.
at 3:54 PM
Friday, July 22, 2016
Sleep donation by Karen Russell. Technically a novella, I think. The short format works surprisingly well. There obviously isn't space to get into the nitty-gritty of the sci-fi-esque problem, so it feels completely natural to totally accept it and get on with the story.
at 7:32 PM
I had some audiobook time this afternoon while spending more time drying things out. We now have one thin ray of sunshine, and I managed to get the fire going a while ago despite the dampness. The afternoon was warm, at least, and I've been able to sit by the fire, although my plan to sit on the beach in the sun has yet to be implemented.
at 5:06 PM
Well, that was a startling turn events. The Pacific Northwest does not experience many thunderstorms, as a rule. It turns out the activity around dinner time last night was only a prelude. Thunderstorms rolled through at 11:30, shortly after 2, and then the granddaddy with accompanying buckets of rain at 4:15. We get a lot of rain out this way, but it usually takes all day to amount to any accumulation. There was a bothersome amount of water in the corners of the tent.
at 12:55 PM
Thursday, July 21, 2016
No new books finished, although I'm making steady progress on a romance novel. My steam kind of petered out for a little while around 9: I came out of the tent after the thundershowers passed and managed to get a fire going. I read by the fire but once it got too dark, I ended up sitting by the fire doing absolutely nothing for a little while. It was very pleasant.
at 10:14 PM
I had just sat down to dinner (one-pot Mac n cheese made over the one-burner propane stove, turned out quite well) when I heard rain drops patter on the canopy. So this
at 6:00 PM
Saga, volume 6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. This is so much better than the previous volume-- not so much purposeful gore, and the story feels exciting and hopeful again. If you've made it this far in the series, it's worth continuing.
at 1:43 PM