Sunday, May 15, 2011

I fail at blogging.

I get home and I'm like, "I really should do that.  No, I'll do it after the boy is in bed."  And once the boy is asleep, I promptly go to bed, too.  So I always forget to do this, and thus the fail.

Heart's Blood, by Gail Dayton.  I was in the mood for a quick paperback and, to a point, this sufficed.  That point was about half way through.  The first part of the book is quite good, setting up a unique world, letting us get to know the characters, and so on.  Once we're hooked, the whole thing falls apart in typical romance fashion-- no one listens to anyone else, no one does anything that remotely makes sense-- and we have the added downward spiral of randomly-added fantasy elements that don't fit with the first part of the fantasy world, degenerating into a King Kong vs. Godzilla fight through downtown steam punk London. 

The Killing, Divine Madness, and Man vs. Beast, by Robert Muchamore.  I had a heck of a time finding The Killing on my shelves.  The problem turned out to be this: a big graphic across the front of the book says "Police line: Do not cross" on the yellow crime scene tape.  Even though these words do not appear on the spine or the inside front cover, they were still entered into the catalog record as a title.  Our paperbacks are only cataloged with title, author, and call number.  So I'm searching online, trying to find if this "Police line" book fits with any of the author's other work, and looking in our catalog records to try to identify why the library has books 1-3 and 5-6 but not book 4 of this series.  Fortunately, I was able to identify the books as one and the same, but not until after I went to submit an order for The Killing and finally saw a picture of the cover, including said graphic.

As usual, there were a fair number of surface errors that make me wish more editing was involved.  I'm sad that, despite my booktalk promotions of this series to several grades, the circ isn't high enough that I feel warranted purchasing the rest of the series. 

Hunger, by Jackie Morse Kessler.  As my colleague summed up, this is an interesting way to do a "problem novel" without all the typical problem novel problems.  Said colleague petitioned my opinion about half-way through my through my reading, and she was impressed by my being intrigued, which is pretty high praise from me.  Most of book was subtle and insightful, but there were a few parts that were extremely unrealistic or didactic.  I have ordered the next book for the YA section as well.  It's a thin book, so might be a decent sell to nearly-reluctant readers, and it ended up being pretty dark.  There's definitely an audience for this, but that audience is probably grades 10 and up or thereabouts.

Mad at Mommy, by Komako Sakai.    I spied this in the children's new book section, but didn't bring it home.  The character was drawn in poses or expressions that perfectly mirror my son's.  But I didn't like the laundry list of things he doesn't like about his mommy, and I'd just as soon not give my boy that idea.

People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks.    So, round about the time I forgot to keep blogging, I fell into a funk.  I couldn't find anything to read that I thought would be interesting at all.  Complaining of this to a colleague, he offered to pick a book for me.  Now, we've been working together for a year or a little more, and we talk, as people who work together in libraries tend to, about the things we read, so I trusted him.  This is the book he picked for me. 
I never would have picked this for myself.  I remember looking at it a few times before, a while ago, and I always put it down.  But this was a good choice.  It was a little hard for me to follow at times, because it jumps around, and works backwards in time while also skipping some time chunks.
I think the book might have been best without the mystery/intrigue that was the last few chapters.  That felt very tacked-on.  I also got off to a moor-less start because, for the first couple of pages, I thought the main character was male, and that's always hard to switch a little way in.  But a good book and I'm glad my friend picked it for me.

The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie.  I am going to take a minute to put my hipster hat on.  I knew who Hugh Laurie was before House, thank you very much, and I've seen a fair chunk of his Brit-Com stuff.  (Any library worth their salt has a good collection of the BBC.)  I am so not jumping on the band-wagon there.  I also checked out my library's two or three things by Stephen Fry, but I turned them in because my checked-out pile was becoming unmanageable. 
I totally loved this book.  However, this is another one of those books that won't have much of a middle-ground audience: lovers or haters, every one.  The action was good, the suspense was excellent; I was often confused because I didn't understand the motives of what was going on, but it seemed clear that the character was in the same boat, so it wasn't frustrating so much.
There is very casual use of the f-bomb, but, interestingly, no "low-grade" swearing that I really recall.  I think I've seen this before in other publications from across the pond.  I'd like to know more.  I think it's odd.

What's Up Down There?  Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, by Lissa Rankin. This is Dewey no. 618.1, my collection area, and I ordered this book recently.  It has circulated 5 times in 4 months, which is practically unheard of in this call number range, except for new fad-diet books. 
This is a good book which covers a wide range of topics.  It wasn't really my taste-- the author gets a little new-age-y part-way through the book, which becomes more pronounced as the book goes on.  Informative, obviously in high demand, at my location, at least.

His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, and Victory of Eagles, by Naomi Novik.  I remembered recently that the latest book was out.  I thought about just reading the new one, but I couldn't remember what happened in Victory of Eagles, so I thought about just reading the last two.  But when I went up to grab them, all six were lined up all in a row on the shelf; I could not resist-- even though I own my own copies of the first two!
Previously, when I've read this series, I remembered the writing getting drastically worse after the first book.  And the first book is definitely the best in every way.  But I don't think, upon further reflection, that I have done justice to the rest of the series.  I think it's just that the writing requires a certain devotion of time on the part of the reader, and trying to read at my usual pace makes me miss things. 
I'm still working on the new one, Tongues of Serpents.  I'm not sure where this is going.  Wherever that is, I don't think it's a place that will be a good series-ender.

Dinosaurs Galore! by Giles Andreae; illustrated by David Wojtowycz.  These colors and illustrations are fantastic.  We read this in the library and the boy wanted to bring it home; it actually ended up living in the car for a while, and the boy would look at it and make up stories to himself about each of the dinosaurs-- there's one dinosaur per page, and a little poem about each.

The Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Renata Liwska.    I read this and adored it, but we never got around to it at home.  A great book!  Even the illustrations are quiet.

The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime, by Miles Harvey.    So here's the story with this one: on a listserv I follow, someone mentioned that they are reading one book from every "Dewey decade" (although I don't feel that's the right term)-- ie, one from between 000 and 010, 010-020, 020-030, etc., on through.  I thought that sounded interesting, but not for me.  I still think of nonfiction as being very boring, essentially, with a few worthy and interesting chunks in the 610s and 320s.  But when I started looking, I saw alot of books that did look interesting.  This is 025.8.
All of the map information, the history and art, was amazing.  I could have done without the author's psychological self-evaluation, which really retracted.  I have absolutely no interest in how he felt about himself and what psychoses he developed in the course of doing the research for this book; I'm reading it for the map stuff, Narcissus. 

Star Wars Blast Off!, by-- or, rather, from (?)-- DK Readers.  My husband started the boy on Star Wars and now he loves it.  This is a graduated reader book and rated "Pre-Level 1: Learning to Read."  It's like a wee little dictionary of Star Wars, one page per character or thing, with a big illustration and a very simple sentence. 

I will try to suck less in the future.


Ms. Yingling said...

Good to see you back. Combination of needing sleep and reading funk does make it hard to go on. It gets a little better, so hang in there. The most important thing is that you are still reading. And, presumably, getting dressed and showing up to work most days. Adults don't get nearly the praise they should for doing this, in my opinion!!!

Ted Viveiros said...

Wow. That was a lot of catching up to do. Nobody ever fails at blogging once you realize what it is you're trying to do in the first place. "The Boy" always comes first anyway.