Saturday, December 31, 2016

Yule Book Flood!

Vampires in the lemon grove by Karen Russell.  I was describing last year's Yule Book Flood fun, in which I received A land more kind than home, to a coworker, and she suggested we do it at work.  So we set up a Secret-Santa-esque round among a dozen interested coworkers.  This is what I received from my Yule Book Elf-- along with a bar of Gingerbread Spice Theo Chocolate, which I cannot recommend highly enough.  It sounds maybe odd, but is divine.

This book was from the same coworker who previously suggested Sleep donation, which I liked.  This book is even better!  I know this was popular after its release a few years ago; every time I had to reorder it, I read the descriptions or reviews and tried to figure out what the heck it was about.  I added it to my TBR list and took it off more than a handful of times.

The author's literary awards are impressive, so it's interesting to read sci-fi- and fantasy-tinged fiction in this style.  There aren't any of the usual tropes common to the genre.  Most of the stories are intriguing because no other author has approached quite that topic in quite that way.  (For a few of the stories, there's a good reason no one has taken quite that tactic.  They're a little too far out there, but still interesting as a collection of exploratory literary science fiction.)

Everyone should celebrate Yule Book Flood.  Here are the rules we use:
1.  Organize book givers and receivers.  For small families/groups, straight exchanges work.  For larger groups, a giving-in-the-round (person A gives to B who gives to C, around until the last person gives to A) is good.  It doesn't have to be a secret-- a conversation to make sure the recipient has not yet read the book, likes the genre, etc., will ensure a better gift. For a party group, a white elephant set up (but with desirable titles) could also be fun.
2.  Deliver a new or gently-used book, along with a chocolate bar or other treat of choice, to your Yule Book recipient by 12/23.
3.  Save your book and treat until December 24th-- no peeking!
4.  Take your treat and book and go to bed early on 12/24.  The best way to start the holidays!

These are not official rules, and a little bit of research indicates that the image that started me off last year might be less than factual.  It doesn't matter, it's a wonderful thing to do, super fun, and worth becoming a tradition if it isn't already.

And now, things slightly less special, although still great.

World of trouble by Ben H. Winters.  The story took an unexpected turn: the plot did not fall out as one might anticipate.  It was a little jarring, although not inappropriate.
The ending is wonderful--strong and emotional, and maybe just a tiny bit hopeful.

Bitch planet: Book one: Extraordinary machine by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Valentine De Landro, and others.  Definitely not appropriate for all readers, but I love how information about the future society wasn't laid out; at the end of this book, there are still alot of things not explained.  Looking forward to book 2.  

The Santa Clause with Tim Allen.  Our family watched this before Christmas; I had seen it bunches of time ages ago, but not in the last 15 years.  It's cute and funny, but the sexist jokes and fat-shaming in family movies from the 1990s is surprising.  It's like watching Looney Tunes.

13 things that don't make sense: The most baffling scientific mysteries of our time, by Michael Brooks; read by James Adams.  (500)  I admit I didn't look closely at the description before checking this out; the first half is all about astrophysics and advanced space stuff, which was hard for me to follow.  That was probably exacerbated by conditions at the Y: TVs in every corner, cocky 20-year-olds cussing and throwing down heavy weights in the back of the room... I was able to follow the second part, mostly about biological processes, much better.  The reader was very easy to listen to.

Woodsong by Gary Paulsen; read by the author.  (796.5092)  The boy and I had a long drive for a wrestling tournament yesterday, so I grabbed a couple of things available on OverDrive.  I paused this after the first chapter, which was more graphic than I anticipated, but it didn't phase the 3rd grader in the backseat. He was enthralled, even stayed awake the whole way home to finish it. 

I was rather disappointed in the narration; the diction was sloppy and almost completely lacking in emotion.  A professional reader could have done a better job.

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