1.26.2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA




[To rehash the concept :: post what you read last week, what you're reading now, and what you plan to read this week. If you have a review of the book(s), great! If you have a picture of the book(s), wonderful! If you have a book giveaway, fantastic! If you just list the title(s) of the book(s), not a problem! Make it as simple or as complex as you need it to be. At least, that's the message I got. This version of the meme is hosted by Jen and Kellee of Teach Mentor Text, which, in turn, was inspired by Sheila over at Book Journey, who hosts the original It's Monday! What Are You Reading?]

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK:



The Bear's Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud

Dodsworth in Tokyo by Tim Egan

Duck & Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper 

Lion vs. Rabbit by Alex Latimer

Madame Martine by Sarah S. Brannen

Tacky in Trouble by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Wave by Suzy Lee

A Wonderful Year by Nick Bruel

WHAT I'M READING NOW:


Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks (aka Heather Rose and Danielle Wood)

Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris with Joanna Ebenstein

WHAT I PLAN TO READ THIS WEEK:


Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy

1.19.2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA


I'm going to give myself a little bit of a pass this week because I was busy using a bit more brain power than I'm accustomed to. (In case you're wondering, I'm the new editor of my women's club newsletter and I was working on my first issue. I get hyper-focused on details when I'm in editing mode and I lost all ability to do anything else!) But I'm fairly happy with the variety of books I read. As always, I have the library to thank for that; I read The Baby Tree, Firebird, and Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? while browsing the Mock Caldecott table at the Arlington Central Library.

My favorite book this week, by far, is Alan Bradley's newest Flavia de Luce mystery, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. This is the seventh book in the series (plus one short story) and I eagerly await each installment. They aren't written as YA but I think there's appeal for younger readers because the main character, Flavia, is eleven years old. Yes, she's obsessed with poisons, and murders and dead bodies don't bother her, but other than that there's not a whole lot that's objectionable in the series. For a guy in his 70s (according to Wikipedia), Bradley has a great grasp on the psyche of a young girl, albeit an odd young girl, a girl nonetheless. 

[To rehash the concept :: post what you read last week, what you're reading now, and what you plan to read this week. If you have a review of the book(s), great! If you have a picture of the book(s), wonderful! If you have a book giveaway, fantastic! If you just list the title(s) of the book(s), not a problem! Make it as simple or as complex as you need it to be. At least, that's the message I got. This version of the meme is hosted by Jen and Kellee of Teach Mentor Text, which, in turn, was inspired by Sheila over at Book Journey, who hosts the original It's Monday! What Are You Reading?]

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK:



The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall

I won a personalized mini-print from Sophie Blackall last year. Cute, huh?

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley

"It's Flavia," I told him. "The first syllable rhymes with 'brave' and 'grave.' --> Wait! What?! I've been saying her name wrong for five years??

Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak


Water Rolls, Water Rises / El agua rueda, el agua sube by Pat Mora, illustrated by Meilo So

WHAT I'M READING NOW:


Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy

WHAT I PLAN TO READ THIS WEEK:


Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks (aka Heather Rose and Danielle Wood)

1.16.2015

The Bounties of Browsing ... a new occasional series


The reason I will never give up on the physical space of libraries and bookstores is that there is magic to be had in browsing the shelves: finding books you've always wanted to read, discovering new-to-you authors, trying a genre out of your comfort zone. All of those experiences are available to you because you can pick up books, flip through the pages, ask a clerk/librarian for recommendations, and just take your time to explore.

This week I was back at the Arlington Central Library for a meeting so I spent some time browsing the shelves. Here are a few books I checked out just because they looked interesting:

  • At the Same Moment, Around the World by Clotilde Perrin (Children's Picture Book)
  • Make the Grade: Everything You Need to Study Better, Stress Less, and Succeed in School by Lesley Schwartz Martin (Young Adult Nonfiction: Education, Methods of Instruction and Study)
  • Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations by Dan Roam (Nonfiction: Executive Management, Oral Communication)
  • Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris with Joanna Ebenstein (Nonfiction: Zoology, Preserving Zoological Specimens)

Every once in awhile I plan to showcase what I serendipitously discover while wandering library stacks and bookstore shelves.

1.12.2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA




[To rehash the concept :: post what you read last week, what you're reading now, and what you plan to read this week. If you have a review of the book(s), great! If you have a picture of the book(s), wonderful! If you have a book giveaway, fantastic! If you just list the title(s) of the book(s), not a problem! Make it as simple or as complex as you need it to be. At least, that's the message I got. This version of the meme is hosted by Jen and Kellee of Teach Mentor Text, which, in turn, was inspired by Sheila over at Book Journey, who hosts the original It's Monday! What Are You Reading?]

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK:



And the Cars Go ... by William Bee

Daisy and Josephine by Melissa Gilbert, illustrated by Julia Kuo

Buddy and the Bunnies In: Don't Play With Your Food! by Bob Shea

Dog Days of School by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Brian Biggs

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, illustrated by Lane Smith

Runaways, Volume 1: Pride & Joy written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Adrian Alphona

WHAT I'M READING NOW:



As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley

WHAT I PLAN TO READ THIS WEEK:


Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy

1.05.2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA


Happy New (Reading) Year!  

[To rehash the concept :: post what you read last week, what you're reading now, and what you plan to read this week. If you have a review of the book(s), great! If you have a picture of the book(s), wonderful! If you have a book giveaway, fantastic! If you just list the title(s) of the book(s), not a problem! Make it as simple or as complex as you need it to be. At least, that's the message I got. This version of the meme is hosted by Jen and Kellee of Teach Mentor Text, which, in turn, was inspired by Sheila over at Book Journey, who hosts the original It's Monday! What Are You Reading?]

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK:



Chernobyl's Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone by Rebecca L. Johnson

The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett

This is the first Sonya Hartnett book I've read and I loved her beautiful writing. Not that children can't appreciate or understand gorgeously composed sentences, but there were several instances when I thought Hartnett was writing more for an adult audience. One paragraph made me laugh out loud, and I wondered if it would've gone over the heads of younger readers (the intended audience is 10 and up):
[...] this was that adults and children would dine together, rather than at separate sittings. The arrangement was easier for the depleted domestic staff, but it also suited Peregrine. He could think of nothing worse than supping with his sister-in-law, just he and she. He wouldn't have been surprised to know that Heloise felt the same way. They had things in common, as smart cynical people always do, but one of the things common to them was an awkwardness around each other. Welcome, then, was the company of the children, whose chatter filled the spaces which would otherwise yawn over the dining room.
I was particularly taken with the entire chapter "On the Subject of Bravery." I wish I could include it here in its entirety; I think it encapsulates the book quite well by touching on familial relationships, a child's feeling about their place in the world, what conversations and thoughts must've been like during WWII, and of course, what it means to be brave.

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

What a lovely collection of poems enhanced by Sweet's distinctive art. Admittedly, I'm not much of a poetry person, mostly because I'm an incredibly literal person who had real difficulty "analyzing" poetry in school. I think those academic experiences scared me away from poetry and I have it in my mind that I just don't get it. But Janeczko's selections of short poems -- organized by season -- are accessible and would make a wonderful introduction to poetry for young readers. The poems can be read literally; the art marveled at and observations made; and then, if readers are up for it, the poem can be re-read to see if there are other meanings hidden in the words. I also enjoyed that there's a nice mix of nature-related seasonal poems as well as urban-themed poetry. Some of my favorite poems from the book are:
"Window." by Carl Sandburg
"Subway Rush Hour." by Langston Hughes
"A Happy Meeting." by Joyce Sidman
"Tall City." by Susan Nichols Pulsifer
"Dust of Snow." by Robert Frost
I guess it turns out I like poetry! A book that makes me realize that is a powerful thing, indeed.

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner

Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale

WHAT I'M READING NOW:


Runaways, Volume 1: Pride & Joy written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Adrian Alphona

WHAT I PLAN TO READ THIS WEEK:


As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley

12.29.2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA


I hope everyone received some wonderful books for the holidays! Books continue to be my favorite gift to give and receive. This year, I received a pie cookbook from my sister and my husband gave me the new volume of  Saga, the newest issue of Ms. Marvel, and the Flavia de Luce short story.

[To rehash the concept :: post what you read last week, what you're reading now, and what you plan to read this week. If you have a review of the book(s), great! If you have a picture of the book(s), wonderful! If you have a book giveaway, fantastic! If you just list the title(s) of the book(s), not a problem! Make it as simple or as complex as you need it to be. At least, that's the message I got. This version of the meme is hosted by Jen and Kellee of Teach Mentor Text, which, in turn, was inspired by Sheila over at Book Journey, who hosts the original It's Monday! What Are You Reading?]

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK:



The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse by Alan Bradley

Mikis and the Donkey by Bibi Dumon Tak

Oh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built a Time Machine to Save History) (Or At Least My History Grade) by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat

Rifka Takes a Bow by Rebecca Rosenberg Perlov, illustrated by Cosei Kawa

WHAT I'M READING NOW:


The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett

WHAT I PLAN TO READ THIS WEEK:


Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

12.23.2014

The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge

For the last few years I've taken part in the Goodreads annual Reading Challenge. There have been some arguments for and against reading challenges, but I find it beneficial to participate. I've met (and exceeded) my goals, but I've also fallen short of my goal. In the end, though, having a challenge goal keeps me motivated, encourages me when I've fallen behind, and gives me an additional sense of satisfaction when I keep on reading. My goal for the coming year will be the same as this year's, to read a book a day (as you may have noticed, I read a lot of picture books and graphic novels, which makes this goal "easier").

Not increasing my goal this year, in some sense, defeats the purpose of a challenge. According to dictionary.com, a challenge is a "difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it." Reading as I always do is not a difficulty, nor is it stimulating. I recently saw a challenge on Book Riot that could help me with this: the 2015 Read Harder Challenge. My main reading interests are children's literature, fantasy, and graphic novels. I occasionally dabble in "grown up" nonfiction and mystery. It's easy to fall into a reading rut and I think it would be challenging to read outside of my comfort zone.

There are 24 tasks for this challenge, and as much as I would like to fulfill each task with a separate book, there may be some tasks that will be checked off with the same book:

  • A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25: Halfway Home: Drawing My Way Through Japan by Christine Mari Inzer, published by Naruhodo Press
  • A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
  • A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
  • A book published by an indie press
  • A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
  • A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
  • A book that takes place in Asia
  • A book by an author from Africa
  • A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.): The Blind Boy and the Loon by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
  • A microhistory
  • A YA novel
  • A sci-fi novel
  • A romance novel
  • A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
  • A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
  • An audiobook
  • A collection of poetry
  • A book that someone else has recommended to you
  • A book that was originally published in another language: Mikis and the Donkey by Bibi Dumon Tak
  • A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind: Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince
  • A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
  • A book published before 1850
  • A book published this year
  • A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)

As you can see, I got off to a head start and finished a few of these tasks over the weekend. I'll endeavor to keep updating this post as I fulfill a task. Book Riot began a Goodreads page for the challenge, which links to the original post, lists the tasks and reading suggestions for the tasks, and allows for participants to share what they're reading. They encourage people to use the hashtag #ReadHarder on social media.