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Kaethe

Kaethe

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Sunday, September 3rd

I am already behind.

 

The eldest of the Offspring started college this week, so there was a goodbye dinner out at the same Mexican restaurant we discovered at graduation, which was tasty and over before the entire fraternity arrived (party of eighty), and then there was packing the car with nearly everything, and then packing a last minute bag for myself, which there almost wasn't room for. Then the Road Trip of Epic Proportions: 1461 miles in 48 hours with an audio package of eighties tunes and Talk the Talk podcasts, donuts and coffee too hot to drink for an hour, attractive Philly streetlights on the highway, a surprisingly clean and green New Jersey, and four straight rush hours. Then pizza delivery to the hotel and Lethal Weapon 3 for mindless entertainment. Up bright and early the next morning with a craving for fruit that lead to Whole Foods, and not actually finding fresh fruit until it was too late and I was committed to a sort of homemade strawberry Poptart that was weirdly much sweeter than the regular kind, then check in where there was a selection of local organic produce, and the best apple I've ever tasted. Then moving in, lunch, and a requisite visit to the local Target which had been denuded of clothes hangers and lighbulbs. Then a much longer drive home taking the scenic route, and seeing way more trees and nothing much else except Scranton, and those aesthetically pleasing highway street lights, and it was the most boring trip ever, because I had to listen to directions and the radio was lousy when I could pick something up, and in cleaning the car for the trip I removed all my cds, D'oh. 

 

So the only reading I managed this week was Paper Girls #2, loaned by the youngest Offspring, and wonderfully weird as it was, I don't think it fits any of the squares. And now I need coffee and headache relievers, but the cats have forgiven me finally, which means lying all over me, not hiding in the sock basket, and the only family member who is awake is now much too far away to fix me a cup of coffee. I feel that I should have planned this out better. 

Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero

Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero

  

I read the title, and I wanted to read this book. I read the blurb and I wanted to read this book now. I signed up for the giveaway, then I checked my local library; they have it in Overdrive, so I immediately checked it out to my Kindle. But my Kindle is at home. When I said "now", I meant "give me total instant gratification, damnit". So I also sent it to my phone.

And then I had to quit by the time they arrived at the scene of their crime-solving. That last case was closed, but the experience deeply wounded each of the four kids in completely believable ways. All of them broken and alone.

And I wouldn't pick it up again because it's a good book, the characters, setting, it's a good straight book and I wanted a light-hearted comedy, and right now I just couldn't give it the time, or seriousness, or respect it deserves. Probably I can't until my children are in their thirties, the sadness is too overwhelming.

Library copy.

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Four - Chris Van Dusen,Kate DiCamillo

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Four - Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen

What are the odds on finding affordable housing at the corner of Deckawoo Drive and Sesame Street? I really want to move to a place without racism or any of the other nasty hates that have been so apparent lately. A place where strangers are helpful, and the neighbors share in your good fortune.

DeCamillo makes me feel better about humanity and cheerful. Van Dusen's art is the perfect visual accompaniment. My Offspring are all grown up, but even they are delighted to see such a book arrive.

Go, spend a little time. I'm certain the air is sweet, even when Mercy Watson walks by. You can take a child with you, but you don't have to.

Enjoy.

ARC provided by publisher through GoodReads giveaway. Because joy.

 

  

My private shame

I have at least 15 books in "currently reading" status that would do for Bingo reads. I really do need to finish some, or abandon them. And all of them started long enough ago that I remember nothing. My future is forseen: I will spend my last years in a tower of TBRs and Currently Reading, all stacked up around me in a circle, and every time I put a book down I'll take a different one up next, and I 'll have to start over from the beginning each time and I will never finish anything.

 

The good news is, when I unexpectedly saw myself in a mirror the other day I was delighted to see the face of my beloved Granny, whom I 've missed these forty odd years. Sort of the emotional opposite of my childhood fear of seeing Bloody Mary.

There's something in the air...

Sadly, it isn't autumn. We continue unbearably hot.But still, it's Fall in my soul where the books live.

 

 

My lovely card:

 

and my sticker

 

And still ages of thoughtful sifting through TBR lists and stacks. I love September!

Rabbit Hole

I've spent three hours going through to make sure I have followed everyone, because every page I checked, or nearly, had a list of books people were planning for their squares, and nearly every one of those had a number of books I needed to add to my list for later. Wow, y'all are impressively organized and on top of this! Me, not so much. I haven't even mastered the details of how to post my card.

 

I haven't actually been through my shelves yet. Although I recently swore off bringing home more books until I 'd at least brought my stacks down to manageable, there were several titles or authors that came immediately to mind when I looked at my card or at other's lists. So a library hold frenzy ensued.

 

The good news is, I think this has cheered me out of my reading slump. Okay, I 'm going to pay bills, and then check out my stacks and shelves. I need the reality check first, otherwise I might be tempted to buy 25 new books.

 

Thank you for inviting me into this happy gruesome madness.

 

Oh, hey, looking at all those lists U was surprised how few humorous books people were choosing: it's like you can't help taking the murder and monster seriously. The imp of the perverse is nudging me to read nothing but Pratchett and Gorey and so forth.

One Trick Pony - Nathan Hale 

One Trick Pony - Nathan Hale

I enjoyed this enormously: I liked the juxtaposition of multiple different cultures and societies. The premise was intriguing, the kids are resourceful, the parents believable, the robots were funny. Good set up and good payoff. I would thing this would be insanely popular since it's like to appeal to fans of fantasy and science fiction, to horse people and 

Western people, everyone really, except aliens.

 

My only problem with the book is a technical detail: I had tremendous trouble reading the speech sometimes. Yes, I'm old and the eyes go and dim lighting isn't sufficient anymore et cetera, et cetera, but none of that troubles me when reading anything else. I'm not confident I know what the difficulty was: whether the book pages were too small (for me), or the font size too small (for me), or the contrast not sharp enough (for me). I can't say with any certainty. But it made for an uncomfortable experience. I'm a motivated reader, so I stuck with it, but I can imagine that not everyone would. YMMV

 

Library copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

CatStronauts: Mission Moon - Drew Brockington  

CatStronauts: Mission Moon - Drew Brockington

I liked the bit that included actual astronaut training. I hated that there were four catstronauts and every single one was male. My daughters wanted their space agency to be CASA.

Library copy

Cibola Burn - James S.A. Corey 

Cibola Burn - James S.A. Corey

So, I have way too many books sitting around half-read or less. My various TBR stacks and Currently Reading stacks come to a hundred or so, which is just way too many. So I decided I'm not going to check out any more books from the library or buy any more until I have gone through all of these and either finish them, or admit they're abandoned and put them in the donate box.

 

Except, I did go ahead and place a request for the 5th book in the Expanse series. Another one of these incredible 900 page jobbies. Because that's how much I love them.

 

I am just a skin sack full of contradictions.

 

Library copy

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Morris Mole - Dan Yaccarino

Morris Mole - Dan Yaccarino, Dan Yaccarino

Morris is a nerdy mole who wears a suit and a dapper hat and carries an umbrella. His brothers all wear hardhats. There is a crisis. And then unexpected turns of events. Nerds for the win!

Library copy

 

 

The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle  

The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle

These days we know from ranting, gibbering, racist, sexist, nasty-ass old men horrifying their friends and relations with pointless cruel stupidity, stunning everyone at the festive holiday gathering into silence. LaValle answers Lovecraft's most vile, offensive story, with a work of terrible beauty. "Ah, yes," you think as you close the shorts book: "that's what I wish I had thought to say." Order has been restored, the nasty old man has had his ass whipped in public.

You know what horror is? How far we haven't come in a century.

Damn, I love this story. I just want to go around smacking people upside the head with it, mostly figuratively. Perhaps the most thoroughly satisfying work I've ever read.

Library copy

Abaddon's Gate - James S.A. Corey 

Abaddon's Gate  - James S.A. Corey

Each one of these suckers is equal to about three regular-length books, and every one of these bajillion pages is good. I particularly like the way the authors made a future full of people of various colors, but the prejudice isn't racial, it's place of origin (Earth, Mars, Asteroid Belt). Way to represent and make it all future-y. Also an array of relationships that span a quite large gamut, and are all equally valid. And a good thing with age wherein no one's specific age is given, only their relative appearance to others. Keeps it universal by being unspecific about numbers but very specific about interaction.

But diversity isn't everything: they've got really interesting ideas about possible weird universal truths, and a firm grip on how people mostly behave and how they can behave, if they choose. Lots of alien stuff for the humans to react to. Just entertaining as all get-out.

Library copy

What Boys Really Want - Pete Hautman 

What Boys Really Want - Pete Hautman

Bailed on account of both "skank" and "slut" early on. I have pretty much zero-tolerance for slut-shaming. I generally like Hautman, though, so I'm giving the benefit of the doubt that this is just a single tone-deaf book. Certainly the cover image of four girls with identical hair in four different colors looks cheesy and generic, racially "balanced" like a cover of the Babysitters Club, and that reinforces the tone-deaf vibe. So, I'm gonna pass.

Library copy

 

The New World - Patrick Ness  

The New World - Patrick Ness

12/31/16
Nothing else was really grabbing me, you know? I saw an ad for the film Monsters of Men, which brought me to Ness and thinking it's been too long since I read it, because when I was recommending the series to Natasha as truly excellent sci fi, I couldn't remember much except lots of twists in the spaghetti. In fact, while I remembered that the series was Chaos Walking, I managed to choose the wrong title as first in the series three times in a row. There are only three novels in the series you understand.

personal copy

Triangle - Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen 

Triangle - Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

Set amidst a dystopian hellscape of repetition and conformity, Barnett and Klassen's story evokes a quiet terror in the unwary reader. Look into Triangle's mad, staring, eyes and see the sort of dread that comes to us all after thirty-six hours of bad coffee and no sleep.

 

The prose has been sucked dry of blood, or color, or warmth, or life: there is no trace of anything humane left. The prose is so terse, so spare, Cormac McCarthy is beating out his own despairing brains with the crumbling remains of Hemingway. No one else will ever approach so near to the void, where the only solace is that you have no back to turn on your best friend before he stabs you in it.

 

Most artists set their haunted houses amidst dark and shadowy sets, where the difficulty of seeing permits the mind to fill in the half-glimpsed with all that is worst in the imagination. Barnett and Klassen have set their nightmare against a stark, white, relentless background: this world is devoid of a single softening shadow, the universe itself is as inescapable and cruel as the ubiquitous eye of Big Brother.

 

In the end you are left exhausted, with nothing left except Triangle and Square, the two-dimensional shapes of pain.

 

Library copy

 

A World of Pausabilities: A Exercise in Mindfulness - Frank J. Sileo, Jennifer Zivoin 

A World of Pausabilities: A Exercise in Mindfulness - Frank J. Sileo, Jennifer Zivoin

Mindfulness for children: all for it, from any source or tradition. So great idea, pretty pictures, but the rhyming text felt awkward and forced.

Library copy