Friday, February 01, 2019

January Reading

No, no, I didn't read ALL of that in January. Just still tickled by finally owning enough bookcases for my whole personal library! I went back for the matching one they had at the secondhand furniture place after overfilling this one and that should cover it for a while. Happy happy joy joy!
January reading (lifted directly from last night's long FB ramble):

I've been thinking that it would be interesting to actually keep track of the books I read for a year. I am an inveterate bookworm and between the books I own, a variety of sources of free books (work giveaways, apartment giveaways, Brooklyn Library, Sebago Canoe Club Library, Ditmas Park Little Free Library) and sufficient discretionary income for the occasional bookstore binge, I'm always working on something, and with my 1.5 to 2 hours of commuting time pretty much entirely dedicated to reading, I get through so many books in a year that I would never be able to give you a list at the end.

I would be able to tell you the ones that stood out, and maybe that list would be better as it would reflect on the quality rather than just quantity, but there are so few books that I just end up not liking that maybe a full list would be fun.

So here's January 2019:

Finished David Cordingly's Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailor's Wives (had started reading in December 2018). Nonfiction, a wide variety of good stories including some wonderfully brave women who stepped up and assumed leadership roles in eras when a proper woman wasn't supposed to do such things. I'm not sure where I got this but it's going to the Sebago library even if it wasn't from there originally (it's not labeled as such, which they usually are)

First complete book of 2019, quite intentionally, that was how I wanted to start my reading year: Michelle Obama's Becoming. I read this so slowly, savored every word. Keeper. Miss the Obama White House SO much.

Tin by Padraig Kenney - Advance Reading Copy from work, comes out in March. Aimed at ages 8 - 12 but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Alternative history with robot children, themes of friendship, loyalty, family, and at the risk of making it sound heavier than it is, some serious consideration of what it means to be human. Will put this out in the Ditmas Park Little Free Library (like to get the work finds into general circulation).

Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster - Vaudeville era story of a guttersnipe orphan boy who's taken from his uncaring aunt and uncle by a man who teaches him to fly. Again, meditations on family, loyalty, betrayal, this time at an adult level. This one's a keeper, it was a rip-roaring adventure with a lot of underlying thought and that's the kind of thing I'll speed read the first time just to see what happens, then go back for a more leisurely revisit.

Missing by Cath Staincliffe - I like a good murder mystery every now and then. This one was British and featured a good female private investigator protagonist who I liked very much. Put it out in the Little Free Library when I was done with it, I don't tend to hold onto a lot of mysteries.

The Fairy Tale Detectives: Sisters Grimm Book One by Michael Buckley - I think my friend Mandy Huang was telling me about this series last year and I found Book 1 on the giveaway shelf at work this year. Premise: What if Grimm's Fairy Tales were actually case histories of crimes and the fairy tale creatures who were the victims and perps were alive and well and living in a small town by the Hudson River? Good fun and there was a really cool author addendum at the end talking about common elements and themes you find in fairy tales and offering readers who'd like to try their own hand at creating a re-told version ways to start playing with that. That was kind of cool - I'm alway somewhat awed by storytellers, it's such a sort of mysterious skill to me, and here's and author saying to "Here's how I do it, now why don't you give it a try too, it's fun!" Totally neat thing for kids.

Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older - This one was the pick for the Scholastic employee book club January meeting. I've been trying to attend for months now, finally actually made it and thoroughly enjoyed it. The book is kind of a crazy fun conglomeration of genres - premise is what if they had dinosaurs instead of horses during the Civil War? So, alternative history, real history, action/adventure, dinosaurs, and a little bit of magic in a very recognizable NYC, with a fantastic bunch of kids displaced from the Colored Orphans Asylum by the Draft Riots in the lead roles - we need diverse books and this one's great. This one will probably go to the Little Free Library.

Both of those are from series, which I don't always love - I actually tend to get very cranky if I get to the end of a book and the author leaves me hanging, but in this case although it's very clear that there's more to unfold, the authors have basically wrapped things up well enough so you aren't left going "BUT YOU DIDN'T FINISH WRITING YOUR BOOK YOU LAZY BUM!". Both authors left you at a reasonable close to an episode and although you know there's another one coming it feels like you could step away from the characters if you want to. For the Sisters Grimm, if I ran across another one I would read it but I don't feel any particular need to go hunt down the next one. I am looking forward to the next installment of the Dactyl Hill Squad and since I sit near the editor I'll probably be able to get my hands on that pretty easily.

Last book of January, another work find - Floored: When Seven Lives Collide by (no really): Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood. Collaborative YA fiction from the UK, 6 assorted teenagers get onto an elevator at the United Kingdom Broadcasting Offices together and something happens that causes them to bond as a group of friends, dramatically influencing their lives for years to come.

More friendship, family and loyalty - was that my January theme or is that just how authors do? Hmmm.


Lois Alter Mark said...

I'm reading Becoming now, and I'm reading it slowly, too, because I want to savor every word! Thanks for the other book suggestions, too, although I have stacks to be read next to my bed!

bonnie said...

Isn't that book just great?