Books read in April 2012

A lot of book group selections, reading projects and YA stuff here.

Read
Whiteout
Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber
Matt and I read aloud.
I wish I read the afterword before I read the book because in it Lieber discusses the various ways he used to depict the Antarctic.  That would have been interesting to observe while I was reading the book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs (no really, that’s his name)
A great combination of good storytelling influenced by old photos.  It feels like there is probably a sequel coming, but this is still a good stand-alone book.

Rilla of Ingleside
L.M. Montgomery
I read the edition edited by Benjamin Lefebvre and Andrea McKenzie.  I had to special order it from Canada as American booksellers don’t have it yet.

I’ve now read all eight books in the Anne series, and I can say that this is by far the best one.  I liked the Anne books only somewhat as I found Montgomery strong on character and incredibly weak on plot in most of the books.  This, however, was an actual novel that was gripping to read.  Clearly World War I had a great impact on the author and she channeled her feelings into this novel, with great results.  It has such a clear plot, it could even be read without reading the other seven books in the series.

This edition also includes a handy glossary to define WWI era things that have gone out of our collective memory.  My favorite entry is “soup tureen.”  I figured people still knew what that was.  However, I saw one at the Goodwill the other day and asked Matt if he knew what it was and he did not.  Granted, he’s probably not the best representative as he continues to put “salad roaster” on shopping lists.

The Human Experiment: 2 years and 20 minutes inside Biosphere 2
Jayne Poynter
One of the crew of the initial Biosphere 2 mission tells her story.  This was interesting to read after reading Dreaming the Biosphere  as Poynter gives her view of the split that happened with the eight-man crew.  I also got a better picture of her work at Synergia Ranch and around the globe in various Synergian ventures.  Now to read the book written by the couple in the other faction.

Trask
Don Barry
Read for Kenton Book Group
This is a really fabulous early settler/Indian Oregon narrative that is also a gripping story. It’s slow to start (in fact, several people in the book group commented that it was a bit slow, but they liked it even though they hadn’t yet finished it.  Every single one of them had stopped around page 50) but picks up rapidly after that. The book included great characters, what I felt was a sympathetic portrayal of Oregon cost Indians circa 1840.  I’m not sure why this is not required reading in various high schools around Oregon, but it should be.

The Silent Boy
Lois Lowry
I grabbed this one day to read during lunch because I forgot my newspaper. It uses historic photographs to supplement the story.  Lowry is a darn good storyteller so this is a good story and with a non-standard character as it includes an Autistic boy in the early 20th century.  When I was younger, I never saw anything but “regular” children in the books I read, so I came away with the impression that people with cognitive disabilities didn’t exist except in the present.

The Magician’s Nephew
C.S. Lewis
And I’m off on another children’s series.  I can’t say I loved this book as it was fairly paternalistic, but it went quickly and had some memorable images, notably Jadis standing on top of the handsome cab whipping the poor horse through the streets of London.

Blue Pills
Read for Kenton Book Group
As mentioned several times before, the graphic novel is not my genre.  However, it was very nice to have a book group book I finished in about three days (rather than three weeks) and which explored an interesting topic.  Because the Kenton Book Group is made up primarily of people who don’t read graphic novels, we had quite a lively discussion, where I found myself championing the genre.  There’s some really great “early relationship” stuff in here and though the woman in the group who identifies herself as an artist said she would have given the author a bad grade because he couldn’t draw, I loved the art.

Happily, one member had never read any graphic novels before and was so taken with the genre he made it a priority to select another graphic novel for us to read next year.

Started and did not finish
Blackbringer
Lani Taylor
I like fantasy, I think.  But the I read something like this and wonder.  Do faeries (even somewhat bad-ass ones) sink the story for me?  Perhaps.

I want my MTV
Marks and Tannenbaum
This is the second book every which I have desired to read in some electronic format with internet connection (the first being 1Q84 because the darn thing was HEAVY.)  Reading this book, I greatly desired the internet as I was reading because I wanted to watch the videos as they discussed them.  Because watching videos while reading a paper copy involved me getting up out of my chair and booting up the laptop (which is chained up so I can’t bring it to my chair)I didn’t watch as many videos as I would want to.  Once I get that whole issue worked out, I will happily finish this book because it is FAN-TAS-TIC especially for me who came of age watching MTV during the time period the book covers (1981-1992)

The format is excerpts of interviews with people involved in MTV, the creation of the station, the VJs, the bands, the people making the videos.  It is very hard to stop reading, especially when you get multiple viewpoints of a single event.  This is pure delightful candy.

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