Books Read in November 2021

Picture Books

Matt Meyers
Read for Librarian Book Group

Fun adventure for anyone who had one of those toys that expanded in water.

Best page: dino in the fish tank.

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides
Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant

A dog and a cat head out for an adventure.

Best page: when they both spot birds in a puddle.

Inside Cat
Brendan Wenzel
Read for Librarian Book Group

Inside cat is standing in for all inside cats. I think? This book confused me.

Best page: Inside cat looking through all the different kinds of windows.

Nina: A Story of Nina Simone
Traci N. Todd and Christian Robinson
Read for Librarian Book Group

The words convey the hurt of racism and the illustrations reflect Simone’s growing power.

Best page: Nina and her dad at the piano. (And many more pages. This book was great!)

The Longest Letsgoboy
Derick Wilder & Cátia Chien
Read for Librarian Book Group

End of life from a dog’s perspective featuring invented (or dog-vented) descriptions of things and much joy. Guaranteed to have you sobbing.

Best page: My oldbones feel new.

I also love how much orange is in this book.

Matt Ringler and Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay
Read for Librarian Book Group

The feeling of riding a roller coster for kids too short to ride a roller coaster.

Best page: the tunnel.

Bright Star
Yuyi Morales
Read for Librarian Book Group

A fawn and a doe in the desert and an insight into desert life. Also some commentary about the wall.

Best pages: the two-page spread of portraits. I also enjoyed the embroidery throughout.

Mượn Thị Văn, Victo Ngai
Read for Librarian Book Group

A unique collection of wishes surround a journey. Nicely done.

Best pages: the surprise under the cover.

I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams
Jessica Young and Rafael López
Read for Librarian Book Group

A bit rhyme-y and also creepy. Can the kid just not have their own dreams?

Nothing Fits a Dinosaur
Jonathan Forske
Read for Librarian Book Group

Getting dressed as a dinosaur is tough in this charming rhymed beginning reader.

Middle Grade

The Legend of Auntie Po
Shing Yon Khor
Read for Librarian Book Group

Why not have some new legends of the American West? Graphic novels are a perfect format for that.

The Lion of Mars
Jennifer L. Holm
Read for Librarian Book Group

Life on Mars from the perspective of 11-year-old Bell. A wonderfully imagined setting and plot.

Young Adult

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight
Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

A gripping few hours in the middle of a shooting, protest, and riot. The story’s laser focus on those few hours means we don’t get to catch up with the characters after the night in question, which fits with the theme but left me wanting more.

The Last Cuentista
Donna Barba Higuera
Read for Librarian Book Group

While I was not a fan of the author’s first novel, this was great! I found it to be an interesting story of one girl’s life after the end of planet Earth. There are many good discussions that could be had.

Off the Record
Camryn Garett

Almost Famous meets #metoo in a book about teenage journalist written by someone who was a teenage journalist. Great angles on dual relationships, living in a large body, and the ramifications of powerful men.

Like a Love Song
Gabriela Martins

Another one for the Fame category. Natalie is a big teen pop star who is ready to receive her People’s Choice Award. Until her crappy boyfriend ruins her big award. So begins Natalie’s journey to better to know herself. Plus, there’s this boyfriend scheme her publicist cooks up.

Young Nonfiction

The Other Talk: Reckoning with our White Privilege
Brendan Kiely
Read for Librarian Book Group.

Kiely tells stories from his experience as a white man and makes a persuasive case why white people need to have “the talk” with their kids just like everyone else does.

Not sure what’s going on with that cover.

What Isabella Wanted: Isabella Stewart Gardner Builds a Museum
Candace Fleming and Matt Cardell
Read for Librarian Book Group

I’m not so much into celebrating rich people who can trample over all sorts of things to get what they want. Not to mention rich people who have the ego to dictate that no one can move your things around in your house, even a century after you’ve died.

The Genius Under the Table
Eugene Yelchin
Read for Librarian Book Group

A brief memoir of young Eugene’s life in the USSR. Filled with delightful illustrations, and I’m hoping there is more to come.

Grownup Nonfiction

The 4-Hour Chef
Timothy Ferris

A cookbook written by a guy who wasn’t interested in cooking, this had some good tips and a solid program to gain basic cooking skills. It goes off in a lot of different directions after that, but Ferris is fine with you just dipping in and out of things.

I got interested in cooking again after finding this book.

Note that the author is a huge fan of the slow carb diet.

Grownup Fiction

Witch Please
Ann Aguierre

This is one of those titles that seems to exist because its clever, not because it has much to do with the book. Still, I did grab it from a display at the library based on cover alone, so perhaps I am an example of why these types of titles exist.

For those people looking for a midwestern-set romance in a world where witches exist, this is your book.

The Viscount Who Loved Me
Julia Quinn

This follows in the footsteps of the first novel: hasty marriage and a couple not in sync. It had some phrases throughout that struck me as not of the time. I’m pretty sure that a Viscount in the early 1800s wouldn’t say “I found a block of free time.”

An Offer From a Gentleman
Julia Quinn

For the third Bridgerton novel, Quinn switches up the hurried-up marriage plot for a Cinderella-type retelling that I found interesting.

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake
Alexis Hall

The humor in this snuck on on me as I’d just finished three romances that were fine but not good and was expecting the same from this. But some parts of this book are laugh out loud funny, there’s a fun British Baking Show-like setting, and lots of interesting conversation about being a single mom.

This is a great example of a well-crafted romance.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
Julia Quinn

Eh. Colin Bridgerton is a big jerk. Penelope could do better.

Lace for my Wedding Dress

This summer, I was rummaging around for something having to do with the wedding, when I found this stretch of lace. In college, I started tatting it with the idea that I would add it to my wedding dress (or even design and sew my wedding dress). At the time, I had no plans to marry, so you can see how enthusiastic I was to finish it. (Also, you can see that I wasn’t good at joining the segments.)

Having now married in a dress that I didn’t make and that didn’t work with this lace, I wrote a note about the genesis of the lace and put the lace and the note in a free box near me. Hopefully someone will do something fun with it.

Two Houses Headed for the Chopping Block

This pretty house has the chain link fence of death around it.

This is at 6305 N. Montana Ave. It’s 1622 square feet, built in 1928. It was last sold in December of 2019 for $599,036 and is owned (strangely) by a person giving that very address. However, NextPortland says that a permit has been issued:

A project at 6307 N Montana Ave has been submitted for building permit review by Fosler Portland Architecture: Construct new 3 story 19 unit apartment building with associated site work

So it’s coming down for sure.

This little guy is at 6820 N. Montana Ave. I really love this stretch of houses bordered by the Fred Meyer, Rosa Parks Way, Interstate Ave, and I-5. There’s a bunch of small houses on big lots that are just cute. And I’m guessing in 20 years, they will all be gone.

This is an 881 square foot house built in 1927 that was last sold in October of 2021 for $320,000. It’s owned by a developer in Vancouver.

Reporting from the future, I can say that it appears they have been fixing this house up, rather than tearing it down. And there’s nothing in NextPortland. But a developer in Vancouver owns it, so my guess is that this doesn’t have much time left. It’s also got empty lots on both sides, so I wonder if they are just biding their time waiting for another property.

Moon Phase Napkins

I sewed together my moon phase napkins this weekend, completing that project.

By the end, (I think I finished with the full moon) I wished I hadn’t made it such a starry, starry night. Just a starry night, like I did with the third quarter moon, would have been fine.

These napkins are made from an old sheet of Matt’s that I cut up. They are very soft.

Pink Squirrel Nest

I’ve bene wondering where the bits of fiberglass insulation have been coming from. They’ve been appearing with regularity on our sidewalk.

On the way home from the library, I took a closer look at our flowering plum tree from across the street and suddenly got it.

Some intrepid squirrels were using the materials they had. I don’t think hanging out in the insulation was very good for their health, but it was probably warm.

I had a worry that it was coming from our house, but I think it came from the motel being open to the elements after the fire.