Books Read in May 2022

Early Reader

Cornbread and Poppy
Matthew Cordell
Read for Librarian Book Group

A version of the grasshopper and the ant, which is a fable I’m not fond of. I liked the illustrations.

Sir Ladybug
Corey R. Taylor
Read for Librarian Book Group

Who knew the inside of a snail shell was so luxurious?

I had some trouble with this book (and with Cornbread and Poppy) where animals who eat animals say they don’t eat the animals they really do eat. Animals eat animals. Otherwise they starve.

Middle Grade

The Aquanaut
Dan Santat
Read for Librarian Book Group

Key points of the story are told through pictures, which meant I missed them the first time through. (Graphic novel fail!) For the more picture attuned this is a good an interesting story of friendship and loss with fantastical elements.

A Comb of Wishes
Lisa Stringfellow
Read for Librarian Book Group

At the end of page 2 I thought, “Eh, this probably isn’t for me.”

At the end of page 12, I was all in. This is an excellent contemporary fantasy with storytelling, mermaids, a conundrum I couldn’t figure out how was going to be solved and an ending where all the various LEGO blocks of detail Stringfellow has been scattering snap into place.

This was some masterful storytelling! More, please.

Jennifer Chan is not Alone
Tae Keller
Read for Librarian Book Group

Keller has a laser focus on the discomfort and anxiety that comes with middle school. This story’s bullying incident and the pattern of bullying that came before are seen through the perpetrators, which was a smart move. This is also a book where I could see the various parts of the story dropping into place as we reached the climax.

Anne of West Philly
Ivy Noelle Weir and Myisha Haynes

A retelling that captures the Anne essence. Haynes’s illustrations are full of interesting detail.

Young Adult

Ironhead, or Once a Young Lady
Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem
Read for Librarian Book Group

This book is a bit deliberately paced at the beginning, but picks up eventually. There were tons of fun historical fiction details from the height of Napoleon’s reign. This was very much a female character written by a man, though.

The Red Palace
June Hur
Read for Librarian Book Group

Here’s a nice little mystery set in 18th century Korea. I bet you haven’t read one of those lately. Aside for the insight into the Korean palace of bygone days, I also was fascinated at how different the mores were. So much gallivanting around by our unmarried female protagonist.

Anatomy: A Love Story
Dana Schwartz
Read for Librarian Book Group

The dazzling cover art mirrors the novel. It’s very well executed and eye catching, but it doesn’t fully relate to the story.

The novel has all the markers of a tale well told, but when the ending comes, it’s hurried and not well-earned. The line between historical fiction and fantasy needs to be better (and earlier) developed.

Family of Liars
E. Lockheart

This story doesn’t pack nearly the punch that the We Were Liars did, but it’s hard to be that devastating two times in a row. It was good to head back to Sinclair territory and hear about another generation of liars.

Year on Fire
Julie Bauxbaum

This book has four narrators and it’s told in third person. Both of those things are rare for YA, so this was a fun departure. The voices of the four narrators were distinct, which was also a treat.

Aside from that, this is a solid story about appearances not always being what they seem. Plus some fun observations about “yeah, no” and “no, yeah” speech patterns.

Tell Me Three Things
Julie Buxbaum

When her father remarries after meeting a woman in a dead-spouse grief support group, Jesse finds herself living in Los Angeles instead of her home base of Chicago. An anonymous friend offers to show her the ropes—but only via email and chat.

Solid characterization of learning the ropes in a new place.

Gideon Green in Black & White
Katie Henry
Read for Librarian Book Group

Gideon Green has a small life where noir films from the 40s keep him company. He’s a has-been kid detective and his social life has been on a downslide since middle school. But the reappearance of a dame (actually his former friend Lily), a new case, plus a job copy editing his high school paper opens up new worlds.

A very fun mystery that uses noir as a springboard.

Grownup Fiction

The Rose Code
Kate Quinn

At 600+ pages, this appears to be a tome. But Quinn keeps the pace up and her three main characters are engaging. For those interested in Bletchley Park during WWII, this book is tops.

Grownup Nonfiction

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
Seth Godin

Many short bits of writing about developing your creative work.

Cracking Myself Up While Making Examples for Work

At work, we’ve recently changed our reference style and citations, which used to be styled like this: (Author, Year), are now styled like this: (Author Year).

I was writing a post about how to quickly find and update any existing citations, and made an example text using text from (I think) Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations, and I started out with usual report authors (MFA, FLO, DEQ, EPA) but then I got bored.

My favorite was the final Avenger. I see I missed my boat on the first Avenger listed. I could have swapped in someone more fun than DEQ, like Hawkeye.

SKS: San Diego After the Fact

Another 2 of 2 series that arrived on the same day!

Sara opens by asking if I ever buy X number of postcards, not have time to send them, and then get home and wonder who I bought them for.

My answer. Nope. Because they can always be used for Postcrossing.

This is the postcard series where Sara tells me she is going to France and Romania in June. France because her stepmother bought a house, Romania so they can meet up with a friend of Shawn’s.

Do to the mail lag time, this was not the first I’d heard of this. Sara offhandedly mentioned it in a text causing much ????!!!?!?!?!?!Whaaaaaaaaat???????? from me and much, I thought I told you? from her.

Turns out she did, but the message was in transit.

I’ve learned that I will not be taking a work trip to San Diego in January 2023, so these postcards will be my major interactions with that city.

Speedweve Darning Loom Holder Finished

When I bought my little loom, it came in a plastic bag I had to cut open to get to the loom and accoutrements.

This means that all the things fall out of the bag all the time.

I did some measuring and sketching.

And then I made my own pattern.

Et voila! The holder is finished. It has a handle and an off-center example of what the darning loom can make.

Inside we have a few things to hold things in place.

One pocket for each part of the loom and a center pocket to hold the long needles, the bands, and that thing I don’t know what to do with. I also sewed a piece of felt onto one pocket to hold some of the shorter needles.

Everything comes together nicely.

I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. Now I need to make one for my bigger loom. To do next time: carefully center the front image and watch a tutorial for best practices in attaching snaps.

Whew! Barely Finished This Challenge!

As I had pledged to increase my yoga time in May, I signed up for the four-hour challenge, thinking it would be easily finished, probably in the first 10 days of the month. However, my pledge was mostly forgotten and I only remembered the challenge in the last 10 days of the month.

The four hours were broken into many sessions. It turns out that I lost all my yoga duration during the pandemic. But I finished all four hours and met the challenge!

Two More Houses On the Chopping Block

I’ve written about 1233 N. Watts before. I suspected its time was drawing neigh and I was correct. Goodbye pretty little 784 square foot 1951 house. You had a good run. I don’t see anything on NextPortland, so I suspect we will get a few large houses where this one was. Farewell to my awesome garden I planned for the side yard.

This is 1225 N. Winchell. It was last sold in August 2021 for $305,000, but the Portland Maps account has a flag on it saying it’s got a pending change, so it has probably been sold again. It’s currently owned by an investment firm in Vancouver, Washington. The sign on the right is saying that it is being deconstructed, so there’s that. No information on NextPortland, so this will probably turn into either one very big house, or a few smaller ones. This house was built in 1922 and is 705 square feet Looking at the photos on this website, it looks like it needed a lot of TLC. It has a big (and surprisingly sunny) backyard.

The Proper Stacking Order for Multiple Layers

Well, I nearly had my holder for my darning machine done, but it turns out that stacking the filler between the two things that are supposed to go on the outside means that when you go to flip it, the filler is on the outside.

I got out the seam ripper.

Much like it’s not a building project until you have to stop what you are doing and go to the hardware store, so is it not a sewing project until the seam ripper comes out. Thank goodness podcasts are there to keep me company.

Attempt No. 2 will be better.

Can we also talk about how much I love this see-through ruler I was first introduced to in a pattern manipulation class. It’s so much easier to measure things and make them square.