Books read in June 2016

I feel like I’m in some sort of reading slump.  I read.  I find the book to be okay. Repeat.  I hope this slump ends soon.  I want to be excited about what I’m reading.  There will not be many recommendations this month.

recommendedYoung Adult:  Summer Days and Summer Nights
Young Nonfiction:  Woosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

picture booksI am Pan
Mordicai Gerstein
Read for librarian book group
Pan’s kind of a stinker and so was this book in places.  Some pages I couldn’t follow the narrative set before me.  The art was frenetic in a way that I didn’t much care for, but fit well with the subject matter.  I think part of my tepid response stems from my resistance to Greek and Roman mythology in general and thus is no fault of the book itself.  If I had children who needed introduction to this world, I would indeed choose this book.

The Airport Book
Lisa Brown
Read for librarian book group
Good information about how the whole airport thing goes. Includes some fun side stories via picture.

There is a Tribe of Kids
Lane Smith
Read for librarian book group
My “exact words” nature spent a lot of time wondering at the word choices.  Most children would not be so picky and would just roll with it.  The illustrations were divine.

middle grade

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel
Firoozah Duman
Read for librarian book group
There were a lot of good and interesting details about being a late-70s temporary resident to the USA and then even more good and interesting details about being a temporary resident from Iran living in the USA during Khomeini’s takeover and the hostage crisis.  Those details kept me reading.  It wasn’t terribly plot-driven, and thus I wasn’t super compelled to keep reading, but I enjoyed the reading while it was happening.

young adultSummer Days and Summer Nights
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
The first and the last stories were my favorite. In “Head, Scales Tongue, Tail” Leigh Bardugo takes a pretty normal summer romance story and switches things up at the end.  Lev Grossman uses the concept made famous in the movie Groundhog Day–living the same day repeatedly–and pushes it in a different direction in “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.”  I also greatly enjoyed the powerful voice of Francesca Lia Block’s confessional-style memory of the summer before she and her friends left for college in “Sick Pleasure.”  There was one clinker in the bunch, but there always must be in such a collection.  As was the previous collection of stories edited by Ms. Perkins, (My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories) this is a seasonal delight that can be read year round.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Sarah Okler
There were some glaring errors in this set-in-Oregon novel, the worst being the mention of sales tax.  Oregon does not have a sales tax.  While these regular errors detracted from a full enjoyment of the story, it was otherwise a goodly tale of the loss of voice (an actual, not metaphorical loss due to damage to vocal chords) and of finding a new way.  Plus, you know, some romance.  I also appreciate there was a tastefully-written female masturbation scene, as those are incredibly rare.  The bad characters were not super complex, but the family dynamics were.  Overall, a so-so experience, but one that kept me reading.

The Steep & Thorny Way
Cat Winters
The tale of Hamlet, retold.  Set in 1920s Washington County, Oregon, this Hamlet is the daughter of an African American father and a white mother.  Winters manages to expertly recreate the 1920’s setting, weave in dueling stories of discrimination (Hannalee’s mixed race, Joe Adder’s homosexuality) and the workings of the Klu Klux Klan in a town that accepts and welcomes their efforts.  (“They’re mostly a fundraising organization” seems to be the belief of the majority of the county.)

I have a great appreciate not only for Winter’s complex storytelling, but also the way she can combine historical fact so well with the appearance of ghosts.

The Outsiders
S. E. Hinton
My re-reading of this ended in sad feelings, but they were different than the sad feelings of my teenage years.  My adult self found this book to be terribly clunky in its narrative, so much so that I feel for the swaths of school children who now read this as a required text.  Sorry kids.  My generation really liked it, but it hasn’t held up so well.  I’m going to do my best to forget this reading and return to the squishy feelings of joy when thinking of Ponyboy and Sodapop and all of the other greasers.

Young nonficitonYou Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen
Carole Boston Weatherford and Jeffrey Boston Weatherford
Read for librarian book group
The tale of the Tuskegee Airmen via verse, rather than prose.  Poems were solid, illustrations fit the bill.  Nicely done.

Woosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
Read for librarian book group
The story of the guy who invented the Super Soaker water gun told via good text and illustrations.  It also encourages kids to take things apart and tinker with them.

Adult fictionRuby
Francesca Lia Block & Carmen Stanton
I enjoyed Francesca Lia Block’s short story in Summer Days and Summer Nights and went searching for another of her books.  This was the result.  It’s fragmented it its telling, its prose is dense–yet short, and by the time I got to the end enough clues had been set out that I found the reveal cliche rather than amazing.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either.

5 thoughts on “Books read in June 2016”

  1. I feel you. I’m just coming out of a reading slump myself. At least you finish the books, though. For two months, I had a hard time getting more than 2 chapters into any book. I think I’m finally coming out of it, though. I’ve read two books so far in July, and really liked them both! Also, I have good news! I found out I can join the Vista library, which is part of the SD county system, which means I can order books from anywhere in SD county. My reading possibilities are much improved!

    BTW, I have a copy of The Outsiders and read it probably once a year. Still love it. 🙂

    1. Thank goodness for the Vista library!

      I feel like I’m in kind of a reading depression. Even books I’ve been reading that are well crafted. I don’t adore. Maybe it’s not me, it’s the books.

  2. I hate reader’s block. When I have it I don’t even read. I appreciate that you power through and actually read something. I also like there that is at least one Sara rec on the list (even if it gets the so-so rating)!

    1. The Veronica Roth story was the clinker for me. I couldn’t tell, though, if it was left over aggro from the Divergent series, or if this was its own kind of annoying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *