Books read in November 2016

November was a good reading month and brought me the most excellent Some Writer! which I recommend to anyone who has read anything by E.B. White.  Not only is it an impeccable nonfiction book, it’s also beautiful.  The future me can tell you she’s disappointed it did not take home a ton of awards in the still-in-the-future awards ceremony.

Picture Books: Leave Me Alone!
Middle Grade: Ghost
YA: Still Life with Tornado
Young Nonfiction: Some Writer!


Leave Me Alone
Vera Brosgol
Read for Librarian Book Group
Were I one to collect picture books, this would go on my shelf, mostly due to the annoyed expression on the Grandmother’s face.  It made me laugh every time.

The Music in George Gershwin’s Head
Read for Librarian Book Group
I found this to be perfectly fine.


Orbiting Jupiter
Gary D. Schmidt
Read for Family Book Group
On the re-read the shortcomings of this book were more apparent.  However, the crisp prose overcomes those shortcomings and I still love this book.  In Family Book Group the kids gave this a 9.098 rating.  The adults weighed in at 7.95 for an overall average of 8.472.

Jason Reynolds
Read for Librarian Book Group
Jason Reynolds wrote this story with a plot arc!  Hooray!  As usual, his characters and setting are great. I enjoyed spending time with Ghost as he made some good and not-so-good choices and I look forward to the rest of the series.

When the Sea Turned to Sliver
Grace Lin
Read for Librarian Book Group
Read for Mock Printz
I’ve returned the book to the library, so I don’t have the exact quote, but it goes something like: when you are in prison with a storyteller, you aren’t really in prison at all.

This book is about a storyteller, her granddaughter and what happens when the storyteller is kidnapped by the Emperor.  It’s filled with adventures, stories (of course) and many fine illustrations.

Greenglass House
Kate Milford
Read for Family Book Group
The second read through was fun, as I knew the “thing” and could watch out for how it worked.


Kody Keplinger
Read for Librarian Book Group
Resistance was high at the beginning.  Before I settled in, my inner English Teacher spent the first few of Bo’s chapters correcting her grammar.  The tense switch was distracting.  However, the book grew on me.  The story was adequate and I enjoyed reading about the details of Agnes’s sight, or lack thereof.

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily
Cohen & Levithan
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is my go-to December reading recommendation.  I was interested to read the sequel and to see where life has taken the two.

I must congratulate Cohen and Levithan for not falling into a common romance sequel trap: everything is great! (and the story is kind of boring).  Things are not going so well for Dash and Lily, due to a variety of circumstances life has thrown at them.  I spent the first part of the book worried that things might not actually work out.  This made for an interesting and enjoyable read.

Trouble Makes a Comeback
Stephanie Tromley
Book two reminded me how much I enjoyed the easy, breezy style of Tromley’s writing.  Digby’s back in town and his reappearance complicates Zoe’s relationship and her new friendships.  Plus there’s something weird going on.

Still Life With Tornado
A.S. King
Read for Mock Printz
It’s a given that A.S. King’s books are weird.  From “slightly off” to “somewhat incoherent” you can expect that the pages will have elements of strangeness.  But what A.S. King is amazing at is pacing.  While making your way through her unusual worlds, she knows to drop information in just the right steady drip to keep you reading.

Sarah’s art teacher tells her one day that nothing is original.  This comment sends her on downward spiral.  She avoids school, and during her truant ramblings around Pittsburgh, runs into her 22-year-old self.  As the story progresses, she meets other versions of herself, and the picture of why a single comment by one teacher would have such an effect is filled out and shaded in.  An interesting portrayal of how [a thing I can’t tell you, because it’s the reveal] ripples through the family.

When the Moon was Ours
Anna-Marie McLemore
Read for Librarian Book Group
Gorgeous, vivid prose and interesting magical realism.  Both of which came together in a narrative that I had to slowly wade through.  It took a lot of prodding to finish this book.  It had to go back to the library, be requested and retrieved again, and I finished 15 other books while reading this one.  Contains issues of transgender teenagers, first love, bullying, small-town life and folk tales.

Blood Red Snow White
Marcus Sedgwick
Read for Mock Printz
Midway through this book, I started showing people the cover and asking what they thought it was about. Not a single person guessed that it was a fictional story of a real-life Englishman who travels to Russia to collect folk tales and gets caught up in the events of the Russian Revolution.

So aside from the cover leading us down the incorrect path that it’s yet another mash-up retelling of some fairy tales and the title not clarifying things either, this was an interesting read. Sedgwick uses Russian folk tales to illustrate the coming of the Russian Revolution and we meet the big players in the early stages. Overall this story is muddled. Is this a love story, or a picture of a society in revolt, or a man making important life-or-death choices about where his loyalties lie? At times Sedgwick almost seems to remember it’s been a while since he’s pulled in elements of one of the plots and so we are treated to descriptive paragraphs of, say, how the mansions were filled with trash once the people took them over. It’s also one of those books where a man completely abandons his wife and child to go tripping off on an adventure and suffers no consequences for it, la-la. I have less and less patience for characters who take these actions and the ripple effects go unexamined.


I Dissent
Read for Librarian Book Group
The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s childhood and her path to the Supreme Court.  The text highlights the various discrimination Ginsberg herself faced over the years. I also learned an interesting detail about the lace collar she wears when decisions are read.

Some Writer
Melissa Sweet
Read for Librarian Book Group
Melissa Sweet did an excellent job of balancing the presentation of the facts of E.B. White’s life and really amazing illustrations.  Every page was both interesting and beautiful.





5 thoughts on “Books read in November 2016”

  1. I just have to say that Melissa Sweet will be here in 3 weeks! And then I will get to meet her. OH YEAH! And I am hoping she talks about her process for Some Writer.

    I like your list! A lot of titles here are on my TBR.

    (To Do List – 3 comments for PCC – done plus 1)

    WOOT! And I loved the postcard post with PCC – can’t wait to comment there! 🙂

    1. Melissa Sweet in person! Sweet! Tell her I’m mad she didn’t come home with a bunch of awards. That book was awesome!

  2. A book about the Notorious RBG for young adults, I love it! I think one of the few advantages to being a teenager now vs. when you and I were teenagers is that the selection of YA books is like a thousand times bigger.

    1. So true! I’m reading a really great nonfiction about Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner (Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin) and I keep comparing it to what was available when I was little. I grew up reading a lot of biographies about famous Americans (they all had an orange cover) and I know I read one about Jim Thorpe. But I’m 100% sure this book is much, much better.

      Two of the reasons the Printz Award (excellence in YA fiction) was created were to inspire wider readership in the genre and to give recognition to the importance of the genre. They’ve been giving the Printz Award since 2000. Things have improved greatly since I was a YA reading YA.

  3. Look! I did comment here! Yes! November is done. Now to see where I left off in December. This catch up has been MONTHS in the making…

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