Archive | November, 2017

Perfection

29 Nov

We often make things so black and white for girls. You are either a good girl or you are a bad girl.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L Sanchez, is narrated by Julia, the eponymous imperfect daughter. This is a really great read and was a National Book Awards finalist.I think every young woman who reads this will connect with Julia, who never measures up to her family’s expectations because they never really see her for who she is.

9781524700485

Publisher’s Summary: Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

Advertisements

My lucky day

28 Nov

Fearful of the crowds and not a fan of shopping in general, I stayed home on Black Friday, just happy to be.

I was worried that the errands I had to run on Saturday would be marred by the same sale-crazed shoppers. Although I  am a morning person and would normally go out early, I waited until 9:30. The library didn’t open until 10 and a shop I needed to visit didn’t open until 11. It tested my patience, but I  was ready at 9:30 sharp with a well laid out plan of action.

My first was Pets on Broadway, for Lucy’s food. I found a good parking spot on the street and was greeted by a cheery person as I entered, who offered me an empty gift bag. She smiled and explained, “You can fill it at the counter.”

Fine,  I thought, I can manage that.  I picked up the familiar bag of Duck and Pear dry food – honestly, she eats better than I do – and made my way to the counter.

I expect to see some free samples set out to fill my gift bag, but there were none. I shrugged, assuming I was too late, and put the dog food and the gift bag on the counter.

“Would you like the sample bag for your gift bag?” the cashier asked.

“Yes, I thought I missed them, ” I replied, eyes popping as she reached behind and pulled out an almost-full grocery bag that contained a 5 lb. bag of good quality food, several kinds of treats and samples of a dehydrated dog food.

The cashier picked up her scanner, asked if I was part of the frequent buyer program (I am), typed in my name, then scanned my dog food.

“Well, it is your lucky day,” she said with a smile. “This is your twelfth bag, and it is free,”

All I could say was , “Seriously?”

After a joke about buying a lottery ticket, I left with my unpaid-for merchandise, on to take care of the other errands. There were no more freebies, but my plan of action came off without a hitch. I made five stops and was home by 11:30. It certainly was my lucky day.

slice-of-life_individual

 

Armchair travelling

26 Nov

One of the upsides of a five-day weekend is the opportunity to dive deeply into a good book and this very long weekend I took an armchair journey to Oxford.

Not the Oxford of the BBC’s Inspector Morse,  but Lyra’s Oxford, the once created by Philip Pullman. Did you know he has a new series, set in the Oxford before the His Dark Materials series. I went on my journey with an infant Lyra and learned something of her backstory in La Belle Sauvage the first book in his new series, The Book of Dust.

Here is the US cover

61gCOd1E3RL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_

And here is the UK cover.

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 8.59.29 AM

Publisher’s Summary: Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy….

Malcolm’s parents run an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.

He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust—and the spy it was intended for finds him.

When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he sees suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.

Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

I loved Malcolm and wished he was a student in my class. I was drawn into the story immediately and I am now thinking, while I wait for the next book, I might reread the His Dark Materials series.

 

A new heroine

24 Nov

One of my complaints with a certain genre, the  kind of fantasy that brings ancient myths into the real world, is that they usually end up being mostly action scenes of battles with the bad guys. This is a problem for me, but what makes true fans of the genre love the books. But there is a new heroine in town.

30116958

Two things set The Epic Crush of Genie Lo  apart from the pack. First, there is a strong female character. Female fans of Percy Jackson and other series have to be content with a female sidekick. Genie Lo is the hero! Additionally, it utilizes the stories of Chinese mythology, a much lesser known mythological canon.

It isn’t a perfect read, but it has some really funny lines and is definitely worth picking up.

Publisher’s Summary: She annihilates standardized tests and the bad guys.

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from Hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tail and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.

From the ridiculous to the sublime

21 Nov

I was sitting in the pub, awaiting friends, when the host began helping a man set up his screen.  Must be celebrating a birthday or something, I thought.

My friends arrived, we ordered and talked, and I forgot about the group. And then the first image was projected onto the screen: The Beer Chorus. An MC took a mike and explained that they were the Portland Beer Choir. From that point on my attention wavered between my companions and the Beer Choir. They had a hymnal! They sang songs I’d never heard, some I had, and some to tunes I recognized with words I did not.

(Sing to the tune of “Do, a deer”)

FA, a long way for a beer

SO, I need another beer

LA, la la la la, la beer

As our dinner progressed more and more beer choir people appeared. I was fascinated.

We got up to leave, just as they were singing and pounding the table to The Wild Rover.

It was a beautiful Fall evening as we walked the few blocks from the pub to the church, where the concert that had called my friends and I out, would be held. We have seasons tickets to Cappella Romana, a vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music in the Christian traditions of East and West. Saturday’s concert, entitled Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure, featured sacred works from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Estonia.

For years we’ve had tickets in row D. This year, due to a transition to a new office person, we have tickets in a variety of seats. For this concert we were in row A, the very front, and it was a powerful place to sit for this amazing concert.

The piece they sang for their encore, the Sandstrom arrangement of the hymn Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming which slows down this hymn that has long been one of my favorites. It was sublime.

slice-of-life_individual

 

 

An unlimited tale

20 Nov

I wanted to read Jane, Unlimited before I knew there was a basset hound in it.

33951646

When I realized the basset hound was a very important character, I was ecstatic. I looked at Lucy, and wondered.

Let me also say that this one works way better in print than audio. There are a lot of details at the beginning that become important. If, like me, you sometimes listen to audiobooks while doing other things, you might miss something important. The audiobook is excellent, I am simply saying that you need to pay attention if you listen.

Publisher’s Summary: An instant New York Times bestseller—from the award-winning author of the Graceling Realm series—a kaleidoscopic novel about grief, adventure, storytelling, and finding yourself in a world of seemingly infinite choices.

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

 

This week’s book talks 11/13-17

17 Nov

Monday, one of my favorites to share, because I have stories to tell about real kids this sort of thing happened too. The kids are shocked every time!

15927527

Tuesday, we went the chess route. I asked the kids to think about whether they think they know everything about their parents.

download

Wednesday, we took a trip to Vietnam.

WceGgDUNlCA8RPHOz66AbHHs4RI12Vqg+OoBRGBrKx2plCphEkAr3aizNSRpuGHkIoDZcS4gLRs3LNNbucM2t1akSQ57d2QayYcYsAsr1FVQ5iDKyCBWtzAWMsmQ+7PK

Thursday, we thought about fresh starts.

32819894

And then we finally made it to the end of the first five-day week in a while. I celebrated with a favorite.

51KdApNnTgL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Books Around The Table

A potluck of ideas from five children's book authors and illustrators

The Book Smugglers

Smuggling Since 2007 | Reviewing SF & YA since 2008

Chez Lizzie

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Yarn Harlot

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Diversity in YA

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

%d bloggers like this: