Whew, this past semester has been a bear. Also, it ended last Monday, I turned in my grades that Tuesday, and then the summer semester started that Wednesday. Basically, I was a mess for the past month because not only was I dealing with end of semester stuff, but I also went to a conference and a training and also a friend’s birthday out of town. Yes, that means I make poor choices (just the timing of the travel, not the events [and especially not the birthday trip]), but it also means I will make better choices in the future. Let us hope.
Along with the semester ending and a new semester beginning, I did read some books:
These have been hanging out in my Evernote for a while, so it’s time I posted them. Also, there’s at least one of these I don’t necessarily agree with but just found an interesting read because it made me think.
George Bailey dreams of a life perpetually out of reach, always right around a corner he can never quite round. He makes all the responsible choices, the safe ones, the necessary ones, and in exchange gives up nearly all of his youthful ambitions—an adventurous Man of the World becoming, instead, a Family Man stuck back in his old hometown, running the family business. It’s heartbreaking to watch. And worse, it happens to almost every single one of us, in one way or another. — It’s a Wonderful Life?
This was so fun. A plagiarism plot, a mean professor, Susan being a stalker, Esther dabbling in pens, Daisy being the all-around best, and a trip to Ikea. Did I mention Daisy is the best? I love her. I mean, they’re all pretty great IN GENERAL, but specifically in this volume Daisy is the best.
School started last week, and my students are blogging this semester. You know what that means! Back to a regular posting schedule. So let’s do this.
1. Since I am in what I’m going to call the hazing period at my new job, my earlier class starts at 7 a.m. on Monday/Wednesday and 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday/Thursday. This is…not ideal to say the last. I am a night owl, so acclimating to this new schedule is something that’s going to take some time. For now, I’m forcing myself to go to bed early, so I can figure out what will work. This has so far included getting up early on today (my day off) as well.
I’d say it’s going pretty well considering I went to bed too early so woke up an hour before my alarm went off, and I just woke up from a nap about 20 minutes ago. I am making this deep sacrifice because I was absolutely horrendous (okay, crabbier than I wanted to be) to my class on Wednesday because I was so exhausted, and I do not want to be that person. It’s a challenge.
I am still making my way through my library book sale finds, so I started Dear Bill, Remember Me? and Other Stories by Norma Fox Mazer last night. It’s a definite palate cleanser after Kill the Boy Band.
I’m currently listening to some podcasts so my audiobook adventures are on hold for now. However, I’m going to have to start packing soon (as in, I should have started yesterday), so I should really get on finding my next read.
This was fine, but a little dry mostly because it’s very interior and about a kid who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else thinking about how much smarter he is than everyone else. The only problem is that set up leaves little room for interaction with other characters and is, you know, kind of boring. But it was interesting enough for me to finish, so.
Sister Carlotta’s sections were pretty great, though. And I wasn’t that fond of the chapter beginnings. They were unnecessarily vague in places and would have worked better as actual scenes.
I’m already smashing my stack because I totally pulled Ender’s Shadow right off my shelf. (It was gifted to me several years ago–so long ago that I actually can’t remember when. And, yes, I just got around to reading it. That’s just how I roll.)
My daughter is so confused by my reading choices right now. Most of the books I’ll be reading from my own shelves are from the ’80s, and I had a small pile of them on my bed.
Her: “Why are you reading all of these old books?”
Me: “Because we’re moving, and I want to read them so I don’t have to pack them.”
Her: *makes a face*
Linda Cooney is up next, basically. Ah, nostalgia. (I bought almost all of these books from the Friends of the Library book sale so will re-donate them to be re-sold to raise even more money for the library.)
Call it the Hamilton effect, but I totally just started listening to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz because Lin-Manuel Miranda mentioned on Twitter that he narrated it. I can’t find the Tweet, so here is the FB post:
I had started this book a couple of years ago but didn’t finish because I had hit my no assigned reading during the summer wall (my book club selected it). However, I always planned to get back to it. Turns out LMM was just the boost I needed. And now I get to take him on my morning walks with me.
(And I just found out LMM narrates The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I finished earlier this year. I totally would have listened to that one, too!)
I have never been a huge Mediator fan, but I love Meg Cabot and needed something fun to read, so here we are.
This was a fun read, and I liked Jesse way more than I probably ever have. It probably helps that he’s not dead.
My only real issue is that I was annoyed (view spoiler)[they had sex before the wedding, especially since they got married the following week. That was dumb. I’m also not sure about the message it sends. Like, it was PERFECTLY FINE for them to wait since Jesse is Catholic and wanted to wait. Sometimes guys wait to have sex until they get married. And I liked that Suze was the one who had to deal with it, but ugh. It felt like such a PREMARITAL SEX IS OKAY moment, which…it is, but it’s also fine to wait until marriage. So. (hide spoiler)]
There was not enough CeeCee or Gina in this book, that’s for sure.
I liked this overall. It’s hard to rate a collection of short stories because each story is, you know, it’s own thing. Most of the ones in this collection provide backstory for the characters.
1. The Keeper (about Scarlet’s grandmother and how she came to house baby Cinder and become Scarlet’s guardian): This is an excellent start to the collection. Scarlet and her grandmother are both fantastic. (4 stars)
2. Glitches (how Cinder came to live with the Linh family) — this was fine, good backstory on Cinder (3 stars)
3. The Queen’s Army (how Ze’ev became Wolf, pack alpha) — Levana is the worst. Also, of course she finds kids from poor families for this. Of course. (3 stars)
4. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky (teen Thorne, the charmer) — this was fine, good backstory on Thorne (3 stars)
5. After Sunshine Passes By (how Cress came to live in the satellite) — Cress is a badass. This was heartbreaking but also shows how deeply excellent Cress is. (3 stars)
6. The Princess and the Guard (Winter’s decision to stop using her gift) — This is probably my favorite of the whole book. This gives all the backstory of Winter and Jacin and how they got to be the characters we see in the books. They are both pretty amazing, basically. (5 stars)
7. The Little Android (another android with a personality chip defect) — I thought this was going to be about Iko at first, but it’s not. This was pretty heartbreaking as well. I liked it. The characters aren’t connected to the ones from the series, but this offers a slice of life look at what it’s like for characters who aren’t living in the scope of the rebellion to live in that world. (4 stars)
8. The Mechanic (Cinder and Kai’s first meeting from Kai’s POV) — Aw, Kai. This was adorable. (3 stars)
9. Something Old, Something New (epilogue, a wedding) — This is probably my second favorite because all of the main characters are together again for a wedding. This is a trope I dig. Also, I love Iko with my whole heart and fully support any story in which she gets a lot of page time. (4 stars)
So, no duds here, though some stories were clearly superior to others. It was nice to spend more time with these characters and get to know more about them and their world. View all my reviews
As of today, I’m reading:
Yes, still. I’m not really a fan. The book is s l o w. Not only that but I am NOT buying one of the key character’s motivations. Book club is this Sunday, so I should be finished by then. We’ll see how it goes.
I haven’t decided on a second book for the week yet. I have a stack of library books to choose from.
Jane would never ever ever EVER EVER (view spoiler)[have sex with Rochester–excuse me, Ed–knowing that he is married. (hide spoiler)] NEVER EVER. That is fundamentally the core of the book and her character and having her do that means the author DOESN’T GET THE ORIGINAL since that is the WHOLE POINT OF THE STORY.
If this weren’t on my Kindle, I would’ve thrown the book across the room, I swear. Just…no. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
That would be like a Pride & Prejudice retelling where Darcy and Lizzie instantly hit it off and started dating. Or if Romeo & Juliet’s families didn’t hate each other. Or if Hamlet was just super happy about his uncle marrying his mom after his dad died and his dad’s ghost visited him saying that he had been murdered. Would Hamlet be all, “Wow, that sucks, Dad, but Mom is super happy with Uncle Claudius now, and I’m just happy for her so probably you should go haunt somebody else”? I mean, that is how ridiculous the whole plot point in Re Jane is. If (view spoiler)[Jane sleeps with Rochester after knowing about his wife (hide spoiler)], you are no longer telling the story of Jane Eyre, but doing something else.
So basically I had to stop reading because of that. Who knew I was such a purist?
So I’m still making my way through The Light Between Oceans for book club. It is really slow, but it has finally started to pick up. Probably because I’m at the part where the baby finally shows up. (No spoilers–that’s the premise of the book.)
I’m not a super Mediator fan (Suze is fine, but not one of my favorite Cabot heroines), but I do enjoy a good Meg Cabot book, and I’m sorely in need of some fun reading, so I’m really looking forward to reading Remembrance this week.
Meg Cabot is the bomb. There’s just no way around it. I don’t like to pick favorite authors, but if I had to pick one, she’d definitely be at the top of my list. Why? Well, here are five reasons* I totally dig Meg Cabot.