2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Susan has read 52 books toward her goal of 130 books.
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2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Susan has read 1 book toward her goal of 100 books.
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9th September 2013

Photoset with 13 notes

So I finally bowed to pressure and listened to the audiobook of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. When I was halfway through I noticed the galley of Rose Under Fire on Netgalley so obviously I went right from one to another. I cannot recommend these books highly enough - and that is coming from someone who normally avoids historical fiction like the plague!

So our narrator, a Scottish radio operator, has been captured by the Nazis and is writing her confession which is more a story of her friendship with Maddie than anything. I really can’t say much more because while normally I’m all about spoilers, part of the elegance of this book is how you don’t see any of it coming. It’s all so perfect!

Rose Under Fire I can talk about more easily. It’s more a companion novel then a sequel, but it definately does need to be read second. Rose is a pilot with Maddie and she gets captured while flying over occupied France and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Her story is just as harrowing and heartbreaking as you can imagine. I read this right after rereading Bitterblue and I couldn’t help thinking about what great unintentional readalikes they are. Both are about girls who have been through horrors and don’t know how they’ll survive in this new world without the horrors.

It’s not just a book about Maddie, either.  She makes herself a family in the camp that takes care of each other and they all deal with trauma differently but oh my goodness.

Elizabeth Wein was signing copies of these books at ALA and there was no way I was going to stand in that line (oh my goodness it was wild) but I thought about doing it just to get to the front and tell her that she ruined my life. But I wasn’t sure she’d get that I meant it in the best way possible!

So - Rose Under Fire is on sale tomorrow. Code Name Verity is available now. You should probably read them if you don’t mind crying like you’ll never be allowed to cry again. The audiobook of Code Name Verity was especially lovely - I can’t wait to listen to the audiobook for Rose Under Fire because I’m sure it’ll be just as perfect.

Tagged: YA litbook reviewtumblariantumblarianshistorical fiction

15th August 2013

Question with 2 notes

hikergirl said: How about a book for a very, very soon to be 6 year old boy who really likes science (especially weather). I need to get some birthday presents for him yet. Thank you!

Do you know about the Sid the Science Kid easy readers? They’re your basic TV Show tie-in books but they show how the kids do the experiments they do and they’re well done.

There is another easy reader series called Buzz Beaker which is less sciencey and more silly but also good and funny with science as a catalyst.

National Geographic has some great kids books if he’s into the earth sciences part of the sciences.

I also like the Time for Kids Super Science Book.

You know, kids love getting mail. You might want to give him a subscription to Kids Discover or Ask or Click of even Zoobooks! A lot of people like to discount magazine reading but dude, reading is reading and reading that shows up at your door begging to be read is the best kind of reading.

ALSO In a few years you should totally give him The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook because it is the best.

15th August 2013

Question with 3 notes

wooliebear said: How about book recommendations for a second grader who has read all of the books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series?

The obvious answer is Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce. Big Nate came out right around the same time as Wimpy Kid, as I recall, so it was before the Wimpy Kid Knock-Off phase started which lets Big Nate be wonderfully read-alike-y while still being it’s own thing. BN started as a comic strip so there’s both graphic novels books about BN and text books with lots of cartooney illustrations.

On the totally graphic end of the spectrum is the delightful Squish The Super Amoeba by Jennifer Holm (the author of Babymouse). Squish the Amoeba goes to school, reads comic books, deals with bullies, and in general is awesome. Love love love Squish.

I’m a huge fan of Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda which is about a group of slightly misfit kids and one of them has an Origami Yoda on his finger that actually seems to give acurate predictions? Is it real or just a fake?

One of my favorite books (this might be better for a third grader? Depends on the boy) is M T Anderson’s Whales on Stilts about a girl who finds out that her father works for a mad scientist on take your daughter to work day. Zany fun. It’s a series and I read the second book in the series and hated it so maybe pretend it’s a stand alone? But this book is just one of the best things ever.

15th August 2013

Question with 2 notes

cakecakedeathdeath said: I need a good book for a five year old boy. He likes all the things that go, pixar movies, and my little pony.

Jon Scieszka has this great Trucktown series about anthropomorphic cars that has both a picture book series as well as easy readers and the readers are that perfect super easy first readers type of book.

I’m also a huge fan of Chris Gall’s Dinotrux and Revenge of the Dinotrux. Dinosaurs and trucks? What 5 year old won’t love this?

How about Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears by Carmela LaVigna Coyle all about two super heroes who tie their blankies around their necks and save the world. Love it.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman is a fantastic easy reader about pretty much exactly what the title suggests.

Please please please let me know if none of these work because I am so there to find more!

31st July 2013

Photo with 6 notes

Waiting on Wednesday - Texting the Underworldby Ellen Booraem
I discovered this one while doing my chapter book ordering and I’m not going to have to wait long - it comes out on August 15th! But this is a book about a severely anxious kid, Conor, with a grandfather who raises him with Irish mythology. Then a Banshee moves into his closet because of an impending death which, for obvious reasons, sends Conor’s anxieties into overdrive.
So I adore fairytales and fairytale creatures showing up in real life. I love books about people with anxieties (overidentify much? Probably). I love close families (and from the descriptions, Conor is especially close to his sister and his grandfather). OH! I forgot to mention - to save the person who will die, Conor ends up going into the underworld which is another trope that I just adore. How could I not share with you this middle grade novel that I’m super excited about?
I’m planning to give it to those fans of Percy Jackson who wants something else with a modern take on folklore, fans of The Chronicles of Prydain (or maybe I’ll get kids to read this then get ‘em hooked on Prydain! Not enough people read Lloyd Alexander anymore), and kids who are in the mood for something hysterical (at least Kirkus calls it “frequently hysterical”).

Waiting on Wednesday - Texting the Underworldby Ellen Booraem

I discovered this one while doing my chapter book ordering and I’m not going to have to wait long - it comes out on August 15th! But this is a book about a severely anxious kid, Conor, with a grandfather who raises him with Irish mythology. Then a Banshee moves into his closet because of an impending death which, for obvious reasons, sends Conor’s anxieties into overdrive.

So I adore fairytales and fairytale creatures showing up in real life. I love books about people with anxieties (overidentify much? Probably). I love close families (and from the descriptions, Conor is especially close to his sister and his grandfather). OH! I forgot to mention - to save the person who will die, Conor ends up going into the underworld which is another trope that I just adore. How could I not share with you this middle grade novel that I’m super excited about?

I’m planning to give it to those fans of Percy Jackson who wants something else with a modern take on folklore, fans of The Chronicles of Prydain (or maybe I’ll get kids to read this then get ‘em hooked on Prydain! Not enough people read Lloyd Alexander anymore), and kids who are in the mood for something hysterical (at least Kirkus calls it “frequently hysterical”).

Tagged: waiting on wednesdaybook talkstumblarian

22nd July 2013

Photo with 2 notes

I got a galley for Swans and Klons by Nora Olsen ages ago but I kept putting off reading it because I really dislike the cover (I know I’m shallow. I’m sorry!), but then I saw it featured on a couple of lists of new books with QUILTBAG characters and since I’m always a sucker for that I had to read.
The basic premise is that men went “cretinous” awhile back so women learned to clone themselves. There are 300 different “jeepie” types that women are cloned from so you see your “jeepie similars” everywhere. The big catch is that there are two different types of Clones. The Pannas or Humans who are the priviledged ladies of society and the slave Klons who are different “on a molecular level” and therefore not Humans. Two Pannas, Rubric and Salmon Jo (Pannas are all named after nouns) learn a “terrifying secret” about the Klons (which I’m sure everyone guessed reading the description above but that didn’t ruin the read for me) and their life changes forever!
Since there’s only women and girls in Society, everyone’s a lesbian and that was considered normal (for obvious reasons). The plot was fun and fast paced. I wish Olsen had had a better editor? There was a lot of clunkiness in the writing that could have been smoothed over and I also wanted the book to be about twice as long. The plot jumps from thing to thing trying to get it all in and I wanted her to take her time and flesh out her ideas more. OVerall though, I’m glad I read it and will be glad to recommend it in the future.

I got a galley for Swans and Klons by Nora Olsen ages ago but I kept putting off reading it because I really dislike the cover (I know I’m shallow. I’m sorry!), but then I saw it featured on a couple of lists of new books with QUILTBAG characters and since I’m always a sucker for that I had to read.

The basic premise is that men went “cretinous” awhile back so women learned to clone themselves. There are 300 different “jeepie” types that women are cloned from so you see your “jeepie similars” everywhere. The big catch is that there are two different types of Clones. The Pannas or Humans who are the priviledged ladies of society and the slave Klons who are different “on a molecular level” and therefore not Humans. Two Pannas, Rubric and Salmon Jo (Pannas are all named after nouns) learn a “terrifying secret” about the Klons (which I’m sure everyone guessed reading the description above but that didn’t ruin the read for me) and their life changes forever!

Since there’s only women and girls in Society, everyone’s a lesbian and that was considered normal (for obvious reasons). The plot was fun and fast paced. I wish Olsen had had a better editor? There was a lot of clunkiness in the writing that could have been smoothed over and I also wanted the book to be about twice as long. The plot jumps from thing to thing trying to get it all in and I wanted her to take her time and flesh out her ideas more. OVerall though, I’m glad I read it and will be glad to recommend it in the future.

Tagged: book reviewtumblariantumblariansYA litdystopiaQUILTBAG

19th July 2013

Photo with 10 notes

Can we discuss Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz? Because it is everything I didn’t know I wanted in a book. Queer characters! Disturbing utopias set right in our regular world! Creepy-ass fishboys with deep-set mommy issues! Magical fish! Ugh - I loved it. So I was walking around ALA when I came upon the authors reading spot and Hannah Moskowitz was reading a selection from Teeth. I’d missed the beginning so I spent the whole reading being supremely confused but not really caring because it was so good. Afterwards she was signing and giving away copies of Teeth and she is just the most delightful person ever. ! And considering how much I had to do that day? It was totally useful.
I don’t want to booktalk teeth so much because part of the beauty of the book is how everything just unfolds and you realize more and more things? Also between the sex and the swearing it’s firmly YA (I tend to review YA and kids books around here so it’s important I make that distinction), so don’t go giving it to just any fan of The Little Mermaid, but that teenager who still loves TLM but wants something quite a bit edgier? This’ll make her happy.

Can we discuss Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz? Because it is everything I didn’t know I wanted in a book. Queer characters! Disturbing utopias set right in our regular world! Creepy-ass fishboys with deep-set mommy issues! Magical fish! Ugh - I loved it. So I was walking around ALA when I came upon the authors reading spot and Hannah Moskowitz was reading a selection from Teeth. I’d missed the beginning so I spent the whole reading being supremely confused but not really caring because it was so good. Afterwards she was signing and giving away copies of Teeth and she is just the most delightful person ever. ! And considering how much I had to do that day? It was totally useful.

I don’t want to booktalk teeth so much because part of the beauty of the book is how everything just unfolds and you realize more and more things? Also between the sex and the swearing it’s firmly YA (I tend to review YA and kids books around here so it’s important I make that distinction), so don’t go giving it to just any fan of The Little Mermaid, but that teenager who still loves TLM but wants something quite a bit edgier? This’ll make her happy.

Tagged: tumblarianstumbarlainbook reviewya lit

18th July 2013

Photo with 17 notes

I just devoured After Iris by Natasha Farrant and oh my goodness it was lovely. Twelve year old Bluebell (her parents named all their children after plants as an homage to their forgotten hippie days) is one of 5 kids. She and her twin sister Iris were inseparable until 3 years ago when Iris was killed. Now her family seems to be falling apart - both of her parents have jobs that keep them away for weeks at a time, her older sister suddenly has pink dreads, and her younger two siblings need more. Zoran, their au pair, is wonderful but everything seems to be spiraling out of Blue’s control.
Can I just say that there is nothing that drives me battier than bad parenting. I wanted to sit these two parents down and remind them that while they are dealing with Ivy’s death SO ARE THEIR CHILDREN. THEIR FOUR LIVING CHILDREN WHO LOVE THEM AND NEED THEM AROUND. But that’s part of what makes this book so great - I cared so much and so deeply about all these people and can’t wait for the copies that I ordered for my library to arrive so I can start giving it to patrons.
This book will be great for fans of Reel Life Starring Us (both main characters are aspiring directors who are dealing with big family and social issues), Looking for Red by Angela Johnson (both main characters are dealing with the death of a beloved sibling) (also oh my goodness I love that new cover! So much better than the dated cover I’ve got here at my library. Maybe that one would circ more - hmmm), orEach Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles (both have that sort of intense, poignant feel that pulls you through and leaves you crying in the break room at work even though nothing especially traumatizing has happened yet).
(Many thanks to Netgalley for the ARC)

I just devoured After Iris by Natasha Farrant and oh my goodness it was lovely. Twelve year old Bluebell (her parents named all their children after plants as an homage to their forgotten hippie days) is one of 5 kids. She and her twin sister Iris were inseparable until 3 years ago when Iris was killed. Now her family seems to be falling apart - both of her parents have jobs that keep them away for weeks at a time, her older sister suddenly has pink dreads, and her younger two siblings need more. Zoran, their au pair, is wonderful but everything seems to be spiraling out of Blue’s control.

Can I just say that there is nothing that drives me battier than bad parenting. I wanted to sit these two parents down and remind them that while they are dealing with Ivy’s death SO ARE THEIR CHILDREN. THEIR FOUR LIVING CHILDREN WHO LOVE THEM AND NEED THEM AROUND. But that’s part of what makes this book so great - I cared so much and so deeply about all these people and can’t wait for the copies that I ordered for my library to arrive so I can start giving it to patrons.

This book will be great for fans of Reel Life Starring Us (both main characters are aspiring directors who are dealing with big family and social issues), Looking for Red by Angela Johnson (both main characters are dealing with the death of a beloved sibling) (also oh my goodness I love that new cover! So much better than the dated cover I’ve got here at my library. Maybe that one would circ more - hmmm), orEach Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles (both have that sort of intense, poignant feel that pulls you through and leaves you crying in the break room at work even though nothing especially traumatizing has happened yet).

(Many thanks to Netgalley for the ARC)

Tagged: tumblarianstumblarianrealistic fictionmiddle gradebook reviews

22nd May 2013

Post with 12 notes

Digital story time, you say? Do tell.

OHMIGOSH it was the best ever.  Our normal storytimes are half an hour but this one was 45 minutes to add in a bit of teaching.  For the most part it was a regular storytime but the catch was that everything was digital.  We hooked our laptop up to the digital projector thingie which projected onto the big screen on the wall.  Our music was from Overdrive as well as one of the books.  We did two books through tumblebooks, and a handful of fingerplays through youtube.  Before every element I gave a short lesson what I was doing (long enough to hopefully make sense but short enough that I didn’t lose the kids), “This next book we’re going to read through Tumblebooks!  Tumblebooks is a database the library subscribes to so you can find these right on our website under resources then it’s all alphabetical so if you scroll down to T you can click on Tumblebooks!”  Then the next time I used that same resource I expanded a little on that explanation.  “We’re reading this book in English but Tumblebooks has a great Spanish selection as well as some super fun nonfiction books that you can sort by reading level and they even have Accelerated Reader information for all their titles!”

After the storytime was over I invited anyone with questions to stay behind and I would run them through anything they wanted.  My coworker brought in a basket of big trucks and dinosaurs to keep kids happy while I showed the parents exactly how to find tumblebooks and showed 2 families how Overdrive works with their devices (everyone was already good on how to use Youtube).  It was awesome.

Tagged: phantasypunktumblariansstorytime

10th May 2013

Photo with 3 notes

I work this weekend and I’m trying to figure out which of these stylish ensembles to emulate Saturday and which to emulate Sunday. Any advice?

I work this weekend and I’m trying to figure out which of these stylish ensembles to emulate Saturday and which to emulate Sunday. Any advice?

Tagged: adventures in weeding