Seeing how this covers the last two and a half-ish weeks, one might think there ought to be more to report as far as books read. Well, one would be wrong. One tends to think she accomplishes more than she actually does, apparently. 😛
*Finished up The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. A short children’s book written in the 1950s. For the most part, it was charming and enjoyable. Cool old castle, a pretty awesome great-grandmother, and friendly, spirited ghosts–what’s not to love, right? But actually there was one thing that wasn’t at all lovable–a dose of horrid antiziganism. Eva warned of this when I mentioned that I was about to start reading it, and she sure wasn’t kidding. While in general, I try to avoid spoilers, problematic issues like that are one thing I appreciate knowing ahead of time. I think when I’m blindsided by some sort of ugliness like that, I then find I can’t focus on any good a book has to offer, but when I’m forewarned, I’m better able to appreciate the good despite the problems. I’m not sure if that makes any sense outside my own head.
*Next up was A Bitter Brew: Faith, Power, and Poison in a Small New England Town by Christine Ellen Young. We made up a family summer reading bingo game to play this summer, complete with rewards. I had one last item–“read a book that involves a crime”–to complete my entire card. I’ve sort of been in the mood for a true crime read lately, so that worked out nicely. But I started and abandoned two other true crime books before settling into this one. I remembered vaguely the incident this book chronicles, the arsenic in the coffee at a church in Maine, but didn’t know a lot about it. After reading the book, I now feel that in some ways I know too much about it, and in some ways I don’t really know much at all. It was just horrendously sad in about a thousand different ways. But oh my goodness, am I glad I was not a part of that church community–they seemed to just thrive on drama. Exactly the kind of thing I try to avoid at all costs. If it hadn’t been over a third of the way through the book before the author started delving into the relationships and power struggles and such, I’m not sure I would have continued. To be honest, I’m sort of wondering if maybe true crime just isn’t for me anymore. Or maybe it was just my mood–being in a flare up, I may just have needed more peaceful or comforting or fun sort of reads. Actually, that’s probably it.
*While Rich and I were off on our glorious four-day getaway to a “cabin” in the woods, I read the first volume of four different comic series. Two I pretty much fell head-over-heels in love with and two that I was left feeling ambivalent about. I’ve really struggled in the past about whether to continue with a series when I’m not completely in love with it. It would be one thing if I hated it, or even disliked it. But it’s those ones that I sort of like, but don’t really love that cause me decision-stress. Well, I’ve made an executive decision–if I don’t love it, I won’t continue. There are just too many awesome books left to read in this world and too few years of life to even make a dent. I do realize that a the second or third volume might turn a “meh” experience into a “wow” experience with a series, but really there’s that potential with any book. I’m happy to have set myself this policy, as frankly, decision-making is not my strong suit.
So…the four series I started, two of which I will happily be continuing with:
—Rat Queens, Volume One: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch was one of the most fun comics I’ve read recently. I seriously loved it with a passion! How could one not fall in love with the Rat Queens themselves, Betty and Violet and Dee and Hannah?!! They’re funny and irreverent and badass. And maybe what I love best about them is the way they care about one another. The art–awesome. I wish so badly that I had volume two already.
—Sex Criminals, Volume One: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. I expected to love this, I really did. I mean I love Fraction’s Hawkeye; I love the unique concept of the story; I love sex. But I don’t know…it just didn’t wow me. Too high expectations? Maybe. I don’t know, but something about it fell a little flat for me. Which really makes me sad.
—Shutter, Volume One: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca. This was another huge win for me. A robot cat who bakes cookies, a reluctant hitman salamander who drives an apple car reminiscent of Richard Scarry, a slightly scary nanny who goes by the name “General,” previously unknown siblings…come on, what’s not to love?!! Plus an awesome friendship (which we’d better get back to!), a transgender character, dinosaurs, mystery. Yeah, I’m smitten.
—Low, Volume One: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini. As with Sex Criminals, it’s not that I disliked it. And again I like the premise of the story. But it just failed to really grab me. And while I adore the cover of this one, there was something about the coloring of the comic itself that just didn’t appeal to me. I actually think it’s appropriate, but nonetheless it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I really do see potential in this series, but I’m sticking with my decision.
RIP X is underway! Absolutely one of my favorite reading events of the year! But I must confess, when I first saw the announcement, I sort of felt like I’d been punched in the gut. It just completely threw me to find that Carl wasn’t hosting it this year. Don’t get me wrong–I have no doubt whatsoever that Heather and Andi will do a wonderful job! They are both completely beyond awesome, and I adore them to pieces! What threw me didn’t have to do with the fact that they were hosting it, it was that Carl wasn’t. To me so much of what I associate with RIP (and Once Upon a Time, and the Sci-Fi Experience) is Carl. So maybe it’s just that I’m not good with change or maybe it’s just a nostalgia thing, but it just caught me off guard.
Like I said, I know that Andi and Heather will make RIP X fabulous, and frankly, Carl pours so much work and heart into his events that he more than deserves a break! So now that it’s sunk in, and even more so after an email from Carl, I’m ready to revel in all things creepy and gruesome and mysterious once again.
I will be aiming to complete Peril the First (which requires four spooky/mysterious/creepy/horrific/you-get-the-idea books). Though I can’t really say what those four (or more) books will be. These are my pools (a comics pile and a pile of novels), but who knows if I’ll even stick with them.
Not shown: I’ve been rereading Salem’s Lot (Stephen King), Rich and I are currently listening to the audiobook of The Passage (Justin Cronin), and my current non-fiction book, Spillover (David Quammen), fits RIP qualifications too (at least I think so).
I also hope to participate in the Peril of the Short Story. Though if history repeats itself, I will likely read appropriate stories, but then fail to write about them because I just find it so frickin’ hard to do. I pulled a pile of appropriate collections off the shelves to dip into.
Not shown: A collection of Sherlock Holmes stories that my dear friend Pat sent me, and that I’d set aside just waiting for RIP. And then RIP comes, and I completely forget to put it in the stack. One is also scatter-brained.
And finally, there is the Peril on the Screen. I’ve no idea what I may watch though. And again, as with short stories, I really have no idea how to talk about movies/TV. But hey, that doesn’t stop me from talking about books, does it? 😛
Heather and Andi are adding yet more fun to my life by hosting the brand-new, Dog Days of Summer Readathon. Just a laid back weekend of reading, which sounds perfect. Even if I have to spend the bulk of my time reading for school.
Next up, we’ve begun our Fall Family Bingo game. We did this over the summer (with all different categories), largely as a way to keep the boys reading over the summer. Shocking all of us, Max was the first to complete a row during our summer game, though Rich and I were the only ones to fill our entire card. It was a hit, so we’ve decided to do another round, running from September 2nd (the boys’ first day of school) thru December 24th.
And lastly in this week’s reading room, I only brought one new (to me) book into the house, Sula by Toni Morrison.