Tag Archives: adult literature

It’s Monday-ish! What Are You Reading? 11/29/16

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

So I could say that I was so busy Sunday and last night that I didn’t get a chance to write my post but the truth is that I just put the electric blanket on the loveseat and the cats and I zoned out and barely moved from that warm place. Still, I did some reading while I was seated there 😉

Last Week’s Books:

High School & up: The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch: Empire Decayed  by Daniel Kraus is a genre-buster of an epic tale that looks at life in the 21st century, told through the eyes of undead, forever-17 Zebulon Finch. In this final volume, readers experience the Vietnam War, Woodstock, a disturbing commune, and more in ways that will not soon be forgotten. Kraus is a magnificent storyteller who never ceases to disturb, but who also never ceases to provoke much thought. Older teens who are willing to put in the effort will find this a fascinating book. This book counts for my Horror Reading Challenge 2016–although it is a genre-buster, there are definitely horror elements.

Adult: Defending Jacob by William Landay is the story of a District Attorney  who finds his son accused of murder, and the ensuing defense of the troubled young man. It was an interesting read, but not as good as I expected it to be. This book counts for my Surprise Me! Challenge 2016.

Currently Reading/Listening To:

On Deck:


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/14/16

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

I read Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan because I wanted to feature a historical fiction graphic novel during our schools’ monthly Books and Bites. I thoroughly enjoyed the three tales contained within: of Boots, a medic dog during WWI; of Loki, a wily sled dog in Greenland during WWII; and of Sheeba, a scout dog in Vietnam. Each story emphasized not only the dog’s importance in our military efforts, but also the special relationship each dog had with it’s soldier. Exciting plot points and thrilling illustrations makes this a graphic novel sure to please middle grade readers.


I was very excited to read The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler, as I have read and loved other works by him (and Lemony Snicket). In some places, I have seen this book labeled “YA,” while in others “adult.” I would have to weigh in on the side of adult, as the characters are in high school, but the novel is really a satire of high school drama taken to the nth degree. It is a strange twist-up of a murder mystery, as the reader knows the killer right away, and then victim soon after, but it is the “why” and “how” that are revealed through the story. The characters are very over-done portraits of privileged and pretentious teens, who host dinner parties and experiment with absinthe. There was definitely a lot of dark humor in this book, which I loved. But it seemed overly-long at times, as the narrator, Flannery Culp, leads readers up to the crime day-by-day with her journal entries. I did not see the twist at the end coming, and when I went back to try to read sections and find clues, I wound up deciding I just didn’t want to read that much of the book again. And so I will say I liked this debut novel and can see how Handler developed his style and dark humor into his later works. This books counts for my Surprise Me! Challenge for February.


I have really been getting into audiobooks lately, and I thoroughly enjoyed Yes Please, a memoir written and read by Amy Poehler. Although her era of Saturday Night Live is one with which I am only passingly familiar, I’m a late-to-the-party fan of her TV show Parks and Recreation. In this book, Poehler not only recounts the comedy and acting jobs that got her where she is today, but she also shares thoughts and advice on things like parenting, divorce, and living in Chicago, NYC, and LA. I found myself doing a lot of laughing as I listened on my way to and from work, which is definitely a good thing. This book counts for my Read Harder Challenge 2016–listen to an audiobook that won an Audie Award).


Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love is part of my continued quest to reread some early volumes and finish the others in this now-complete graphic novel series. I love the fairy-tale world that Willingham has created, and I love that I am devoting time to reading something just because I love it.

Currently Reading/Listening To:

On Deck: 

Surprise Me Challenge: January ’16

In 2016, I am continuing to let random.org choose a book from my TBR list, to be read sometime during the month. I currently have 292 books on this list?!?

January’s randomly generated number is 233 , so, SURPRISE!, I will be reading The Gospel of Loki  by Joanne M. Harris. Sounds fun–and given the specific books I must get read this month–sounds like I will be reading it towards the very end of the month.

gospel of loki

Goodreads description:

The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods – retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.

Loki, that’s me.

Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.

So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.

Now it’s my turn to take the stage.

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster. 

February Random Read

January went by so quickly that I can hardly believe it’s time for my February Random Read! Thanks to imlovingbooks.com for hosting this meme. This year, I’m reading off of my Goodreads to-read list because I have added all the things that still interested me from my Shelfari list.

Today random.org chose #125 for me, so I will be reading the adult novel Night Film by Marisha Pessl. This comes as a great time because I will have less “committed” reading to do in February. I remember adding this book after seeing it on some sort of “books that will blow your mind” list, and then I was able to pick it up at the used book sale at the public library a few weeks later.

Here is the Goodreads descriptionnightfilm:

Everybody has a Cordova story. Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1977. To his fans he is an engima. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father.

On a damp October night the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty.

For McGrath, another death connected to the legendary director seems more than a coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid.

The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lose his grip on reality.


I will have to decide when reading whether I can count it for my horror reading challenge–Goodreads readers “shelve” it in the following order: mystery, fiction, thriller, horror. And speaking of challenges…

2015 Challenges: January Progress

  • Goodreads goal of 125 books: 18 this month
  • Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge (24 specific categories of books): Two: The Maze Runner (book by author of gender different from mine) and Rump (fairy tale retelling)
  • Award Winning Books goal of 11-24 books: Three: The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin (National Book Award Finalist); Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery (Sibert Award); Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth (Sibert Award)
  • Horror Reading Challenge 2015 goal of 6-10 books: Zero 😦
  • Random Reads goal of one book per month: One: The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/23/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Well, I knew I was motivated by challenges, and that really showed last week! Since I joined the Book-A-Day challenge I have read more books in one week than I have in a long time–and a smorgasbord of books as well. Ahhhh, summer 🙂

Last Week’s Books:

mrpenumbrasI don’t read adult books very often, and very often I claim that MG/YA books are so good that I don’t feel like I am missing much. However, I am very glad my friend, Kari, gave me Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan. I found myself completely wrapped up in the story of Clay Jannon, an unemployed web designer who finds more than he bargained for when he takes a graveyard-shift job at a quirky bookstore and lending library. It is the library and its patrons that intrigue Clay, and he quickly becomes involved in the race to solve an ancient puzzle, using modern means and friends to do it. Although I have not read The Da Vinci Code, I know enough about it to say people who enjoyed and the National Treasure movies would especially enjoy this book. In addition, Clay’s recruitment of a Google employee, a special effects designer, and a video imaging guru will make this Alex Award winner appeal to fans of Cory Doctorow as well.

bookloveI was serious when I tweeted that Penny Kittle’s Book Love is filled with so much truth and beauty that it brought tears to my eyes. Kittle not only makes an iron-clad case for independent reading at the high school level, but she also gives readers proof of how it has turned non-readers in her classroom into book lovers with life-long reading plans. This book should be required reading for literature teachers and, especially, school administrators.

battlingboyAll those who said the graphic novel Battling Boy by Paul Pope was a perfect choice for middle grade readers were absolutely right. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of students I know who will love this origin story of a new superhero coming to Earth from a distant planet. It’s great that Battling Boy is unsure of himself, hasn’t yet mastered his powers or knowing how to use them most wisely, and makes mistakes–just like the kids who will read it. And the illustrations? Monsters and battle scenes and lightning–oh, my!


I finally read The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt, after hearing so much about it. This home-spun tall tale about the legendary Sugar Man, raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah, and Chap Brayburn and his family’s sugar pies just begs to be read aloud. These swamp-dwellers “battle” the forces of evil, in the form of a greedy landlord, a female alligator wrestler, and a gang of wild hogs. The cast of characters is unforgettable, and readers will enjoy cheering on the good guys and see the bad guys get what’s coming to them.

trappedAlthough Trapped by Marc Aronson is an information book, readers will still find themselves rooting for the 33 miners buried in a mine in northern Chile in August 2010–and the international team of rescuers. Aronson’s book tells the story of not only what was happening above the surface of the earth but also how the miners worked together to keep themselves alive until their rescue. It was a fascinating read, and the photographs, diagrams, and charts did much to improve understanding of the events and the people involved. The book also has top-notch back matter, including Aronson’s “How I Wrote This Book,” which should be required reading for student researchers and their teachers. I love how Aronson explains that many of the results a Google search returns are thin and flat–telling the same information again and again and that real research much stretch far beyond that.


Neil Gaiman’s new book, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, was published this week, so, naturally, I had to buy it. The book started out as an experimental multimedia presentation at the Sydney Opera House’s Graphic Festival, where Gaiman read his story accompanied by illustrations by Eddie Campbell and the FourPlay String quartet. You can hear Gaiman talk about it (before it happens) here. The book, itself, is a creepy tale of revenge set in the hills of Scotland. A small, strange man hires Callum MacInnes as a guide to a cave of gold, but that’s not what either one of them is really looking for. The illustrations  make this part picture book but the comic panels make it part graphic novel as well. The content of the story makes this a book for adults–and a haunting one at that.

queenfussyI came across Queen Fussy by Mister Tom (Tom Neely) in my favorite used bookstore. When I saw the face on that cat, I just had to read it. This picture book from 1973 is a tale told in rhyme of Queen Fussy and the castlecats she forces to clean her castle from dusk til dawn. When a small speck of dust appears, the catlecats and then Queen Fussy herself go to extreme lengths to get rid of it, and Queen Fussy ends up getting her just desserts. The message of the book is thinly veiled, the rhyme is sometimes forced, and the book doesn’t even appear on Goodreads (yet 🙂 ) but it was still an amusing read on a summer afternoon.

Currently Reading:







On Deck: (among others)