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Mailbox Monday

September 3, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  I hope everyone in the US has a safe, fun Labor Day.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Tuesday

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 08.31.2018

August 31, 2018
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the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

NEVERWORLD WAKE by Marisha Pessl is the story of Beatrice and six of her friends.  Bee and her friends were the cool kids who reigned supreme at their school until Bee’s boyfriend, Jim, dies suddenly.  His death has left Bee feeling raw even after a year so she decides to return to the estate where they so much of their lives.

Bee and her remaining five friends find themselves in a limbo of sorts where they relive the same day over and over again.  At the end of each “wake” they must vote to see which one will survive – this pattern will continue until the vote is unanimous.  Bee must use the time to figure out what happened to Jim in order to save herself.

This book is out of my comfort zone but I decided to give it a go anyway.  At first, I found the premise rather fascinating but, before it was all said and done, I grew weary of it.  Bee was the only character who was really developed – the rest came across as shallow.  I was hoping they would grow as they continued to go through wakes but that didn’t seem to happen.  I suspect the intended YA audience will like this more than I did, though.  Phoebe Strole narrates the audio version and I thought she did an okay job – even though she’s from Texas, I thought her southern accent for one of the characters was too over the top.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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Don Brown did his homework before writing THE UNWANTED: STORIES OF THE SYRIAN REFUGEES.  This nonfiction graphic novel written for grades 9 and up explains how Syria’s civil war got started and why its residents want to flee their home.  It goes on to show how they flee and the reception they receive when they arrive in a new country.  Since it’s a YA novel a lot of the focus is on children.  It’s gut wrenching and eye opening.  At the back of the book Brown writes of his experience visiting refugee camps in Greece in 2017 and also includes an extensive bibliography.  Teens and adults without a lot of knowledge of the Syrian refugee crisis who are interested in current events and social issues won’t want to miss this informative book.  (Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.)

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I read WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT by Frances Mayes for my book club and, once again, I wasn’t able to attend the meeting.  It’s the story of 3 middle aged women who find themselves alone and, rather than go into an assisted living facility, decide to join together and rent a villa in Tuscany.  I know at least one member loved the book but it wasn’t for me – everything was just too sweet and perfect.  I found the writing uneven and thought the narrative shifts were jarring.  Quite often, I had to stop and read back a few sentences to figure out who the narrator was at that point.  I did manage to finish the book but could have easily set it aside at any point, even close to the end.

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I saw Crazy Rich Asians with a friend and we both liked it a lot.  Economics professor Rachel Chu’s boyfriend, Nick Young, invites her to go home to Singapore with him to meet his family and attend the wedding of his best friend.  He fails to tell her that his family is rich – “crazy” rich” – and Rachel finds herself in a world unlike anything she’s ever known.  This movie had comedy, drama, and romance and was a fun way to spend a few hours.  Seeing the scenery in Singapore was an added treat.   I haven’t read the book it’s based on but want to after seeing this entertaining movie.

Off the blog

  • The days are getting shorter so there’s the promise of fall, but it’s still summer around here.
  • How can it be the last day of August already?  This year has really flown by.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 16,500 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 29, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I’ve found a lot of new-to-me words in WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT by Frances Mayes.  Here are a few of them:

1. boustrophedon – “Isn’t boustrophedon the ongoing form of writing that mimics the turns an ox makes when plowing a field?”

Boutstrophedon is written words going from right to left and from left to right in alternate lines.

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2. benison – “Again, not money like the digital whizzes or even like my cousin in real estate, but a benison for me.”

A benison is a blessing.

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3. diamantine – “As Colin puts down the fire, I step outside to see the black woolly sky punctured with diamantine stars.”

Diamantine is an adjective that means made from or reminiscent of diamonds.  I think it’s the perfect way to describe stars.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

August 27, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 08.24.2018

August 24, 2018
tags: ,

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

What a powerful book PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE by Ellen Hopkins is.  Narrated by the Voice of Violence and often told in the second person, this book tracks several teens in Tucson, Arizona for one week.  One of them buys a gun from the classified ads with cash and before the week’s out another one will be dead because of it.  Cami and Rand are married with a young child – he hopes to become a cop while she’s involved in a little illegal activity trying to get their little family ahead.  Grace has witnessed violence firsthand and Noelle’s life was changed forever by that same violence.  Silas and Ashlyn are white supremacist looking to stir up trouble.  When Daniel’s mother was deported, he was taken in by his father’s family – after his father’s death, he’s out on the streets on his own.

This book is written in a hybrid style – part verse and part narrative – and is told from multiple points of view.  It tackles several social issues without feeling preachy or overdone.  I was hooked from the start and gobbled this book very quickly.  I’ve thought a lot about it and think it would be great in a high school classroom or as a book club pick.  If you like to read about social issues, you don’t want to miss this book.  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)

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I picked up MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM by Anne Youngson because I love epistolary novels.  Tina Hopgood writes a letter to Professor Glob, an archaeologist who’d dedicated a book to her and several of her classmates fifty years ago.  The Curator of the museum, Anders Larsen, replies to her letter to let her know that the professor passed away years ago.  From there, the two begin a correspondence that becomes more and more personal.

I’m sorry to say this book didn’t hold the charm that epistolary novels normally do for me.  The letters did become more personal but they never became less formal so I thought it was hard to really get to know the characters.  I also had a little bit of a problem with their “relationship” since Tina was married.  The ending was rather open ended and that bothered me a bit too.  I seem to be in the minority on this one so you should give it a try if it looks interesting to you.  I did like the book enough that I would pick up a sequel if there is one but can’t say that I loved it.  (Review copy provided by Flatiron Books.)

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As a kid, I loved books like National Geographic Kids ALMANAC 2019 and, it may surprise no one, I still do.  I read this book from cover to cover and enjoyed learning lots of fun facts and trivia.  With chapters ranging from Amazing Animals to Science and Technology to History Happens this great book has something for everyone.  It even has fun quizzes throughout the book and tips on things like writing letters, exploring different cultures, and giving oral reports as well as some fun experiments.  There’s also an index in the back, making it easy to look up topics of interest.

ALMANAC 2019 is printed on high quality matte paper and includes gorgeous full-color photographs and graphics.  Kids (and some adults) will pick it up over and over again and will refer to it often.  This book needs to be in every home, school, and public library.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

 

Currently reading:

On the Screen

When Vance and I went to see BlacKkKlansman this week there was only one other person in the theater.  For those not familiar with the movie, it’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth a black police officer who infiltrated the KKK in Colorado Springs, CO in the late 1970s.    Stallworth made contact with “the organization” via phone and paired with white officer Flip Zimmerman to do the ground work for him.  I’m not sure how much the movie strayed from the facts but, in the end, I don’t think it really matters because this movie will make you think.  Directed by Spike Lee and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver this movie has tension and humor and, while it’s not without faults, I think it’s well worth seeing.

Off the blog

  • I started a 3,000 piece puzzle.  It’s the largest I’ve ever attempted and it was a challenge just to get all the pieces laid out on our table.  I have a feeling I’ll be working on this one a while.
  • We’re getting a little hint of fall with lower temperatures and humidity.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I average just over 15,700 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 22, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

All three of these words are from MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM by Anne Youngston.

1. pelmet – “Sarah, I will just tell you, is the daughter of another local farmer and she is, for all the energy she puts into matching towels in tapering piles in the bathroom, scented candles in the dining room, pelmets and tie-backs on the curtains in the living room, committed to the business of farming.”

A pelmet is a narrow border of cloth or wood, fitted across the top of a door or window to conceal the curtain fittings.

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2. ruction – “I am expecting ructions when the cylinders of gas run out and more have to be ordered.”

Ruction is a noun that means a disturbance or quarrel.

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3. weft – “The weft and warp of it.”

Weft means (in weaving) the crosswise threads on a loom over and under which other threads (the warp) are passed to make cloth.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

August 20, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

These books came while I was at my mom’s:

What did you find in your mailbox?