Category Archives: Young Adult

WWW Wednesday (August 1, 2012)

Again, this meme is from shouldbereading:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Remember last week how I said I am in love with a new series? Well, I am TRULY in love with a new series! Last week it was the first in the series, Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy (Bloody Jack Adventures). This week it’s Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (Bloody Jack Adventures).

Repeating what I said last week: I am listening to the audiobooks and the reader, Katherine Kellgren, is stellar. But the narrative voice is so delightful, I want to read the book in print, as well, and will be hard pressed to choose which way to enjoy the next book in the series. Jacky is a strong, wonderful character. The world is so brutal and graphic I am a little surprised at the YA label. I certainly recommend this for a lot of adult readers I know.

I’m still reading The Disorderly Knights: Third in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, by Dorothy Dunnett. I’m debating whether to keep reading it or stop long enough to read The Night Circus so I can turn it back into the library. I’m just not reading print books as much as  I’m listening to audio right now–too much time in the car driving instead of sitting where I can read.

• What did you recently finish reading?

I listened to a short Regency novel between Bloody Jacks, Lady Fortescue Steps Out: A Novel of Regency England – Being the First Volume of The Poor Relation. Charming, exploring a part of society we rarely see in other Regency-era novels: the poor relations who are genteel and starving. Written by Marion Chesney, aka MC Beaton.

A fun tale, the first in a series.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Will I finally read The Night Circus?  Or will I choose something else? Only time will tell!

What about you? What are your WWWs? If you post on your blog, leave a link below! Otherwise answer here.

Warning: My notifications aren’t working. If you leave a comment, I will reply to it! But you won’t know unless you check back to see. Sorry. I’m having wordpress issues!

 

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Filed under Audible, Audiobooks, Books, Library books, Reading, Regency England, WWW Wednesday, Young Adult

WWW Wednesday (July 11, 2012)

I’ve missed a few weeks even though I’ve been reading. But, moving forward!

From shouldbereading:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Another library ebook loan, Crossed, by Ally Condie. This is a strong book for the middle of the trilogy.  In a dystopian future where teenagers are matched by the Society and given their spouse/match, what happens if there is a mistake? That’s the first book, Matched, which I first mentioned here (scroll down).  The second book deals with the fallout from that mistake. This is the now-typical romantic plot of a girl with two guys to choose between, but it works on all levels.  The world-building is strong and interesting and the characters are not cookie-cutter.  The final book, Reached, is available for pre-order and will be out in November.

I’m also reading The Disorderly Knights: Third in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, by Dorothy Dunnett.  I was already into it when Crossed showed up from the library.  Since there is a waiting list for Crossed and I own Disorderly Knights, I decided to stop and read the fast-read YA dystopia so I can get it back into circulation. Aren’t I a good citizen?  Can’t wait to get back to Lymond, though.  [I used an older cover because I think it’s pretty, and it shows the Malta setting so nicely.]

• What did you recently finish reading?

I earlier mentioned an audiobook, Anita by Keith Roberts. This is from the Neil Gaiman Presents collection on audible, and he says he chose it because, Anita is an almost forgotten novel by one of the finest UK writers. It works on two levels. The stories are a product of the 1960s – they come out of a swinging world and a ‘Georgy Girl’ time, and Keith Roberts, then a young art director, has captured that feel. At the same time, it’s about a teenage witch being brought up her Granny. He writes about her falling in love, getting her heart broken, about change and growing up and compromise, about what magic is and how you can lose it sometimes and how you can get it back.”

I’m bringing it up again because… well, it’s one of those very rare audiobooks that I didn’t finish.  It’s a short story collection and it frankly didn’t hold my attention.  Others’ mileage definitely varies.

Fortunately, Thief of Shadows, by Elizabeth Hoyt, fared better.  The fourth in the Maiden Lane series, it was an easy listen with a nice and unexpected twist at the end that probably raised it to 4 stars from the 3.5 I was thinking of giving it. I think I’m getting burned out on romances. I like more plot and less emphasis on “when will they?” and “how?” and such.  On the other hand, this book had a younger man/virgin hero which is not the norm. Recommended for readers of historical romance, especially if you like a setting in the underbelly of London along with the usual.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

After I finish the third chronicle of Lymond (see above) I have so many to choose from, but I may make a quick foray into the realm of nonfiction with Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth I. Cline.

“Overdressed does for T-shirts and leggings what Fast Food Nation did for burgers and fries.”  —Katha Pollitt, The Nation columnist

I need to buy some clothes, having lost weight over the past few months.  I’m much more interested in cotton and wool than synthetics for various reasons.  This book looks like it’s the right inspiration at the right time. If it gets me out of t-shirts and jeans it will have moved a mountain!

What about you? What are your WWWs? If you post on your blog, leave a link below! Otherwise answer here.

Warning: My notifications aren’t working. If you leave a comment, I will reply to it! But you won’t know unless you check back to see. Sorry. I’m having wordpress issues!

 

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Filed under Fashion, Green, Novels, Reading, Romance, WWW Wednesday, Young Adult

Lazy Sunday Morning

Slept late-ish. Well, was up before nine even though I would have liked to sleep later, but that’s still later than on weekdays.

Cleaned kitchen which was a mess from last night, since I didn’t even get our dinner (pasta with spinach/basil pesto, with peppers, brussel sprouts and broccoli to mix as desired) on the table until after nine, which left I big mess since I made it all from scratch. Well, except the pasta. Okay, I didn’t grow the veggies from scratch but everything started off raw… I don’t really need to explain, do I?

Sat at table with Resident Storm Chaser sipping tea and watching some HD videos of birds in our backyard that he is messing around with.

Opened compost tumbler to toss in carnage from last nights veggie chopping, noticed how wet it was, so got newspapers and sliced them up with paper cutter and added to mess. Did a few other pesky little compost-related things, like cutting up corrugated box to put in.

I also ripped up the box my kitchen mushroom garden came in and tossed it into the compost tumber.  I then broke the dried up brick of coffee grounds (which is what the mushrooms grew in, and man, were they delicious) and was about to toss them into the composter as directed to do when growing was through, and got thoughty about it all.  Inside the brick I saw powdery stuff (more mushroom spores?) and such, and thought, hmmm. You see, when I looked at their video they said to soak the thing overnight in water and then do the twice-daily misting thing, but on the box it just said mist, and so I didn’t soak in water.  And I didn’t get nearly as many mushrooms as they show in the pics.  So I decided to soak the dried brick in water today and see if I can get more mushrooms out of it before I compost. I am such a scientific pooks! (Not really. But it’s worth an experiment, anyway.) Of course I know longer have the box to put it back in, ahem. I think it should survive that, though. Science! Experiment!

Click to go to source of image, cool garden blog!

 

Surfed net to explore stuff I’ve planted, only to discover I planted Zucchini – Heirloom “Costata Romanesco” in a square foot plot with a cage and it looks like maybe it should have been in a big pot with room to spread, ooops.  It hasn’t come up yet.  Maybe I should plant some other seed there and when I can tell the difference, yank the squash. In the meantime, plant more squash seed in big pot? Hmmm. By the way, in case you’re wondering, and I absolutely know you are, Costata Romanesco is a predecessor to the hybrid zucchini we all eat.  It is only half as prolific (which seems a good thing, after all the jokes about anybody with zucchini not being able to give away the excess) but twice the flavor, nuttier and richer.  Sounds like a win to me.

And now I’ve written this which would be a faster process if I didn’t hunt down links and stuff but I like pictures and links.

Now it’s after noon and I’m going to plant something and then keep reading the sample I downloaded for Matched, a YA novel it seems that all the WWW Wednesday chicks are reading, where Society makes all choices for you, including your mate. “Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black….” Yeah, I’m in.

Have a great day!

 

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Filed under Compost, Garden, Reading, Square Foot Gardening, WWW Wednesday, Young Adult

Building My Library

The Kindle unexpectedly freed me from the tyranny of books.

What a strange notion. But it did, it freed me from the paperbacks tumbling everywhere, the books that I like, may reread someday, and more importantly, the books that I simply possessed because I had once read them and thus now owned them. Finally, it freed me from the impulse buys I’d never read and honestly, probably never will.

Yes, I once said, I love the feel of books in my hands, can’t imagine reading off a screen.  Well, it turns out that the screen has many benefits. I can change the font-size to be easier on my eyes.  And the technology has many benefits. I can choose between dozens, no hundreds, of books at any time to read, with just a small-ish device that I can carry with me in my bag.

But back to the books. I haven’t given up books. I’ve just given up the books that don’t mean much to me. As for the others, I either still own them, or I am acquiring them.  I listened to Middlesex on audio but now have the hardcover to put on my shelf.  I checked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay out of the library, but again, now own the hardcover.  I’m building my hardcover library of books I really want to possess, to caress, to read again and again.  Even though I’ve already listened on audio, I’ve bought Leviathan and Behemoth in hardcover, and have preordered Goliath which comes out this month (and I’m breathless with anticipation).

Just because I have a Kindle doesn’t mean I don’t buy books.

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Filed under Books, Building My Library, Kindle, Young Adult

Writing for kids.

Since so many of my students are writing for this market, and since I know so little about it, I asked the most excellent Doug Solter* for resources and he came through like a bandit:
Websites:
 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Under the tab research library there’s a just getting started link which has a FAQ and some past issues of the SCBWI newsletter that gives them an idea about writing for children. There are many regional chapters (Tons of them in Texas) that host many events that are open to the public, good place to ask authors questions about writing YA/MG.
Verla Kay’s childrens writers boards are chock full of information geared toward YA and MG writing specifically. Good place to lurk or ask questions and get good answers.
 Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine. This magazine focuses on public and school librarians, great resource to find out what kids are reading and the kinds of books that librarians are recommending to teens. The online version of their magazine is FREE.
 This website lists new YA book geared blogs. Good research to finding what some teens are reading and their opinions on a lot of books.
 Twitter chats…many agents, published authors, and editors participate in these chats. Good place to lurk:
     use hashtag: #kidlitchat (Every Tuesday night at 8pm CST)
     use hashtag: #yalitchat (Every Wednesday night at 8pm CST)
By the way–you should follow Doug’s blog. He has lots of good info about YA lit and writing!
[Cross-posted to my writing blog.]

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Filed under Writers, Writing, Young Adult

Leviathan and Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld

Okay, about that steampunk challenge.

One steampunk book a month for a year.  Twelve steampunk reads.

I’m on my third in October.  I could space them out and list/review one a month, but that makes me itch.  I am just going to mention them as I read them, and don’t expect any real reviews from me because that’s too much like work.

Also, the first three have all been audiobooks that I downloaded from audible (if you sign up, tell them dallaspooks sent ya) and so what I will actually be discussing is a different experience than reading.

First, Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, and its sequel, Behemoth. These are YA (Young Adult) novels that have been getting fabulous word of mouth and I finally broke down and decided to read them listen to them. And I’m so glad I did. Set on the brink of World War I, Leviathan begins the night that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo, with their 15-year-old son being rousted out of bed and hustled away from the palace by a sinister pair of men–and straight into action-packed adventure which continues into its sequel. I don’t know how long the series is projected to be, but there are clearly more coming.

In the meantime in England a 15-year-old Scottish girl is pretending to be a boy so she can be an airman with the British Air Service, as her brother is and her father was before her. Again–straight into action-packed adventure.

In this revisioning of World War I the nations are the same and on the same teams, but many of the details are different.  The world building is superb. The German side are “Clankers” whose war machines are fantastical and mechanical. The English side are “Darwinists” who have created strange new creatures (or “beasties,” as Deryn calls them) to go to war.

Scott Westerfeld’s world is amazing. The action is almost nonstop but always inventive and fresh. The characterizations are rich. At the end of each book are author notes that describe what aspects of the books are true history and where Westerfeld got creative, and I was as fascinated by the real history as I was the books themselves. It was gratifying to see that some of the more interesting twists were historic facts that he’d woven sp deftly into his stories it was impossible for me to know what was real and what was new.

Alan Cumming as narrator is phenomenal. He reads with breathless energy, gives the characters appropriate and wonderful accents that enhance their personalities and backgrounds, and made me want to listen nonstop.  At a time when I was highly distracted by a lot of real life issues, these books were always compelling and easy to fall into.

I highly recommend them as audiobooks or to read. I may actually end up buying these books because the art looks pretty darned cool.

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Filed under Audible, Audiobooks, Books, Fiction & Literary, History, Novels, Steampunk, Steampunk Challenge, Young Adult

Summerland

summerland2.jpg

I just finished listening to SUMMERLAND by Michael Chabon as an audiobook, and I’m sure the printed edition is as good if not better. (Chabon won the Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and of course that’s another terrific book.) They’re calling Summerland a young adult novel, but it’s YA with depths and levels that make it as clever and funny and poignant and good for adult readers as it is for YA.

Summerland’s a fantasy of sorts and a parable of sorts and it’s certainly a love story to the great game of baseball. I’m not even a baseball fan, and it stirred my blood, because it’s not about Major League Baseball as much as the best parts of sandlot, Little League, played-for-the-love-of-it-on-an-endless-summer-night baseball, and it’s a tale of how baseball more or less holds the universe together.

It has great characters — and Jennifer T is one of the best girl characters I’ve ever read. I love that girl. I want to be that girl.

Buy this book.

Read this book.

Love this book.

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Sports, Young Adult