Saturday, May 28, 2016

Apologies and New Books

First - many apologies for not posting more the past few months.  Taking two classes and working full time made life a little overwhelming at times.  I did read a lot of great adult fiction and learned tons but I was not unhappy to see the semester end.

I do want to give a shout out to the great books I read this semester, though.  Then I'll move on to all the new picture books we just received at the library. My summer class is on Diversity and I've already started working my way through the list.  Once class begins on June 4th, that's probably all the reading I will do!

The Adventures of Johnny Vermillion by Loren D. Estleman I really enjoyed this Western!  It follows a troupe of thespians as they make their way across the Wild West. In addition to their acting abilities, they are an impressive group of bank robbers. This draws the attention of Pinkerton and his men, who are soon on the trail of Johnny and his gang.

For horror, I read Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler.  It's a vampire novel with some bizarre twists.  I'm a huge fan of Butler and I am glad I read this book - but it is definitely not for everyone.  Folks that enjoyed The Girl with All the Gifts might like it though.

Anansi Boys Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman was my choice for Fantasy.  It's great. Sort of like American Gods light.  I highly recommend the audio!  It was extremely well done. I also read (or listened to) The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  Again - quite wonderful.  Several of my classmates read it and did not like it -- they did not quite grasp Gaiman's use of old magic which is intricately woven into his story.

A Canticle for LeibowitzMy science fiction choice was also quite thought provoking - I read A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. It's a post-apocalyptic novel and if you like that type of story, then I highly recommend Liebowitz!  Don't let the prolific use of Latin deter you.  Again, I listened to this one for the most part.  It took me about fifty pages to get hooked.  When Miller introduced the concept of bookleggers (like bootleggers only they smuggle books instead of booze...) I was sold.

Secrets of Sloane House (Ch...For Inspirational Fiction, I read Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray.  Set during the Chicago Exposition, it was somewhat predictable but still enjoyable.  I would like to read the rest of the books in the series.

Star Island (Skink, #6)Star Island is a zany Carl Hiaasen thriller set in the southern part of Florida - mostly Miami.  I read it because it included Skink, a memorable character created by Mr. Hiaasen that appears in roughly every other book that he writes.  It's a crazy roller coaster ride of a story with a somewhat satisfying - if unbelievable - conclusion. 

Changeless (Parasol Protect...Changeless, book the second in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, was my romance selection.  Delightful.  I am looking forward to finishing the series some day.  I enjoyed this one even more than the first.  It's a steampunk alternate universe setting.  Carriger builds her world well. She revisits it in her Finishing School series, which is written for young adults.  The Parasol Protectorate books are written for a more - ahem - mature audience.

The Absolutely True Diary o... I have had The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie on my "To Read" pile for ages.  I wish I had read it sooner. It was read for the Multicultural section of my studies - and I will use it again for Diversity.  Alexie is from a reservation in Washington State.  He will make you laugh and cry.  It's a memorable book.

Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp S...But my absolute favorite book was my historical fiction selection - Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart.The year is 1914 and the location is the rural outskirts of Paterson, New Jersey. Thirty-five year old Constance Kopp and her two sisters are riding to town in their buggy when they are rammed by an automobile driven by an inebriated Henry Kaufman. Kaufman is the owner of a local silk-dying mill and is also a belligerent bully. Constance, and her two sisters, Norma and Fleurette, refuse to be bullied, however. Initially they demand that Kaufman pay for the damage he has done to their buggy in writing. When they receive no response, Constance ventures into Paterson to deal with Kaufman personally. The Kopp sisters have unintentionally poked a true hornet’s nest! Soon Kaufman’s gang is throwing bricks through the windows of their farmhouse, wrapped with threats of kidnapping Fleurette with the intention of selling her into white slavery! Constance is outraged and files suit against Kaufman for his harassment. With the help of Sheriff Heath, the sisters spend the next year ensuring that justice prevails as secrets are uncovered and criminals receive retribution. In the process, Constance impresses the Sheriff so much that he hires her as a deputy, one of the first female deputies in America.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for picture book reviews!