Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer Reading: Week Two

It was a rough week for me in terms of reading. I'm truly exhausted at the end of the school day from riding herd on a surging tsunami of middle-schoolers fit to burst with excitement about summer. But, still I am reading, just not as much or as quickly as I want to.

This week I finished The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. I read it in paperback as a choice for a neighborhood reading club. 

I really enjoyed it. The premise was a joy, though it sounds like a joke: a golem and a jinni walk into a foreign city. The author did a beautiful job pulling it all together into what felt like exactly the right ending to me. I did get a little bored during the second third of the book, when the characters were established, and we weren't yet in the crisis moment. That second third is tricksy . . .I'm struggling with it in the rewrite of one of my own novels. There are a lot of good quiet moments in Wecker's book during the part, but the quietness might be the problem. So again, not a perfect book, but a good book. One I would recommend to each of you.

I've also continued reading Greatshadow by James Maxey this week. It's my bedside book, and I've not lasted long for bedtime reading in my current state of exhaustion, so I didn't make a lot of progress. But I continue to really like Infidel (the main character: a woman with indestructible flesh and a mysterious past), and am engaged by the unusual choice of narrator. Where I am in the plot, the adventure is really about to begin. We've gathered our motley crew of heroes/mercenaries and are off to find the dragon. It should make good reading this coming week as I appreciate my first student-free days.

I just started Lilith Dark and the Beastie Tree by +Charles C. Dowd . I've been following him on G+ for a
while and knew I'd eventually get this book to share with my seven-year-old. There was a sale recently that suited me, so I bought it. It's perfect for my daughter, featuring a fierce little girl with a powerful imagination as the main character.  I'll probably finish it this weekend and pass it on to the Small Fry. It reminds me of other graphic novels I've enjoyed with my daughters like Ernest and Rebecca by Guillame Bianco and Antonello Dalena or Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh.

Other than that, I've been working on a beta read for a friend. Her novel is quite good! I hope to be able to tell you where to buy it a few months down the road.

NJ (7) has really jumped into summer reading with both feet. She's very motivated by the little chart where we record our reading numbers. She's recorded somewhere between 75 and 150 minutes each day . . . and I suspect we're under-recording her a little bit. If you leave that child sit anywhere near a book, she's reading. :-)

She brought home a darling picture book from school: Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson and Kevin O'Malley. It's a sweet story about a girl slug with a crush who writes poems to win his heart. NJ is such a romantic soul. When she finished reading it, she said, "Mommy! That was the best book ever! And you have to read it right now!" So, of course, I did.

She's been devouring Tiny Titans since our last trip to the library as well.  I think she's read each volume that we checked out at least six times. She loves Beast Boy. He's just her kind of silly.

In the car, we're listening to Horrible Harry. He's new to us, and I appreciate the change of pace after nearly a yearlong obsession with Frannie K. Stein and Junie B. Jones. Harry's got an obsession with gross things that suits NJ's sense of humor right now, so I think it's going to be a hit.

The older daughter (14) is almost finished with Fangirl, which I read last week and passed on to her.  She doesn't like it as much as another book by the same author (Eleanor & Park), but she says it's pretty good. She just finished Cress by Marissa Meyer, the third in a fairy-tale derived cyborg series. I read the first two with her and really enjoyed them. She said the third one is more complicated because there are so many more characters now, but that it's still well worth the read.

Next on her list is The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. It's another one that I read with my school YA reading club and passed to her. I liked it, though some parts of it disappointed me. I suspect M will like it better. She is, after all, the target audience and is much more interested in angsty teen love than I am :-)

So, there you go: another week of reading by the Bryant girls. I love summer.


  1. Lately I've taken an interest in detective fiction. I've read all the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, but American detective fiction has me entranced right now, especially Dashiell Hammett and Micky Spillane. I love the straighforward prose and staccato conversations.

    I wish I could say that Ian was reading, but he's not a reader. Comic books are the only things that get him going. It's better than nothing.

    1. It may yet come. My sister was never a reader as a child, but now she's an avid reader.

  2. Good that the kids are reading and sounds like you're off to a good start. I'll be leaving on a 6 week vacation soon and I plan to take a stack of books that I'll hopefully get through. They be mostly books I've bought over the past few years that I've not read yet.

    Have a great summer!

    Tossing It Out