Recent Reads

It’s been a busy year. And, yes, I know it’s only February. But I haven’t yet got to the place where I actually feel settled into 2017. Part of that is, of course, from the election outcome and after effects. Part of it is that California is having quite the winter, and I’m not quite sure whether I’ll be working at work or at home or how much time I’ll spend in the car getting to either of those places.

Oh, well, calm is boring, right?

One thing I do know is that I’ve been changing up my reading a bit lately. Typically, I read one book at a time. Mostly I go with several novels in a row and then I might drop in a science or history or memoir read. And then back to a bunch of novels.

Right now, I’m reading one novel and one writing craft book. And I’m listening to a memoir in the car. And I just finished reading some graphic novels, and more are coming from the library this week. Huh. Maybe that’s where the busy feeling comes from. Any day now, someone’s going to discover another entire trilogy from Tolkien or JK Rowling’s going to bring out that seven-book series about Ginny Weasley that she hasn’t told us about yet. Right? And then I can just curl up with one world and stay with it into infinity?

Well, until then…some favorites to share with you.

I read Paul Acampora’s How to Avoid Exctinction twice, because I loved it so much, I claimed it for my next review at MG Lunch Break (showing up there sometime in March or April, I think). I believe I’m picking up another of his books, Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face at the library this week. What a fantastic writer he is!

And I’m almost 2/3 through Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moonwhich was actually on my nightstand before it won the Newbery award. Can’t talk about it much here, because I’m participating in a virtual book discussion of it this weekend, but lovely, lovely book.

I’m about halfway through Lisa Cron’s Story Geniuswhich is pushing me to step back and think about some things in my WIP that, I believe, I really needed to look at. I’m hoping that, by the time I finish, I will really have learned some things that help me keep moving forward with my WIP, maybe even more strongly and with a more focused direction. I’m hoping it’s not just that I hit a dry spot and went, oh, look! Shiny object! Let’s procrastinate from the actual writing and, you know, read about it. I don’t THINK that’s what’s going on, but I’m having to push back at that REALLY IRRITATING voice that’s making me worry just a little about it.

I’m listening to Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime on the commute to and from work. Brilliant book and a bit surreal to be reading right now, with all the crud that’s happening here. If we ever did get to say, oh, something as bad as apartheid can’t happen here, well…we don’t get to say that anymore. Anyway, I almost never listen to audio books, but I thought I’d give this one a try, and I totally recommend getting this version of the book. Noah has a gorgeous voice, and he shifts it beautifully as he moves from telling  you a story to explaining what that story meant to him, at that place, at that time.

When I was in grad school, I discovered Marvel comics (long story). I dip in every now and again these days, and I recently found a new one that I just love. I checked out Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol 1: BFF from the library and fell in love. Obviously, I have to return that so other people can read it, but I bought it and Vol 2: Cosmic Cooties and pre-ordered Vol 3. The Smartest There is. Because this is Marvel at its best–fast, funny, and awesome characters. Moon Girl is fantastic–she is the smartest kid on the planet, she knows it, and nobody is getting in the way of her using her brain to save the world. Nobody.

And I even have a book I’m totally exited about waiting for me on my Kindle, for the trip I’m taking to Phoenix next weekend. I don’t only read children’s fiction, it just seems that way. I also read really, really good mystery novels, but I’m super picky in that genre. Deborah Crombie’s Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid mysteries are among the best books being written today–she never lets me down. Her latest in the series, Garden of Lamentations, is going to keep me company at the airport and on the flight. I even bought one of those portable chargers in case my Kindle battery needs a boost.

I may be busy, but obviously I’m never too busy to read. Thank goodness!  Consider each mention in this post a recommendation–grab one or two, and enjoy. 🙂 And tell me a few awesome books that you’ve been reading lately.




Friday Five: What I’m Doing During My MG Break

So October is my step-away-from-the-MG month. I’m taking four weeks between finishing the first draft and starting to revise. Why? Well, mostly, because everybody (right?) says it’s a good thing to do. And you can probably add to that that I’m a bit nervous about this revision, just because it’s been a while and my head is telling me all sorts of things that could go wrong. Which will totally be cured by waiting a month to start (right?).

What am I doing with that month, though? Oh, several things!

  1. I drafted a new picture book and sent it off to my critique group. It was a new idea mostly because when I looked back at my past PiBoIdMo ideas, nothing shouted “This one! This one!” I’m going to look through again this weekend and actually, you know, think about some of them.
  2. Looking forward to PiBoIdMo 2014 and thinking about how I might want to do it differently. Like maybe I want to write down 30 titles. Because titles are so much easier than ideas. Ha. And buying this awesome 2014 PiBoIdMo notebook from CafePress.
  3. Watching summer turn into fall and thinking about how this will be the first year in many that I’ll be driving to and from work in the dark, thinking about ways to stay alert and productive once I’m home, at least a few nights a week, instead of just heading right for the pajamas and cat snuggles. Tips and suggestions welcome!
  4. Making some trips. Next weekend I’m going to KidLitCon in Sacramento. So excited to meet people who are part of a world I love and to hear more discussion on diversity in books and what bloggers can do about it. Then my husband and I will make a quick run up and back to see my son in his first college concert.  His latin jazz combo will be playing here. How gorgeous is that? And the acoustics are amazing.
  5. Reading, reading, reading. Right now I seem to be on a mystery kick–just finished and really enjoyed Annette Dashofy’s second Zoe Chambers novel, Lost Legacy, and moved on with a Yay! Finally! to Deborah Crombie’s newest, To Dwell in Darkness. Then, happy dance, I found two more books by favorite authors at the bookmobile today: Elly Griffiths’ The Outcast Dead (If you haven’t read Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series, start now) and Jill Paton Walsh’s The Late Scholar, a new one in her “Based on the characters of Dorothy L. Sayers” series (and, Sayers’ fans, Walsh’s books are a very, very good continuation of Sayer’s own books). So, you know. I’m set for at least a few days!

Happy October, everyone!