Friday, September 2, 2016

What Are You Reading? August 2016 Edition

August Total: 43
Year to date: 206

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 Rowling, J. K.; Tiffany, John; Thorne, Jack
Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1)  Card, Orson Scott

The Only Child   Guojing
Lumberjanes #4         Stevenson, Noelle
Lumberjanes #5        Stevenson, Noelle
Lando  Soule, Charles

Chewbacca      Duggan, Gerry
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1     Stevenson, Noelle
Down. Set. Fight!     Sims, Chris
The Batgirl of Burnside  Stewart, Cameron

Picture Books
How to Heal a Broken Wing      Graham, Bob
Vanilla Ice Cream          Graham, Bob
A Bus Called Heaven    Graham, Bob
The Perfect Sword       Goto, Scott
Paula Bunyan Root, Phyllis
The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy      Alemagna, Beatrice
Ace Dragon Ltd   Hoban, Russell
Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure      Cronin, Doreen
Basho and the Fox        Myers, Tim J.
The Story of the Three Kingdoms          Myers, Walter Dean
My Pen             Myers, Christopher
Looking Like Me            Myers, Walter Dean
Wings Myers, Christopher
Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money  Jenkins, Emily
My Favorite Thing: (According to Alberta)          Jenkins, Emily
What’s the Opposite? (The Hueys)       Jeffers, Oliver
The Hueys in... It Wasn't Me    Jeffers, Oliver
The Hueys in the New Sweater Jeffers, Oliver
That New Animal          Jenkins, Emily
How to Catch a Star (The Boy, #1)          Jeffers, Oliver
The Heart and the Bottle           Jeffers, Oliver
Mimi's Dada Catifesto Jackson, Shelley
The Ghosts of Luckless Gulch Isaacs, Anne
Christmastime   Jay, Alison
The Wicked Big Toddlah Hawkes, Kevin
Zen Ghosts      Muth, Jon J.
The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage without Apostrophes!    Truss, Lynne
Sail Away       Hughes, Langston
This Is Not a Picture Book!        Ruzzier, Sergio
What's Going On In There?       Grahn, Geoffrey
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs      Willems, Mo
Space Vehicles   Rockwell, Anne F.

Return (Journey Trilogy, #3)     Becker, Aaron

Quick Takes
There was a lot I enjoyed this month. As you might guess from my book list, I spent several shifts of my part-time job at the library working the children's desk. Doing so, I discovered two new picture book authors to add to my many favorites-- Bob Graham is an Australian artist who writes moving modern fables about community and peace, and Emily Jenkins writes slightly zany looks at the world of a child. I also thoroughly enojoyed "The Wicked Big Toddlah" in which an understated text about the narrator's younger brother is accompanied by illustrations of a family struggling to care for an infant the size of a barn. And you can never go wrong with an Oliver Jeffers book.

On the comics front, "The Only Child" is a standout. It's a wordless, lyrical take on childhood loneliness and imagination. Rooted in the author's experience as one of many 'only children' due to China's one-child policy, it is at turns wistful and whimsical as a lonely child meets cloud-creatures who offer company and friendship, but separate him briefly from his family.

"Lando" by Soule is a heist tale that's a perfect homage to the suave maneuvering of its titular character. A prequel to Lando's appearance in "The Empire Strikes Back" it manages to lay a foundation for the conflict between Lando's calculated defense of his own self-interest and his loyal dedication to the few people he cares for that will eventually lead Lando both to betray Han and then to turn on the Empire and devote his considerable talents to the Rebellion.

"Down, Set, Fight" takes a zany concept-- former NFL star is attacked by costumed mascots-- and turns it into a really fascinating look the relationship between sports and American masculinity, and a powerful character study of a hardworking man (the NFL star turned high school football coach) and his manipulative estranged father (who put him through an insane training regimen to propel him to greatness, then attempted to play on that success in order to make a fortune gambling on the games). It's definitely weird, but well worth a read.

"Seventh Son" is far from perfect, but it's a fascinating fantasy take on Mormonism's founding events. Orson Scott Card seems to be responding to critics who are disturbed by the magical worldview of the frontier which pervades Mormonism's origins by asking them to imagine how awesome a magical frontier would have been. It also strikes to the heart of Mormon concepts of community and creation. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series.

Reading "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" brought back all the wonderful Harry-Potter feels of the days when summer meant a new book release and I'd stay up all night reading for several days, then re-reading and talking about every detail with my equally Potter-obsessed friends and family. It was magical. The more I think about it, the less I think it stands as an equal to the earlier books, but I was definitely grateful for a chance to revisit the wizarding world in print. And there were certainly plenty of fascinating details to discuss with my perpetually Potter-obsessed friends and family.

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