Books Read in March

Here’s what I read in March. Not as impressive as February but still some good stuff in the mix!

The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and GuestsThe Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests by Chris Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read half of this and then listened to the rest. I was a little disappointed the audiobook wasn’t narrated by anyone from the show but that would be pretty amazing to get that cast back together. That being said, the readers did a wonderful job mimicking the voices and tone where they could without it being too distracting.

I was watching the Daily Show with Craig Kilborn in high school and I remember when it changed hands to Jon Stewart. I have always been relatively progressive/liberal in my world view, so I wouldn’t say that Jon changed that, but The Daily Show did let me know that I was not alone in thinking that way, it made me want to stay up to date on the news, it made me understand how politics really work.

The show, Stewart’s version of the show, played a HUGE role in my young adult life and this book does an amazing job covering its evolution over the course of 12 years. If you are a fan of the show, if you remember watching it every night, if you attended the ‘Rally for Sanity’ — pick up this book or give it a listen. You will be impressed by how much hard work this entire cast and crew put into keeping us both informed and entertained all these years, and how that ended up changing the media as a whole.

MooseMoose by Max de Radiguès
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this because we were discussing how it made it onto lots of top comic lists for teen readers but we cataloged it in adult. I understand the cataloging since our YA section is both a mix of middle and high school materials and this definitely is very mature content.

The story deals with bullying, and not just being picked on, but physical violence and a level of abuse that was disturbing.

I think it is a powerful story that will find its way into the hands of readers that need to find it, but I can understand why we opted to put it in the adult collection.

Me and Marvin GardensMe and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A.S. King is one of my favorite young adult authors so I was surprised to see this title cataloged as Children’s Fiction. It still has that trademark King bit of magical realism, but the characters and themes run a little bit younger, or maybe just things that work for a wider age range of readers.

While not my favorite King book, this has a great story to give to kids who have a passion about the environment and interest in humans finding that balance between nature and progress. Definitely for the more thinky middle school reader who has already realized that their parents are not perfect and that the world has shades of gray.

Paper Girls, Vol. 2Paper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Even better than the first volume (I did not think that would be possible). This series is amazing.

Don’t read anything about it, don’t find spoilers, just find the books and read them.

Samanthasaurus RexSamanthasaurus Rex by B.B. Mandell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How could I not read this? Adorable dinosaur with my name. The trick with the diamond seemed like a stretch. If there is a Samantha in your life, this is a solid purchase.

I Am Jim HensonI Am Jim Henson by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet and simple book, this would be great for a read-aloud to older elementary kids. The author does not mention that Jim has passed away, though kids can see it if they look at the timeline included on the last couple pages.

One of my personal heroes and I’m always glad to see his story being told and shared.

They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice MovementThey Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think Lowery does a good job of staying objective in his recounting of the tumult of the last few years. I knew about most of these events, but not all of them, and lumping them all together in this book, realizing that this is just a snapshot of two years in America, you can’t help but wonder what, if anything, has changed.

The saddest part is how optimistic the afterward sounds when it comes to continuing to deal with these issues as a country…I feel like this has all be pushed out of the spotlight since November and the national rhetoric is not one that encourages discussion of racial issues.

The Private EyeThe Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is becoming VERY DISTURBING that every book I pick up this year has some kind of “THE CLOUD WILL END US ALL!” message to it…and Private Eye wasn’t even a NEW book!

BKV does it again with a twisted story about a not-to-distant future where the world has gone to shit and, as usual, most people just deal with it. Loved the characters and their hints of backstory. I’m kind of glad this is a one-off, that the little teases are all we get and we have to make it up from there. The main story is enough to satisfy.

Sci-Fi Noir Action Thriller Graphic Novel.

Decelerate BlueDecelerate Blue by Adam Rapp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another commentary on our short-attention span world. I liked the ideas here but I wish it had a little more to it all. I never felt like I got to know Angela and Gladys as well as I could have.

Still, some cool themes and ideas to talk about.

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Books read in January 2016

This was an off month for me because I *started* a lot of books and either didn’t read them fast enough and had to return them (so they will show up on the list later on) or they were huge disappointments so I didn’t technically *finish* them. And then there was another book that I enjoyed but it’s not really a “sit and read” kind of book so it might get returned and picked up later.

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! (Star Wars: Episode VI)Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! by Tom Angleberger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The bar has been set VERY high for all future Star Wars novelizations. This isn’t just a straight retelling of what you saw on the screen, this is clearly a labor of love. Angleberger is a fan and it shows. This reminded me of the radio dramas, with lots of extra bits of story and ideas that you can only include because of the format. The inclusion of the storyboard sketches and McQuarrie artwork makes this a must have for Star Wars fans of all ages. It is a book a child could read on their own, but it would be even more fun to snuggle up and read together with a friend, a sibling, or parent.

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Cock-a-Doodle-Doo-Bop!Cock-a-Doodle-Doo-Bop! by Michael Ian Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This would be a really fun book for a storytime if you feel comfortable scatting in front of a group and could get all the instruments or sound effects to play. It would actually make a fun little play. It wasn’t as good as some of Black’s other picture books, but definitely cute. I could see this being a hit as a family read aloud.

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Bream Gives Me HiccupsBream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Stopped on page 125, just not feeling it. I really enjoyed listening to Jesse Eisenberg on NPR a few months ago reading selections from the book, but sitting down to read it, even knowing how Eisenberg sounds, I just wasn’t thrilled or amused enough to keep reading. I might like listening to it if Eisenberg reads it, but I’ve got too many other books right now to keep trying to get through this one.

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The Complete Chi's Sweet Home, Part 1The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home, Part 1 by Kanata Konami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So cute !! We had watched some of the anime so it was fun to read the whole story. Chi is definitely every kitten ever. Must read for anyone with a cat!

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The NestThe Nest by Kenneth Oppel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, if it says anything about this book – I had to stop reading last night because it was getting late and I was starting to fall asleep but as soon as I woke up this morning, I felt compelled to finish it.

I don’t want to give too much away, other reviews have said it better. This is a children’s story, but in the classic vein of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the “be careful what you wish for” dark fable that stays with you. Give it to a kid who likes those kinds of darker stories…

If you liked the movie Labyrinth or the book A Monster Calls or The Rest of Us Just Live Here, I think you will enjoy this book as it tackles similar themes.

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The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I was really enjoying this book until the stupid “going to be a love triangle later” moment. It’s the end of the world, she is fighting to survive in a Earth that has been taken over by aliens, ALIENS THAT HAVE KIDNAPPED HER BROTHER…but oh this boy has puppy dog eyes and I want to make out with him and now I’m so embarrassed that he might have seen my body when he was patching up my gunshot wounds. BLAH! I kinda rage!quit this one. Might come back after the request list goes away so I can try to finish it because it was really good until then.

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Fox Tossing, Firework Boxing, and Other Curious Pastimes from the Far Corners of HistoryFox Tossing, Firework Boxing, and Other Curious Pastimes from the Far Corners of History by Edward Brooke-Hitching

Fun book to pick up and flip through, though I want to read some other books now and let this one sit for a bit. You can only read so much about how awful humans were to animals before you need a break (while bear baiting bothered me a lot, the “baby boxing” at the Naval Academy amused me to no end…I’m a bad person)

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Books read in December

As I doubt I will finish reading anything tonight, I think it’s safe to post this. 🙂

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really cool spin on the YA dystopian fantasy genre. It has a few of the cliches (though thank goodness what could have been a love triangle was a red herring!) It ends on an epic cliffhanger too, so be warned!

I listened to the audiobook and Julian Elfer did a fantastic job with all of the voices and accents. Impressive.

Hope the rest of the series can live up to this one.

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Black Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven ThreadBlack Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great collection of ‘Black Widow’ stories. I only really know Natasha from the movies and her cameos in other Avengers comics so it was great to read her adventures on her own.

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The Rest of Us Just Live HereThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is so much to say about this wonderful book. When I read the premise, I was expecting something very goofy. The basic story is that these are the people, the teens, who are going about their lives while our Heroes run around fighting the monsters. So, instead of reading Buffy’s story, we’re reading about the rest of the students at Sunnydale High, the ones who wander the halls in the background of shots while the Scooby Gang discusses the Big Bad they are fighting.

Ness could have just written a screwball comedy, but instead he takes patience and care in crafting a story about real teens who are dealing with real issues, like fears about going off to college, crushes on friends, alcoholism, anorexia and anxiety that leads to OCD behavior.

And Ness does it right, because the story is still a joy to read, even with all of these serious topics. I really missed all the characters by the time I closed the book. I was sad I wouldn’t see them again but very satisfied with the ending.

One of the best YA books I’ve read this year.

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I Really Like Slop! (Elephant & Piggie #24)I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another fantastic edition, letting kids know they should TRY things and it is okay not to like the same things as your friends, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. Valuable lesson.

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The Story of Diva and FleaThe Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Adorable story about a small dog and a large cat that become friends. I love the bits of French tossed in, that bit of Paris flavor. This is the kind of book that you give a child who is just starting chapter books with the hopes that when they are older, they will want to go explore Paris with you!

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Books read in September

Wherein I should be reading books for a conference but get distracted by a bunch of comics for teens and kids that I just happened to see on the shelf:

Unicorn on a Roll (Heavenly Nostrils, #2)Unicorn on a Roll by Dana Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Not quite as good as the first collection, but still adorable and fun. I love this series!!!

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This One SummerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I think a lot of us have a “one summer” that we can remember. Maybe not quite as dramatic as this one, but I do remember having those crushes, the mystery of what being “older” was all about, and straddling that line between wanting to be a kid and wanting to be a teen. Tamaki and Tamaki capture it all perfectly.

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Storm Vol. 1: Make it RainStorm Vol. 1: Make it Rain by Greg Pak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always think of Storm as being a side character, usually shoved into the back of scenes in the movies, the writers never sure how to handle her powers. I mean, she can fly and control the weather – she could destroy us all pretty quickly. It was great to read a comic with her at the CENTER of the attention. This was a great start to the series and I am looking forward to reading more. She has been underutilized as a character for far too long.

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Sunny Side UpSunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a surprise on so many levels. What I thought was going to be a little summer vacation story turned out to be a much more powerful semi-biography. Holm & Holm capture the innocence and confusion of being a child with a family member who has a substance abuse problem.

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Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I listened to this book because I knew there was no way I could read it. It falls to far into the angst/trauma area of YA Lit that I tend to not read. But I am facilitating at a conference so I had to read it so I could help with the discussion.

My biggest complaint is that the whole “letter” thing, which wore thin by the end. Plus, sequences when she was, say, black out drunk…how exactly did she write that all out later? It just didn’t work and about halfway through the letter format would pull me out of the story and remind me that this was a book. I think it would have worked better if the letters had maybe been scattered in the book with just regular narration beyond that.

Plus, it just felt like too much for one story. Though this book might find its way into the hands of a young person who is dealing with one or all of these issues and it will help them. So I can’t discount it. But as far as being a “great book”, meh.

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The Worst Class Trip EverThe Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. I think if I was a 12 year old boy, I probably wouldn’t care so much, and that is the target audience so it’s not that big of a deal. But reading this as an adult that lived through 9/11, it was hard for me to feel comfortable while reading about supposed terrorist plots and assassinations. It just kept me from laughing at all the fart jokes…I wanted to laugh but it was just really hard with that plot line yanking me out of the funny and into the real world.

I was really hoping that this was just going to be a story of shenanigans as the kinds bumbled around, I felt the terrorist plot was unnecessary. Wyatt and his friends were clearly dufuses and they didn’t need a wacky plot to make idiots of themselves. Just wandering D.C. as a class should have been funny enough.

Oh well…kind of a let down from some one who loved Dave Barry when she was 13…

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Books read (or at least finished) in January 2015

My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1 (My Little Pony Micro-Series #1-6)My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1 by Thom Zahler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super fun collection of stories that captures the magic of the tv series. A must for fans!

Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream QueensAdventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens by Meredith Gran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captures the fun and randomness of Adventure Time. This collection is all about Marceline and her band and Princess Bubblegum going on tour.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book and a fantastic audiobook. If you are a fan of ‘The Princess Bride’ or movie making in general, you must listen to this book, as told be the actors who lived it. Heart-warming, inspirational, and charming. Elwes’ narration makes it that much more endearing.

Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake Vol. 1Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake Vol. 1 by Natasha Allegri
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Captures the brilliance of the gender-swapped Adventure Time universe episodes and transfers them onto paper. It’s probably magic…though I’m sure Prince Gumball would insist it was science. But it’s MAGIC!

Great artwork, a fun story, lots of action and humor. What the math are you waiting for?

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own AutobiographyNeil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This audiobook had everything I could ask for and more! And having NPH read it made it SO much more fun. Just the right mix of humor, life lessons, adventures, romance and behind the scenes gossip.

Undivided (Unwind, #4)Undivided by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can see why Shusterman felt it was necessary to make this a 4 volume series. He had a LOT of ideas floating around, a lot of different angles to cover, and as he was writing these books, REAL science and REAL politics kept moving in a direction that the story tries to warn us from. For a finale to a series, there were a lot of new plot lines introduced in this book.

But the ending was satisfying and just as intense as the rest of the series. Shusterman knows that it is unrealistic to try to tie up problems in a neat little bow. You may not be sure of how the world will be but the last paragraph leaves you hopeful that the characters can find some kind of peace.
My New Friend Is So Fun! (Elephant & Piggie, #21)My New Friend Is So Fun! by Mo Willems
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a fear that I think a lot of us have, but especially children – what if your best friend finds a new best friend?!? Would you be replaced!

As usual, poor Gerald has a bit of a breakdown when he hears about Piggie hanging out with Brian the Bat.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year

I will say upfront that, as a librarian and a slow reader, I don’t typically request books for Christmas. If you give me a book, it doesn’t have a due date, and therefore tends to fall to the bottom of the to-read pile. Seriously, doesn’t matter HOW much I want to read the book, owning it means I will never read it.

The kinds of books I have on my wishlist are ones that I want for my collection, so they are usually very pretty, sometimes pricey, and a bit more for perusing rather than reading. So if Santa must stop by the bookstore, these are the titles I would love for him to search for:

I collect non-fiction titles about Joss Whedon and his works and there were a few published this year I would like to have:

Joss Whedon: The Biography

Joss Whedon: A Creative Portrait by David Lavery

Reading Joss Whedon by Rhonda Wilcox

If I really like a graphic novel, I tend to want it in hardcover to keep forever:

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Saga Deluxe Hardcover Edition by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Volume 4

And I have a soft spot for collector’s editions in any of my major fandoms:

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller (Jim Henson Archives Series)

Adventure Time Totally Math Poster Collection

Books that teach me to make stuff:

Tequila Mockingbird

Technically not a book, but based on a book!

BBC Radio: Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere