Poor bedtime reading choices

I finished reading Leviathan Wakes so I needed another bedtime book. I foolishly brought home this book:

Untitled

I mean, I should have known it was going to bother me. When I read Mindhunter earlier this year, it gave me the willies. But this book has such a long wait list because of all the press around it – the fact that the author was right about the identity of the killer, that she tragically died before seeing him convicted – so I knew I only had three weeks to get through it so I was like “You gotta read it all the time to finish it!”

But I think I’m going to just have to make it a lunch break book. Two nights in a row I have woken myself up, convinced I heard something, too scared to move. I know it is just my mind, but in that half awake/half asleep daze of 3am, I’m just terrified. I really had to pee last night too but I just could not bring myself to get up and out of bed.

I think it is because it is a true crime book. I could read scary stories with monsters and sleep fine. This is why I only read them if they are really good.

So for my safety and my sanity, this one can only be read in the daylight!

Have you ever read anything that made it hard for you to sleep at night or haunted you during the day?

Books read in June and July

Books read in June and July

Whoops, I guess I forgot to post my June reads since we were away on vacation. Guess I’ll just make this list a teensy bit longer. Not by much though, reading Leviathan Wakes, the first book in The Expanse series has taken up a LOT of my time this month. I haven’t read a 564 page book in a long time!

And if you can’t tell, there was a new cart of children’s books to go through this past month. đŸ™‚

HostageHostage by Guy Delisle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, this worked so well as a graphic. I could feel an inkling that lost, lonely feeling that Christophe must have been feeling for all that time. The strange mix of fear and boredom as each day went on, the rush of adrenaline each time the door creaked open. And those last 50 pages, my heart was pounding right along with Christophe.

View all my reviews
The Time MuseumThe Time Museum by Matthew Loux
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It started with an interesting premise and I got about halfway through and realized that the whole thing was going to be mediocre at best. Skimmed to the end and everything unfolded exactly like I anticipated. Not great, not awful. Just…meh.

View all my reviews
The Witch BoyThe Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really quick read but a great way to get kids thinking about gender roles without beating them over the head with it. Aster is a boy and boys cannot be witches, at least according to his communities rules. Boys are shapeshifters, they turn into different animals and fight to protect the village. Girls are witches that use magic to help things grow and for protection spells. But Aster has not shapeshifted yet and finds magic to be far more interesting. He begins to listen in on the girl’s classes, taking notes and practicing when no one is watching. But then he learns from his grandmother about another boy who wanted to be a witch and how things went badly for him. When boys around the village start to disappear, Aster wonders if it is his fault for dabbling in magic instead of following the rules.

View all my reviews
SLAM! Vol. 1SLAM! Vol. 1 by Pamela Ribon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My only complaint about this graphic is sometimes it was hard to tell the characters apart when they were all playing together. I mean, obviously they are in their team uniforms, but since they are drawings rather than real people, it was hard to know who was who sometimes.

But otherwise this was a really fun read and I love the idea of telling the story of these two BFFs while using Roller Derby to frame it all. It’s like Roller Girl but all grown up!

View all my reviews
Unicorn of Many Hats (Heavenly Nostrils, #7)Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Usual level of whimsy and fun. Perfect reading for a rainy day.

View all my reviews
A Day in the Life of Marlon BundoA Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That final page. I want to frame it and put it on my wall. “Stink bugs are temporary. Love is forever.”

View all my reviews
Pink Is for BoysPink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfect in its simplicity. Colors are colors and everyone can enjoy them. The end.

And also unicorns. Because unicorns.

View all my reviews
Rock Candy Mountain, Vol. 2Rock Candy Mountain, Vol. 2 by Kyle Starks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wraps up the story well, part of me wished there was more but I know that dragging it out wouldn’t have made it better. Quick read.

View all my reviews
Lennon: The New York YearsLennon: The New York Years by David Foenkinos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully illustrated and I love how the images are framed, then cropped to evoke different emotions. I don’t think I learned anything I didn’t already know about Lennon but I’m a pretty hardcore fans, but I still found this very readable and could have read more in this style.

View all my reviews
SquareSquare by Mac Barnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Another really odd little book by Barnett. I just love his quirky sense of humor. I didn’t know this was a trilogy! I guess circle must get the final book?

View all my reviews
Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don't CareSnotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was such a strange story, I’m not sure what the heck it is all about, but I am compelled to keep reading! We will see what happens in the further adventures of Lonnie Person in Snotgirl Vol. 2!

View all my reviews
This Jazz ManThis Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The only thing that would make this better is if it came with an audio bonus that had all the instrument sounds. Or even a mp3 of the melody using jazz instruments. I’m already plotting finding a way to get the high school jazz band to visit and maybe use them in a storytime…

but even without that, this is a really fun book. Sing it to the melody of “This Old Man” and have fun with it. I did it with the toddlers today and we counted every time we turned the page and then acted out the instrument. Another librarian did it with preschool age and it was also a big hit. So this one is staying on the storytime shelf.

View all my reviews
The Big Bad FoxThe Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While you know where this book is going right off the bat, the journey is worth it. Renner’s art is great and the fox’s antics, it made me think of Looney Tunes cartoons, with Bugs and Daffy running around and getting whacked by things (or each other). Really fun read. Can’t wait to see the animated version!

View all my reviews
Most PeopleMost People by Michael Leannah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A book with the best intentions, too bad the editors didn’t pick up on a few lines of text that feel a little problematic (see other reviews). But I did love the idea of assuming that most people want to do good things, want to be good and helpful. It is true!

(Also, I’m really tempted to do a nerdy parody of this with all of the apparent strife going on in the fandom world right now…)

View all my reviews
Teddy's Favorite ToyTeddy’s Favorite Toy by Christian Trimmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So adorable! Though not sure we should tell kids that once something has been picked up by the trash collectors that we can ever see it again because…yeah nope. đŸ˜¦

But otherwise SO CUTE!

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

what I read in September

what I read in September

This was a pretty great month with lots of really good books, some that I had been meaning to read for awhile and others that I stumbled upon (the dangers of helping with the new materials delivery is that I see all the shiny new graphic novels that I’ve never heard of before but sound awesome. Also the same danger of working with people who read a wide variety of books themselves and then you want to read what they say is good).

Citizen: An American LyricCitizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve never really read a book of freeform poetry before. Luckily, Rankine eased me into it by starting with more of a prose style and then slowly moving into more of a poetry rhythm. A short little book with lots of powerful moments. These feelings and images will stick with me for awhile.

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t expecting much from yet another Batman comic but WOW! I loved the reimagining of Gotham and the Wayne family, and, of course, Alfred. This was not at all what I was expecting and really hard to put down – which I didn’t! Read it all in one sitting.

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

I didn’t feel this one was quite as good as Batman. I don’t know why it is so hard to write a good Wonder Woman story. Maybe it is because that she, like Thor, is just born awesome. She doesn’t have the whole “death of her family” like Superman and Batman, nothing to really overcome so her origin story isn’t quite as engaging. They tried to give her some mother issues but she came off more as a spoiled brat than a struggling hero.

Also, the art was just so typical…all the girls have their mouths hanging half open and they were supposed to be shocked when Diana came home wearing makeup but…um, she didn’t look that much different from when she left.

I love that in a world that is devoid of men and no influence from men, everyone likes to imagine women would still wear skimpy clothing and bustiers. Be real – it would be a land of sweatpants and t-shirts, maybe jean shorts when it is cold.

Dark Night: A True Batman StoryDark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book and the idea of using your superhero figures to help you cope with life. Dini really took a chance, bearing his soul like this, but he did it right and this is a great book, a great story, inspiring and affirming but not in a cliche kind of way? He’s not perfect but that is what made it such a great read – I could identify with his insecurities even if I wasn’t exactly like him.

Nobody Likes a GoblinNobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cute story, great illustrations, perfect for the older picture book reader who likes a silly fantasy tale. Pair this with The Princess and the Pony for a quirky family read-together.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of TimeLumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better! What could have just been a goofy, one-note story about a group of goofy girl scouts has turned into an epic, layered tale of hardcore lady-types. Keep it coming Team Lumberjanes!

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)Jackaby by William Ritter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this book! I would suggest it for fans that lik “Monstrumologist” or “The X Files” – anything with a supernatural twist. I love that all the monsters are not “bad” and that it pulls from a variety of myths and stories to create the creature world.

I definitely plan on picking up the second book soon!

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super FamousMs. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This might be my favorite Ms. Marvel arc yet! It is a lesson that all of us need to be reminded of from time to time – teens and adults. Just loved it.

View all my reviews

Books Read in August

Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through FilmFilmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film by Edward Ross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic graphic non-fiction exploration of the power of movies. I would compare it to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art in how it helps break down things that we sort of know in our gut, but putting those feelings into words. At first I was like “Why is this a book? It should be a documentary!” but making that film would be impossible because getting the rights to all the movies references would cost millions! This graphic novel is an amazing introduction to film studies and remind you that those images on the big screen are more than just eye candy.

French MilkFrench Milk by Lucy Knisley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

About what I expected for an early book. It really is just Knisley’s journal from her trip to Paris, nothing amazing, no real self discovery like in ‘Relish’. But you can see all the potential in the pages for her books to come.

Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South BronxBecoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t think of anyway else to describe this but a first-person limited memoir. Sonia Manzano tells her own story of growing up in the South Bronx and channels her childhood, writing the book from her point of view as a girl growing up in the 1950s New York City. She does not make any reference to her life today, she does not talk about the things that happened to her as a child in the context of how we view things today. She and her mother are both beaten, they live in the ghetto, she talks about being felt up by strangers, but she tells it as if it is just happening, never stepping out of that moment.

This is definitely a young adult/adult biography, if only because of the abuse that takes place and the occasional f-bomb that gets dropped.

To me, this felt like an honest and revealing look at growing up as a child of Puerto Rican immigrants in the United States and also growing up a girl and also growing up ethnic but in a way that is both invisible and visible when it comes to the United States.

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at WarGrunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another fun bit of pop science reading, though this is perhaps more terrifying the the rest of her books because it connects to war. But still a very good read.

Orange: The Complete Collection 1Orange: The Complete Collection 1 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picked this up because everyone who read it raved about it and I can see why! Not at all what I expected. Just a dash of sci-fi in this otherwise slice of life story, with a melancholy edge. I don’t want to say any more because I read this spoiler free and so should you. Just have volume 2 ready to go because what a cliffhanger!

The World According to Star WarsThe World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so much fun to read! A great way of thinking about Star Wars and stories and how they reflect and effect our society. Even a casual fan can enjoy Sunstein’s thoughts about this movie series.

GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Telgemeier’s first foray into supernatural stories. I enjoyed it, but the bar was set really high by her previous three books. I just didn’t feel like this one packed the emotional punch that Smile, Sisters, and Drama did. I’d say this is a 3.5 star book where Smile is a 5 star book. (which means it is still a really great book! She has just spoiled me!)

Buffy: The High School Years - Freaks & Geeks (Buffy: The High School Years, #1)Buffy: The High School Years – Freaks & Geeks by Faith Erin Hicks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Within the first few pages of this book, I knew Faith Erin Hicks was a Buffy fan. She had the tone just right – the Scooby Gang had all the same wit and snark of the show. This comic book takes place early in Season 1. It feels like a lost episode. It was really fun to read this, especially since I just finished rewatching the first season of the show recently!

We Stand On GuardWe Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! This has all the makings of the next epic BKV series, lots of in common with Y The Last Man and Saga when it comes to using science fiction to examine issues happening today. I loved this so much and the final section left me in shock. I need the next volume now!

Saga, Volume 6Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great entry in the series, I really love little-kid Hazel, glad she is growing up now and part of the adventure rather than a prop. Her voice is a great mix of her father and mother.

The Ballad of Black TomThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read any Lovecraft and I haven’t read any real adult horror stories in a long time. This made me want to pick up both! It had all the flavor of a classic scary story, LaValle’s book could have been published in the early 1900s, his prose felt both new and classic. And CREEPY!!!!!!! Made the mistake of trying to finish the book late one night and gave myself the heebie-jeebies!

View all my reviews

Neverending Story memories

If you were on the Internet today, you probably saw the the Google Doodle was a celebration of the anniversary of the publication of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.

For many children of the 80s, this book and the movie adaptation conjure up fond memories. I am no different.

I remember my Mom reading this book aloud to me as a bedtime story. The thing that fascinated me the most was that the hardcover edition she had checked out from the library had text in two different colors – one for our world, and one for Fantasia. It was the first “adult” book I had seen with any kind of color inside beyond black and white. It just felt magical seeing the words in green and red. I remember a certain excitement once I was old enough to read it, to be able to read those colorful words on my own and enter Fantasia, but at the same time it was kind of sad because I really liked going there with my Mom.

If you’ve never read the book, I suggest finding a hardcover copy so you can experience the magic too. The movie is only half the story.

WWW Wednesdays – August 3 2016

WWW Wednesdays – August 3 2016

A weekly meme revived by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I’m about halfway through two non-fiction books right now – Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano a.k.a. Maria from Sesame Street. It is her autobiography and I am listening to it on my drive to work, which means it is lasting a long time since my commute is all of 15 minutes. She reads the book and I think that adds a lot more since she is telling the story. It is not quite what I expected, a very different kind of autobiography, she is telling it from her point of view as a child/teen so you don’t get any nostalgia or side notes about how life in the 1960s New York City compares to life today. It is all very matter of fact, the way a kid would tell their story.

The other is the latest by Mary Roach – Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. She tries to keep it as light as she can, but when it comes down to it, even though she is avoiding talking about weapons and the actual act of fighting, so much of the science around war is about survival and even discussions about sweating eventually lead to a conversation about horrible ways to die while in the line of duty. It is still fascinating, and I think she tries her best to inject some humor where she can, but it is hard to separate the reality of what happens to these soldiers after she talk with them about diarrhea while on a sniper mission.

Recently Finished:

Filmish: a graphic journey through film by Edward Ross was a fantastic primer on film and film history and film studies. When I first picked up this book, I wondered why Ross didn’t just make a documentary, but then as I read through, I realized it would have been impossible for him to get the rights to all the films he cites in the book. If you love movies, if you love that art of movies and love to sit and think about a film long after the screen has gone dark, this quick read is one you won’t want to miss.

Up Next:

I have SO MANY BOOKS on my desk at work and my temptation is to always reach for the graphic novels first because they take less time to read. I never factor into this equation that I have EVEN MORE graphics on request so by the time I finish these, a new one will be on my desk, pushing the prose novels down the line yet again.
Last month I read Relish by Lucy Knisley and I really enjoyed it so I requested French Milk, one of her earlier publications. It appearedon my desk today, on special loan from another library system so it gets bumped to the top of the pile.

I have been a big BKV fan since I read Y: The Last Man so many years ago and I was so thrilled to see We Stand On Guard on the new book cart at the library, so I immediately snatched it up.

So what are you reading?