much of interest happening around here, and I consider that to be a
good thing. We managed to turn off the news a few times this week so we
could watch a few television shows, listen to some music, and catch up
on our reading. Ahhh, feels good.
Getting organized (again): I have officially declared myself to be a total failure when it comes to organizing my books. Actually it's worse than that: I'm not trying to organize my books, I just want to keep track of them, all of them -- print, audio, and e.
The problem boils down to one thing. When I have free time, I really would rather be doing almost anything else besides entering books into an app. I haven't completely given up on my dream of creating a unified database, but I recognize this is going to be a lifelong struggle.
Mini-Reviews of Last Week's Books
- Setting Free the Kites by Alex George (Putnam; 9780399162107): I used to say that books don't make me cry, but that was before I started reading Alex George. His characters are so real to me, I'm completely and utterly emotionally attached to them. This strong, authentic story of loss and growth, of being boys, of finding hope and embracing life against all odds simmers slowly in my heart, and Liam, Robert, and Nathan (and even Hollis) will remain with me as I continue to strive to set my own kites free. One of the best books I'll read all year from one of my favorite authors. Buy this book, read this book (and keep those tissues handy).
- Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin (Katherine Tegen Books; 9780062458544): I had mixed success with this novel in verse, which is a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in contemporary times in the Mideast (Israel and Palestine). Laskin did a good job emphasizing the similarities between the lives of the Jewish girl and Muslim boy (such as sitting down for family dinners) and highlighting the idea that each generation is a little more tolerant than the one before it. In addition, I enjoyed finding the places where the novel subtly echoed the original play ("I hate the parting / the sorrow of it / the fear / tomorrow will never come"). On the other hand, there was so much teen angst I found my attention wandering, and I'm not sure I bought the ending. Read this with reduced expectations.
- Fish Girl by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli (Clarion Books; 9780547483931): This beautifully illustrated middle grade graphic novel is the story of a mermaid who discovers there is more to life and the world than the aquarium, in which she lives. It's a coming-of-age story, with a strong theme of friendship, that will capture young readers' imaginations. The plot advances mostly through the drawings, which are rich in ocean colors and convincingly convey emotion and movement. The story line of the mermaid's keeper could have been a little better developed, but I'm still recommending the book.
- The Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan (Recorded Books), read by Tim Gerard Reynolds: My current listen is making it very difficult for me to work. I am so invested in this fantasy world and the characters, I just have to know what happens next. This is not magic wand fantasy but a medieval-like world with elves, dwarfs, and wizards; kings, a clergy, and commoners; politics, war, and love. If you like epic fantasy, you'll like Sullivan, and narrator Reynolds has nailed the characters' personalities and the pace of the story.
- The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina A. Henriquez (Knopf; 9780385350846): This novel about a Mexican family looking for hope and miracles in America is next up in my print reading. Although published in 2014, this story of immigration promises to be especially relevant in the context of today's political atmosphere.
- All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 9780544824249): Next up on my eReader is this contemporary story about family, adulthood, and discovering what's really important. I gave high marks to a couple of Attenberg's earlier novels (for example, The Middlesteins) and am expecting a sharp, smart, and sometimes humorous look at modern-day life.
I have a review and giveaway of a fun middle grade book tomorrow, a photo on Wednesday, and a themed reading list later in the week. Saturday, of course, will be something foodie.