30 October 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: The Red Cover Edition

2 good audiobooks for OctoberI don't care who you're rooting for, this year's World Series has been great. For the most part, the long games have been exciting, with big hits good action, and extra innings. What a postseason!

We spent most of Saturday hiking in a local state forest. It's finally looking like fall, with gorgeous leaves and deep blue skies. Well, except yesterday (Sunday), which was non-stop rain. The rain, though, was just the excuse I needed to spend the day making lace. All in all, a near-perfect weekend.

Work has picked up in the pre-holiday season, which is a good thing, though it can cut into my reading time. I also have a new sideline gig that I'm very excited about and will share with you next week.

What I Read Last Week

Review: Where the Past Begins by Amy TanWhere the Past Begins by Amy Tan (Ecco, Oct. 3) is a different kind of memoir. Instead of sticking to a chronological structure, Tan muses about a variety of incidents and issues, from her early experiences with family deaths to life as a child of immigrants, her relationship with her mother, her struggle with medical problems, her writing life, and her fascination with language. I've enjoyed Tan's novels, so I liked getting to know her better, If I were to sum up her life in one sentence, I'd say she is a survivor who has found a way to thrive in the face of difficult challenges. Her writing style is loose and personal and easy to connect to. Tan herself narrates the audiobook edition (Harper Audio, 14 hr. 31 min). She is engaging, and I liked her portrayal of her mother and her rendering of Chinese American accents. The only problem with the audiobook is that you miss out on the Tan family photographs. I'll have more to say over at AudioFile magazine.

Review: Dear Martin by Nic StoneDear Martin by Nic Stone (Crown Books for Young Readers, Oct. 17) is heart-wrenching in its authenticity of what it's like to be a black teen in the South (or, really, anywhere in the United States). Justyce is smart and one of only a couple of black students in an Atlanta private high school. He's also a scholarship student among wealthy white kids. One night when trying to help his drunk, light-skinned biracial girlfriend, he's picked up by the police, who immediately assume he's a black boy trying to take advantage of a white girl. The handcuffs, the total disrespect, and the racial profiling affect him deeply. Justyce tries to cope with the mixed signals from his seemingly friendly classmates with their ingrained prejudice and with his general outsider status by writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and trying to model his reactions by "what would Martin do?" Justyce doesn't always make the right choices, but he does make believable choices. This book will eat you up. Author Stone makes it clear that civil rights and racial equality are far realized in this country and shows this through Justyce's story. Although written for a young adult audience, readers of all ages will find plenty to think about. The autdiobook (Listening Library 4 hr, 32 in) is read by Dion Graham, who handles the dialect and emotional impact of the book beautifully. His characterizations weren't particularly strong, but his respect and understanding of Stone's book had me listening all in one go. (thanks to the publisher for both print and audio review copies)

Other Stuff

Besides baseball and lacemaking, I've started Alice Hoffman's Rules of Magic. If you liked Hoffman's Practical Magic (book or movie), you really do need to read her new novel, which takes place in (or at least starts in) the 1960s when the Owen children learn their true nature. The sisters in this book grow up to be the aunts we meet in Practical Magic. I'm thoroughly enjoying the audiobook (read by Marin Ireland) and will report back next week.


Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 10/30/17, 7:23 AM  

I shied away from Rules of Magic b/c I generally don't like magical realism, but I've been hearing such good things about this one that I'm thinking of giving it a try.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 10/30/17, 7:32 AM  

I must look for Dear Martin as soon as I get finished with all this Cybils reading.

We are all excited about baseball here in Houston!


(Diane) bookchickdi 10/30/17, 8:41 AM  

Dear Martin sounds great and I love Marin Ireland so Alice Hoffman's book in audio should be good as well.

sherry fundin 10/30/17, 9:05 AM  

I hope you enjoy your new reads.
sherry @ fundinmental Sunday Memes

bermudaonion 10/30/17, 9:11 AM  

I'm dying to get my hands on the Tan book!

Jackie McGuinness 10/30/17, 9:20 AM  

I like Amy Tan as well so looking forward to this one.
Dear Martin sounds intriguing.

Kathy Martin 10/30/17, 11:09 AM  

It has been an exciting World Series so far. Staying up until almost 1 AM to watch the game last night will make me tired all week though. Dear Martin sounds excellent. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 10/30/17, 11:29 AM  

I read The Rules of Magic and enjoyed the latter part of the book more than the beginning. The grown characters were more interesting to me. I'm not a fan of magic realism, so I was surprised that I enjoyed it at all.

I'm not a baseball fan...sorry! Enjoy!


Nise' 10/30/17, 1:27 PM  

Dear Martin is definitely going on my TBR list.

Girl Who Reads 10/30/17, 3:51 PM  

Making lace! I once watched something on PBS and they showed how they made lace in some famous lace-making place.I don't think I could do it. Girl Who Reads

Elizabeth 10/30/17, 5:58 PM  


Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your week.

Silver's Reviews
My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

Sue Jackson 10/30/17, 7:20 PM  

Oh, good! I have Amy Tan's memoir on audio lined up for Nonfiction November - sounds great! She has struggled with tick infections just like my son (and to a lesser extent, me), so I am especially interested in her perspectives on that. She became horribly disabled while being misdiagnosed for years (a common story unfortunately).

I have also been hearing great things about Dear Martin.

Glad you got out to enjoy the outdoors this weekend - nothing better!

Enjoy your books this week - and congrats on the new gig!


Book By Book

pussreboots 10/30/17, 10:01 PM  

I"m adding Amy Tan's memoir to my wishlist. Come see what I'm reading

JoAnn 10/31/17, 11:07 AM  

Amy Tan's memoir sounds wonderful, and I'm sure I'd enjoy it on audio. Will be sure to take a look at the photos in a library or bookstore. I often wonder why all audiobooks don't include a link for listeners to view charts, photos, graphs, etc. on line. I've only come across a few that include a pdf or link - always appreciated!

Heather 10/31/17, 12:02 PM  

Dear Martin sounds really good. Thanks for sharing.

Katherine P 11/2/17, 8:26 AM  

The World Series has been so great though we are very short of sleep! I'm really curious about Rules of Magic. I read my first Alice Hoffman this year (Faithful) and have really been wanting to read more - especially Practical Magic.

Daryl 11/6/17, 8:03 AM  

catching up with my blog reading .... i am looking forward to both Hoffman books, not sure how i missed Practical Magic ...

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