Thursday, March 1, 2012

mini thoughts on the month's reads...February 2012...

Yeah, holy crap, I actually finished some books. :P

Hiroshima by John Hersey.

Wow. I never should have waited so long to read this book. It is just so powerful. (Understatement.) The horrible pictures that have been part of imaginings, that have haunted my mind every time the events of August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945 are mentioned have turned out to be mild imitations of reality. And the thing is, I know that even reading these true accounts, accounts of what these six survivors lived through and witnessed, I still have only the most miniscule sense of the sheer horror of what it was like. I know it's quite a cliched sentiment, but this truly is one of those books that I think everyone should read.

Epic by Conor Kostick.

This book has been on my radar for years now--ever since Becky's review. I chose it to read with Gray for our unit on science fiction, figuring it would be a book he would thoroughly enjoy. And I was correct. What I didn't expect was just how much I would enjoy it as well. The dystopian setting is New Earth. But it also Epic. Epic is video game which all the inhabitants of New Earth must play. It's hard to put into words, but it's almost as if the people have two lives...and these lives are interconnected in nearly every way imaginable. It's a story of friendship, of family, of politics, of greed, of imagination, and so much more...

The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne.

One day shortly after Christmas, we headed off to B&N because everyone had gift cards burning holes in their pockets. But I was really not feeling well, so I just headed to the used book section, picked up the first book that sounded halfway interesting, and went to the cafe and sat down to read. I got through the first couple chapters before everyone else had satisfied their consumeristic urges...and by that point I was hooked enough that I had to bring it home with me. The Last Bridge is not my usual sort of read. But you know, I always feel a little weird saying that, because I don't know what "my usual sort of read" is. I am pathetically dense when it comes to genre. I tend to find far more similarities between all manner of fiction than I find differences. I mean I do get the idea of genre...but then again, I don't. :P Anyway, this book is the story of one very dysfunctional family. Alex/Cat arrives after ten years away to deal with details that need attending to after her mother's suicide. Her mother has left her a note reading, "He's not who you think he is." And while you're drawn into the mystery of what this means, the answers are never straight-forward. You know, the way life is never straight-forward...

RASL by Jeff Smith.

I hadn't heard of this until Heather's intriguing review. I immediately headed to our library website and put this baby on hold. But now having read it, what do I say about it? Well, it's completely different than Bone, for one thing. I had a bit of trouble figuring out what was going on at first. (Well, truthfully I'm not sure I totally have it figured out yet. :P ) But I am definitely more than ready to read the next volume to find out more! There's parallel universes, art thievery, and a lizard man--I mean what else can you ask for, right? ;)

Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Promise: Part One by Gene Luen Yang.

When Ana first told me this book was being written, I have to admit that I was equal parts excited and scared. The excited part--yeah, a no-brainer...MORE AVATAR!!! The scared part--well, could it really ever live up to the show? (I think I was nervous about this in part because I was a bit disappointed in the comic follow-up of Jericho.) But I am so very grateful to say that I needed have worried in this case. I should have known better, frankly, with Gene Luen Yang as the author. It was perfection...seriously. Everything about it was pure Avatar. The exquisite blend of humor with truly meaningful issues--still there. It's hard to talk about the actual story without giving away what happens in the series, but let me tell you, I could not have loved more the direction the story took! Which is to say it's not an "okay, everything is all of a sudden peachy keen and easy now" route. But I must admit, knowing now what is meant by the title "The Promise," my heart aches. Not that I believe this promise will really ever have to be kept, but the road is already a bumpy one. God, I love these characters... I'm not sure I can wait until June for the next volume.

On a side note, this book, along with Ana's enthusiasm and Ana and Jodie's incredible discussion, made it impossible for me *not* to start rewatching the series. Yesterday, Max (my awesome helper) and I spent our day alternating between packing boxes and watching episodes. We got through the first ten episodes of season 1, and hopefully today we'll finish up the first season.

Cut Loose: Break the Rules of Scrapbooking by Crystal Jeffrey Rieger.

While packing up my scrap area, I came across a small pile of scrapbooking books I'd never got around to reading. I decided to make it my mission to try to get them read this month so I could decide if I wanted to move them or if I should just pass them along. This was the first of the books. Verdict? I'm passing it along. Not because I don't think it's a good book or anything. Just that I've been scrapbooking long enough that this didn't really contain much that's new to me. And of course, that's also in part due to the fact that it took me three years to get around to reading it. :P It did have some great layouts. And I'm sure someone new-ish to scrapbooking would still greatly enjoy this one.

Mission Planet Earth: Our World and Its Climate--And How Humans are Changing Them by Sally Ride and Tam O'Shaughnessy.

Decided to give this a read to see if it would be a good book to assign Gray during our Envi Sci unit. And it definitely is! I really thought this book was excellent. Clear, accessible information about climate and all the myriad of factors that determine it. Clear, accessible information about all the myriad of things we humans are doing to affect it. Clear, accessible information about all the myriad of effects these changes are causing. And by clear and accessible I in no way mean that the authors are talking down to kids. Pretty sure Gray won't be whining over this particular school assignment.

Sweet Tooth 4: Endangered Species by Jeff Lemire.

Oh crap. That whole how-the-hell-do-you-talk-about-the-nth-book-in-a-series thing rears its ugly head. Yeah, so I'll just say that I'm still really enjoying this series and can't wait for the next one to come out.

Find Your Groove: A Guide to Discovering Your Scrapbook Style by Kitty Foster & Wendy McKeehan.

Second book from that scrapbooking pile. And second one I'll be passing along. Again, not because I didn't enjoy it. I did--it was a fun read. And had a huge variety of layout styles--some I loved, some not so much. But that was really the angle this book was playing up--helping one find their own style. If I was new to scrapbooking, I probably would have loved this book and held on to it for reference.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan.

I've really no idea how to describe this book, as it's just so incredibly unique. A surreal look at an immigrant's story. Fantastical. Beautiful. Disorienting. Frightening. Gorgeous. So very gorgeous. Heartwarming. Courageous. Visually stunning. There were times when I find myself absolutely lost in the exquisite artwork. I can see myself reading this a hundred more times...and finding new things to appreciate with every reading.

Scrap Simple by Hillary Heidelberg.

Third scrap book, and one of those instances of "third time's the charm." This one is definitely a keeper. And while I enjoyed reading it, it's really the layouts that are making me hold on to this one. While I love seeing layouts of all sorts, love admiring the talent of all sorts of life artists, it's the simple, often graphic, style that really steals my heart. And its really the style that I tend to embrace myself (though the results are nowhere near as gorgeous as the layouts in this book).

(Project progress: 2012 unofficial-for-me reading challenges, Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Reading Challenge [Hiroshima], Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Challenge [Epic], Graphic Novels 2012 Reading Challenge [RASL, Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise Part I, Sweet Tooth 4 Endangered Species, and The Arrival], Immigrant Stories Challenge [The Arrival]
AND personal challenge to read the world, non-fiction setting for Japan [Hiroshima]
AND personal read Dewey Decimal style, 900s [Hiroshima]
AND 50x50, #37--Read 50 books I never heard of before buying/borrowing from library [The Last Bridge], #40--Read a book set in each of the 50 states-Ohio [The Last Bridge], #41--Read 50 non-fiction books, each about a different country-Japan [Hiroshima])


DesLily said...

holy crap you really have read a lot of books!!! lol lol
you are braver than I am I don't think I'd care to read Hiroshima. That takes more guts than I have.

Susan said...

The fact that you can still find to time to read while you are packing everyone up, and moving, is amazing! that in itself is special, never mind all that you did read.

Everyone likes Shaun Tan, I have to read him at some point.

Eva said...

Wow! I'm so glad you're making some time for yourself Debi. :D

And isn't The Arrival incredible? *sigh*

animewookie said...

First of all...your B&N has a used book section!!! I'm soooo jealous :o
The Arrival sounds amazing...I'll have to check it out ;)
Holy Scrap-booking books Batman!!! glad you found a keeper <3