My 2010 Reading List(January-June)New entries will be posted at the bottom now.I usually giveAuthor, Title, Year of PublicationBrief summary & ratingGenre, Length, Dates I read the book
Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book (2008)
Nobody grows up in a graveyard, a living boy with ghosts as caretakers. Like Coraline, creepy and thrilling. Yes, it was easy reading, but that's not why I read it in two days. It was good.
Middle reader. Speculative fiction. 320 pages. 12/28-29/2009
Neil Gaiman Neverwhere (1996)
Mayhew is drawn into mysterious events when he helps an injured girl who is surprised to find herself in London Above. Gaiman’s first novel is slightly predictable in resolution, but his marvelous world-building skills more than make up for it. The dark comedy of the evil antagonists is especially noteworthy.
Speculative fiction. 352 pages. 12/30/09—1/1/2010Megan McCafferty Sloppy Firsts (2001)Set at the Jersey shore in 2000. An excellent student and track star, outsider Jessica records her boring life in a series of journal entries and letters to her friend, Hope, who moved away. Now, Jessica is trapped with friends she cannot stand, a boy she likes who doesn’t know she’s alive, and parents who want her to be someone else. Connecting to new people could change things.
I kept this one at school, taking occasional breaks from grading to read. I had resisted this novel for years, thinking it was entirely fluffy and—well—stupid. How wrong I was! This was McCafferty’s first novel, and began a series which wraps up with Perfect Fifths (which comes out in paperback this March). I look forward to reading them all.
YA. Realistic fiction. 297 pages. 11/23/09—1/6/10
Neil Gaiman Odd and the Frost Giants (2009)
A boy named Odd helps an eagle, a bear and a fox get back to Asgard. The story connects well to myth, but because it is for children, it is a little too simple for me to get excited over.
Middle reader. Speculative fiction. 117 pages. 1/9
Neil Gaiman Crazy Hair (2009)
A rhyming picture book with a very little plot: a girl tries to help tame the narrator’s crazy hair. In bold artwork, the hair becomes the long grass of the plains, the swelling waves of the ocean, and the shadowed rock of a bear’s cave. Illustrated by Dave McKean, whose many projects include directing the feature films Mirrormask and Luna. The weirdest book fact? It is priced at $19.89, which is an odd number.
Picture book. Fantasy. About 35 pages. 1/11
Benjamin Saenz The Dog Who Loved Tortillas/Le perrita que le encantaban las Tortillas (A Little Diego Book) (2009)Diego and his sister Gabriela each want to be the real owner of the family's new adopted puppy, but the competition is put on hold when the puppy gets sick. Illustrated by Geronimo Garcia, who creates realistic scenes with clay.Each page has both English and Spanish, so I read the Spanish first, checked myself with the English, and then read the Spanish again two or three times. I learned a lot about phrases that just don't translate word for word. Hopefully, those lessons will stick.Picture book. Realistic fiction. 40 pages.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oops! I completely lost track of entering information about what I was reading. I was reading, at least sometimes. Honest! I'll add my current June books now.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bernd Heinrich Mind of the Raven (2000)Heinrich lives with and studies ravens, the largest of the Corvids. Here, he documents their behavior. Unlike many scientific studies, this one is neither dry nor boring. Heinrich is amazed by the cleverness of ravens, who communicate in ways we cannot understand, solve problems, and may even have a sense of humor.Non-fiction, almost anthropology. 400+ pages. Started at the end of May.Piero Ferrucci What We May Be (2004)Ferrucci studied with Roberto Assagioli, M.D., who had studied with Freud. This book presents exercises to help a person focus and meditate, skills I would like to work on. Apparently, these exercises can help students improve their work as well, so maybe I will use some of them in class next year.Non-fiction, psychosynthesis and meditation. 256 pages. Started June 4.Jim Butcher Stormfront (2000)The Dresden Files, Book 1. Friends were talking about the last book in the series, and one loved it so much that she forgave it for "breaking her heart." I wasn't interested, but she pressed a copy of Book 1 into my hands. I gave it a go, and in three days was hooked and a hundred pages in. Dresden is a wizard, but not the Harry Potter type. He works as a consultant for the police, currently investigating a strange murder. His life is complicated by the fact that the magical Council thinks he is the prime suspect.Speculative Fiction. 336 pages. 6/5-12/2010.Jim Butcher Fool Moon (2001)The Dresden Files, Book 2. Dresden's personal life gets tangled up in business as he handles a complicated werewolf situation. Butcher weaves suspense into myth and murder mystery so well that I gulp down the stories, despite the fact that this is not at all my usual genre. Warning: macabre and sometimes grisly descriptions; this is murder mystery, after all.Speculative Fiction. 342 pages. 6/13-22/2010.Jim Butcher Grave Peril (2001)The Dresden Files, Book 3. Ghosts this time. I begin reading on the first day off, pause to update this page, and see that Butcher put out two books this year...making me think I should be working on my own novel instead of reading his. Still, one day off is forgivable, is it not?Speculative Fiction. 378 pages. 6/22-24/2010.Jim Butcher Summer Knight (2002)The Dresden Files, Book 4. Butcher's version of the Summer and Winter Courts of the Fae. Dresden gets caught up in, well, solving another murder. OK, so the books sound really repetitive if I summarize that simply, but I gulp them down like really good pizza and am hungry for more. I have the next one in hand already, but I won't let myself read it until I get some work done on my Master's paper.Speculative Fiction. 371 pages. 6/27-28/2010.
May Sinclair Life and Death of Harriet Frean (1922)Back into the Master's work, at last!One of her later works, this was Sinclair's last novel to explore the psychology of a woman trapped into repressive societal roles. Unlike an earlier main character, Mary Olivier, and unlike Sinclair herself, Harriet is not able to sublimate her repressed energies into anything positive or productive. Instead, she lives a life of needless sacrifice and unhappiness. This is another piece of Sinclair’s work that makes the radical suggestion that not marrying is better than marrying the wrong person, and that marrying because it the expected thing does not make it the right thing.Realistic fiction. 184 pages. 6/29/2010.