• What I'm Reading: 2015-2016 including summer
      
    Title, Author, Year of Publication
    Genre, Brief summary & rating  
    Length, Dates I read the book
     
    OK, so I haven't been tracking my reading very well for a couple years now.  These days, I tend to read by listening to books on the long commute to MHS.  I've also started listening to a few podcasts.  Here are a few titles.  I'll try to go back and fill in more ... someday.  Since I tend to hit the library more than the bookstore, it can be hard to remember.
     

    The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation.  Elizabeth Letts  (2012) 

         Nonfiction, equestrian sports, immigrant experience, 1950s USA, New York.  At an auction, Harry de Leyer saved a horse from the dog food people, but didn't realize until later that Snowman was a born champion.  Eventually, the immigrant riding instructor would ride Snowman in elite show jumping competitions.  Well-known and loved in his time, Snowman had a fan club and made special television appearances.
         I'm still reading, and I'm enjoying it despite the author's occasional tendency to repeat contextual history or horsey background stuff.  What can I say?  Once a horse person, always a horse person. 
     
     
     
    City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass  (2007, 2008, 2009)
    City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire  (2011, 2012, 2014)
         Cassandra Clare 
           Urban fantasy.  15 year old Clary Fray gets caught up in a secret magical world of Shadowhunters, demons, and Downworlders ... when she discovers that she is one of them.
          Clare is friends with my friend Holly Black, and they started a series together, too.  I started The Mortal Instruments series long ago, and then reread the first two when a new one came out.  This time, I listened to to the audio versions of all six, which took quite a while because I had to wait on library copies.  Overall, here's my rating: the series starts very strong, and I enjoyed books 1 and 2 thoroughly, but then the pressure to turn out more volumes seems to have negatively impacted the quality.  Books 4 and 5 were downright disappointing ... but I still cared enough to finish the story to the end.  Instead of happily turning to the prequel series, though, I was glad to be finished.
         By the way, the audio version depends SO much on the reader.  Unfortunately, the publisher tried new readers - whom I did not like at all - at the same time that the book quality changed; it didn't help.  City of Bones was made into a movie in 2013; I never saw it. 
    Image result for clare mortal instruments book covers
     
     
    Sabriel , Lirael , Abhorson.  Garth Nix (1995, 2001, 2003)
        Fantasy.  An Abhorsen protects the living from the dead, and from dark magicians who employ the dead, in a magical kingdom that borders a "real world" kind of country.  Of course, there are complications.
        I reread the trilogy, and loved them again. Updating this page, I found out there are more books in the series now.  Yay!  I'll read them soon.
       Image result for abhorsen   Image result for abhorsen
     
     
    Wizard of Earthsea.  Ursula K. Le Guin  (1968)
          Fantasy.  This series is as key to fantasy as Tolkein's Lord of the Rings work.  Lyrical, mythical ... and kind of slow-moving, I admit.  I still like them.
          I listened to this novel, intending to do the whole series, but only got to the first one.
    Image result for wizard of earthsea 
     
     
     The First Bad Man.  A novel by Miranda July  (2015)
         Realistic fiction, sort of.  The protagonist is, well, off her rocker.  If you get past that, she is almost sort of likeable.  The novel was a random read when I was traveling and had nothing else. 
     
     
     

    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu  (2011)

         Science fiction.  This was a bookseller recommendation, and it was a fun and quick read.  Six weeks later, I don't remember much except time travel paradox and some general wackiness.  Still worth it, though.  
     
     
     
    March, Books One, Two and Three.  John Lewis  (2013, 2015, 2016)
          Graphic novel.  Memoir/true history.  I bought these to use in the new 10th grade unit we're developing for the spring, and they are excellent. 
          Right now, I'm still reading - I'm in Book Two - because I've been studying a lot of history to go with them. 
          
     
     
     
     
     
    PODCASTS
     
    I find these podcasts to be worthwhile enough that I listen to every episode.  OF COURSE, their ideas do not represent me or the school!  I took the descriptions from their websites; that's why they're in quotes.
     
    Hidden Brain
    "The Hidden Brain project helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships."
     
     
    Invisibilia
    "Invisibilia (Latin for invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently. "
     
     
    Code Switch
    "Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Code Switch can help. We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead. Sometimes, we'll make you laugh. Other times, you'll get uncomfortable. But we'll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us."
     
     
    TED Radio Hour

    "An idea is the one gift that you can hang onto even after you've given it away. Welcome to TED Radio Hour hosted by Guy Raz – a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections – and injects soundscapes and conversations that bring these ideas to life."

     
Last Modified on October 19, 2016