Wednesday, June 30, 2021

71. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

listened on Audible
narrated by Brittany Pressley
Unabridged audio (4:30)
2019
153 pgs. - Novella
Adult SciFi
Finished  6/30/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.21 - 21,750 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: different planets way, way, WAY out...

First line/s: "I never knew an Earth that was unaware of life elsewhere."

My comments: Set on a spaceship that has traveled 14 light years through the galaxy to four planets somewhat similar to Earth to research possible lifeforms.  To travel, each of the four astronaut/scientists are put into states of torpor, where their body ages very slowly and they can pass through time only aging about 1/10th of what they normally would.  That in itself is fascinating, but the science and the philosophy and the relationships between the four people on this mission astounded me.  I really loved it.

Goodreads synopsis:   In her new novella, Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Chambers imagines a future in which, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the solar system instead transform themselves.
            Ariadne is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does.
            Ariadne may awaken to find that support for space exploration back home has waned, or that her country of birth no longer exists, or that a cult has arisen around their cosmic findings, only to dissolve once more by the next waking. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.
            Carrying all the trademarks of her other beloved works, including brilliant writing, fantastic world-building and exceptional, diverse characters, Becky's first audiobook outside of the Wayfarers series is sure to capture the imagination of listeners all over the world.

72. When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain

listened on Libby, borrowed from Library
narrated by Marin Ireland
Unabridged audio (11:29)
2021
371 pgs.
Adult Mystery set 28 years ago (hard to call in HistFict!!)
Finished  6/30/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.92 - 20,891 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: 1993 Mendocino, California

First line/s: "The mother who tore off her dress when the police came to her house with the news and then ran down the street in only her shoes, while her neighbors, even the ones who knew her well, hid behind their doors and windows, afraid of her grief."

My comments: A very intense story about child abduction/s and one woman who has overcome a rough childhood in foster care to become tough, smart detective bent on saving kids. This is a good mystery with the unfolding of her own story beautifully woven in.  Set in Mendocino, California in 1993 - no cell phones or internet!

Goodreads synopsis:   Anna Hart is a missing persons detective in San Francisco. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns a local teenage girl has gone missing. The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna's childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever.
        As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.
        Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives--and our faith in one another.
        From the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife comes a novel of intertwined destinies and heart-wrenching suspense: A detective hiding away from the world. A series of disappearances that reach into her past. Can solving them help her heal?

Sunday, June 27, 2021

70. Runes of Destiny by Christina Courtenay

listened on Chirp
narrated by Eilidh Beaton
Unabridged audio (12:24)
2020
352 pgs.
Adult Time Travel/Historical Fiction
Finished  6/27/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.23 - 342 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary and 9th century Sweden

First line/s: "Kneeling in a muddy trench in the middle of an archaeological dig might be considered a dirty and boring job by some, but it was just what Linnea Berger needed right now."

My comments: Ninth Century Vikings!  This is the story of a six-month expedition from Sweden through the rivers of eastern Europe to current-day Istanbul on two Viking ships/long boats in the late 800s.  Linnea, fluent in ancient Norse (how convenient!), after being transported to the past, is found by Hrafn and claimed as his slave/thrall.  HEA and fun  read with all the usual guaranteed fixtures in a romance - complete with antagonist and huge misunderstanding near the end, lol.  Quite clean, just one place not-quite-so.

Goodreads synopsis:   From the author of Echoes of the Runes comes a thrilling new timeslip novel, filled with adventure and romance, perfect for fans of Barbara Erskine, Diana Gabaldon and Vikings.
        Separated by time. Brought together by fate.
        Indulging her fascination for the Viking language and losing herself in an archaeological dig is just what Linnea Berger needs after her recent trauma. Uncovering an exquisite brooch, she blacks out reading the runic inscription, only to come to, surrounded by men in Viking costume, who seem to take re-enactment very seriously.
        Lost and confused, Linnea finds herself in the power of Hrafn, a Viking warrior who claims her as his thrall and takes her on a treacherous journey across the seas to sell her for profit. Setting sail, she confronts the unthinkable: she has travelled back to the ninth century.
        Linnea is determined to find a way back to her own time, but there's a connection forming with Hrafn that she can't shake. Underneath his hard exterior, he is brave, clever and caring―not to mention attractive. Can she resist the call of the runes and accept her destiny lies here with Hrafn?

Friday, June 25, 2021

69. Unplugged by Gordon Korman

listened on Libby/borrowed from library
narrated by many readers
Unabridged audio (6:30)
2021
324 pgs.
Mid Grade CRF
Finished  6/25/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.54 - 2398 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: contemporary summer camp, Arkansas

First line/s: "Matt says I could see the majestic beauty of the American southeast if I bother to look out the window."

My comments: (spoiler, but reminder for me:  Alligator farm!)

Goodreads synopsis:   From Gordon Korman comes a middle grade novel about a group of kids forced to “unplug” at a wellness camp—where they instead find intrigue, adventure, and a whole lot of chaos.        
        As the son of the world’s most famous tech billionaire, Jett Baranov has always gotten exactly what he wanted. So, when his father’s private jet drops him in the middle of Little Rock, Arkansas, at a wellness camp called the Oasis, Jett can’t believe it. He’s forced to hand over his cell phone, eat grainy veggie patties, and participate in wholesome activities with the other kids.
        At the Oasis, he meets Grace, who is his polar opposite. She thrives in the wellness atmosphere and resents Jett’s terrible attitude. Then there’s Tyrell, who suffers from a dizzying list of food allergies that render him constantly itchy. And also Brooklynne, a girl who definitely seems to be hiding something.
        As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can’t help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange…
        Jett is determined to get to the bottom of things, but can he convince the other kids that he is no longer just a spoiled brat making trouble?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

68. Disappeared - Short Story by Linda Castillo

#12.5 Kate Burkholder
2021
54 pgs.
Adult mystery short story
Finished  6/24/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.22 - 908 ratings
My rating: 3
Setting: contemporary Painters Mill, Ohio

First line/s: "It had been a long time since he'd been this kind of scared."

My comments: A two-year old toddler has been "kidnapped" by his non-Amish dad, and kate has to figure it out by piecing bits of evidence together.  There were hardly any surprises, pretty straightforward, another almost-trite (but memorable) Kate Burkholder installment.

Goodreads synopsis:   Chief of Police Kate Burkholder races against the clock to find a missing child in this new original short story from New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo.
        As a violent thunderstorm rages in Painters Mill, Kate Burkholder receives a call from a frantic young Amish woman: her two-year-old son is missing. Kate and her officers brave the downpour to search for the toddler, fearing he may have been swept away in the rising creek waters. But an explosive family secret leads Kate to believe this disappearance may be more complicated than anyone is letting on. Can she find the boy and uncover the truth before darkness falls?

67. The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

listened on Libby - borrowed from the library
narrated by Alana Kerr Collins
Unabridged audio (10:39)
2021
384 pgs.
Adult Historical Fiction
Finished 6/24/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.29 - 18,653 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: 1906 San Francisco, CA, a tiny town south of SF near San Jose, and Tucson, Arizona

First line/s: "Thank you again for coming.  Could you please state your full name, age, birth date, and the city where you were born, for the record, please?"

My comments:  The story is an unfolding mystery including elements that I love, including mail-order-brides.  It's about how women bod and take care of one another.  Beautifully read, though the Irish accent was very slight.

Goodreads synopsis:  April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.
        Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin's silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin's odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn't right.
        Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.
        The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.
        From the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War and As Bright as Heaven comes a gripping novel about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

66. The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

listened on Libby, borrowed from library
narrated by Everette Plen
Unabridged audio (3:54)
2021
224 pgs.
Middle Grade Fantasy
Finished 6/22/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.28 - 3713 ratings
My rating: 4

First line/s: "They looked everywhere."

My comments: Great listen!  Not too long, a little over four hours, I think.  And I'm really curious to discover what people categorize this genre-wise.  CRF with a touch of fantasy?  Fantasy?  Well told and believable and lots and lots of fun. Apparently, many readers disagree...

Goodreads synopsis:   New York Times bestselling author David Levithan takes young readers on a twisting journey through truth, reality, and fantasy and belief.
        Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonizing days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it's the story Aidan is sticking to.
        His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.
        When the kids in school hear Aidan's story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan's side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?

Monday, June 21, 2021

65. The Planters by Victor Zugg

#2 A Ripple in Time
read on Kindle
2020
371 pgs.
Adult Time Travel
Finished 6/21/21
Goodreads rating: 4.30 - 624 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: 1720 South Carolina coastline

First line/s: "Nathan Sims eyed the sword's sharp point, hovering inches from his throat."

My comments: Most of this episode taes place on the open sea as Mason, Charlie, Jeremy, and Nathan travel back-and-forth between the plantation and the Spanish fort in Saint Augustine where they sell the rice so that they can pay the first installment that they owe Mrs. Stevens in New York for the purchase of the plantation.  At the end, the rotten Nthan has died and Karen is nearing the end of her pregnancy.  

Goodreads synopsis:  A continuing struggle for survival in a time long past.
        Former Federal Air Marshall Stephen Mason has again done the impossible. He has passed back through an unexplainable time portal and reunited with the three people he cares about most.
        It’s 1720, Charles Town, Carolina Colony, a time and place fraught with hardships and hazards. Carving out a life here will be challenging, especially for these modern-day transplants. There are few people they can trust, none in whom they can confide. But they have each other. And they have a rice plantation.
        With no apparent way home, the plan is simple: grow, harvest, sell, and make life as comfortable as possible, without getting too far ahead of history. But with a million ways things can go wrong, the execution may prove considerably more complicated.
        New to a new world, can Mason, Karen, Jeremy, and Lisa navigate the hard realities they are only beginning to understand?

Thursday, June 17, 2021

64. Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

listened on Libby, borrowed from the library
narrated by Bernardo dePaula and Ariana Delawari
Unabridged audio (7:25)
2021
336 pgs.
Mid Grades CRF
Finished 6/17/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.83 - 5252 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: 2001 Ground Zero, 2018 Afghanistan

First line/s: "Brandon Chavez was in trouble."

My comments: This story is told in two different voices set 18 years apart.  One is Brendan Chavez, a nine-year-old boy who accompanies his dad to work on the morning of 9/11/2001 at the Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center in New York City.  The second is that of a similarly aged girl in a secluded village in Afghanistan in 2018.  Because she unwittingly helps an injured American soldier, she puts her whole village in danger with the Taliban.  She hates Americans, because an American drone targeted her sister's wedding, killing that 16 year-old sister and many other villagers. That American soldier, "Taz," is actually Brandon. Her twin brother is so angry that much of the story is about him and his relationship with the Taliban.  This is a very powerful story.  There are a lot of intense scenes in the hour and a half that Brandon spends trying to figure out what is going on the the first tower, and then figuring out a way to get out.  His father dies.  It's intense and sad, as is much of the story that takes place in Afghanistan.  I'm not sure what age is would be appropriate for.  Somehow I don't thing my 11 year old grandson could handle it at all, but he's really sensitive.  I do know other fifth graders that could handle it.  There's a lengthy afterword by the author that explains all sorts of information about 9/11,  a fascinating, well-writtenprimer on the horrible day.

Goodreads synopsis:  In time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, bestselling author Alan Gratz delivers a breathtaking, multifaceted, and resonant look at this singular event in US history -- and how it still impacts us today.
            It's September 11, 2001. Brandon, a 9-year-old boy, goes to work for the day with his dad . . . at the World Trade Center in New York City. When two planes hit the towers, Brandon and his father are trapped inside a fiery nightmare as terror and confusion swirl around them. Can they escape -- and what will the world be like when they do?
            In present-day Afghanistan, Reshmina is an 11-year-old girl who is used to growing up in the shadow of war, but she has dreams of peace and unity. When she ends up harboring a wounded young American soldier, she and her entire family are put in mortal danger. But Reshmina also learns something surprising about the roots of this endless war.
            With his trademark skill and insight, Alan Gratz delivers an action-packed and powerful story of two kids whose lives connect in unexpected ways, and reminds us how the past and present are always more linked than we think.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

63. The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

listened on Libby/borrowed from the library
narrated by Patti Murin
Unabridged audio (15:47)
2020
416 pgs.
Genre/Level
Finished 6/16/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.65 - 42,662 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary Egypt & Boston

First line/s: "My calendar is full of dead people."

My comments: This book blew me away  There's so much to it, multiple stories flowing in and around and together.  There may be some spoilers in the following.  There are some really difficult themes:  1 - end of life, and not just because so much of the story is about the protagonist being a death Doula and deeply involved in hospice.  2 - physics and quantum theory, both of which no matter how "clearly" they are explained, will never be clear to me.  3 - loving, deeply loving, two men at the same time.  And there are two parallel stories about two different women and their situations that cut deeply at the heart.  4 - choices.  5 - family.  6 -  losing a beloved parent.  7 - abandoning everything you know and love to raise an underage sibling.  And I realize there's so much more, layer after layer.  Between the research and the story outline, I can't even imagine how long this book took to write.  And the ending.  Oh my gosh, the ending.   It was brilliant.  It could've ended in two very different ways.  You're left realizing that, in the end, it's always about choices.

Goodreads synopsis:  Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She's on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband, but a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong.
          Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, her beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, where she helps ease the transition between life and death for patients in hospice.
          But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a job she once studied for, but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made.
          After the crash landing, the airline ensures the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation wherever they want to go. The obvious option for Dawn is to continue down the path she is on and go home to her family. The other is to return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways--the first known map of the afterlife.
          As the story unfolds, Dawn's two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried beside them. Dawn must confront the questions she's never truly asked: What does a life well-lived look like? When we leave this earth, what do we leave behind? Do we make choices...or do our choices make us? And who would you be, if you hadn't turned out to be the person you are right now?

June GoodReads Postcard & Question of the Month

  
Question:  To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, The Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride, and Harry Potter... All started as books and were made into movies!

What was the last book you read that ended up as a movie? Book better or Movie better? Always read the book before the move?? (No way! I've not read The Princess Bride, yet! And The NeverEnding Story was my favorite movie for decades before I got around to reading the book. You?) What's your most anticipated / exciting book to movie? What book do you wish was a movie? What movie have you seen that you didn't know was a book?

My Answer:  My #2 favorite thing to do after reading is to see a movie on the "big screen."  I have decided to dispel any preconceptions and just enjoy the director's interpretation. Of course I end up with preferences - liked the Twilight movies, disliked the books - loved the Hunger Games books, not-so-much the movies -  love any interpretation of Harry Potter - and so on!

The cards I received:
2074.  GR PC June 2021
The book is ALWAYS better!  I haven't seen many books be successfully turned into movies.  And if I see the movie first, I have a hard time going back to read the book.  It's a weird thing for me.  Drives my reading friends crazy!  I'm trying to get Malibu (words obliterated by postal markings) read before the xxx starts on xxxx.  Jill

2072.  GR PC June, 2021
I just finished A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron and last month read Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan.  I haven't seen the movies which is typical of me.  I generally think the book is better than the movie.  If I want to enjoy a movie, I try not to read the book first.  I have a friend who watches more movies than reads, so she has an opposite approach to movies/books.  Happy Reading - Jenny T.

Ah, Sweet Summer!

 "Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun."
-Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Mindfulness Quote

 "The only way to live is by accepting each minute 
as an unrepeatable miracle." 
--Tara Brach

Saturday, June 12, 2021

62. Flame by Chelle Bliss

listened on Audible
narrated by Samantha Brentmoor  & Jason Clarke
Unabridged audio (7:32)
2019
320 pgs.
Adult Romance
Finished 6/12/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.24 - 3372 ratings
My rating: 2.5

First line/s: "Life is a series of mistakes.  I've made my fair share of them."

My comments: Just another sexy biker/tattooist/romance with one protagonist alone and without family and the other having so much family that they can't breathe.  Entertaining but getting very tired of this particular genre.

Goodreads synopsis:  Could you love a man surrounded by danger?
          Gigi Gallo’s childhood was filled with the roar of a motorcycle and the hum of a tattoo gun. Fresh out of college, she’s about to start working at her family’s tattoo studio — Inked. But when she shows up the first day, she never expects to run into someone tall, dark, and totally sexy from her not-so-innocent past.
        Pike Moore is a bossy biker with a cocky attitude and an even bigger ego. He came to Inked to start over. New town. New job. New roots. None of that included coming face-to-face with the hot chick who spent a week in his bed before she vanished without a trace.
        But when Pike’s dark family history catches up with him, can he stop Gigi from being caught in the crossfire?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

61. Cold Harbor by Matthew FitzSimmons

#3 Gibson Vaughn
listened on Audible/KindleUnlAud
narrated by James Patrick Cronin
Unabridged audio (9:29)
2017
318 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 6/10/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.16 - 6208 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary Rural Washington, DC

First line/s:  "The door would never open.  The prisoner accepted that now."

My comments: Number three in the series, I think this was my favorite so far.  Sure, there were many unbelievable parts - maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much, lol!

Goodreads synopsis:  After a period of brutal isolation in a CIA black-site prison, former Marine and gifted hacker Gibson Vaughn is free—but with no idea where he was or how much time he’s lost. Struggling to maintain his grip on reality, he races to return to the life he left behind. Angry and disoriented, his thoughts turn to vengeance and the man responsible for his rendition. But Gibson’s drive for retribution and the ghosts of his violent past plunge him back into a world he wants only to escape.
            As old enemies and once-trusted allies resurface, the architects of a murderous conspiracy will beat a sinister path to Gibson’s doorstep. In discovering the shocking truth about those he thought he knew best, only one thing is certain: those responsible must be made to answer…and pay.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

60. Poisonfeather by Matthew FitzSimmons

#2 Gibson Vaughn
listened on Audible (KindleUnlAudio)
narrated by James Patrick Cronin
Unabridged audio (12:19)
2016
384 pgs.
Adult mystery
Finished 6/6/2021
Goodreads rating: 4.05 - 9074 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary rural WV

First line/s: "The lights thudded to life in cavernous sweeps of fluorescence.) 

My comments: Well created characters and a plot that is almost always able to follow, though complicated.  Definitely ended on a cliffhanger, will any of the characters other than Gibson Vaughan return for book number three?

Goodreads synopsis:  Gibson Vaughn, hero of the bestselling novel The Short Drop, returns in a smoldering thriller.

            When jailed billionaire Charles Merrick hints publicly that he has stashed a fortune in an offshore cache, a school of sharks converges upon his release from federal prison.

            Among his swindled victims is Judge Hammond Birk, the man who saved Gibson Vaughn’s life when he was a troubled teenager. Now Gibson intends to repay that debt by recovering Merrick’s victims’ money.

            But Gibson isn’t the only one on the trail of the hidden fortune.

            The promise of billions has drawn a horde of ruthless treasure hunters, including an edgy ex-con, a female bartender with a mysterious history, a Chinese spy with a passion for fly-fishing, and a veritable army of hardened mercenaries. To stay ahead of the sharks and win justice for his mentor, Gibson will need all his formidable skills. But at the end of the road, he’ll still have to face “Poisonfeather”—a geopolitical secret that just might get Gibson killed…or worse.

Friday, June 4, 2021

2022 Caldecott Possibilities

Archer, Micha - Wonder Walkers
Cooper, Elisha - Yes & No
Cordell, Matthew - Bear Island
de la Pena, Matt - Milo Imagines the World - borrowed
Floca, Brian - Keeping the City Going
Freedman, Deborah - Is Was
Harris, Shawn - Have You Ever Seen a Flower - borrowed
Ho, Joannea - Eyes That Kiss in the Corners - Not qualified/Vietnamese illustrator
Ho, Richard - The Lost Package
Klassen, Jon - The Rock From the Sky  - borrowed
Levinson, Cynthia - The People's Painter
Perkins, Lynne Rae - The Museum of Everything
Ringler, Matt - Stroller Coaster - reserved
Sis, Peter - Nicky & Vera : A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust & the Children He Rescued - borrowed
Tabor, Corey R. - Mel Fell
Wang, Andrea - Watercress - borrowed
Weatherford, Carole Boston - Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
Wheeler, Lisa - Someone Builds the Dream
Williams, Alice D. - Jump at the Sun
Young, Jessica - I'll See You in Your Dreams

Caldecott Criteria

To sum it up:

Award is for the ILLUSTRATIONS as follows: 
Artistic technique execution
Pictorial interpretation of story, theme, concept
Appropriateness of style to the story, theme, concept
Plot, theme, characters, setting, mood, information well delineated
Recognizes child audience 

From the horse's mouth:

  1. In identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider:

    1. Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;

    2. Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept;

    3. Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept;

    4. Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;

    5. Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.

  2. The only limitation to graphic form is that the form must be one which may be used in a picture book. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound, film or computer program) for its enjoyment.

  3. Each book is to be considered as a picture book. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the illustration, but other components of a book are to be considered especially when they make a book less effective as a children’s picture book. Such other components might include the written text, the overall design of the book, etc.

Note: The committee should keep in mind that the award is for distinguished illustrations in a picture book and for excellence of pictorial presentation for children. The award is not for didactic intent or for popularity.

[Adopted by the ALSC board, January 1978. Revised, Midwinter 1987. Revised, Annual 2008.]

Picture Book: The Lost Package by RIchard Ho

Illustrated by Jessica Lanan
found at St. Patrick School Library
2021
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:   4.14 - 262 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  Solid blue

1st line/s:  "Like other packages, this one began as an empty box."

My comments:  So much of the telling in this story is shown through the illustrations, not the text.  The illustrations are absolutely lovely.  My only criticism is that in this day and age, when the postal system is under such scrutiny, why the package wasn't returned to the USPS to wend its way to its final destination.  Sure, it was a great story of the package's path, but a little negative to the postal system, even though I know that was not the author's intent after reading about his family background. I'm really fretting about the USPS's slow demise.....

Goodreads:  The heartwarming story of a package that gets lost, then found and an in-depth behind the scenes look at what happens at the post office, in Richard Ho and Jessica Lanan's The Lost Package...

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

59. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

read first 2/3 on Kindle while laid up with broken elbow at Laura's, finished last 1/3 on audio/Chirp
narrated by Ari Fliakos
Unabridged audio (11:42)
2015
339 pgs.
Adult Magical Realism told in two time periods
Finished 6/2/2021
Goodreads rating: 3.60 - 32,808 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: Contemporary Long Island Sound, New York and "OTR" in the northeast a couple hundred years before

First line/s: "Perched on the bluff's edge, the house in in danger."

My comments: 2/3 read on Kindle 1/3 listened on Chirp.  Narrated really well.  Magical realism?  Historical fiction.  Two time periods - 1790 & present time.  Simon, the contemporary protagonist, is a librarian, brother, and swimmer who can hold his breath for 10 minutes.  The setting, a house on the edge of Long Island Sound, is slipping into the water more and more as the weeks progress until it finally totally disintegrates and slides down the bank into the sea.  There's lots and lots of water in this book.  Mermaids swimming in see-through tanks. Floods.  Downpours so bad that water seeps into houses, ruins books, pages ... lives.  Families that combine and twist and become confusingly and elaborately pulled together - to the very end.  My favorite character was the tentacle-tattooed young man who is full of electricity, lighting lightbulbs with his fingers in the traveling circus sideshow.  I particularly enjoyed listening to the narration, it has enhanced the writing for me.  At the end of the audio is a short interview with the author that is quite interesting.  Very difficult for me to rate, But I definitely liked most of it.

Goodreads synopsis:  A sweeping and captivating debut novel about a young librarian who is sent a mysterious old book, inscribed with his grandmother's name. What is the book's connection to his family?
          Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks.
          One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon's grandmother. Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand.
          The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler's gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books, family, and magic.