October 29th, 2015

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Over the last few years, here and there you find small books that give the history of various places in the United States. Could be a big topic, like San Francisco, or small neighborhoods. This morning, I finished reading Encino, which is a neighborhood in Los Angeles, north of the main city in the San Fernando Valley. It's where my family ended up when we moved to SoCal in the late 60s, and though I've been out of there for over thirty years, it's where my mother still lives. The book gave a variety of interesting background information, such as the identity of the original settlers, and a number of little facts. For example, RKO studios had a studio ranch in a subdivision where my cousins lived when we arrived from Wisconsin; among movies shot there were Cimarron and It's a Wonderful Life. So, I found it pretty interesting to read; very short read, of course. For those who lived there, it's probably worth picking up.
  • maribou

Roller Suit Deafo; Black Crossover Buckle; Seeing Enlistment

Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson
A charming, playful story about a girl learning to be a roller derby player. She's also on the edge of puberty so there's some coming-of-age stuff. I appreciated how even though the tone is light, the main character had some doubts and uncertainty at times - her challenges were internal as well as external, and rang true in both cases.

The Hospital Suite, by John Porcellino
The only things I remember about this illness memoir, told and drawn by the wonderful comics artist John Porcellino, are that I really liked it and it made me pretty uncomfortable and anxious at times. Ambivalence, thy name is Maribou. (Seriously I read another book of his YEARS ago that I can't even remember the title of, and I remember more of the storyline of THAT book than this book. Not the book's fault, just had a lot of stuff going on and personal issues and what not.)

Crossover, by Kwame Alexander
I'm not generally much into a) sports novels (unless they are written by W.P. Kinsella) or b) blank verse novels, but when I was a teenager I read a lot of both of those kinds of things, so it can be fun to revisit occasionally. The narrative voice in this one was awesome (and most excellently rhythmous) and I couldn't put the book down. Some of the plot was kinda over the top for me but it didn't make much difference to my enjoyment. This book won the Newbery this year, usually a good indicator, and I think it deserved it.

El Deafo, by Cece Bell
OMG LOVE LOVE LOVE for this book. A graphic memoir of the author's childhood that focuses on her experiences as a Deaf person in public schools (and non-academic social situations). So particular and yet so good at contextualizing her own experiences in the bigger picture. AND it was cute and funny. AND it was trenchant and didn't pull punches. Wow.

Buckle and Squash and the Monstrous Moat-Dragon, by Sarah Courtauld
Fun kids' book that was not as amazing as the imaginary version I wrote in my head before reading it, but a lot more amazing than most other books with princesses in them. I have been enjoying remembering reading it more than I enjoyed reading it, because in my memory I can just focus on the unusual and awesome bits, and skip over the bits that were kind of bleh.

Seeing Voices, by Oliver Sacks (reread)
The last time I read this was in the 90s, when it was more-or-less contemporary. These days it's pretty dated, but still a very interesting overview of deafness and Deaf culture through the lens of three different long essays.

The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds
This was just great. Finely drawn characters who are weird enough to keep my interest, particularly the protagonist. And the narrative voice is the kind where you can feel the *love* at the center of the book - love for the characters but also for the reader. If you are overinterested in the mortuary trade (as I am), well, that's just going to be a bonus.

Terms of Enlistment, by Marko Kloos
Read this because the author withdrew from the Hugos for what I think were very solid reasons. It was a very solid military adventure story. Will eventually read the rest of the series, and probably they will be just as much fun. It's full of world-building plotholes but SO compelling that I cheerfully kept re-suspending my disbelief until the cows came home.
  • Current Music
    medley of random song fragments stuck in my head