Feb. 8th, 2016

maribou: (book)
So I suppose if I ever want to get (and stay) caught up, I'd best get started on recording the year.

The Pleasure of Reading, edited by Antonia Fraser
A collection of essays by writers about their early reading, variously interpreted as before 10 or before 30 or somewhere in between, bespoke for Waterstone's 50th anniversary (in the 80s), with specially commissioned illustrations and everything. It was quite lovely, and more than occasionally splendid. I can't remember all of my favorites, but I know Catherine Cookson and Jeannette Winterson were among them.

Black Cool, edited by Rebecca Walker
Another collection of essays, this one about various aspects of cool in African-American culture. Learned a lot, fell in love with some writers. You know.

Love Imagined, by Sherry Quan Lee
Memoir of a multiracial woman who grew up in (and still lives in) the Twin Cities. I absolutely loved about 80 percent of this and didn't care for about 5 percent of it. It has the slight roughness of a small press, local history book, rather than the polish of a memoir put out by a larger publisher. (Which is a feature more than a bug as far as I'm concerned.)

The Last Horizon, by Ted Harrison
A collection of autobiographical essays, poems, illustrations, and paintings about Harrison's experiences in and love of the Canadian North. Mostly the part of the Yukon where he was a school teacher for a large portion of his life, but also bits and pieces elsewhere (he started teaching in Northern Alberta, for example). Harrison has been one of my favorite painters since so long ago I don't remember it (age 4? 7? somewhere in there), and this was a rare treat! The book showed its age uncomfortably in one or two spots, but for the most part it was utterly fabulous.

Flutter, Vol. 1: Hell Can Wait, by Jennie Wood
Comic with excellent protagonist, brilliant art, good story, AND a genderswitching protagonist? It's like you're in my head, Jennie Wood!

An Edwardian Christmas, by John Goodall
This is a very small, wordless book consisting of tableaus of purportedly Edwardian people doing Christmasy things. It's not especially good, but since I used to be obsessed with a different copy of it when I was a kid, it still made me happy.

Echo, by Pam Ryan Munoz
Hum. It was EXTREMELY readable - I finished it in two sittings - but also very predictable, not just in its plots but also in its characterizations. I pretty much knew exactly what to expect of everything well in advance, *especially* if it was going to be a twist. But as I said, very readable indeed, and while the characters were predictable, they were also winsome. And I very much enjoyed how the characters felt about music, that part was solid. I'm willing to try at least one more book by her, and I had fun telling a friend about it over dinner; she was THRILLED to hear about it so she could offer it to her reading-above-grade-level 4th grade students.

Cats on the Job, by Lisa Rogak
Pictures of cats doing their various jobs, some quite legit and others rather fanciful (but, actual cats who actually DO live in those contexts, just some of the jobs they hold are rather silly). So, cute cat pictures, fluffy magazine-style accompanying text. Sometimes funny. I am a cat nerd, so I enjoyed the heck out of it. YMMV.

In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger (audiobook)
A mixed bag, I'm afraid. And for that reason, I would recommend it as a book to read rather than a book to listen to. I can't listen at anything other than normal speed, and there are several stories in here I would much rather have skimmed. That said, there were a few stories that had all three of: marvelous narrators AND a great deal to recommend them as stories AND a good connection to the canon. And several more that had 1-2 of those desirable traits. So I'm glad I read it. Just, you know, no more audio short story collections with multiple narrators if I can manage to remember to avoid them!

The Christmas Hat, by A. J. Wood
A sweet picture book with a good, albeit slight, story (and an adorable owl). What most recommends it, however, is the marvelous embossing! This might sound like damning with faint praise, but only if you don't know what a tactile person I am. The embossing lent both visual and tactile depth to the illustrations - very cleverly done and not something I'd ever come across before (at least, not this artful sort! may have seen and ignored it as a mere gimmick).
maribou: (book)
Hilo, vol. 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, by Judd Winick
Frenetic, joyful comic about a kid, his friend, the alien that just shows up one day looking like a kid their age, and the BADGUYS they have to fight. The only way I could've liked this more was to magically become 7 long enough to read it.

Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer and Matthew Holm
YA novel about family stuff (eg divorce). I liked it - charm and humor and an interesting protagonist - but found it too earnest / pointed. Found out it is heavily autobiographical (the authors are siblings) so maybe that was the issue. Will try at least one more by either of them before drawing a firm conclusion.

Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey, by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
A wonderful wonderful picture book biography of an amazing, creative, gifted eccentric who built an entire bottle village. I read it three times in a row. I wish it was back in print or at lest not SO darn expensive. I'd already heard about Grandma Prisbey because we have bottle houses where I grew up (on the opposite coast from her), but I really enjoyed learning more about her and her work, and the illustrations were absolutely exquisite. Julie Paschkis is a gem.

Sad, the Dog, by Sandy Fussell, illustrated by Tul Suwannakit
A perfect book. Predictable story that is so marvelously done, in terms of art, words, and seeing things from the dog's perspective, that it didn't matter at all that it was predictable. (Predictable can actually be very good for picture books, cf the very-different-in-tone Monster at the End of This Book.) I enjoyed it so much that just thinking about it makes me want to read it again!

The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt
An improvement over the first one (which was just fine). Funny, endearing, and more complexity. Nice to read a picture book sequel that I like better than the original - it's so often the other way around.

The Turnip, by Jan Brett
Solid retelling of an old fairy tale that is elevated to delightfulness by the gorgeous art (and buttressed by a sense of humor in both art and text). I especially appreciate how intricate her paintings are.

The Snail and The Whale, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
The third-best thing about this book are the wonderful, lively, warm pictures. The second-best thing about this book is how it manages to be playful and fantastic without straying so far from how biology actually works as to be nonsensical (unlike SO MANY other picture books that don't know they're messing the biology up). The first-best thing about this book is the effect of the rhyme and rhythm of the words, which work together as a read-aloud to make it darn near hypnotic in an entraining rather than a soothing way. SO FUN TO READ.
(17, O1)

The Little Mouse Santi, by David Eugene Ray
Slightly plotted picture book which is vastly enhanced by the ability of the author/illustrator to make each moment work perfectly as a moment, with liveliness and depth.

Little Tree, by Loren Long
THIS FABLE MAKES NO SENSE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. It's not that it should be biologically accurate, but I want such things to be in HARMONY with biology, not chaotic-izing it. Which I found frustrating. The pictures are beeeooootiful, though, and fraught with meaning. Would have rather it was a wordless book so I could make up a story that resonated better.

The Tale of Rescue, by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows
Straightforward story of a cattle dog rescuing a family from a snowstorm. Told in a distanced enough way that the sentimental plot bits made me cry. (If the text is mawkish I can resist it - if it's flat-affect-pragmatic I will tear up every time...) Lovely illustrations. Reminded me of Jim Kjelgaard's books, or at least what I remember of them from the 3-4 years I was obsessed with them as a kid. (note to self: reread a Jim Kjelgaard book. Also my Marguerite Henrys!)


maribou: (Default)

July 2016

242526 27282930

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 04:36 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios