Ribsy

by Beverly Cleary
First sentence: “Henry Huggins’s dog Ribsy was a plain ordinary city dog, the kind of dog that strangers usually called Mutt or Pooch.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: It’s pretty simple writing, so it’d be good for the younger kids. It’s in the classic middle reader section at the bookstore.

I didn’t realize, when I picked the books for my summer book group, that Ribsy was kind of a sequel to Henry Huggins. I don’t think you need to read that one first, but it helps to know how Ribsy came to be with Henry before starting this one. Because Ribsy, for better or worse, isn’t a dog that sits still and waits. And so, when he gets left in the car in the parking lot of a shopping center (first of: different times, because NO ONE would think of doing this now…),  he doesn’t sit still. He gets out of the car (by accidentally rolling down the window) and then he’s off looking for Henry. Of course he gets lost, and ends up in the wrong car, and is off on an adventure, trying to find Henry again.

It’s an adventure, and Ribsy meets quite a few characters before Henry is able to track him down and bring him home. It’s very much a dog book (so if you don’t like dogs…) and not a bad one at that. I think this one stands up to time better than Henry Huggins did. Definitely enjoyable!

Ms. Marvel: Civil War II

by G. Willow Wilson, et al
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Other is the series: No Normal, Generation Why , Super Famous
Content: Violence, mostly. It’s in the graphic novel section of the bookstore, but it’s good for teens and up.

I’m not sure if I’m completely up on Ms. Marvel (it’s hard to keep track!)… but I picked this one up, and fell into it. Kamala is having issues at school and as a superhero – she doesn’t have time for her friends much anymore, and Bruno is no longer happy with being her “sidekick”. And then Captain Marvel asks Kamala to be the head of this predictive crime unit, where they take a psychic’s premonitions and then arrest people before they commit a crime. It’s going fine, until one of Kamala’s friends gets arrested for thinking about doing something drastic. Maybe predictive crime prevention comes perilously close to profiling?

Kamala tries to get out of it, but ends up alienating everyone, so she heads off to Pakistan to her family’s home, trying to find herself there. But not everything is quite as simple as it seems.

It helps that each issue is really its own arc, and that you don’t really need to know what went on before, which is good because I’m not sure I remember from issue to issue. That said, this one touched on some really interesting ideas, including profiling, and the costs/benefits of trying to stop crime before it happens. The side trip to Pakistan at the end was interesting, too, as was the Kamala’s parents’ backstory that was threaded throughout the issue. I keep picking these up because I love the story arcs that Wilson comes up with, and this one didn’t disappoint.

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas
First sentence: “I shouldn’t have come to this party.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There is a lot of swearing, including multiple f-bombs, some almost sex, and some drinking. It’s in the teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.

I came to this one in a round-about way. I have a teen review group, and one of them read this (and loved it), and so I didn’t feel a need to read it. Too many other things on the pile. Then, it became a big thing (and rightly so), being talked about all over the internets. and so we picked it to be a part of our summer teen book group. And that is really what pushed me to read it. (If all else fails: pick it for a book group. I’ll read it then!)

As one of my co-workers said, I’m reading this as a privileged white woman, and it makes one VERY aware of that privilege. At first, I thought I was not hip enough for Starr and her world, but after a couple of chapters, I found myself immersed in the world Starr inhabits. Thomas very eloquently shows (not tells!) the reader what it’s like to live in the inner city, the conflict- both with the “system” and with each other – that they face every day.

The basic plot is this: Starr is at a party, when a shooting happens. As everyone is fleeing, she ends up with an old friend, Khalil, and they end up getting pulled over by a white cop. And, because this unfortunately happens too often, the cop shoots Khalil. And from there, the story follows Starr as she deals with the aftermath of that. From dealing with PTSD after the experience (it’s her second friend who has been shot and killed), to dealing with being a witness at the grand jury (and all the implications that brings), to dealing with the balance between her home life and her school life — she goes to a prep school in the suburbs — and her friends there. Thomas treats everything complexly and is incredibly forthright and honest about absolutely everything. It’s an excellent portrait of the life of a black teenager and an important book, especially for a white person to read.

State of the TBR Pile: July 2017

This is less the “to be read” pile and more the “I wish I had the time to actually read these” pile. I will get to them. Someday. Eventually.

Maybe.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Ribsy
by Beverly Cleary
Sweet Spot by Amy Ettinger
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
Jaya and Rasa by Sonia Patel
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld
Dear Mr. Hensaw by Beverly Cleary
Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

What’s on your TBR pile?

First Sunday Daughter Reviews: July 2017

We’re halfway through summer now, and the girls are busy being lazy and going swimming and working. But they’re still finding time to read. (Which is almost more than I can say for myself…)

C has moved on from reading about how to read literature to reading this:

She hates taking notes on it (she hates taking notes on books, period.), and she has Opinions which she’s not “allowed” to include (she is anyway). I think she’s enjoying it. She’s definitely thinking about it as she reads.

A has moved on to this

She’s really enjoying it. It’s made her cry a LOT and has enjoyed the plot reveals, and is finding it a really intriguing story so far.

And K nabbed this when I brought an advance copy home

She loved it! And is dying for me to read it, just so she has someone to talk to about it.

That’s what we’re reading right now. What are you reading?

Audiobook: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

by Al Franken
Read by the author
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There are six f-bombs in one chapter, mostly because there are two in the title of something Franken wrote and he said it three  times. It’s in the biography section of the bookstore.

I suppose, if you don’t know who Al Franken is, you probably won’t have any interest in this book. That said, I knew who he was, but wasn’t a huge fan.  But, I’d heard enough good about it that I decided to download the audio book.

Franken is in his second term as the junior senator from Minnesota, a former writer for Saturday Night Life, and a very, very smart writer. This book is basically a memoir of his time at SNL, his family life, his first election, and his thoughts on being in the Senate as a whole.

It’s a very smart book. And while it’s not always hilarious, it IS very funny. And insightful. Be aware that Franken is a Democrat, and so there’s definitely a partisan flavor to it (he blames Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and Mitch McConnell for the current state of politics), but he also recognizes a need to work together, and has some good things to say about many Republicans (just not Ted Cruz). It’s insightful, interesting, and incredibly engaging.

And on audio? Very delightful. I loved listening to Franken read his words (I often enjoy celebrity memoirs more in audio) and thought it was a definite value-added to the book. He kept me engaged in the book, and I looked forward to turning it on whenever I got in the car.

A very, very good read.

Montly Round-Up: June 2017

I am up to my eyeballs in school, camp preparations (I’m doing most of the sessions of Camp Watermark this year, and while I’m enjoying it, it’s a LOT of work. Thankfully, I have a FANTASTIC teen helper), and trying to stay on top of my regular work. I’m not home much. And while I’m reading… it’s not as much as I used to. (Thank heavens for audiobooks on the commute!)

My favorite this month?

Words in Deep Blue

SO good. Seriously. Such an incredible romance.

As for the rest….

Middle Grade:

Henry Huggins
The Secret Grave
Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
Beyond the Bright Sea (audio)

YA:

I Believe in a Thing Called Love
The Dark Prophecy (Did you see?? He’s coming to Wichita! I’m SO EXCITED!)

Adult:

The Best of Adam Sharp (audio) (DNF)

What was your favorite this month?