Ms. Waters has been on my to-read cookbook list for YEARS. Finally, we meet. I tried the pumpkin soup, which was fantastic, and almost tried a cabbageMs. Waters has been on my to-read cookbook list for YEARS. Finally, we meet. I tried the pumpkin soup, which was fantastic, and almost tried a cabbage recipe, but ended up just oven-roasting the cabbage instead (I think she would have approved.) The simplicity of her recipes, combined with lovely, rustic illustrations of vegetables, made for an appealing combination. Sadly, the library wanted their copy back. Next time, Alice!...more
I've long enjoyed Le Guin's sly, dry humor and no less so in this book about unusual cats for young readers. However, I'll admit that MOSTLY I enjoyedI've long enjoyed Le Guin's sly, dry humor and no less so in this book about unusual cats for young readers. However, I'll admit that MOSTLY I enjoyed reading this teeny-tiny novel (maybe 5" by 3") on public transportation while everyone else read full size books or fiddled with their i-devices. I was like: hehe, look at me with my tiny book! :^)...more
The charm of this story is that the premise is so likely. I've heard women wish for such a resource -info on men in a social circle, who to date and wThe charm of this story is that the premise is so likely. I've heard women wish for such a resource -info on men in a social circle, who to date and who to watch out for, etc. And I like how the protagonist holds her judgement until she gains a better understanding of the situation as a whole. I think the writing does cross the line of believability occasionally -some of the sarcasm is distracting, some of the characterization is over the top. However, on the whole, nice storytelling. And GREAT cover, it certainly moved me to read it!...more
A "Confusion of Princes," while enjoyable, did suffer the usual problems of sci-fi (as I see 'em): overinduGarth Nix continues as my Creativity Hero.
A "Confusion of Princes," while enjoyable, did suffer the usual problems of sci-fi (as I see 'em): overindulgence in made-up tech & terminology, too darn many characters (for you to care), big jumps in time, the centrality of humanity (ho-hum), nostalgia for Old Earth (kinda done, how about some affection for those new planets, eh?), suspicious lack of people of color (for the record, Nix mentions skin colors but this really isn't represented culturally), and a kind of woodenness that I think must be the residue of trying to world-build and tell a story while at the same time give big billing to your personal values and morals.
I think "Confusion of Princes" is Nix's (better-crafted) wink to today's obsession with distopian, kids-kill-all storylines. How does this connect to this past few decades rise in young people (in the U.S.) initiating massacres of their peers? College thesis in the making.
Finally, what I love about Nix's still is, thankfully, fully evident in this novel: Deep, mostly unspoken feminism Strong mentor/mentee relationships with men Self-awareness Characters fight to the end of their (great) physical ability, and then pass out Death & renewal
Related to color, I was curious that Nix's protagonist describes himself as "brown", yet the cover of the book doesn't reflect this. What do you have to say for yourself, publisher?
Related to the title, "A Confusion of Princes" while fun to say, makes the book seem like it will be light and humorous. Not so! Knowing the wacky antics of big publishers, I can only assume that this was not the title Nix himself chose....more
Really? No review of "Black Mane"? Well, I'll give a go.
So I met the author at a independent comics convention in Cambridge, MA. A friendly, brown facReally? No review of "Black Mane"? Well, I'll give a go.
So I met the author at a independent comics convention in Cambridge, MA. A friendly, brown face at a mostly-white event, he was very convincing and selling the book for $2, so I was like: why not! I'm interested in discussions around and artistic portrayals of masculinity, violence, gender, and race.
The graphic novel is organized in a number of vignettes where the main character, Mike, experiences internal calamity following some major or micro-aggression directed towards him or someone he cares about. In his head, Mike becomes a monster (hence the title "black mane") whose answer to any situation (it seems) is a violent rage. In reality, he tends to be a bit shy and retiring, and does more complaining to his girlfriend over the phone (why aren't they ever physically together, I wondered) than directly addressing issues.
The art was interesting, at times spot-on (facial expressions, body-language) and others completely over-the top (gross-out art) and hard to interpret (the book is printed black and white.) Mr. Lariccia describes himself, in the forward, as a printmaker, and I can really see that in his application of inks and the brilliant front cover.
As for what is being "said" in the book, I'm not exactly sure. After one read-through, the only story that really stuck with me was a depiction of Mike working at Faniul Hall in Boston and his relationship with his co-workers. The fantastical, brutal, imagined head-beatings of all the white people who are rude to Mike and his loved ones were not terribly memorable.
So. To read or not to read? I say read! And then leave a review so mine won't be the only, lonely voice heard here on the subject.
This surprisingly sweet autobiographical, graphic novel follows a young woman through her first year of collage at an art school in Baltimore, MD. TheThis surprisingly sweet autobiographical, graphic novel follows a young woman through her first year of collage at an art school in Baltimore, MD. The pleasant but not overly compelling cover doesn't do justice to the book, I think. I doubt I would have pulled this one off the shelf had a friend not given it do me. Within are lists, journal entries culled from the author's Livejournal account (remember Livejournal?!), and zine excerpts.
The multimodal art intrigued me, as did Ramsey's thoughtful summarizations of her experience in list-form, descriptions of the important people in her life, and her sense of growth and gratitude. In particular, I was interested in how she experienced her relative privilege and wished she'd talked a little bit more about that. I don't know Baltimore very well, but I do know there's a strong African-American community there and was curious as to why no black people appeared in the book.
Finally, there's a freshness to Ramsey's voice and style that makes this book a great gift for someone who might be just a little shy about new experiences who is headed off to a first year of sleep-away school or college.
I enjoyed the artistry of language in this book, and the attention to detail. Otherwise, this is a broad-strokes story about two of history's greats tI enjoyed the artistry of language in this book, and the attention to detail. Otherwise, this is a broad-strokes story about two of history's greats that is essentially missing the most enticing details (through no fault of its own; those details are unknown.) I did learn that Harriet was a small woman at 5 feet tall and that Sojourner spoke Dutch. If I'd learned those fact earlier in life, I certainly hadn't remembered them....more
A very sweet little middle grade novel covering a subject I've NEVER before encountered in children's fiction: an Asian American family adopting a girA very sweet little middle grade novel covering a subject I've NEVER before encountered in children's fiction: an Asian American family adopting a girl from China. Personally, I haven't met an Asian family with adopted children, so I was very curious to read this book and learn what it might be like from the inside. I enjoyed how honest and unadorned the writing-voice/style and the way the author approaches ambiguous and difficult to handle topics(i.e. racism, learning difficulties, and the ways girls sometimes treat one another) with curiosity instead of with fear/escapism. So I applaud author Andrea Cheng, and I also appreciated the work of illustrator Patricia Barton whose adorable, depictions helped softens the edges. Bravo, ladies. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment. ...more
Novels in verse make me want to run screaming, so good thing I hadn't noticed the format of this story about a Sudanese refuge and her family's fraughNovels in verse make me want to run screaming, so good thing I hadn't noticed the format of this story about a Sudanese refuge and her family's fraught path to freedom and life in the U.S. I've been waiting for a book about the African community I've heard so much about in Portland, ME for YEARS! How fortuitous. then, that this novel for young readers turned out to be so frank, honest, and thoughtful -verse and all. There are some very heavy topics within, but I think the treatment of sexual violence and death (not spoilers!) are such that I'd hand the book off to a young person without a whole lot of agonizing over whether s/he can make it through without a chaperone. In this book: no easy fixes, but there is love, connection, understanding, and perseverance. This is one to read....more
I'm not totally sure what to make of this child of "lipstick feminism." The book was passed along to me by a friend who was convinced it might not beI'm not totally sure what to make of this child of "lipstick feminism." The book was passed along to me by a friend who was convinced it might not be a good fit for me, and she was mostly right. The writing and voice were fine, the doggedly hetero, white, conventional-culture outlook, less so. I appreciated the authors' take on dating and developing strong relationships with other women, even as these topics weren't unique, a person really can't hear them enough times. In the end, I reaffirmed my conviction that there's space for ALL types of women fighting for the greater good. And thus I won't dog this book or it's intended audience. Lets all live in peace (and prosperity.)...more
This book has a sweet flow and eye for Truth (yes, capital "T") that I really admire. The humor is fresh and contemporary; the cartoonish art just SoThis book has a sweet flow and eye for Truth (yes, capital "T") that I really admire. The humor is fresh and contemporary; the cartoonish art just So Darn Charming. A young reader can quickly find friends in James and Eamon as the two boys explore their sameness and differences, as well as enjoy the excitement and exhaustion of the boys' caretakers. A win! Looking forward to more from author/illustrator Marla Frazee. ...more
I had to slow myself down to read this book. As a young reader, I skipped the Little House series due to (assumed, by me) lack of diversity and antiquI had to slow myself down to read this book. As a young reader, I skipped the Little House series due to (assumed, by me) lack of diversity and antiquated thinking about "settling" the American countryside (i.e. shoving off the original settlers.) So I was surprised to discover myself reading about Bo, an adopted girl, and her homesteading/mining community in Alaska. It's like Little House snuck around and got me anyway! This story meanders through the seasons and the author treats young readers with great respect as she covers life, death, loneliness, race, community, belonging, and beauty in the 1920s.
The one thing that halts me about this novel is the unexplained use of "Eskimo." The author completely circumvents the controversy around that term (last I checked, we were using Inuit–Yupik). This is especially strange since ethnic and racial diversity is explored throughout the book.
The above aside, straight-forward style and gentle humor make Bo at Ballard Creek the perfect read-aloud....more