WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: July 10, 2019

Before we begin, I want it to be clear. Any reading that didn’t get accomplished is absolutely and directly the fault of the delightful Levy family. If they had not made season five of Schitt’s Creek available to me, I would have gotten more done. No one, I repeat, no onecan resist The Rose Family. Blame them and their perfect television show.

Anyway, onto WWW Wednesday! Hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, WWW always helps me keep my massive reading piles organized. Also, hopping around to see what other people are reading ensures that my TBR is never ending. It is my favorite weekly posting of them all!


What Did I Recently Finish Reading?

Each of these was excellent! I reviewed both The Night Gardener and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow in my recent post Marvelous Middle Grade BooksThe Night Gardener is the perfect level of scary for my wimpy self and Nevermoor was a delightful surprise.

I also read, love, and reviewed Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks in my most recent NonFiction Friday. This book is another in the middle grade level. Reading about the different ways diverse boys have found their unique path felt so inspiring.


What am I Currently Reading?

I know that I have more than this on my “currently reading” shelf over at Goodreads, but I have to focus. I am more than half way through Factfulness by Hans Rosling and it is excellent. I am slowly savoring the wonder that is Norse Mythology. And, I am listening to both Yes, Please and Fish in a Tree as audiobooks. I do a lot of running around while I tie up loose ends lately and audiobooks are perfect for this.


What Will I Read Next?

Who knows?!? I really need to clear off the remainder of my “currently reading” list on Goodreads.


Tell me, please!

What’s on your WWW?


 

Middle Grade

Marvelous Middle Grade Books

This summer has been a bit….hectic. What with the move and all, I find myself short on the type of energy needed to properly read a variety of more “serious” books. I turn, as I frequently do, to middle grade books for solace. Middle grade books can be tricky but when done well they are absolutely marvelous. Here are some middle grade books I have read this summer and just adored.


FortunatelyTheMilkFortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman is a quick read. Honestly, it might even be early childhood and not quite middle grade but it doesn’t matter because the story transcends age. I cannot see anyone failing to enjoy this delightful tale. Children are left in the care of their father while their Mother is away and they run out of milk. When Father is gone far, far longer than is required to fetch the milk he returns with an extremely tall tale of his adventures in getting the milk. The illustrations by Skottie Young are on nearly ever page and add the perfect touch of whimsy. I had to read it twice in one sitting, I couldn’t get enough. This would be an easy book to hand a reluctant reader since it is short, quick, and fun. Similarly, this would be a fun book to read aloud since it is broken down into adventures.


thelittelestbigfootThe Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner grabbed my attention in chapter one and took a firm grip on my heart by the final page. I had read Jennifer Weiner’s other fiction books but I didn’t know if she would be successful as a children’s book writer. In my opinion, she excelled beyond any expectation.

The Littlest Bigfoot blends the stories of three children, none of whom feel like they belong. Alice Mayfair is twelve and has been to a new school every year, often sent away to boarding schools by a family too busy to even see her off. All she wants is a friend. Millie Maximus, a Bigfoot from a hidden clan, is obsessed with the No-Fur world. Millie’s boisterous nature conflicts with her clan’s emphasis on staying hidden. Jeremy is the third boy in his family. Being third is hard enough and Jeremy is trying to follow in the footsteps of one genius older brother and one sport talented brother. His parents hardly notice him. When he sees a Bigfoot he becomes obsessed. Maybe if he can find a real Bigfoot he will finally fit into his family of over-achievers?

We have all read stories of kids who don’t fit in. But there is something about the way Jennifer Weiner unravels this particular experience that feels so poignantly fresh. I rooted for all three children, even when each person’s goal conflicted with another. Everyone deserves to feel important and accepted by at least one other person. And this story gave me all the good feels that middle grade books are known for. I cannot wait for the sequel!


nevermoorNevermoor, The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend has been on my bookshelf for ages. This is mostly because when the sequel came out it was roundly declared “disappointing” by so many people. I let that put me off this book and I should not have. Nevermoor is a fun adventure with wonderful characters and it truly surprised me. If the sequel is lesser, so be it. This was a marvelous middle grade book and I shouldn’t have ignored it for so long.

Morrigan Crow was born on Eventide and, as such, she is unlucky. She is also destined to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. Then she meets Jupiter North. Jupiter offers her an opportunity to live, but to do so she must run to Nevermoor. This magical city is full of surprises but none as big as the plans Jupiter has for Morrigan. He intends her to compete to become a member of the Wundrous society. The competition consists of four dangerous and deadly trials, each set to measure a candidate’s appropriateness. If Morrigan cannot pass she will have to return home and face her fate.

All of this magical fun is wonderful but the real story is one of finding yourself. Watching Morrigan understand who she is without the curse and determine who she wants to become was the best part of the story. It was certainly good enough to ignore the bad reviews and get my hands on the second in the series!


thenightgardenerThe Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier is not for the faint of heart. This scary tale is reminiscent of Small Spaces and is just scary enough to keep you reading well into the night.

Two Irish children find themselves in the English countryside alone and in desperate need of work. When they locate a position at a crumbly manor house, it seems like their lives are finally looking up. But a series of odd things alert them to the heavy undercurrent of….something. Then, a mysterious person and an ancient curse make their presence know.

I know that I’m a grown up but scary stories take me right back to those moments in childhood where you were sure, absolutely sure, there was a person outside your window. This book is the perfect dose of scary for a person like me (read: scaredy cat). It is a wonderfully told tale sure to keep you reading long into the summer night.


Tell me, please!

Have you read any Marvelous Middle Grade Books?


 

all ages · nonfiction

NonFiction Friday: Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks

The world has changed since I was a girl. I used to believe that our society placed too much pressure on girls and not enough on boys. When I was younger I felt like I had to be strong in a dress and pretty in pants. I had to follow all of the rules or ruin my reputation but boys could do whatever they wanted. This pressure didn’t originate with my parents, it just felt like a tangible reality to me. As a grew I saw that wasn’t always true. It wasn’t all boys that were free. It was just the sporty, rich, white kids who grew up fairly free of society’s constant micro-corrections.

I still argue that our society places too much pressure on girls. New books and movies are coming out all of the time that feature the myriad of different ways to be a “girl.” I think we have all seen this book prominently displayed.

strongisthenewpretty

This is a great book. But, my concern is that this book and all of the other inspirational books for girls are still leaving out a major component of equality: boys. All of these books let girls know that it is ok to be different – to be more than “pretty.” Meanwhile, for most of child hood boys had two choices: sporty and not-sporty (also known as “cool” and “not cool”).

It still happens. Just take a five to fourteen-year-old boy anywhere with you. The first thing well-intentioned strangers want to know is, “do you plan any sports?” I know they are just trying to make a connection with the kid, but it is always awkward when the response is, “no, no sports for me.” The whole conversation falls to a deafening silence.

storiesforboysThis is why I was enormously pleased to find Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different, True Tales of Amazing Boys Who Changed The World Without Killing Dragons by Ben Brooks. This books features thirty-seven examples of individuals who don’t fit most pre-determined “manly man” roles. Furthermore, many of them, like Percy Shelly and Daniel Anthony, make a clear connection between how allowing boys to embrace their differences directly supports equality and opportunities for women.

This struck me as wonderful. I believe the more we encourage people to be themselves the more comfortable they are with differences in others. If we can support variety in boys maybe they in turn will naturally accept diversity around them. If boys can be chefs and computer geniuses then women can be CEOs and teachers and everything in between. There is no “normal” way to be successful that is predetermined by your gender.

This lovely illustrated book for middle grade students also features: transgendered people, people with disabilities, kings, nature enthusiasts, NASA astronauts, artists and many more. The people chosen come from all around the world, are all different ages, and represent many people of color. It starts with a boy and shows how their unique perspective changed the world. Each mini-biography is only a page long and is accompanied by an illustration making it easy to read solo or fun to read together.

The more we tell all children that it is a good thing to be themselves, the more we foster that thought across the generations and throughout our society. It isn’t up to just the girls to explore the uniqueness of ourselves or break the mold – many boys have similar struggles. That is why I highly encourage both of these books to be read by both genders. Boys needs to know that strong is pretty just as much as girls need to see how wonderfully diverse boys can be.


Tell me, please!

Have you read either of these books?


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: July 3, 2019

Subtitled: It is Wednesday isn’t it?


During my trip to BookCon I got the news that I would be moving. An opportunity arose and I grabbed it. Ok…not entirely true. I actually laid awake at night for a few weeks before BookCon watching Schitt’s Creek over and over again while I worried about what to do. After finalizing the decision, I grabbed the whole thing with both hands. In a little more than a month I will be moving to Chicago.

This is why I have been so behind in posting and, frankly, reading! Every time I picked up a book my ‘ol brain started worrying. And, when I wasn’t worrying, I was decluttering and packing. Since I am moving from a bigger place into a much smaller place, I was tossing things and donating them at a rate that would alarm even Marie Kondo. But I missed my books, posting, and most of all reading everyone else’s blogs so, even though July 3rd is nearly over, I am determined to get back to it. So, happy WWW Wednesday! Make sure and check out Sam’s site at Taking on a World of Words and all the other wonderful people who check in on Wednesday.


What Did I Recently Finish Reading?

All of these were the perfect stories for the worried mind. The Proposal was a fun romantic comedy, The Littlest Bigfoot was a wonderfully sweet middle grade story and Fortunately, the Milk was as much fun as anything else I’ve read by Neil Gaiman. All of them will (hopefully) be reviewed soon.

I probably read other things but things were so crazy here I even forgot to log them onto Goodreads.


What am I Currently Reading?

I’m a mess. My Goodreads keeps telling me that I have 7-9 books on my currently reading shelf and so many of them are mere chapters from completion… but I may have packed them. I don’t want to forget them though so I am leaving them there. Here are the books I have in my hot little hands this week.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling is the best and most uplifting book I have read this year. It is full to the brim with facts that prove that our world is actually better than we perceive it to be. It is a soothing balm to my anxiety driven heart. I cannot wait to finish it and read it again.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell has been on my shelf forever but I bought the mass market paperback and the print is 7 point font. Might even be smaller than that. Finally, I donated my copy and got a digital version from the library. Whew! I am not far in but it is wonderfully weird.

Finally, I am working my way through all the Neil Gaiman books I own and I am loving Norse Mythology. Great stories told by a masterful storyteller, it is truly a treat.


What Will I Read Next?

One of the books off my massive physical TBR because I cannot take everything with me but I don’t want to give up books I haven’t even had time to enjoy!


Tell me, please!

What is on your WWW?