I want Morwen’s cats. And also to be best friends forever with Morwen.
13 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

I want Morwen’s cats. And also to be best friends forever with Morwen.

13 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

(via books-to-the-ceiling)

This was a real treasure of a book to me. It’s a magical story of fandom, family, friendship, and firsts.
Cather Avery is starting her first year of college, her first year away from her dad, her first year not rooming with her sister. How will she make friends? How will she do in creative writing, when she has to write her own things instead of fanfic?
Rainbow Rowell took me back to my first year of college in a wonderful, bittersweet way. Cath, as she prefers to be called, is shy and anxious and very relatable in this new place. She has very realistic and relatable family issues and school issues—overwhelming projects, misunderstandings with professors, fights with friends and family about serious issues, etc. Her relationships with her roommate, friends, and classmates were very realistic as well.
Rowell also took me back to my entry into fandom. I think I was in a sweet spot for this book in terms of my age (college ish) and my fandom background (mostly Harry Potter for a long, long time), since Cath’s primary focus is a book series very clearly meant to be a take-off on Harry Potter. Rowell did a fabulous job, in my opinion, capturing the essence of fandom and fanfic in general but also playing on some common jokes and tropes of the HP fandom in a delightful nudge nudge wink wink sort of way.
I really enjoyed the way Cath’s narrative was broken up with excerpts from Cath’s own writing and from the “canon” of the Simon Snow series. This was another audiobook endeavor for me, and both the narrators were wonderful. I enjoyed having a Jim-Dale-esque voice for the excerpts.
Finally, I really appreciated the realistic look at issues of mental illness and learning disabilities. I loved that a certain character talked about reading difficulties and used audiobooks, and I loved that Cath was wiling to read out loud to him and actually used that as a bonding method for their friendship.
So, thank you, Rainbow Rowell, for an emotionally satisfying story of fandom beyond “those HP geeks”. I know several fannish people for whom this book would make a wonderful high school graduation gift, but I do recommend it to anyone in fandom or in college. Fandom is definitely the backdrop of this story, but the heart of it is in how to form and maintain a variety of relationships, overcome obstacles, and follow your dreams.
12 / 50 Books in 2014

This was a real treasure of a book to me. It’s a magical story of fandom, family, friendship, and firsts.

Cather Avery is starting her first year of college, her first year away from her dad, her first year not rooming with her sister. How will she make friends? How will she do in creative writing, when she has to write her own things instead of fanfic?

Rainbow Rowell took me back to my first year of college in a wonderful, bittersweet way. Cath, as she prefers to be called, is shy and anxious and very relatable in this new place. She has very realistic and relatable family issues and school issues—overwhelming projects, misunderstandings with professors, fights with friends and family about serious issues, etc. Her relationships with her roommate, friends, and classmates were very realistic as well.

Rowell also took me back to my entry into fandom. I think I was in a sweet spot for this book in terms of my age (college ish) and my fandom background (mostly Harry Potter for a long, long time), since Cath’s primary focus is a book series very clearly meant to be a take-off on Harry Potter. Rowell did a fabulous job, in my opinion, capturing the essence of fandom and fanfic in general but also playing on some common jokes and tropes of the HP fandom in a delightful nudge nudge wink wink sort of way.

I really enjoyed the way Cath’s narrative was broken up with excerpts from Cath’s own writing and from the “canon” of the Simon Snow series. This was another audiobook endeavor for me, and both the narrators were wonderful. I enjoyed having a Jim-Dale-esque voice for the excerpts.

Finally, I really appreciated the realistic look at issues of mental illness and learning disabilities. I loved that a certain character talked about reading difficulties and used audiobooks, and I loved that Cath was wiling to read out loud to him and actually used that as a bonding method for their friendship.

So, thank you, Rainbow Rowell, for an emotionally satisfying story of fandom beyond “those HP geeks”. I know several fannish people for whom this book would make a wonderful high school graduation gift, but I do recommend it to anyone in fandom or in college. Fandom is definitely the backdrop of this story, but the heart of it is in how to form and maintain a variety of relationships, overcome obstacles, and follow your dreams.

12 / 50 Books in 2014

So, if you know me at all, you know that I am rather a fan of Diane Duane and her Young Wizards series. I’ve heard many people talk about how wonderful her Star Trek work is (and, as it says on amazon.com, “She has also worked with Star Trek in more media than anyone else alive.”), and this novel in particular has always been spoken of with great affection.
(She talks here about how this particular NYT bestseller came into existence, and does mention that Roberto Orci, writer of the 2009 movie Star Trek, picked this out as one of his favorites. (ctrl-F “Spock’s World” in that interview.))
So, with some help from a friend, I finally tracked it down and read it, and I’m so glad I did. As usual, her narrative style is terrific and her sci-fi is full of science. Young Wizards fans will appreciate casual mentions of blue food, among many more significant thematic parallels, such as living so as to reduce entropy.
The storytelling is a beautiful back-and-forth between “present day” troubles between Vulcan and Star Fleet versus the origin story of the planet and culture of Vulcan. I particularly love the detailed look at “mastery” of emotions and how/why Vulcans do that, in addition to the focus on Surak’s guidelines (commentary from DD here). The details of life aboard the Enterprise were also a treat.
Passing familiarity with Star Trek is recommended, but this story has a lot of value beyond its place in the Trek universe, and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in socio-political issues such as race relations. Next time I get my hands on it, I hope to read it again.
11 / 50 Books in 2014

So, if you know me at all, you know that I am rather a fan of Diane Duane and her Young Wizards series. I’ve heard many people talk about how wonderful her Star Trek work is (and, as it says on amazon.com, “She has also worked with Star Trek in more media than anyone else alive.”), and this novel in particular has always been spoken of with great affection.

(She talks here about how this particular NYT bestseller came into existence, and does mention that Roberto Orci, writer of the 2009 movie Star Trek, picked this out as one of his favorites. (ctrl-F “Spock’s World” in that interview.))

So, with some help from a friend, I finally tracked it down and read it, and I’m so glad I did. As usual, her narrative style is terrific and her sci-fi is full of science. Young Wizards fans will appreciate casual mentions of blue food, among many more significant thematic parallels, such as living so as to reduce entropy.

The storytelling is a beautiful back-and-forth between “present day” troubles between Vulcan and Star Fleet versus the origin story of the planet and culture of Vulcan. I particularly love the detailed look at “mastery” of emotions and how/why Vulcans do that, in addition to the focus on Surak’s guidelines (commentary from DD here). The details of life aboard the Enterprise were also a treat.

Passing familiarity with Star Trek is recommended, but this story has a lot of value beyond its place in the Trek universe, and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in socio-political issues such as race relations. Next time I get my hands on it, I hope to read it again.

11 / 50 Books in 2014

This is a powerful, poetic, and personable account of a young German girl in the time of the Holocaust, from the perspective of Death. Death is a fascinating and ultimately charming narrator. The characters he introduces us to are easy to latch on to, and I really enjoyed the freedom Death has to jump around in the timeline of the story.
I read part of this book in print/ebook and part on audiobook. I do heartily recommend the audiobook, because the narrator is amazing. However, if you do that, I suggest looking through a print book first so you can see and perhaps learn to recognise by hearing the cool formatting Death uses. I liked how he would break away from straight paragraph storytelling to use lists or bolded facts.
Also, it turns out that the middle of the book has illustrations(!!!) that were not described or mentioned anywhere in the audiobook and I was super disappointed. So be aware of that.
But oh man, this is a beautiful, worthwhile read.
10 / 50 Books in 2014

This is a powerful, poetic, and personable account of a young German girl in the time of the Holocaust, from the perspective of Death. Death is a fascinating and ultimately charming narrator. The characters he introduces us to are easy to latch on to, and I really enjoyed the freedom Death has to jump around in the timeline of the story.

I read part of this book in print/ebook and part on audiobook. I do heartily recommend the audiobook, because the narrator is amazing. However, if you do that, I suggest looking through a print book first so you can see and perhaps learn to recognise by hearing the cool formatting Death uses. I liked how he would break away from straight paragraph storytelling to use lists or bolded facts.

Also, it turns out that the middle of the book has illustrations(!!!) that were not described or mentioned anywhere in the audiobook and I was super disappointed. So be aware of that.

But oh man, this is a beautiful, worthwhile read.

10 / 50 Books in 2014

stgeorgelibrary:

It’s Children’s Book Week! 5/12-18

stgeorgelibrary:

It’s Children’s Book Week! 5/12-18

(via dduane)

books-to-the-ceiling:

This time through I listened to the audiobook. WOW the narrator was fabulous. I’ve now heard this book, First Test, and part of Mastiff (currently reading/listening) on tape, and they are all different narrators. I think I like the one for this book best. Absolutely wonderful.
It also took me hearing her accents for the Raka characters to realise that they are based on Indians (as in, from the subcontinent) in the same way that Yamanis are meant to be Japanese, the Scanrans Scandanavian, the Carthakis Egyptian, etc. In my first reading or two, I’d read the Raka as dark African-esque people. Indian makes a lot more sense, plot-wise, though.
25 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)

9 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

books-to-the-ceiling:

This time through I listened to the audiobook. WOW the narrator was fabulous. I’ve now heard this book, First Test, and part of Mastiff (currently reading/listening) on tape, and they are all different narrators. I think I like the one for this book best. Absolutely wonderful.

It also took me hearing her accents for the Raka characters to realise that they are based on Indians (as in, from the subcontinent) in the same way that Yamanis are meant to be Japanese, the Scanrans Scandanavian, the Carthakis Egyptian, etc. In my first reading or two, I’d read the Raka as dark African-esque people. Indian makes a lot more sense, plot-wise, though.

25 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)

9 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

books-to-the-ceiling:

books-to-the-ceiling:

Tagged as Tortall because that’s where Ali is from, and it’s the Tortall universe, not the Winding Circle universe. That said, most of this story takes place elsewhere.

24 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)

Reread again because I wanted to watch Mark Read these, and also free/easy audiobooks for the busy student teacher.
8 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

books-to-the-ceiling:

books-to-the-ceiling:

Tagged as Tortall because that’s where Ali is from, and it’s the Tortall universe, not the Winding Circle universe. That said, most of this story takes place elsewhere.

24 / 50 Books in 2013 (reread)

Reread again because I wanted to watch Mark Read these, and also free/easy audiobooks for the busy student teacher.

8 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

I had forgotten that each book had a different POV. Mendanbar is a gift. The gargoyle is a gift. Willin is a gift. The giantess is a gift. Everyone is a gift.
7 / 50 Books in 2014

I had forgotten that each book had a different POV. Mendanbar is a gift. The gargoyle is a gift. Willin is a gift. The giantess is a gift. Everyone is a gift.

7 / 50 Books in 2014

(via books-to-the-ceiling)

books-to-the-ceiling:

For the longest time I pronounced Cimorene as Simone…

More Mark Reads videos (though the ones for this series aren’t linked or reviewed on his site, just vids on YouTube). I will never not love these books. Cimorene’s friendship with Alianora is great, and so are her relationships with Kazul and Morwen. What great role models.
6 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

books-to-the-ceiling:

For the longest time I pronounced Cimorene as Simone…

More Mark Reads videos (though the ones for this series aren’t linked or reviewed on his site, just vids on YouTube). I will never not love these books. Cimorene’s friendship with Alianora is great, and so are her relationships with Kazul and Morwen. What great role models.

6 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

This is another childhood favorite I reread via Mark Reads on YouTube. Before I listened to his videos in February/March(?) of this year (so, well over six months ago), all I really remembered was the song that ended up being important, and that gur thl jub pynvzrq gb or qrnq jnfa’g npghnyyl, ng yrnfg nf bs gur fgneg bs gur obbx. Ohg V qvqa’g erzrzore jub ur ghearq bhg gb or. (You can decipher the gibberish, which is spoilery, at rot13.com).
To be entirely honest, this is such a strange and convoluted story that even now I don’t actually remember what the answer was. But it is such an enjoyable read, and the characters are all fascinating. It’s a giant extended character study of lots of cool people, and I love it.
5 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

This is another childhood favorite I reread via Mark Reads on YouTube. Before I listened to his videos in February/March(?) of this year (so, well over six months ago), all I really remembered was the song that ended up being important, and that gur thl jub pynvzrq gb or qrnq jnfa’g npghnyyl, ng yrnfg nf bs gur fgneg bs gur obbx. Ohg V qvqa’g erzrzore jub ur ghearq bhg gb or. (You can decipher the gibberish, which is spoilery, at rot13.com).

To be entirely honest, this is such a strange and convoluted story that even now I don’t actually remember what the answer was. But it is such an enjoyable read, and the characters are all fascinating. It’s a giant extended character study of lots of cool people, and I love it.

5 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

(via books-to-the-ceiling)

Sometime last year I discovered markdoesstuff, who reads/watches and reviews beloved books and tv shows in order to find out why people like them so much. He is a treasure that I invite you to discover for yourself. (Be aware that he swears a lot, if that’s something that concerns you.) (He’s actually a teddybear, though.) He makes commissioned youtube videos of himself reading the books out loud, and I have been relishing the free and entertaining “audiobooks” that can be made from playlists of his videos.
So, in January, when I found that he was reading a childhood favorite of mine, I decided that a re-listen was in order. I did a lot of thinking over the course of this re-listen, because I wrote one of my college admissions essays on how Ella inspired me to study languages, but I hadn’t actually reread the book since middle school at least. (Spoilers below)
I like how whole Ella is. I like how much we see of her beyond her curse. Shedid inspire me to study languages, because that was something she was naturally good at (not just magicked into doing it right because of having to be obedient), and also something she enjoyed. She demonstrated how skillful use of language (either your mother tongue or another) can get you out of tricky situations.
More to the point, she demonstrated how it can forge and solidify friendships and other relationships. I will never not be bitter about the lack of finishing school and Areida in the Ella Enchanted movie. (Well, and also that thing with the crown.) (And really, most of the movie.)
Anyway. Terrific book, glad I reread :)
4 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

Sometime last year I discovered markdoesstuff, who reads/watches and reviews beloved books and tv shows in order to find out why people like them so much. He is a treasure that I invite you to discover for yourself. (Be aware that he swears a lot, if that’s something that concerns you.) (He’s actually a teddybear, though.) He makes commissioned youtube videos of himself reading the books out loud, and I have been relishing the free and entertaining “audiobooks” that can be made from playlists of his videos.

So, in January, when I found that he was reading a childhood favorite of mine, I decided that a re-listen was in order. I did a lot of thinking over the course of this re-listen, because I wrote one of my college admissions essays on how Ella inspired me to study languages, but I hadn’t actually reread the book since middle school at least. (Spoilers below)

I like how whole Ella is. I like how much we see of her beyond her curse. Shedid inspire me to study languages, because that was something she was naturally good at (not just magicked into doing it right because of having to be obedient), and also something she enjoyed. She demonstrated how skillful use of language (either your mother tongue or another) can get you out of tricky situations.

More to the point, she demonstrated how it can forge and solidify friendships and other relationships. I will never not be bitter about the lack of finishing school and Areida in the Ella Enchanted movie. (Well, and also that thing with the crown.) (And really, most of the movie.)

Anyway. Terrific book, glad I reread :)

4 / 50 Books in 2014 (reread)

(via books-to-the-ceiling)

Margalit Fox is a magician with the pen in this first ever popularly accessible description of Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language—one of the first languages to be naturally born since before people began keeping records of language. I confess I am a linguist myself (and one with a particular interest in sign languages at that), but I was enchanted with how smoothly she moves between the narrative of her trip to Al-Sayyid in Israel, where the team was studying the language, and the history of sign language itself—American Sign Language in particular, among others.
Her writing is informative and scientifically both accurate and precise, but at the same time a fluent and enjoyable read, accessible to anyone who does not know the first thing about sign language or linguistics. Her descriptions of people made me feel like I was in the room with them. I look forward to more books from her.
3 / 50 Books in 2014

Margalit Fox is a magician with the pen in this first ever popularly accessible description of Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language—one of the first languages to be naturally born since before people began keeping records of language. I confess I am a linguist myself (and one with a particular interest in sign languages at that), but I was enchanted with how smoothly she moves between the narrative of her trip to Al-Sayyid in Israel, where the team was studying the language, and the history of sign language itself—American Sign Language in particular, among others.

Her writing is informative and scientifically both accurate and precise, but at the same time a fluent and enjoyable read, accessible to anyone who does not know the first thing about sign language or linguistics. Her descriptions of people made me feel like I was in the room with them. I look forward to more books from her.

3 / 50 Books in 2014

Another delightful installment from Tamora Pierce :) It was very fun to witness the discovery of Luvo, and to see more of Evvy coming into her own. The development of Gyonxe and Yanjing was a pleasure to read as well.
it was also nice to see bits from Rosethorn’s perspective. Obviously the protagonists are the young people, but their mentors are so fascinating. I particularly appreciated the light shed on her relationships with Lark and Crane.
2 / 50 Books in 2014

Another delightful installment from Tamora Pierce :) It was very fun to witness the discovery of Luvo, and to see more of Evvy coming into her own. The development of Gyonxe and Yanjing was a pleasure to read as well.

it was also nice to see bits from Rosethorn’s perspective. Obviously the protagonists are the young people, but their mentors are so fascinating. I particularly appreciated the light shed on her relationships with Lark and Crane.

2 / 50 Books in 2014