An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney

Not for me, but I can see the appeal for kids. Realistic-ish situations in the life of an average kid. Very easy to read. Lots of pictures and mischief.

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I'm not a fan of Neil Gaiman, but a coworker recommended this one and I needed something like it to complete my summer reading bingo card.

 

Sometimes it seems like Gaiman is going for a myth-y, grand stately feeling with his writing. Other times the writing is very casual. In the long run I didn't mind these swings because the stories are good (and often very funny), and I learned a lot about Norse mythology.

The Last Summer (of You and Me)

The Last Summer (of You and Me) - Ann Brashares

A marshmallow book. Light and (mostly) fluffy. It's nothing groundbreaking, but the writing is good, and I enjoy coming back to it every so often (unlike the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series which seems to have completely lost its magic now that I'm no longer 15).

Danny the Champion of the World

Danny the Champion of the World - Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl

One of Roald Dahl's less weird books, similar to Esio Trot. Parts are funny, parts are ridiculous, and I will never love it as much as the ones I read as a child (which are of course much more funny and more ridiculous).

All's Faire in Middle School

All's Faire in Middle School - Victoria Jamieson

I find that MG comics don't give me the same feelings that really good MG fiction does even when the elements are often the same. This is a typical friendship, school, family story tied in with the ren faire which was a really fun addition. Very similar to other contemporary MG comics particularly Telgemeier.

Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen

Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen - Debbi Michiko Florence

A cute, easy read. Good for anyone looking for a diverse, contemporary story. Similar reads include The Year of the Book, Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu, Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream, and Yang family series.

Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman - Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori

A very weird book that I related to (but not too much) and read at the right time.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea (A Narwhal and Jelly Book) - Ben Clanton

So many puns! Plus marine biology facts which are cool. A good alternative to Piggie and Elephant which I can no longer recommend for reasons (which makes me sad).

Murder Most Unladylike

Murder Most Unladylike - Robin  Stevens

I particularly liked the dynamic between Hazel and Daisy. I was nervous about Hazel's character but don't remember anything offensive about the way she was written. A good girl detective series. Would pair with Friday Barnes (for the boarding school aspect).

Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art - Scott McCloud

A really interesting look at comics through comics.

 

There were a few bizarre ideas in the book like the one that “[t]he more cartoony a face is, for instance, the more people it could be said to describe.” (Technically true but ignores a lot of issues in interpretation. Think of a stick figure. Without any defining characteristics, it is seen as the default which in America is a white man.)

 

Some of the book feels slightly dated. I would love an updated version on how comics have changed since 1994.

Bob

Bob - Wendy Mass

This book was uneven for me. I really enjoyed parts but other parts were just OK. The ending felt abrupt. Maybe the book needed to be a little bit longer?

The Princess in Black

The Princess in Black - Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham

Cute early reader series. Great illustrations.

Lumberjanes Vol 8

Lumberjanes, Vol. 8: Stone Cold  - Shannon Watters

I have Lumberjanes 10 checked out and it's Parents' Day which is exciting because I think something might finally happen that moves the story forward. I don't remember this volume at all. It was probably mostly filler, but I've generally enjoyed this series, so 3.5 stars.

Redwall

Redwall - Brian Jacques

This book is like Ender's Game in that it's very good and I enjoyed reading it a lot but if I ever recommend it to anyone I'll feel really bad. 

 

I wasn't excited about reading Redwall. Animal fantasies aren't my thing really, especially this type of historical-ish fantasy. But once I started reading, it was good, the characters and the story drew me in. There are some pretty good female characters too which I wasn't expecting. 

 

However, there is some British racism throughout the book, hence why I don't recommend anyone else read it. Jacques uses the term g***y a few times and the term raghead once. The way that the Sparrows speak is reminiscent of stereotypical "Indians" from Hollywood (not a good look) [link to come when I'm not at work]. The animals living outside the abbey are generally portrayed as simple and/or savage. There's just lots of casual stereotypes and racial slurs sprinkled throughout the book that made parts difficult to read (literally in the case of the Sparrows' speech). 

 

This is the first in the series, so Jacques might get better as the books go along. I'm not planning on reading any more, so I guess I'll never know. I really hope they do though since parts of the series are really great. 

 

ETA: This was from NPR's Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf list. I'm reading The Birchbark House next to make myself feel better 

A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea  - Ursula K. Le Guin

Another from NPR's Backseat Bookshelf.

 

The rating is solely because I don't like high fantasy (I do like low fantasy). I'm pretty sure this A Wizard of Earthsea is good since most people who do like high fantasy like Le Guin and the Earthsea series. If I wanted long descriptions of fantasy worlds and life at wizard school and battles with a mysterious shadow being, I would have loved it.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins - Mary Shepard, P.L. Travers

Another Backseat Bookshelf read. 

 

Reminiscent of Paddington in that each chapter reads like a self-contained adventure. I liked some better than others. Also the use of "Red Indian" at the very end of the book was a big turnoff.