I had a fantastic day at the thrift store yesterday. I got most of the pieces for a Lego Transport Truck set and a Lightning McQueen set1 all for under $5. In addition, I ended up with 16 books!
Someone was getting rid of their Roald Dahl Collection so I ended up with 11 books by Dahl. I actually already had 2 copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and one copy of The BFG already. However, these all matched nicely and were the UK edition which, since Dahl is from the UK, seemed appropriate2. In addition, I got two Newbery Medal winners, a sequel to a Newbery winner, another random sequel, and then the “new” The New Way Things Work.
Books I’ve finished recently:
- Poetry: Love Poems, by Nikki Giovanni – Ok, poetry is hard for me to appreciate. In addition, I felt there was a lot of history I was lacking to understand this collection. Nikki Giovanni is a Black American who imbues her poetry with a lot of her fight for civil rights and equality. I think I need to do more reading to really start understanding some of the poems. That being said, I really did like her poem titled “There is no reason to ask.” It talks about the uselessness of trying to find reason in actions that can’t be understood3.
- Mystery: The Crossing Places, by Ruth Galloway – A good mystery with an archaeologist as the protagonist. For the most part I liked it but there was a personal element that made me a bit uneasy. I’m still deciding if I’ll read the next in the series.
- Young Adult Fantasy: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson – This was a very interesting novel. I liked that the protagonist wasn’t very self-confident and every one around her seemed to feel it was justified. I can think of a lot of YA novels where the heroine starts out being marginalized by society but has a lot of inner confidence. I found it really interesting to Elisa’s growth.
- Young Adult Fantasy: Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo – Yet another young adult fantasy but I’m having good luck with them recently. This was another good one, though a bit on the dark side sometimes. Alina, the protagonist, is ordinary and wants to stay that way so she can stay close to her childhood friend. However, when they’re threatened her true nature asserts itself and she’s saves the day. Unfortunately, this brings her to the notice of powerful people who want to use her to further their agenda. Part of the book resolves by the end but it’s definitely meant to have a sequel (which happens to be sitting on my shelf now ready to be read).
- Regency Romance: Keeping the Castle, by Patrice Kindl – This was a charming read. I label it a regency romance but it feels a little more traditional than most of the romances are these days. I can’t explain the difference but it was a nice read.
- Paranormal (but not romance) Fantasy: This Case is Gonna Kill Me, by Phillipa Bornikova – Reviews on Amazon are mixed but I liked this novel a lot. It’s set in modern day world where vampires, among others, exist. Apparently most of the prominent law firms are run by vampires and Linnet, the protagonist, is lucky to be employed in one. Unfortunately, one of the partners doesn’t like her and so she gets assigned to a very low profile case, which turns out to not be quite so low profile after all. If you’re hoping for a romance, this is a deep disappointment. However, I enjoyed the story. It did have one thread that was very obviously left untied, presumably for a sequel. Since I wasn’t particularly invested in that thread, it didn’t bother me.
- Realistic/General Fiction: The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister. This was a charming read that I easily finished in one night after supper. I don’t remember why I picked it up but it feels a little like some of Sarah Addison Allen’s books.
- Juvenile Fiction: Fatapoufs and Thinifers, by Andre Maurois – I ran across this book on Gail Carriger’s Blog, she of the Parasol Protectorate series. I’m always looking for good chapter books for Calvin that aren’t too mature for a four-year-old. I’ve found that more classics fit this bill than contemporary books. Anyway, it’s out of print at the moment but I hunted it down and found a copy at the University of Colorado which I was able to get via Prospector. I was excited but was not expecting the fairly fragile item I received. I quickly decided this was not something I could have around a child and instead read it to myself so I would know if I should pick up any used copies I stumbled across. Ms. Carriger said it reminded her a bit of The Phantom Tollbooth, which Calvin enjoys even though he can’t possibly understand most of it. It does have some of the same type of humor and absurd situations in it but the book isn’t as complicated. If I see a copy handy somewhere I’ll definitely grab it up for Calvin.
- General Fiction/Mystery: The Heist, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg – This was an audio book listen. It was ok.
- Fantasy: Witch, by Marie Brennan – I borrowed this from Anya and felt it was a slightly stronger book than the first one in the series. However, that might just have been personal preference.
- Young Adult Fantasy: Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta – This was a very good young adult fantasy. I had been resisting for a long time because of the title, which sounded corny to me. However, after reading the book, the title makes sense. Anyway, it follows a male protagonist4 who is an exile from a kingdom that has been cursed. He ends up being saddled with a mouthy girl from a convent. I liked this book because it had a lot of commentary about how people treat each other and mistakes people make that they later regret. Many parts of the book were depressing but it had a good ending.
- Romance: The Arrangement, by Mary Balogh – This was a book I got via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. It was a good read. Mary Balogh writes well and it was interesting having a hero that was blind. So, a good book but probably not one I’ll re-read because I prefer more sparkly banter in my romances.
- Juvenile Fiction: The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry – This was my most recent audio book. It is a tongue-in-cheek story about “old-fashioned” children growing up in modern times. It was really fun. A good story for Calvin to read when he gets older.
I just finished all my books and might get the chance to start another one tonight, if I ever finish this post.
Current Goal Counts:
|Biography, Autobiography, Memoir||2||2|
|Fiction Books Jaeger Recommends||2||1|
|Short Story Anthologies||2||2|
- We ended up being very, very lucky. The there were 3 Lego boxes that were all taped shut. I got these two but declined one that I think was from the Hero Factory line of products. I know it’s snooty of me but I have trouble thinking of these as “real” Legos. Anyway, it turns out I should have bought it because I ended up with pieces from it anyway and that box might have had one or two pieces for our set. In addition I ended up with a couple pieces of the Tripod Invader. We ended up pretty lucky because the pieces we are missing are fairly generic and if I scrounge we probably have replacements with existing Legos. However, I went back to the Thrift Store anyway intending to buy the other set. However, someone else had already bought it. I feel bad for them because based on what we have, there’s no way they can even approximate what it’s suppose to be. Thus is the luck of the thrift store shopper. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose . . . ↩
- I still don’t understand why publishers feel the need to “Americanize” English in US editions. ↩
- Well, at least that’s what I took from it. Given it’s poetry there could be a swath of meanings that I’m missing. ↩
- Look, I’m reading a book about a boy. I really need to get over my hang-up with male protagonists at some point. ↩