Tater’s February 2021 in Books

It is March 1. That means it is time for my monthly review of what I read last month. Again, in order of read, not enjoyment

1. Broken by Jenny Lawson – I got this one from a Goodreads contest. I didn’t even know I won. The book just arrived on my porch one day. That was a pleasant surprise. As with her other books, she discusses her battle with depression and anxiety. She explores her experimental treatment of transcranial magnetic stimulation. She talks about her frustration with her insurance company. Very tough subjects, but done in a way that makes you laugh while also feeling her pain. Lawson is one of the favorite authors and I enjoyed new words from her. I would recommend all of her books. You can read her blog here.

2. Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi – This is a very short book about two siblings with extraordinary power. It starts when Ella is a child and Kev is born and takes us through their adulthood when Kev is incarcerated and then out on parole. Ella visits him both in person and supernaturally and shows him a possible future of a revolution that burns down the new fascist society. The book definitely kept me reading. It was a little hard to follow as it had time jumps and I had a hard time figuring out how much time had passed and how old they were through a good portion of the book. I would recommend it, though.

3/ Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson – A book in verse about the son of an NFL player dealing with how CTE has changed his dad. His dad is a star tight end who has suffered multiple concussions. His headaches get so bad he has to stop playing while the doctors try to figure out what is causing the headaches, mood changes, and memory loss. It takes place before CTE was a known result of the constant head injuries football players deal with. Woodson is a very good author and this is another very good one from her. I recommend you read anything she has written.

4. Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour – Darren lives in Bed-Stuy. He was valedictorian at his high school but opted not to go to college. He is working at a Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building and has no desire for anything different. This all changes when a encounter with Rhett Daniels, the CEO of New York’s hottest tech startup results in Darren being offered a spot on his elite sales team. He is given the nickname Buck by the racist head of sales. As he gets more immersed with Rhett and makes more money he changes and is estranged from his mom and his friends in Bed-Stuy. A tragedy at home and a scandal at work sets ups a chain of events that changes everything. I loved this book. It is compelling. It is funny. It is well written. It has great characters This could easily end up being the book I most recommend this year.

5. Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman – This is the latest in the Alex Delaware series. In this one, Milo is asked to take on a very cold case when a wealthy woman pulls strings to get it reopened. It is the case of a woman found with a bullet in her head in a car crashed off the hills on Mulholland Drive. It seems like an unsolvable case, but as they investigate they find too many coincidences and discover someone is trying to stop the investigation. I love the Delaware novels and this one is as good as the rest. Milo and Alex are a good investigative duo. Old favorites pop up in supporting roles. The mystery is a good one. I would recommend it, but I’m also a “read in order” guy, so go start from the beginning of the series.

6. Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth – This was one of the award winners from the ALA Youth Media Awards. It is a memoir in verse. Gansworth tells the story of his life growing up on the Tuscarora reservation in New York. He also tells a little about his grandparents being sent to boarding school as kids to learn to be more like white people. I really wanted to like this more Kind of like I really wanted to like the one fiction book of his I read more than I did. He has a moving story, but unlike other books in verse, this one just didn’t draw me in at all. I was bored a lot. I probably should have given up on it and moved on to something that I found more appealing. I’m not sure what the people who gave it a Printz Honor Award saw in it.

7. This is my Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio – Jocelyn Wu is a junior in high school. Her parents own a Chinese restaurant in Utica. When her dad says they might need to move back to NYC so he can work for family there she tries to help bring the restaurant to modern times to save it. Will Domenici is a junior at the local private school who wants to find a paying summer internship. Jocelyn hires him to help with marketing the restaurant. They, of course, fall in love. It is complicated by Jos’s parents’ prejudice, Will’s anxiety and Jos’s possible depression. I always like a good YA romance and this one was very good, if maybe a tad bit too long. It was nice to have diverse characters – Will’s mom is Nigerian, the Wu’s are Chinese, Jos’s best friend is Indian-American – and characters dealing realistically with mental illness. I would recommend.

8. We Are Not Free by Traci Chee – This is an account of a group of young second-generation Japanese American citizens in San Francisco whose lives are changed by the mass US incarcerations of World War II. The story is told through the eyes of different teens as were move from the rumors of “evacuation” after Pearl Harbor into the incarceration camps. We follow their lives in the camps. We follow two of them to the front lines of the war as they fight to prove their loyalty to the country. We follow some families to a more secure camp after they refuse to say yes to a loyalty contract. We eventually follow them back to San Francisco after the war. It took me a couple of days to get into the book. It was an abrupt change from the romance book from before. My daughter loved it, so I kept reading. Eventually, I got to the point where I couldn’t put the book down. I was completely invested in their lives and wanted to follow them to better times. I would highly recommend this one.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/19/21

It’s been a week with a Monday holiday, a birthday and an ice storm. I used this as an excuse to do more reading and TV watching. Next week I guess I will have to go back to a more productive life. Here is my week in reading and viewing.

Movies – We completely forgot that we planned to watch Hillbilly Elegy last weekend. Instead, we ended up with the DVD of Love and Monsters. My daughter loves Dylan O’Brien so it immediately jumped to the top of the list. It is set in a world where bombing an asteroid heading to earth caused radiation to come down and mutate cold blooded animals into giant monsters. O’Brien’s character, Joel, is separated from his girlfriend when they both flee with their families. Seven years later the military and the biggest of the monsters have killed each other off and there are small communities of humans surviving underground. When Joel discovers his girlfriend is alive and in a community 80 miles away, he embarks on a journey aboveground to find her. If you don’t think too hard about the premise, it is a fun movie. O’Brien is good as always. It veers from the expected a few times and doesn’t have a neat, happy ending. I would recommend it.

TV – I watched two new shows this week: Young Rock and Kenan. You can read my reviews of them here. We watched some shows that our daughter watches with us. Superstore, American Housewife, and All Rise. All Rise and Superstore are two of the shows that are doing a better job of handling being set in the pandemic. They aren’t perfect, but they are much better than most other shows. I used the afternoon of my birthday to catch up on WandaVision since my family seemed uninterested. I was happy that episode four started to move more into a Marvel type story and wasn’t just the weird old sitcom story. We are still working through our DVR’ed shows. We generally make it through two or three a night. We start after the 7PM airing of Jeopardy(I’m going to miss Ken next week) and I generally give up and go to bed around 10. Soon I’m afraid I will reach a critical level with DVR space.

Books – I finished two books this week

Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman – This is the latest in the Alex Delaware series. In this one Milo is asked to take on a very cold case when a wealthy woman pulls strings to get it reopened. It is the case of a woman found with a bullet in her head in a car crashed off the hills on Mulholland Drive. It seems like an unsolvable case, but as they investigate they find too many coincidences and discover someone is trying to stop the investigation. I love the Delaware novels and this one is as good as the rest. Milo and Alex are a good investigative duo. Old favorites pop up in supporting roles. The mystery is a good one. I would recommend it, but I’m also a “read in order” guy, so go start from the beginning of the series.

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth – This was one of the award winners from the ALA Youth Media Awards. It is a memoir in verse. Gansworth tells the story of his life growing up on the Tuscarora reservation in New York. He also tells a little about his grandparents being sent to boarding school as kids to learn to be more like white people. I really wanted to like this more Kind of like I really wanted to like the one fiction book of his I read more than I did. He has a moving story, but unlike other books in verse, this one just didn’t draw me in at all. I was bored a lot. I probably should have given up on it and moved on to something that I found more appealing. I’m not sure what the people who gave it a Printz Honor Award saw in it.

On Deck – We have Honest Thief on DVD. A Liam Neeson action movie. My wife’s favorite. I might sleep through it. Eventually, my son will give me Tenet back and I will watch it and get it back to the library. I really want to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, but I don’t think it will happen this week. I will watch the newest episode of WandaVision today or tomorrow. Snowfall starts back this week, so I will have one more show I watch alone. I would like to try Clarice this week so we can decide if I need to keep recording it. I will continue my re-watch of Greek. I am reading This is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregario.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/12/21

Another week is almost over. The end of winter is in sight. Warmer weather might mean more time reading on the deck. I might trade screen time for book time. Or not. I guess we will see. Here’s my last week in reading and viewing.

Movies – We watched one new movie tis week. The Little Things on HBO Max. I’m loving all the new movies coming to HBO Max the same day as the theatrical release. This one stars Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. Washington is a former LA homicide detective who is now with a Sheriff’s department north of LA. He is sent to L to get evidence and is drawn into a homicide investigation led by Malek. Leto is the guy they suspect of being the killer. I enjoyed the movie. It is not for someone who needs a lot of action or a clear cut ending. It is slow moving, perhaps a little too long. It’s a good story with a great cast and an open ending. I would recommend it to people who like drama and detective stories and don’t mind not knowing all of the answers at the end of the movie.

TV – I don’t think I watched anything new on TV this week. We’ve been watching a lot of the Canadian import Nurses. I know people have complained that it is not realistic but I don’t really care if it accurately portrays the job of a nurse. I like the cast and it is a nice way to spend 40 minutes or so. We watch Resident Alien the day after it airs. It is a weird, fun little show that my wife weirdly loves. I’m still working my way through my rewatch of Greek. I’ve had the TV on the impeachment trial during the day while I am writing/reading. Watching the poor performance of the defense lawyers reminded me of the time I was on a jury. Watching the video of the break in at the Capitol reminded me of a scary day when I was in college. The extra footage showing how close they got to people in the building was chilling.

Books – I finished three books this week

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi – This is a very short book about two siblings with extraordinary power. It starts when Ella is a child and Kev is born and takes us through their adulthood when Kev is incarcerated and then out on parole. Ella visits him both in person and supernaturally and shows him a possible future of a revolution that burns down the new fascist society. The book definitely kept me reading. It was a little hard to follow as it had time jumps and I had a hard time figuring out how much time had passed and how old they were though a good portion of the book. I would recommend it, though.

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson – A boo in verse about the son of an NFL player dealing with how CTE has changed his dad. His dad is an NFL tight end who has had multiple concussions. His headaches get so bad he has to stop playing while the doctors try to figure out what is causing headaches, mood changes and memory loss. The book takes place before we knew about CTE. Woodson is a great author and this is a very good book. I recommend you read anything by Woodson that you can find.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour – I put a hold on this one after reading a rave review in the Washington Post. Darren lives in Bed-Stuy. He was valedictorian at his high school. but opted not to go to college. He is working at a Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building and has no desire for anything different. This all changes when a encounter with Rhett Daniels, the CEO of New York’s hottest tech startup results in Darren being offered a spot on his elite sales team. He is given the nickname Buck by the racist head of sales. As he gets more immersed with Rhett and makes more money he changes and is estranged from his mom and his friends in Bed-Stuy. A tragedy at home and a scandal at work sets ups a chain of events that changes everything. I loved this book. It is compelling. It is funny. It is well written. It has great characters This could easily end up being the book I most recommend this year.

On Deck – My daughter will be home this weekend and has asked me to watch Hillbilly Elegy with her. I also have the DVD of Tenet from the library. We will catch up on some of the shows she watches with us while she is here. I am currently reading the new Alex Delaware novel Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman.

The Guilty Reader Tag

I found this over on Life and Other Disasters yesterday and decided I would make it my post for today. Generally, I feel no guilt about my reading unless I feel guilty about reading when I could be doing something others would consider more productive. Let’s get to the questions to see if I have guilt elsewhere.

One. Have You Ever Re-Gifted A Book You’ve Been Given?

Books I’ve been given as gifts – no. I would be too afraid I would accidentally give it back to the person who gave it to me. Books I’ve been given at conferences – yes. I have picked up multiple books, ARCS and otherwise at conferences and then used them as gifts.

Two. Have You Ever Said You’ve Read A Book When You Haven’t?

No. I see no reason to lie about having read a book. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I might not remember if I’ve read a book, so I guess it’s possible I might have assumed I read a book when I didn’t.

Three. Have You Ever Borrowed A Book And Not Returned It?

Yes. I still have my brother’s copy of The Punch by John Feinstein. I still haven’t read it. I’m not sure when or if I will ever read it and give it back to him. I should feel bad about it. He doesn’t read a lot and I’ve stolen one of the few books he owns.

Four. Have You Ever Read A Series Out Of Order?

Not on purpose. I’m very much a “read in order” reader even when it is a series that can be read out of order without really missing anything. I have on occasion read a book and realized at some point that it is not the first book in a series. Just recently I read a book that was a companion book to another one I’d read and realized there was a middle book connecting them that I had missed.

Five. Have You Ever Spoiled A Book For Someone?

If I have I don’t remember doing it. There are times I’ve told someone about a book and, after they confirmed they would never read it, told them how it ended. I would never spoil a book if I thought the person was going to read it.

Six. Have You Ever Dogeared A Book?

I’m sure I’ve done this before. I would never dogear a library book or a book that belongs to someone else. I would never dogear a book I plan to keep on my personal shelves. If I had an old paperback book I was taking on a trip and planned to leave behind I wouldn’t hesitate to do it if I didn’t have a bookmark.

Seven. Have You Ever Told Someone You Don’t Own A Book When You Do?

I don’t see a reason I would do this. I guess you would do it to avoid loaning it to someone? I would just be honest and tell the person I don’t loan my books. I have forgotten that I own a book and then bought a second copy only to discover the copy I already own on the shelf when I go to shelve the new copy.

Eight. Have You Ever Skipped A Chapter Or A Section Of A Book?

I definitely did this in school. When reading for pleasure I have skimmed over sections quite often. I’ve never just skipped a section because I would feel like I’ve missed something. The skimming happens a lot on books like Game of Thrones with multiple character viewpoints. I find some characters very boring and skim them when it gets tedious.

Nine. Have You Ever Bad Mouthed A Book You Actually Liked?

I don’t think so. I don’t see why I would, Because others are bad mouthing it? I don’t care enough about what others think to do that. If I’m in book club and everyone else hated the book I wouldn’t lie and say I hated it. I won’t waste any effort to try to plead my case for the book, but I would admit I liked it.

I guess I would say I said yes to 4 of the 9. 3 definites and two kind ofs, so I will stick with 4. Not too bad.

feel free to play along in the comments or in your own post.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/5/21

I’m now at the point where every week is basically the same. I write in the morning while listening to music. I take the dog for a walk. I might do some cleaning in the afternoon I watch Greek in the late afternoon while waiting for my wife to finish work. We eat dinner and then watch TV. A lot of these weekly recap posts will be very similar because all of my weeks are very similar. Here is what I read and watched this week.

Movies – I didn’t have any new movies on DVD from the library. We didn’t watch any of the new movies that are streaming. My wife did ask me one night if I wanted to watch a movie, but it was almost 9 and I knew there was no point in starting a movie then unless I was OK with sleeping through it. I did watch two old movies this week. Sunday afternoon I watched Any Given Sunday on HBO Max. I wanted to watch it last year on Super Bowl Sunday, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I was happy to find it was streaming. It has a great cast and I love a good sports movie. On Groundhog Day I was happy to see AMC was showing Groundhog Day all day. Last year I couldn’t find it anywhere. I love this movie every time I watch it. Here is a picture of me recreating part of the movie for a social media post at work last year.

TV – Nothing of note really in the TV realm. We are just continuing to catch up on all the shows we watch together. I am still watching Greek in the afternoon. I have been surprised by the random people who had small parts on the show. Dave Franco is one of the Kappa Taus. Danny Pudi is in a few episodes. Max Greenfield has an arc as Calvin’s boyfriend. Jesse Williams is in a couple of episodes. Olivia Munn is in a few episodes. The Plain White T’s play Kappa Taus who have a and that play at parties. One of my favorite bands, The Dollyrots, are in an episode. It’s fun finding all of them in random episodes. We have watched multiple episodes of Big Sky. It has become our favorite new show. My wife strangely loves Resident Alien on SyFy. It is not the type of show she would normally watch.

Books – I finished two books this week

Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale – I got this one for my daughter who is a fan of Hale’s books. She didn’t read it, but I decided to give it a go since it was in the house. It is a YA book about a girl who was a big deal in high school due to her talent in the school musicals. She flops when she tries to make it on Broadway, gets a job as a nanny, and moves to Montana with the family. While there she stops into a bookstore and decided to start reading again. She discovers that the glasses the bookstore guy gave her puts her physically in the story she is reading. It was a decent book, but not one of my favorites.

Broken by Jenny Lawson – I entered Goodreads contest to win this book. I never heard anything so I assumed I didn’t win. I was pleasantly surprised when a copy was delivered to my house. It immediately became my next read. I love Jenny Lawson’s writing and wish I could write like her. I think I agree with my friend that it isn’t quite as good as her other books, but it was still very good. It was funny. It had very honest talk about dealing with mental illness. If you haven’t read her books yet you should find one and get to reading.

On Deck – I think we might finally watch The Little Things on HBO Max this weekend. Tough As Nails season 2 starts this week. It is a reality show where blue collar workers compete in team and individual challenges. We liked season 1 a lot more than we expected. The Super Bowl is Sunday night. I hope the commercials are good. I am currently reading Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi and might finish it today.

Tater’s January 2021 in Books

I decided to do a monthly review of the books I have read. Here is what I read in the month of January in order of when I finished.

  1. The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus This was started by George Romero and then completed by Kraus after Romero died. I’m sure you can figure out by the title and author that it is a zombie novel. It is a 656 page zombie novel. It is a commitment. I would not recommend it to anyone who is hesitant about reading a zombie novel. The majority of the book is split into individual stories. An autistic government employee tracks the outbreak and then collects the stories of survivors. These survivors include the medical examiners who first had a body come to life, a news anchor who stays on the air to provide updates, sailors on an aircraft carrier and a black teen from a Midwestern trailer park. The stories eventually connect, but a little too late for me . There were some really good individual stories, a couple of slower ones and then the ending sort of fizzled.
  2. The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton – I had a found copy of this in the house and decided it was a good gap book until I decided what to read next. It tells the story of the US president who is being investigated for possible treason while the nation is under threat of an attack. The president goes missing to meet alone with someone who has information about the attack. It is a race against time to stop the attack and find the real traitor. This is better than most of the recent Patterson books I’ve read, but has the same problem as most of his books – the protagonist is too perfect and bulletproof. If you like Patterson, you will like this one.
  3. 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – Pinky is tired of her conservative parents criticizing all of her decision, especially her choice of boyfriends. Samir likes to play things safe and likes things predictable and steady. inky is at her summer house with her parents. Samir’s DC internship has fallen through. Pinky decides she needs a fake, more suitable boyfriend to placate her parents and promises Samir an internship with her lawyer mom if he becomes that fake boyfriend. Samir agrees and spends the rest of the summer pretending to be Pinky’s boyfriend. Of course, they eventually really fall in love. This is a nice, sweet teen romance. Menon is really good at this type of book. This is the 3rd book I’ve read by her.
  4. The Shadows by Alex North – When Paul Adams was a teen, two of his friends murdered another of his friends. One of those murderers, Charlie Crabtree disappeared after the murders. Now, years later, Paul returns home when he gets word his mom is ill. Around the same time, a copycat murder takes place in a nearby town and odd things start happening around Paul. Is it possible Charlie is back? This is probably the best book I read this month. I was hooked from the start. There was a twist I wasn’t expecting and the ending was satisfying. It is dark and creepy, but very good.
  5. Deadly Cross by James Patterson – I loved all of the early James Patterson books and the Alex Cross ones were some of my favorites. I still read the new Cross books even though I have generally stopped reading Patterson books. In this one, Alex investigates the murder of the ex-wife of the vice president and the principal of the school his daughter attends. He also is investigating the rape and murder of several teen girls in the area. They may be connected in some way. The story is decent. It is a fast read. The entire Cross family is still too perfect and it just makes the whole thing ridiculous.
  6. Majesty by Katherine McGee This is the sequel to American Royals. It takes place in a world where George Washington became King of America and follows the current day American royal family. In this one Beatrice has become the first Queen of America and is preparing to marry. Her sister Samantha is still dealing with the fact that her sister is marrying her crush while their brother Jefferson is getting over his breakup with Samantha’s best friend. Generally, a lot of romantic hijinks set around the American palace in DC. I enjoyed the books, but would like to see one that is not just based around the romantic entanglements of the royal kids.
  7. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – This is the prequel to The Hate U Give. It follows 17 year old Maverick Carter as he deals with the news that he is about to become a father. The mother is the girlfriend of his best friend King. Around the same time, his cousin Dre, one of the leaders of the King Lords discovers Mav and King have been dealing drugs on the side. He offers Mav the chance to go straight. Mav gets a job at the local grocery store, but then questions his decision when he gets the news his ex girlfriend is pregnant and a second kid is on the way. I loved The Hate U Give and liked this one even more. Mav is a great character and we see his growth as he struggles with fatherhood at 17, the death of a family member, and his desire to eave the gang life. Highly recommend.
  8. Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale Josie Pie was supposed to be a star. She was Kind if a Big Deal in high school. She was the lead in all of the school musicals. She got an audition on Broadway, dropped out of school and headed to New York. It all fell apart. Her dream of stardom gone, she takes a job as a nanny and moves with the family to Montana. As she deals with the loss of her dream and being distant from her friend and boyfriend, she decides to start reading again and finds herself actually in the book. She becomes the lead in a romance, a zombie novel, a YA rom-com, etc. The longer she stays in the book, the harder it is to get out. Will she find a story so good she stays forever? Not my favorite of the month. A little too long and the main character was not likable enough to really invest in her story. It was a interesting concept.

ALA Youth Media Awards

I just watched the presentation of the ALA Youth Media Awards. I had a pen and notebook and jotted down the titles even though I knew I would be able to get the list online as soon as it was over. Sometimes I’m very old. I focused on the books for teens, because back before I was an unemployed slacker I did a lot of work in teen literature. I was hoping I would have more to say about the winners, but I have read few on the list. Here are some highlights:

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. – This Light Between Us written by Andrew Fukuda

The Sydney Taylor Book Award – “Dancing at the Pity Party,” written and illustrated by Tyler Feder. The honor book for teens in this category was “They Went Left” by Monica Hesse. That is significant for me as Hesse is a columnist for the Washington Post who I read regularly.

Schneider Family Book Award – “This Is My Brain in Love,” written by I.W. Gregorio

Stonewall Book Award – “We Are Little Feminists: Families,” written by Archaa Shrivastav

Coretta Scott King Author Award – “Before the Ever After,” written by Jacqueline Woodson – I love Woodson and have had the opportunity to hear her speak in person. One of the honor books was “All the Days Past, All the Days to Come,” written by Mildred D. Taylor. This is a continuation of the story of the Logan family. I love her books. I was lucky and got an ARC of it way back last summer at a conference.

Alex Awards – This is usually y favorite award. Is is for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences. I always find some favorites from this list. I’ve read one of this year’s already.

“Black Sun,” by Rebecca Roanhorse – I read this one. It was a slow start, but I’ve loved Roanhorse’s other books so I gave it some time and ended up enjoying the story. I will read the next in the series. Other people said they were hooked from the start.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea,” by TJ Klune

“The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone,” by Colin O’Brady

“Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio,” by Derf Backderf

“The Kids Are Gonna Ask,” by Gretchen Anthony

“The Only Good Indians,” by Stephen Graham Jones

“Plain Bad Heroines,” by emily m. danforth

“Riot Baby,” by Tochi Onyebuchi

“Solutions and Other Problems,” by Allie Brosh

“We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel,” by Quan Barry

William C. Morris Award – “If These Wings Could Fly,” written by Kyrie McCauley. I have read one of the honor books, The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed and enjoyed it.

John Newbery Medal – “When You Trap a Tiger,” written by Tae Keller. This award is hit or miss for me based on the lower age range. I usually at least look at the book, but since I no longer work at a library I will probably skip it this year.

Randolph Caldecott Medal – “We Are Water Protectors,” illustrated by Michaela Goade. This is the award for picture books. Again, if I was working I would look at it. Now, probably not.

Michael L. Printz Award – I am listing the honor books and the winner here since this is the bog award for someone like me who reads a lot of teen literature.

Honor books:

“Apple (Skin to the Core),” by Eric Gansworth – I’ve read two books by Gansworth. One I liked, one I thought was a little slow. This one appears to be a memoir in verse. We will see.

“Dragon Hoops,” created by Gene Luen Yang, color by Lark Pien – Love Yang’s work. I’ve also had a chance to meet him. Looking forward to this one.

“Every Body Looking,” by Candice Iloh – not familiar with the book or the author.

“We Are Not Free,” by Traci Chee – same as above.

Winner: “Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story),” by Daniel Nayeri – Also not aware of this one before today.

The best thing about not knowing a lot of the books on the list is that I now have a large number of requests in at the library and will not struggle to figure out what to read next.

If you want to see the entire list you can find that here.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/22/21

This was the last week with my daughter home from college. She moved back to her apartment last night. My TV viewing will now change from what I watch with her to figuring out what to watch alone until my wife finishes work. Here is my last week in viewing and reading.

Movies – I watched Bill & Ted Face the Music. I was worried that it had been too long since I had watched the original that I would be lost in this one. Basically, though, all you have to know is that they were told they would write a song that would unite the world. I enjoyed the movie. Keanu Reeve and Alex Winter stepped back into the roles perfectly. The daughters were cast perfectly. It was funny and the perfect length for a movie like this. Two tater thumbs up.

TV – I watched Survivor Pearl Islands with my daughter. It was one of the old seasons with iconic survivors that fell in the time I was not watching. I enjoyed the season. It’s fun going back and watching old seasons of Survivor and Amazing Race. I also got drawn into the Great British Baking Show. My wife and daughter were watching season 9 after I went to bed at night. One night I said I was going to doze on the couch while they watched instead of going up to bed. I got drawn into the episode and then stayed up every night watching the rest of the season. I really liked the contestants on this season and don’t know if I would have been drawn in if I watched a different season. I feel like I need to go back and watch the old hosts and judges since my daughter says they were better. We watched the first episode of the new Walker, Texas Ranger last night. I enjoyed it. I think it will be a littler deeper than the Chuck Norris version.

Books – I finished two books this week:

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – A YA book that is a companion to another book I read by her. Pinky is tied of her parents thinking she always makes bad decision, especially when it comes to boyfriends. When she hears that Samir’s internship in DC was canceled she asks him to come to her summer house to be her fake boyfriend. Of course, the opposites attract and fall in love. If you like teen romances, you should read Menon. They are very good.

The Shadows by Alex North – When Paul was a teenager, his former friends are involved in a murder. One teen is dead. One is arrested and one, Charlie, has vanished. Years later, as an adult, Paul returns to town to see his dying mother at the same time a detective comes to town to investigate a copycat crime. Strange things start happening around Paul and more people are murdered. Is it possible Charlie is still alive? This one was very good. A twist I didn’t see coming. Creepy. Tense. The perfect murder book

On Deck – I will have The New Mutants on DVD. We might watch Outside the Wire and Netflix. I still need to find a TV show to watch alone. I just can’t decide if it should be a comedy or something else. I am reading Deadly Cross by James Patterson because I have decided I will keep going even though they tend to annoy me know. They are nice, quick reads.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/15/20

I still have at least another week before everyone is back to their regular living spaces. That means at least another week before I really know what my new normal might be, Will I read more or less? Will I watch more TV? Will I be able to get into a real routine? Who knows. Here is what I managed to read and watch this week.

Movies – We watched The King of Staten Island on HBO. This is the semiautobiographical Pete Davidson movie about a 20 something guy who has been unable to move forward in life since his firefighter dad died when he was a kid. He spends his days smoking weed with his friends and dreaming of becoming a tattoo artist. When his mom starts dating again(another firefighter) he is forced to deal with his grief. I really didn’t know what to expect going in. I like Davidson on SNL, but didn’t know if he could carry an entire movie. He can and he did. It was funny and moving. I highly recommend.

TV – We tried a couple of new TV shows this week. The first was Mr Mayor. It stars Ted Danson as a wealthy businessman who becomes mayor of LA. It was apparently meant to be a spinoff of 30 Rock with Alec Baldwin’s character, but was rewritten to become this. It got a lot of bad reviews, but I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a perfect first two episodes, but the cast is great and I laughed several times. Isn’t that what we want from a comedy? We also watched Call You Mother. This starts Kyra Sedgwick as an empty nester mom who relocates to California to be near her grown children. It was a good first episode. I think it could be a good one. It could also get old fast if the story can’t move past her need to be involved in the lives of her kids. We have been watching the Ken Jennings episodes of Jeopardy. I think he is doing a good job as host and hope he gets a fair shot at being the permanent host.

Books – I finished two books his week:

The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus – a very long zombie novel started by Romero and finished by Kraus. It starts out telling the individual stories of various survivors around the country. A government employee in DC, a coroner in California who witnessed one of the first zombies, a teen from the Midwest, a Navy man from an aircraft carrier. Eventually, all of the stories come together and we get to the end game. I enjoyed the book. I think it took too long to get to where it was headed. Some individual stories were more interesting than others. I think fans of zombie movies would like it.

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson – I gave up reading all but the Cross books from Patterson and I still wonder why I’m still intent on reading the Cross ones. I had this one on hand for some reason, so I decided to give it a shot. It is better than most Patterson’s I’ve read recently. It has a decent plot. It held my interest. It did have the same problem I have with the Cross books. The main character was too good at everything. Patterson seems to be unable or unwilling to have a flawed protagonist. I doubt I will read the next Clinton/Patterson collaboration.

On Deck – I have two DVDs from the library, but I don’t really think I will get to them. My wife is home now so I’m sure we will do some catch up on our normal shows. I want to start WandaVision. I just need to find out if anyone else plans to watch or not. I need to find a new show to watch alone, but I can’t decide if I want a comedy or drama. I’m reading 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon. It is a nice YA romance to cleanse my reading palate of zombies and missing presidents.

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A Couple of Weeks in Books, Movies, and TV 1/8/20

The last two Fridays were Christmas and New Year’s Day so I didn’t do my regular weekly recaps. Let’s see if I can think of anything worth reporting over the last three weeks.

Movies – I watched American Pickle on HBO Max. It stars Seth Rogen as an immigrant worker in a pickle factory in New York who falls in a pickle vat and preserved for 100 years and then wakes up in modern day New York. Seth Rogen also plays his last remaining descendent. I expected it to just be about him trying to adjust to modern life, but it was not that at all. I really liked it, but I am a fan of Rogen and of Simon Rich who wrote the screenplay and the story on which it was based. We watched the new Wonder Woman movie. I liked it more than most people have reported, but I did feel like the ending was lacking something. Wonder Woman is still the best of the DC franchises. My son watched a lot of Marvel movies while he was with us so I saw pieces of Ragnorak, Ant Man, Spiderman, Infinity War and End Game. We did our annual watch of Miracle on 34th Street.

TV – Generally, regular TV viewing is replaced by random movies when the kids are home and this time was not different. I don’t recall a lot of TV shows we watched between the holidays. This past week, though, has brought us back to TV. We finished the latest streaming season of The Next Step. My daughter and I watched an old season of the Amazing Race. We are watching the final Alex Trbek episodes of Jeopardy. We tried the new TV show Call Me Kat. It was not good. I watched the premiere of Last Man Standing. They started mid pandemic but then flashed forward 2 years so the rest of the season is post pandemic. We watched the first episode of The Chase last night. It is a quiz show where contestants face off against one of the three Jeopardy GOATs. We love all three of them, so we loved the show. I like seeing the two chasers not playing commenting on the game. We will definitely watch more.

Books – I read three books over the last three weeks and fed one to the dustbunnies:

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham – This is the third book in the Jake Brigance series. In this one he is appointed to defend a teen who killed a police officer who was abusing his mom. It is about the case, but also about the fallout for Jake in regards to him defending the person who killed a popular police officer. Grisham is always good and that is the case here as well.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – A YA romance. Dimple has just graduated from high school and is going to Stanford. Her mom is more focused on finding her a husband. Her parents have payed for her to go to a summer program for aspiring web developers. Rishi is very traditional and has given up on drawing comics to go to MIT. He is very traditional and wants his parents to arrange his marriage. He is going to the program because his parents have arranged for him to marry Rishi. One problem – no one told Rishi. This is my second book I’ve read by Menon and I’ve loved both. I have a third in the TBR pile.

If it Bleeds by Stephen King – four new novellas including a new Holly Gibney story. King has been my favorite author since I was a kid and now I get his new book every year for Christmas. Reading the new King book is a great way to end the year.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline – This is the one I fed to the dustbunnies. I started it. Put it down and read another book. Tried again. got a good distance in and it was still just a ramble of 80’s references and set up with no real story. I gave up for good.

On Deck – We are watching another old Survivor season. This time it is Pearl Islands. When my wife returns we will have two episodes of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. I love that show. I have some DVDs at the library, but I’m not sure if we will watch any movies this week. I am reading The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus.

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