Wednesday, October 14, 2020

September Favorites: Rick Riordan is the New Tamora Pierce

I've been reading Chernow's awesome Hamilton biography since August. I love it, but it's slow going.

September was a strange month for reading! You're not going to believe this, but Will read ZERO Tamora Pierce books in September. She has now simply read every single book that Tamora Pierce has ever published--re-read them all, actually, some of them numerous times, and I guess now she has to wait for Tamora Pierce to write another book or for the passage of time to dull Will's memory of enough plot points to make them worth yet another re-reading.

I did not do a lot of reading, as I spent most of September busy being a raging stress beast and in my free time I primarily ate Cheez-Its while watching DIY, travel, and cat videos on TikTok. But what I DID read?

Um, it was mostly Rick Riordan.

I don't know what to tell you other than Syd's recommendations are spot-on, and Magnus Chase is delightful. I should probably clear off my library TBR shelf a little before I jump into the Lost Hero series, but then off I'll go!

Seriously, though--I didn't even read an Aubrey/Maturin book in September, even though there's one right there on my library shelf! Ooh, I did finally finish the March trilogy, though:

I don't know how you could read this and remain unsympathetic to the struggle for civil rights that still hasn't been won, or read this and still pretend not to recognize the racist extremism that's behind police brutality and systemic inequalities. That's not what our country is supposed to be built on, and John Lewis is a stone-cold hero for what he did to reverse it. May we all be strong enough to carry on his legacy.

Will has recently resumed her best life, as the public library has recently resumed its in-person hours! Patrons are only allowed to stay for one hour, so it's still not the halcyon days of spending an entire afternoon in her favorite chair, reading through a giant stack of books before picking out another giant stack to bring home, but it's enough time for her to breathe in the library smell (corona-free, hopefully...), walk the library aisles, and browse all the library books, before picking out that giant stack of home-reads.

If you look closely at Will's favorites from September, I think you might find a couple of new authors vying for Tamora Pierce's coveted spot as favorite author:

I'm pretty sure Will re-read all of the Wings of Fire books because there was a new-ish one that she hadn't read yet, and you know you can't go into the latest book of a series cold on every single detail of the series so far!

Here's the rest of what Will read in September:

Just between the two of us--I think the library missed her, too.

Recently, I got brave enough to begin again the daily two-mile walk that was my mid-morning sanity saver... until a dog near my turn-around spot started chasing after me and barking and terrifying the snot out of me every time I walked past its yard. I had visions of it hamstringing me and then gnawing on me at its leisure while I twitched in the road and tried to find the telephone app on my phone--have I ever told you that I have literal nightmares of being in an emergency and needing to call for help but not being able to find the phone app on my phone? I know, I know, it's RIGHT THERE on my home screen, and I don't even have that many other apps for it to get lost in, but the anxiety is anxious about whatever the anxiety feels like being anxious about.

Anyway, I finally decided that a daily walk is a much better emotional catharsis than bursting into tears mid-afternoon... so now I just turn around right before the scary dog's house. So I guess it's more like a 1.9-mile walk, but the point is that I have time to binge podcasts again, which is when I remembered that I never did get around to listening to Finding Fred:

I'm only halfway through the series, but so far it's gorgeous. Mr. Rogers wasn't perfect because, you know, he was an actual human person, but he came as close to perfect as I imagine that any actual, human person could.

My favorite YouTube video of September is actually sort of related to Mr. Rogers! Syd found out that in the UK (or rather, in practically every English-speaking country other than the US), the letter Z is pronounced "zed." Obviously, this made her curious to learn if they also change the alphabet song to match.

Reader, they do!

I think it was Will who instigated searching this video out because of something that SHE read, but really, who would ever pass up an opportunity to watch a crow learn physics through hands-on, problem-based activities?

I would happily homeschool a crow any day!

My reading goals for October are to finish both the Hamilton biography and the newest Twilight book that I'm slowly making my way through. The Hamilton biography is taking me forever to read because even though it's super interesting, it's also a LOT, and so I've generally just been reading a chapter or two a day while I drink my morning coffee--the time of day that I'm most prepared to buckle down into Revolutionary-era politics! Midnight Sun, though... It. Is. So. BAD! It reads like fanfiction, a kind of "I'm going to rewrite Twilight from Edward's point of view because he's my favorite and also I'm going to make him a sociopath. Oh, and I'm really going to hit his wealth hard." There are numerous self-serving references to how much money he's got and what he spends it on--fast cars, amiright?--and there's a VERY long scene, early on, in which Edward works through I'm thinking five different very elaborate scenarios for murdering his entire biology class, including Bella.

Like, vividly described scenarios. Of a teenager mass murdering his fellow students and teacher. I'd ask who the hell WRITES that kind of thing these days, except that obviously people can write about whatever they want, but it seems like an awfully strange thing to write about Edward Cullen, the romantic vegan vampire upon whose back the author's entire fortune was built. Just burn it all down, I guess, Stephanie Meyer! 

So even though the book is TERRIBLE I keep making myself slog through it (it's also something like 650 pages?!?), reading the most appalling parts out loud to whoever happens to be near me. OMG like the scene in which, in the middle of the night, Edward climbs the outside of Bella's house, crawls in through her open second-story bedroom window, and sits in a rocking chair across the room from her all night, watching her sleep, listening to her breathe, and smelling her blood. And they don't even KNOW EACH OTHER YET. Okay, I know that Twilight is basically a punchline now, but at one time there were a bunch of girls and women who were sincerely into picking up what Meyer was putting down, this ideal of a dream-boat boy who's got it all and is truly special and happens to be utterly devoted to YOU, you know? And then pop culture came along and laughed at them and shamed them for it, because of course anything that girls and women love must be laughable and shameful, right? And then, after decades have gone by and Meyer is sitting on top of an absolute dragon hoard of money that these girls and women have paid her, she puts out this book that's all, "Ha-ha! I'm in on the joke, too, you fools! That boy you used to love is a sociopathic stalker and when you thought he was being romantic he was imagining how he'd get away with drinking your blood and wearing your skin!"

And do NOT even get me started on how I'm pretty sure that she only made Jacob fall in love with a literal baby because she was pissed that a bunch of her readers thought he was a cuter boy than Edward. 


Anonymous said...

Love Brandon Sanderson! If she’s into it, she should try the Way of Kings series. Also, the next Wings of Fire comes out in March. From one book addict to another, I’d recommend Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind!

julie said...

Okay, I have requested ALL of those! Thanks--it definitely takes a village to keep a book-loving kid in books!