Thursday, January 18, 2018

TGBC: Round Five Wrap-Up (Otherwise known as: I'm the Worst)

Hey friends. My name is Cassie, you might remember me from this project even though I haven't posted in, oh, three and a half months? Yeah, I'm the worst.

I am still at this, I swear, I am just awful at writing reviews of books as I read them.

When last we spoke of The Great Bookshelf Caper, I was endeavoring to read 20 books before Christmas, which I did not accomplish, though I came close. And now, rather than inundate with THIRTEEN back to back reviews, I'm just gonna sum it all up here, and then hopefully be more on top of my life in 2018.

So! The books from Round 5, and a brief recap of my thoughts and the keeping versus not keeping.

Justina Chen, Chase's couple of books, and the Underland Chronicles I already addressed eons ago. So here's the round starting with Kate Constable.

The Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy: Keeping
The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable
The Waterless Sea by Kate Constable
The Tenth Power by Kate Constable

I've owned these books since they came out while I was in high school. I loved the series then, and I still enjoyed it immensely on the reread, so I'm keeping these. Also, they're out of print tragically, so if I get rid of them, I might not be able to get them back in the future.

Briar Rose by Brian Coover: Giveaway
I've had this book since my last semester of college, when we read it for my Sleeping Beauty seminar. While it is interesting and thought-provoking as hell, I got about ten pages into before going, Yeah maybe not so much with keeping this one. So it's a giveaway, and I hope its future owner enjoys all my margin notes.

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano: Keeping
My full review of this is up on Teen Lit Rocks. I enjoyed this ARC a lot, and I'm keeping it in my collection.

The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry: Giveaway
Eleanor of Aquitaine is always intriguing to me because she's my ancestor. But I just couldn't get into this historical fiction book. I did not finish this title, and I'll be giving it away.

Fortune's Journey by Bruce Coville: Keeping
This book is, like, 39% of my childhood. It's the only historical fiction, non-fantasy book Bruce Coville ever wrote, it's about a traveling theatre troupe going west to find gold, it's cheesy as hell, and I'm FULL OF NOSTALGIA. I've had this book since I was nine, and it's not going anywhere.

The World's Worst Fairy Godmother by Bruce Coville: Giving back
Totally stole this from my parents during college. I've decided to give it back to them.

How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karol Cozzo: Keeping
This book was EXCELLENT. Cannot recommend highly enough. I'm going to be writing something on this one for Teen Lit Rocks, because this was a really, really strong YA book about living with disability, being an accessory to bullying through inaction, and overcoming your past.

Bards of Pellinor books: Keeping
The Bone Queen by Allison Croggon
The Naming by Allison Croggon

The Bone Queen is a new edition to the round; it was in my most recent box for Teen Lit Rocks. And since I had to read The Naming anyway... this is a series I've been aware of and put off reading for about fifteen years now. The books are excellent, but very dense, very intellectual. They require a lot of brain power and focus, and after reading both of these back to back, I am ready for something a little lighter before I continue on with the series. But I am keeping both.

Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw: Chase's, and he's keeping it
Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw: Chase's, and he's giving it away
Boy by Roald Dahl: Chase's, and he's giving it away

Matilda by Roald Dahl: Keeping
Duh.

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski: Chase's, and he's giving it away

Dear America Diaries
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie - Keeping
The Great Railroad Race - Giveaway
A Journey to the New World Giveaway
A Line in the Sand Giveaway
My Secret WarKeeping
Standing in the LightKeeping
Voyage on the Great Titanic Giveaway
West to a Land of PlentyGiveaway

I have owned all of these books for so long. Through probably a dozen moves and bookshelf purges, I have taken them off to give away, then changed my mind and put them back on the shelf. Finally, I reread them. There were three I felt strongly enough about to keep. The rest are finally going to find a new home.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo: Keeping
I love this book so much.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip Dick: Chase's, and he's keeping it

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickins: Keeping
I did not make it to this book before Christmas, though I was close. I am keeping it.

So, the middle of the bookshelf now looks like this:

Look at all that space!

Here are the current numbers:

Books in the project: 496
Books tackled so far: 130
Books left to read: 87
Books giving away: 67

My most recent batch of ARCs gave me, I believe, three titles that fall in the author alphabet of what I've already covered. So just to keep my shelf consistent, I am going to tackle those three Teen Lit Rocks books before I move on to Round 6. When I do tackle Round 6, I SWEAR I will be better about these reviews!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

TGBC: Round Five -- It's a Doozy!

Round Five!


Titles and Statuses:

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen: Already reread, keeping
Nuklear Age by Brian Clevinger: Chase's, keeping
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Chase's, keeping
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins: Already reread, keeping
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins: Already reread, keeping
Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins: Already reread, keeping
Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins: Already reread, keeping
Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins: Already reread, keeping
The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable: Need to reread
The Waterless Sea by Kate Constable: Need to reread
The Tenth Power by Kate Constable: Need to reread
Briar Rose by Brian Coover: Need to reread
The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano: Need to read
The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry: Need to read
Fortune's Journey by Bruce Coville: Need to reread
The World's Worst Fairy Godmother by Bruce Coville: Need to reread
How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karol Cozzo: Need to read
The Naming by Allison Croggon: Need to read
Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw: Chase's
Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw: Chase's
Boy by Roald Dahl: Chase's
Matilda by Roald Dahl: Keeping
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski: Chase's
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
The Great Railroad Race, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
A Journey to the New World, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
A Line in the Sand, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
My Secret War, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
Standing in the Light, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
Voyage on the Great Titanic, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
West to a Land of Plenty, Dear America Diary: Need to reread
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo: Keeping, but will probably reread anyway
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip Dick: Chase's
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickins: Need to reread

Whew! So, the goal is to get to the end of the round by December, so I am rereading A Christmas Carol at an appropriate time of year. That's 20 titles in three months, which is under what I need to keep to my reading challenge goal for the year anyway, so let's go!


Round 4 Wrap Up

So, it turns out I accidentally missed the end of round four back in July and went straight into Round 5. Oops.

In my defense, Round 5 was just Justina Chen and The Underland Chronicles, since the other books were Chase's or ones I decided to give away without reading a while ago.

So rather than try and backlog, I'm just going to make the big space between shelves one big round, not that that matters anywhere but in my massive spreadsheet. I will call it all Round 5, and it will actually make it easier to keep track with comparison photographs.

But that's the next post! This post is to wrap up the real Round 4! I do not have comparison photos, I apologize.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch: Keeping
13 by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish: Read, Keeping
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C Bunce: Did not reread, Keeping
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: Read, Keeping
Sarah by Orson Scott Card: Read, Giving away
Rebekah by Orson Scott Card: Did not reread, giving away
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card: Chase's, keeping
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Louis Carroll: Did not reread, Keeping
Graceling by Kristin Cashore: Did not reread, Keeping
Fire by Kristin Cashore: Did not reread, Keeping
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore: Did not reread, Keeping

TGBC: Round Five: The Underland Chronicles


Finished the reread of one of my favorite series. Technically unnecessary, since there was no thought of removing them, but I was ready for a reread.

Titles: The Underland Chronicles (Gregor the Overlander; Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane; Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods; Gregor and the Marks of Secret; Gregor and the Code of Claw)

Author: Suzanne Collins. Yes, that Suzanne Collins. She wrote this series before Hunger Games.

Status: Reread

How did I acquire them?
I've been working on owning this series physically for a while. Got the final book a few months ago.

How long has it been since I read them?
A couple years? Maybe three. Last time I read them was in Virginia, out loud to my roommate.

Thoughts?
I love this series. It is one of my go-to recommendations, and I really think it's one of the most underrated series ever written. Basically, this eleven-year-old kid goes after his two-year-old sister when she falls down a weird tunnel in their apartment laundry room, and they end up in this secret, underground city that exists hundreds of miles beneath New York City. The people there, called Underlanders, declare that Gregor is a Warrior of Prophecy, and because they won't take him home unless he goes off to fulfill a quest for them, he takes his two-year-old sister to go fulfill this quest. From a third of the way through the first book, Collins takes the typical hero narrative and turns the tropes on their head. Which, of course, I love. And she keeps doing it, through the whole series. It's delightful, and I love the books, the world, the characters, all of it. And I want nothing more than a crossover fanfic where Boots from this series and Boo from Monsters Inc end up as college roommate and bond over their adventures as toddlers in strange, magical lands.

Status after rereading?
Oh, these are staying for sure. Though I will eventually replace books 1 and 3 so that they match the others.

Numbers:
Books in the project: 475
Books tackled so far: 96
Books still to read: 80
Books given away: 46

Sunday, August 27, 2017

TGBC: Round Five: Justina Chen

Going to tackle both of Justina's books in one post.

Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen
Status: Reread

How did I acquire it?
I bought it after reading Return to Me because I liked the author a lot.

How long has it been since I read it?
This was my first reread, so ... four-ish years? Something like that.

Thoughts?
This book falls near the top of my list of underappreciated YA books. It deserves a lot more love than I typically see it getting. There are so many wonderful, powerful things happening in this story. I love the characters, even the ones that you hate in the world of the story; I love the growth we see everyone go through; I love that the world Chen creates in this novel is messy and complicated and shaded with gray. The characters and situations feel real, and I was so invested from the beginning, even knowing how the story would end.

Status after reading?
This one stays on the shelf.

Title: Return to Me
Author: Justina Chen
Status: Reread

How did I acquire it?
This was a Teen Lit Rocks monthly book club a few years ago, so I was sent a copy for that.

How long has it been since I read it?
About four and a half years, I think.

Thoughts?
I gave this book a really positive review when we read it for Teen Lit Rocks. I remember really enjoying it. And I enjoyed it on the reread -- until the end. Or, at least, until what should have been the end. Because the book had about eight different endings. I thought I had reached the last chapter again and again, and that was the biggest issue I was left with on the reread. She took the story too far. She showed us too much. The last seven chapters, and especially the epilogue, were unnecessary. I don't need to have every detail filled in and every loose end tied up. And I don't need a seven-year-jump epilogue to assure me that everything worked out exactly as our main character dreamed it would -- with one notable exception to keep it real, I guess?

Status after reading?
I'm glad that this book introduced me to Justina Chen, I'm glad that I reread it, but I don't need to keep it on the shelf any longer.

Numbers:
Books in the project: 475
Books tackled so far: 88
Books still to read: 81
Books given away: 45

Sunday, August 6, 2017

TGBC: Round Four: Roar

Title: Roar
Author: Cora Carmack
Status: New read

How did I acquire it?
This was one of my latest Teen Lit Rocks ARCs.

How long have I owned it without reading it?
A couple months.

Thoughts?
I like this one. The world of Caelira is beset by storms -- wild, furious, and nearly sentient. The rulers of Caelira's kingdoms are supposed to be able to tame the storms and so protect their people. But Aurora, heir to the kingdom of Pavan, is no Stormling. She has not a touch of magic about her, a secret she and her mother will do anything to protect, including arranging a marriage to a cruel and vicious Stormling prince. And then Aurora learns about people like her, born without magic, but able to tame the storms nonetheless.

It's a captivating story. I love the world. I love the way that magic works, that it exists as part of these storms, and I love the way that we are opened to understanding the world bit by little bit, and only as Rora learns and understands. That element reconciles me a little to the shifting perspectives, which are often jarring, though I still believe the story would be stronger if we kept to Rora and this mysterious, villainous Stormlord.

This is Cormack's first YA novel. Her other books are all adult romance, and it shows here. This is definitely a steamier novel than most YA goes for, but I did appreciate that it's always tasteful, never graphic, and I truly appreciated the amount of respect and consent-seeking we are always shown in the romance. I was a little worried at the start that I was going to absolutely hate the obvious love interest because he's your classic strong-man protector type. But I really appreciate how Carmack worked to subvert that trope. He may have started out that way, but he grew the more he connected with Roar, and I have high hopes for that continuing in the sequels.

Status after reading?
I'm keeping this one.

Numbers?
Books in the Project: 472
Books tackled so far: 86
Books still left to read: 82

Books giving away: 44

TGBC: Round Four: Sarah and Rebekah

Title: Sarah; Rebekah (books 1 and 2 of the Women of Genesis trilogy)
Author: Orson Scott Card

How did I acquire them? Rebekah I've had for ages, since high school. Sarah I got through Paperback Swap a few months ago.

How long has it been since I read them?
I last read both of these books in high school, so about 12 years?

Thoughts?
I loved these books in high school. I remember being really impressed with the depth of Biblical history explored, and I remember thinking that they were quite feminist in their narrative approach. And having read them again, I don't disagree with those old opinions, exactly. I'm just more aware of how much of a racist ass their author is. Which severely limited my enjoyment.

I only reread Sarah. There was a lot that I liked about it, though I did find Sarah to be a little cloying and a little too perfect, for all her supposed flaws. The religion aspect also struck me as a bit more heavy-handed this time around. But what really soured me was the treatment of Hagar and Ishmael. Look, you can read what you want into Bible stories, and you can craft and expand these characters however you choose. But now that I'm much more aware of Isaac as a kind of starting point for the Judeo-Christian people and Ishmael as the same for the Arabs, and also being much more aware that Orson Scott Card is a racist tool . . . the characterization of Hagar and Ishmael as wholly selfish, vindictive, cruel, and out for the destruction of Sarah and Isaach does not sit well.

I did not reread Rebekah.

Status after reading?
I'm not going to keep these.

Numbers:
Books in the Project: 472
Books tackled so far: 86
Books still left to read: 82 (My library may have weeded the Teen section. I may have taken home eight books)
Books giving away: 44

Sunday, July 23, 2017

TGBC Outlier: What Goes Up


Title: What Goes Up
Author: Katie Kennedy
Status: New read

How did I acquire it?
This was in my latest batch of Teen Lit Rocks titles

How long have I owned it without reading it?
Mmm, since however long ago I got that box.

Thoughts?
 Rosa and Eddie are juniors in high school and they're smarter than you. They're smarter than most people, and that's why they've been selected to test for placement in a special division of NASA. If they place first and second, they'll become the third team to be trained to make first contact with alien lifeforms. But in the midst of their testing and training, the unexpected happens, and it might be up to these teenagers to save the human race as we know it.

I really enjoyed this book. I was worried, when I started it, that it would be too sciency and it would go over my head, but Kennedy handles the science aspect very well. It's obviously there; it would be jarring it if wasn't. But it was never necessary for me to understand the science. I just had to believe that Rosa and Eddie understood the science.

This story is driven by the characters. You care about the journey that they are on because you care about them. Rosa, Eddie, and other focal characters like Trevor and Reg and Eddie's grandmother, they are the focal points, and they are all drawn beautifully.

When the science fiction comes out in full force, and the aliens appear (as you know they're bound to), and it gets all mind-twisty, I'll admit that I got a little lost. But I was able to latch onto those central characters and keep reading, and I enjoyed even what I didn't totally understand. Read this book for the characters, and you won't go wrong.

Status after reading?
Keeping this one -- I enjoyed it a lot!

Numbers
Books in the project: 464
Books tackled so far: 77
Books still unread: 75
Books giving away: 42

The Great Bookshelf Caper Round 4: 2 for the price of 1!

Hey, I'm getting back at this! Let's catch up!

Title: 13
Authors: Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish
Status: Reread

How did I acquire this?
Bought it literally ages ago. I've had this book for...almost ten years, I think?

How long has it been since I've read it?
Almost ten years, I think.

Thoughts?
I own this book because 13 the Musical is one of my top five favorite musicals, and when I found out they had turned it into a novel, I of course had to buy and read it. The musical is better. There's something beautiful that I love about this story in musical format that doesn't quite translate to novel format. I think I don't like being quite so inside Evan's head. I also think that the music really elevates the story. I still enjoyed the novel, but it doesn't move me the way the original format does.

Status after reading?
Even being slightly warmer than lukewarm toward this book, I'm going to keep it. I have a lot of students who love the musical as much as I do, and who I think would get a kick out of reading the novel. It's also not widely available anymore.

----
Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Status: Reread

How did I acquire this?
I'm not sure I actually acquired it, and it didn't just spontaneously appear on my shelf.

How long has it been since I read it?
Golly, I cannot remember.

Thoughts?
I mean, it's a classic. It's The Secret Garden! (Again, theme for this post, the musical is better) It meanders toward the end, but it's The Secret Garden.

Status after rereading?
Keeping the classic!

Numbers
Books in the project: 464
Books tackled so far: 77
Books still unread: 75
Books giving away: 42

Thursday, June 1, 2017

TGBC: Round Four!

Round Four!

Titles and Statuses:

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch: Keeping
13 by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish: Need to reread
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C Bunce: Keeping, might reread anyway
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: Need to reread
Sarah by Orson Scott Card: Need to reread
Rebekah by Orson Scott Card: Need to reread
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card: Chase's
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Louis Carroll: Keeping
Graceling by Kristin Cashore: Keeping
Fire by Kristin Cashore: Keeping, might reread anyway
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore: Keeping

This will also be a bit of a longer round, because I need to throw some Teen Lit books in there, and because both jobs are crazy right now.