Disasters, ghosts, psychic ninjas, and classic detective stories racked up points on this week's Library Chicken scoreboard.
Welcome to the weekly round-up of what the BookNerd is reading and how many points I scored (or lost) in Library Chicken. To recap, you get a point for returning a library book that you’ve read, you lose a point for returning a book unread, and while returning a book past the due date is technically legal, you do lose half a point. If you want to play along, leave your score in the comments!
I’m very happy to report that all our Georgia and Florida folks survived Hurricane Irma without major damage. At Library Chicken HQ we were very fortunate and didn’t even lose power, so were able to watch television and play video games and (most importantly) read in well-lit rooms while the wind and rain raged outside. (The library did close for a few days, but I had laid in an emergency stock of books and all was well.) I hope that all of you also made it through the recent excitement without major issues. On to the books!
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Speaking of disasters: in Essex, England, in 1893, rumours spread about the return of a sea monster to menace the community. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel, but it turned out to be mostly about recently widowed Cora, her (perhaps autistic) son, and the changing relationships among her circle of friends. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters—a great read.
(LC Score: +1)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book either, though I’ve read and enjoyed Saunders’ short stories. It’s a ghost story: Willie Lincoln, dead at age 12 from typhoid fever, is welcomed to the graveyard by a motley assortment of its inhabitants. The narrative is told in alternating spirit voices, which took a minute to get used to but makes for a quick, engaging read. The author’s unmistakable warmth, compassion, and humor is present throughout.
(LC Score: +1)
The Lizard in the Cup by Peter Dickinson
James Pibble #5. I guess this week’s theme is I have no idea what’s coming next, because the PIbble mysteries continue to surprise with their offbeat weirdness. Here we’re on a Greek island with Pibble’s millionaire patron/employer. There are drugs, assassination attempts, and a crumbling monastery. (Believe it or not, this is Pibble’s second run-in with strange monks: the first was the subject of his third mystery, The Sinful Stones.)
(LC Score: +1)
Stray by Andrea Host
I don’t usually read self-published novels—not because I’m concerned that they’ll be of low quality (back in the day I read plenty of fanfic that was at least as good as if not better than many of the books from off the shelf at Barnes & Noble), but because I already need three Amazon wishlists to manage my to-read list and I’m afraid of what might happen if I opened the doors to the wild and wonderful world of self-publishing. This YA science fiction novel, however, came highly recommended by a friend who’s been pointing me towards great books since we were in junior high together, so of course I had to pick it up. It helps that, as part one of a four-book trilogy (yeah, I know, just go with it), this book is free for the Kindle. And it didn’t take long to get caught up in this story of a teenage Australian girl who accidentally steps through a wormhole on the way home from school and has to survive alone on a seemingly uninhabited alien world. (At least until—SPOILER ALERT—she’s rescued by psychic high-tech ninja types.) When the first book ended (or came to a pause point, since it leads directly into part two), I was more than ready to click the ‘buy’ button for the next one.
(LC Score: 0, read on Kindle)
- The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
- Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
- The Vorrh by Bruce Catling
- The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi
Here’s the thing: although we were delayed a week by Irma, the homeschool hybrid middle school that I’m teaching at this fall is about to start fall classes, which means that I don’t have quite as much time to read as I used to, and sometimes I have to return an ENTIRE STACK of GREAT BOOKS before I can get to them. Arrgh. What’s the equivalent of ‘my eyes were bigger than my stomach’ for books? RETURNED UNREAD.
(LC Score: -5, because two were returned late in addition to unread)
Library Chicken Score for 9/19/17: -2
Running Score: 100
On the to-read/still-reading stack for next week:
- The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (not going to let this one go back to the library without a fight)
- Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (YA apocalyptic feminism)
- The Evolution Man Or How I Ate My Father by Roy Lewis (because my dad said I had to read it)
- One Foot in the Grave by Peter Dickinson (final James Pibble mystery)
SUZANNE REZELMAN is home | school | life magazine’s Book Nerd. Subscribe to home/school/life to read her brilliant book recommendations and literary musings every issue. Your library list will thank you.