Friday, February 19, 2010

Nothing too new...'s about the same story this time as it was last time. More snow days, busy work, not as much reading as I'd like. I have mostly read up on the Septimus Heap series. But I've also read a lot of Mental Floss before bed at night. It's interesting reading that seems to take my mind off the day and relax me before going to sleep. I finished the book "In the Beginning" (which I might have mentioned before), "Be Amazing", and "Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets". I'm now on to "Mental Floss History of the World". I'm fairly well stocked with useless information now.

The Septimus Heap series continues to be fairly interesting, but I'm not necessarily rushing out to get the next one. There doesn't quite seem to be an end in sight for it which is perhaps a little tiring. At some point, you start thinking that you have so many other things to read...maybe it's time to move on.

I also read the next Artemis Fowl book, The Time Paradox. It was rather enjoyable. I didn't really care as much for The Lost Colony, this was a much better return to the series.

Erratum by Walter Sorrells is a book that has taken me quite a while to get through. It sounded interesting, but it was just too forced for me. Sorrells tried too hard to be weird and confusing. I would pick it up and read it during my lunch duty, but it didn't have enough pull for me to bring it home. With the time travel conflicts, the odd characters, the too quickly developed plot, it just didn't all pull together. And it left the reader with far too many questions. I believe Sorrells intends to write another book (or more), but I was ultimately unsatisfied with this one.

In a completely different vein, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a nice surprise. Historical fiction is not my strong point, but I'm enjoying this story. Set at the turn of the century in Texas, Calpurnia Virginia Tate is the only girl smack in the middle of six brothers. She develops a relationship with her wizened grandfather based on their mutual love of science. Although I'm not far enough to see any real drama, the voice of the characters in this story is thoroughly enjoyable. Discussions of Darwinism applied to everyday life around Callie Vee add an intellectual side to the novel, while Grandfather's remembrances of the Civil War add an emotional depth that tugs at the heart. With a little of some of my favorite heroines like Ida B and Comfort Snowberger, but the maturity of a much older female, Calpurnia's character will really draw in girls who enjoy historical fiction. It's clear to me why this book is a Newberry winner. I'm anxious to read further and see where the real drama will take us in this story.

I've also started The Puzzling World of Winston Breen. It's a light-hearted mystery so far that reminds me a bit of Swindle. I think the puzzles in it are fun and I love that if you go to the website, you can download and print all the puzzles so that you can work on them without writing in the book. It even gives a little advice on solving the puzzles and what to do if they are critical to the story.

Finally, I honestly need to read Chasing Lincoln's Killer. It was very popular with my boys at the Book Fair. The librarian resources can't seem to agree on what level this book is. So I truly need to read it to decide if it's fit for 4th & 5th grade boys. If anyone has in experience with it, please feel free to comment. I'm having a real hard time gearing up to read it (again...historical settings....not my strong point), and though I can get it on audiobook too, I'm afraid I would end up getting even more bored listening to it on audio.

With more snow today and a bunch more expected on Sunday, I might get further in Calpurnia than I expected. I also should spend time whittling down my book order for next year....but that's like asking me to choose between children! And I'm sure I'll have more added to my "to read" list by the time I'm done. =)

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