The Monday Agenda 9/16/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkFangirlThe Book of Lost Things (Mister Max #1)

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain: Done! My review is here.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Done! My review is here.

Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt: Just about at the half-way point. It’s a fun story so far, but I’m not really clear on where it’s going.

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis: Done! After five months and seven books, our Narnia journey has reached its end. A few reflections can be found here.

Fresh Catch:

Besides Fangirl, which I devoured as soon as it arrived, I also received one book I purchased and one book from the library, both of which I’m really looking forward to reading!

Unthinkable (Impossible, #2)Two Boys Kissing

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

First, I need to finish Mister Max.

Next, I’ll be diving into my two “fresh catch” books, Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.

It’s highly unlikely that I’ll finish those and still have time to spare… but if I do, next up is The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes.

Plus, now that we’ve finished the Narnia books, the kiddo and I have to start our next reading adventure. Let’s see, what can I tempt him with? I’m thinking A Wrinkle in Time, but may experiment a bit and try introducing him to some stories from my Bradbury collection instead.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

Saying good-bye to Narnia

A journey ends…

Five months ago, my now 11-year-old son and I decided that the Narnia books would be our next read-aloud adventure. I’ve been reading to him at bedtime since he was an infant, and even though I know he’ll probably outgrow the nightly reading ritual before too long, it hasn’t happened yet (for which I am deeply grateful).

My kiddo is a very reluctant reader. (Best line so far: “It’s not that I can’t read, Mom. I just prefer not to.”) And yet, he does enjoy stories — he loves following along, deciphering clues, forming theories, and shouting at me when I stop at a cliff-hanger. We’ve (I’ve) read the entire Harry Potter series out loud, plus a variety of other series and stand-alones, including the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Chomp by Carl Hiaasen, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, and several fine choices by Edward Eager and Eva Ibbotson.

So, when we needed something new this spring, we turned to something old. I’d read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe years ago (although not as a child), but had never read any of the other Narnia books, so my son and I both started this adventure with fresh eyes and with no idea what to expect.

And two nights ago, we finished The Last Battle, the 7th and final book in the series.

Was it a success? Overall, yes. Of the seven books, only The Last Battle was a bit over-the-top for my taste. There’s a lot to love in the series: Fantastical worlds, talking beasts, brave kings and queens, fierce battles, tales of heroism and adventure. We both adored High King Peter, and loved Edmund, Lucy, and Susan as well (even though Susan does later depart the series in favor of grown-up things like nylons and young men).

Being used to fantasy series where each book builds on the previous, it was a bit disconcerting at first to realize that each installment in the Narnia books introduces us to a new set of characters and circumstances, sometimes only loosely connected to those who’d gone before. I admit to feeling rather let down when Lucy and Edmund are told that their adventures in Narnia are done for the time being. But each book presents its own opportunities for fresh adventure, with new kings to meet and new quests to undertake — always in the name of the noble and almighty Aslan.

As for the religious subtext, I mostly chose to ignore it — although that was pretty much impossible to do in The Last Battle. Despite the sometimes heavy-handed allegories throughout, Narnia can be read as a fantasy tale, and that’s just the way I like it.

The Horse and His Boy was a wonderful surprise — I didn’t expect to like it, being so different in setting and tone, but it turned out to be one of the best books, in terms of pure adventure and adrenaline. The Silver Chair is dramatic and exciting, and The Magician’s Nephew tells an intriguing origin story for Narnia. Even though I hadn’t seen the movies, I was more familiar with the general storylines of Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader — but even so, found the books to be full of great adventures, heroic characters, and the good-natured humor that enhances all of the books in the series.

In fact, the only times I found myself impatient with the Narnia books were first, at the end of Dawn Treader, which seemed to lose steam and just sort of petered out in a vague sort of way, and then, throughout most of The Last Battle. The Last Battle is mostly a rather dismal sort of book, with terrible exploitation, the end of faith, a king in disgrace, and a rescue that doesn’t really solve anything. Things perk up a bit when help arrives in the forms of Eustace and Jill from our own world, but even then, it’s not a hopeful situation at all, The end brings lovely reunions and a sudden happy resolution to very dark and hopeless story — but it was clear to me (if not to my son) what was actually going on, and it all got a bit too gooey and godly for my tastes.

All in all, it’s been quite a journey, and one that I was especially glad to share with my son. We had plenty to discuss, we shared more than a few giggles, and we held our breaths together at the more chilling and thrilling moments. I can see wanting to revisit the Narnia books down the road, maybe just picking one up at random when I’m in the mood for some high adventure and heroics.

Will these finally be the books that get my son reading on his own? Well, no, not as far as I can see. But I still have hope. He loved Narnia, Harry Potter, and The Hobbit — I think he has the makings of a very fine fanboy. Who knows, maybe some day he’ll dig into the Lord of the Rings books on his own and surprise me with a bit of elvish at the dinner table!

Meanwhile, onward with the eternal question: What should we read next? I’ve got a few ideas…

The Monday Agenda 9/9/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

After a busy week of travel through Alaska (gorgeous!), I’m back and ready to dig into my ever-growing pile of books!

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)The Shining (The Shining, #1)The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryBilly Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel: Done! I read this all in one intense day of travel, and was just blown away. My review is here.

The Shining by Stephen King: Done! Re-reading this book after 20 years, I was reminded all over again of how great Stephen King is at what he does. I’m so glad I read this one again — now I feel ready for the release of Doctor Sleep later this month! Further thoughts to follow.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce: Done! My review is here.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain: Just started, have read about 50 pages… and I think it’s going to be great.

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis: Now that I’m back, my son and I are picking up where we left off.

Plus, I posted a review of a book I’d read earlier. If you missed it, check out my review of Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts — a surprisingly lovely book about living through the last week of life on earth.

Fresh Catch:

Despite being on vacation, I managed to pick up two books at a used book store, plus a couple of Kindle deals:

The Lady ElizabethIn Cold BloodThe Husband's SecretThe Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1)

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkThe Book of Lost Things (Mister Max #1)The Girl You Left BehindThe Universe Versus Alex Woods

First up, I need to finish Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which I’m really enjoying so far.

Next, I plan to read a review copy of Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt. (For some reason, I keep thinking of this as Mad Max and visualizing a young Mel Gibson. No connection, I know, but there you have it.)

After that, I have a few more ARCs to get through, starting with either The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes or The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence.

Plus, I’m very eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new release later this week:

Fangirl

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

The Monday Agenda 9/2/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

I’m out of town on vacation this week, driving through beautiful Alaska (with my beautiful daughter)! Here’s the quick version of the Monday Agenda.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

The ReturnedThe Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

The Returned by Jason Mott: Done! My review is here.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker: In all of my pre-trip frenzy, I ran out of time, and since this is a long book, I’m going to wait until I’m back from my travels to dig into it.

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis: My son and I have read about five chapters so far. Last book in the series! I’m sad to see the Narnia adventure coming to an end. The Last Battle gets off to a pretty depressing start; I hope it picks up — and lightens up! — before the kiddo loses interest.

Fresh Catch:

For my inner fangirl, a treat from the Buffy-verse:

Willow: Wonderland

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Here’s what I packed to bring on vacation. We’ll see how much reading actually gets done – after all, I have trails to hike, and hope to spend my nights enjoying the Aurora Borealis (fingers crossed!!).

Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkThe Shining (The Shining, #1)

It’s crazy that I brought so many books, but heaven forbid that I run out!

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

The Monday Agenda 8/26/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

The HumansLetters from Skye: A NovelThe Returned

I love these kind of weeks when I end up loving everything I’ve read.

The Humans by Matt Haig: Done! My review is here.

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole: Done! My review is here.

The Returned by Jason Mott: I’ve read about a third of this book so far… and it’s a good one!

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis: Done! Book #6 in our great Narnia read-aloud was terrific. I can’t believe we’ve almost finished the series!

Fresh Catch:

One new book, and a copy of a book I’ve read already but just had to have:

Bone Quill (Hollow Earth #2)Some Kind Of Fairy Tale

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

The ReturnedThe Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

I aim to finish The Returned in the next few days.

Next up, a review copy of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker, which  I think sounds like a lot of fun.

At the end of the week, I’m heading off on a week’s vacation — and I’m working on the all-important decision of what books to bring. As of now, top contenders are:

Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Rose Under FireBilly Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Four books for a one-week trip is a bit excessive, but I have until Friday to narrow it down!

And… the Narnia read continues! As of Sunday night, we’ve officially started the last book, The Last Battle.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

The Monday Agenda 8/19/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The HumansTrash Can Days: A Middle School Saga

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling): Done! My review is here.

The Humans by Matt Haig: About 100 pages into it so far, and loving every moment.

Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner: Done! This one was almost a DNF; however, I did end up finishing it and wrote up my thoughts here.

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis: About 2/3 of the way through. The end is in sight!

Fresh Catch:

No NEW new books this week, although I did finally get my hands on a copy of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I read it in the spring as a library book, loved it, and have been looking for a copy ever since. I ended up getting the UK paperback version, which looks like this;

Eleanor & Park

Plus, I have a trip to plan, so I picked this up while I was at the library:

Fodor's Alaska 2013

Exciting!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

The HumansThe ReturnedLetters from Skye: A Novel

The Humans is so good! If I have time to sit and read — without interruptions — I shouldn’t have any problems finishing this up in the next day or so.

I have a review copy of The Returned by Jason Mott that I’m eager to get to. So far, I’ve heard good things!

And — just got an email from the library saying the copy of Letters from Skye that I’d requested is now available.

My son and I should be close to the end of The Silver Chair this week. Onward for the glory of Narnia!

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

The Monday Agenda 8/12/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

When You Were HereOpenly StraightThe Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

I read three terrific books this past week:

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney: Done! My review is here.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg: Done! My review is here.

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer: Done! My review is here.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick: I read the first 20 pages, and just couldn’t get into it — and the formatting problems with the ARC didn’t help. So, for now, this is a DNF book for me. Have you read it? Should it I give it another try once it’s available in hard copy?

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis: Moving along — we got a slow start, but my son and I have enjoyed the first four chapters so far.

Fresh Catch:

New to me this week: A graphic novel, a book for a discussion group, and two library books that I’d been waiting for (not entirely patiently):

Orchid, Volume 1The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Humans

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The HumansTrash Can Days: A Middle School Saga

How to decide? I was on a good, long wait list for both The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Humans, and now they’re both here! I hope to find time to read both this week, once I figure out which one to read first.

It’s doubtful that I’ll finish both and still have time for anything else — but if I do, it’ll be a review copy of a new middle-grade book, Trash Can Days.

Meanwhile, our Narnia journey continues with The Silver Chair.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

The Monday Agenda 8/5/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Out of the EasyThe Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors, #4)When You Were Here

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: Done! My review is here.

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer: Done! My review is here.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney: Reading now, about 175 pages into it, and I’m really liking this one so far!

The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis: My kiddo and I just started reading The Silver Chair one over the weekend — the 2nd to last book left in our Narnia read! We’re really enjoying the series, and I’m wondering why I never read these books back when I was a kid!

Fresh Catch:

Several new books found their way to  me this week:

Fairest, Vol. 2: Hidden KingdomSeason of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of LoveOpenly StraightTo Kill a MockingbirdThe Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan

Two graphic novels, a non-fiction book set in San Francisco, a young adult novel, and a new copy of a classic. Not a bad haul for one week!

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Openly StraightThe Impossible Lives of Greta WellsForgive Me, Leonard Peacock

I’m about half-way through with When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney, and looking forward to finishing in the next day or so.

Next, three books that I’m really and truly excited about — I just hope I can make a big dent in most (if not all) of them:

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

And of course, marching forward with The Silver Chair.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

The Monday Agenda 7/29/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

If I Ever Get Out of HereTumble & FallThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3)

What a great reading week! I’ve enjoyed everything I read this week, no doubt about it!

The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold: Done! My review is here.

If I Ever Get Out Of Here by Eric Gansworth: Done! My review is here.

Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts: I really enjoyed my sneak peak at a review copy of this new YA book. I’ve posted some thoughts on Goodreads already, but I’m holding my “real” review until closer to the book’s September release date. I thought this book was terrific — has anyone else read it yet?

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis. My son and I wrapped up this part of our Narnia read-aloud, and loved it!

Fresh Catch:

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I bought no new books this week, and didn’t step foot in the library. A first for me!

Not that I lack for books to read…

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

Out of the EasyThe Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors, #4)When You Were Here

I’ve only just started Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys.

Next, I plan to read The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer, the about-to-be-released 4th book in the Last Survivors series.

After that, I’d love to dig in to When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney.

Meanwhile, the kiddo and I are ready to jump into our 2nd to last Narnia book, The Silver Chair.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

boy1

The Monday Agenda 7/22/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway or became a new follower this week! It’s been so much fun celebrating my 1st blogoversary with you!

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Mist (Mist, #1)Gorgeous

Mist by Susan Krinard: Done! My review is here.

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick: Done! My review is here.

Reading with the kiddo: Sailing ahead with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis. We have about four chapters to go. Excellent!

Fresh Catch:

A few new ARCs this week:

… plus I ended up buying myself a copy of this book, after missing the archive date for the review copy:

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

I’m just past the halfway point of The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold — and loving it. In fact, I’m having to force myself to put it down to work on this post and take on other mundane tasks like paying the bills. 🙂

Next up, a review copy of If I Ever Get Out Of Here by Eric Gansworth, a YA book that sounds great!

And, ever ambitious, I hope to find time for one more book from my shelves– most likely Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

And don’t forget: Read what makes you happy! That’s my mantra these days… so:

boy1