Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: Welcome to Braggsville

Welcome to Braggsville
By T Geronimo Johnson
William Morrow February 2015
354 pages
From the library 

Welcome to Braggsville

D'aron Davenport is happy to escape his Georgia hometown and immerse himself in the people and culture at UC Berkeley. He makes friends with his roommate Louis and classmates Candice and Charlie. After a mishap at a party, they dub themselves the "4 Little Indians." When D'aron reveals in class that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, the group decides that they will show up as protesters. D'aron tries to dissuade them, but his friends (and his professor) think it's a wonderful idea. Their trip down South uncovers revelations about racism, power, and our ability to really understand each other and has devastating consequences for all of them.

Welcome to Braggsville is one of the most unique books I can recall reading. Johnson is challenging prejudices head-on, but he does it through the eyes of college students of all people. D'aron, Louis, Candice, and Charlie believe that they can upset power structures that have been in play for decades. They decide to stage a "performative intervention" at the Civil War reenactment, where they will dress up as slaves and pretend to lynch someone. That can only go well, right?

Although it is dealing with some heavy stuff, this book is often funny as well. The characters walk a line that I think many of us have walked - knowing the inherent unfairness of prejudice but also seeing how ridiculous it can be to be hyper politically correct.

"It's not that the Davenports had never had black people around their house before, or even a Chinese guy once, but never a Malaysian who looked Chinese to some and Indian to others, fancied himself black at times, and wanted to be the next Lenny Bruce Lee; a preppy black football player who sounded like the president and read Plato in Latin; and a white woman who occasionally claimed to be Native American. They were like an overconstructed novel, each representative of some cul-de-sac of idiolect and stereotype, missing only a handicapped person --No! At Berkeley we say handi-capable person -- and a Jew and a Hispanic, and an Asian not of the sub-continent, Louis always said. He had once placed a personals ad on Craigslist to recruit for those positions: Diverse social club seeking to make quota requires the services of East Asian, Jew, Hispanic, and handicapable individuals to round out the Multicultural Brady Bunch troupe...Daron felt now as he had when people had started responding to that ad, that he couldn't help but expect a spectacular disaster."

Welcome to Braggsville made me examine my own ideas about race and power. I think I could reread this book and find new moments of humor and understanding with each time I read. The writing style is incredibly unique, as Johnson utilizes different tones and styles and somehow it all works. He satirizes the problems of racism and classism that still plague some parts of the South while pointing out the hypocrisy of ultra-liberals who see themselves as above the fray. This is a book for anyone who is thinking long and hard about power and race and class right now - and really, shouldn't that be all of us?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Equal of The Sun

Equal of the Sun
By Anita Amirrezvani
Scribner March 2013
431 pages
From my shelves

Equal of the Sun

In 1576, the Shah of Iran dies without naming an heir to the throne. The one with the most skill and savvy to rule the kingdom is his daughter Princess Pari. She knows that she herself cannot rule, but she can continue to be the power behind the throne, It will take everything she learned from her father and all of the secrets she can learn through her adviser, the eunuch Javaher, to bring stability to her beloved kingdom.  Equal of the Sun brings a virtually unknown woman into the limelight she deserves.

This story walks a tricky line of knowing and not knowing. We learn about Pari not from her own point of view, but from that of her most trusted adviser Javaher. He is a eunuch, one of the few people who can navigate both the world of the harem and that of the men in the royal court. Anita Amirrezvani presents us with a fictionalized portrayal of a real woman, but we really know little about her because women of that time were not considered to be important.

Equal of the Sun is fascinating because it shows gender as a construct and family as something you create in a time when your gender and familial connections determined the kind of life you would live. Pari shuns suitors as she works towards bettering her country. Javaher is devoted to Pari, to his fellow eunuchs, and to restoring his family's honor instead of finding a wife and continuing his line. They find themselves in unique circumstances, where their worth to each other and to others is based on what they do, not their lineage or who they have married. The two eventually become very close friends, determined to create a better Iran. 

Reading about Pari gives way to an all-too familiar frustration in historical fiction - meeting a woman who was smarter and more capable than her male counterparts, with the knowledge that no happy ending can be in store. Javaher tries to temper Pari's passion but she is caught in the circle that dooms many women who challenge the conventions of their time: she speaks and acts with confidence and authority in an effort to be heard, but those exact traits are the ones that cause her male counterparts to condemn her. 

I was thrilled to read historical fiction not set in Europe, but it took me a while to really care for Pari and Javaher. Equal of the Sun has a bit of everything for its readers, though. It has plenty of romance and palace intrigue throughout and a mystery that Javaher is determined to solve, regardless of the consequences. Amirrezvani has written a detailed description of life in the Iranian court and introduced us to two unforgettable characters. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Monday and the reading was good!

I think I have a Readathon/birthday hangover. I'm going to need a lot of coffee today. But it was a really great weekend!

Read This Week:
100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love  Glaciers   Tiger Lily

                               Seconds  Saga Deluxe Edition, Volume 1

This week, I will probably try to finish the books I didn't finish during the Readathon (The Best American Short Stories of 2013 and The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage) and maybe tackle one of my library books:
                               My Brilliant Friend  Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

Did you Readathon this weekend? You can check out my adventures here. What are you planning to read this week?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The 24 Hour Readathon: The Second Half

Hour 24 Update

I thought about getting up early and reading some more, but bed was comfy and I was tired. Oh well.

Pages read: 1,324

Books finished: 4
Glaciers Tiger Lily                                         Seconds Saga Deluxe Edition, Volume 1

Books started, but not completed: 2
The Best American Short Stories 2013 The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer

Here are the end of the event questions!

Which hour was most daunting for you?
I threw in the towel around Hour 18. I was tired and the books weren't grabbing me. I need to pick better books for those late hours in October!

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Saga would be a great choice and Tiger Lily was a really compelling read.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Send chocolate and people with palm frond fans to Andi and Heather!

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The community and cheering were really great and encouraging!

How many books did you read?
Four finished, two more started.

What were the names of the books you read?
Saga Book One, Seconds, Tiger Lily, Glaciers

Which book did you enjoy most?
I really liked all of the books I finished.

Which did you enjoy least?
I don't know it was the late hour or just the books themselves, but The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage and The Best American Short Stories 2013 weren't doing it for me,

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
It works best for me if I space cheering out. So I finish a book and then cheer for an hour. It breaks up the day!

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I am likely to do all of the things for the next Readathon. Put me in, coaches!

Hour 18 Update

Friends, it has been great but this girl is getting in a few hours of sleep. I have church in the a.m. which necessitates me playing piano and singing (at the same time!). Then I have to go celebrate my birthday, so I need to get a few Zzzs at least.

Since I last checked in, here is what I've been reading: 

Saga Deluxe Edition, Volume 1
456 pages

The Best American Short Stories 2013
1 story - The Provincials by Daniel Alarcon; 30 pages

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer
49 pages read

What are you reading, intrepid readathoners?? 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The 24 Hour Readathon: The First Twelve

Hour 12 Update
Hi again! How is everyone doing halfway through?

I took a break to eat dinner with the kids, give a bath to the little girl, and get the kiddos to bed. I'm back to get in a few more great hours of reading!

Read So Far:
323 pages

Tiger Lily
292 pages

174 pages

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
Nothing. I just finished a book! 2. How many books have you read so far?
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I think Saga. Everyone seems to be completely smitten. 4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Well, I have these two small children who happen to live with me because they are in fact my children. So they interrupt somewhat, but the husband has been wonderful about keeping them occupied most of the time. 5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
It feels like it is moving very quickly and very slowly at the same time!

Hour 9 Update

Hello fellow Readathoners! I finished book #2 - Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I'm currently snacking on some chocolate and trying to decide on my next read. It might be The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. Or I might dip into The Best American Short Stories of 2013. Or try Glaciers. Or...I really have no idea! I guess you will have to check back later to find out. 

Hour 6 Update

We are 1/4 of the way through, everybody! Woohoo! Right now, baby girl is sleeping and D went to run some errands with his dad and hopefully bring back lunch. 

Here are the books David has read so far:

With six books and 754 pages already completed, I think he is kicking my butt!

Here is what I've read so far:
323 pages

Tiger Lily
236 pages read

Food: One banana chocolate chip muffin, one pear

Drinks: One cup of coffee, three glasses of water

Looking forward to: finishing this book and dinner in the crockpot (Easiest dinner ever - throw some chicken breasts, can of corn, can of black beans, and jar of salsa in crockpot. Cook on high 3-4 hours at least. Stir in cream cheese until incorporated. Eat with tortilla chips. Yum!)


Here is my picture for the Four Seasons, Four Books challenge!

Hour 1

I'm here guys, I'm here!! (Runs in, awkwardly clutching a laptop and a stack of books)

I got a bit of a late start, but I'm here and I'm ready to read! This year, I think I shall be joined on and off by the intrepid small readers of the family. I'm excited to see what they pick to read today too. 

Without further ado, the opening meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
The lovely state of New Jersey and my somewhat messy home (see two small children)

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I started reading Seconds the other night as I tried to decide which book to read first. Let's just say it almost didn't make it to the Readathon.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I'm excited to try my homemade banana chocolate chip muffins, but I also bought some pretty yummy looking chocolate covered pretzels for later...

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Let's see. I will be turning 28 tomorrow. I love chocolate and peanut butter. I'm currently sitting comfy in bed, adorned with a purple dress-up necklace from my little guy (An early birthday present).

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I don't know that I will do much differently today. I think I've got the hang of letting this wonderful day work out as it will! 

Happy Readathon, everyone!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Readathon Plans and Preparation

It's almost time!! In about 22 hours, more than 1,500 readers worldwide will crack open a book and enjoy that most sacred of holidays - the 24 Hour Readathon!

Now, there are several important components of readathoning. The first is preparing your space. I plan to figure out which spots in the house are most comfy for reading and make sure that I throw some comfy bookish clothing in the wash so I can dress the part.

Then, of course, we have to talk about snacks. As of now, I'm planning to make some banana chocolate chip muffins tonight for breakfast tomorrow and all-day snacking. Dinner will be Southwest Chicken in the crockpot. If there was ever a day that you truly needed to set it and forget it, it's the day of the Readathon. I will also be taking a quick trip to the store to pick up any snacks that catch my eye. Snacks are very important.

The last and most vital part is the books, of course. Here are the books I hope to read.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
The Best Short Stories of 2013
Tiger Lily

So, tell me your readathon plans! What do you hope to read? What are you going to snack on? Are you doing anything different from previous readathons?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Finding Jake

Finding Jake
By Bryan Reardon
William Morrow February 2015
272 pages
Received for review from TLC Book Tours and the publisher

Finding Jake

Simon Connolly has been a stay-at-home dad for the past sixteen years. While he occasionally feels awkward among the other parents in the neighborhood or dreams of going to an office to work with other grownups, he knows that the time spent with his children Jake and Laney is invaluable. One day, he gets a terrifying text that states there has been a shooting at the high school. All parents are asked to report to a nearby location. Laney goes home with her mother and one by one, parents are reunited with their children. Simon sits all alone, waiting for his son. Where is Jake? What really happened at the school?

Finding Jake moves in dual narratives, As Simon panics and tries to find his son, he thinks back to his childhood and all of the times that they shared together. In particular, he thinks back to the advice he gave his son to be kind to the kids who don't fit in. But when Jake befriends Doug, Simon feels that something just isn't right. His hunch seems to be confirmed when Doug is named as the shooter and Jake is named as his suspected accomplice.

This topic is one that strikes fear into the hearts of parents everywhere. The safety of our kids is our first priority and the thought that they could be harmed at school is terrifying. This story also tackles the problems of a 24 hour new cycle. Jake (and his family by extension) are immediately vilified, even before the police have solid evidence that he is involved. 

I really appreciated that our protagonist is a stay at home dad. Author Bryan Reardon stayed home with his kids for eight years and knows how it feels to be the only dad in the bunch. Because of this, Simon feels like a realistic character as he tries to do his best for his children, maintain a strong relationship with his working wife, and come to terms with his feelings about being the one at home. 

While I sometimes had trouble really connecting with Simon, I was always on the edge of my seat. The tension builds throughout each chapter as he thinks back on his years raising his son. Could his beloved son actually be a murderer?  How much can we as parents influence our children towards becoming good people? How well do we know our children?

Wondering what other readers thought of Finding Jake? Find more reviews here

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Monday and I am recovering from this weekend!

Hi friends!

It was quite the week around here. There was a lot of secretive planning and shopping going on in addition to the normal everyday stuff. On Saturday, my sister and mom came over to go shopping with BG and me for a flower girl dress. But that didn't quite happen. Instead, my sister opened the door to find several out of town relatives, a house full of people, and a surprise bridal shower. It was so much fun and I'm thrilled that we were able to keep everything under wraps.

Reading-wise this week. I'm trying to stick to books that I can dip in and out of while I catch up on lots of things. I'm looking forward to another fabulous weekend - namely, my birthday and the 24 Hour Readathon. Hooray!

Read This Week:
Finding Jake                       Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
Finding Jake                                               NPH: Choose Your Own Autobiography
By Bryan Reardon

Posts from this Past Week:
It's Monday
Reviews of Pigs In Heaven, Daring Greatly, and If You Find This Letter

This Week's Reading:
52 Things Sons Need from Their Moms                                           100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love                   
52 Things Sons Need From Their Moms                 100 Days of Real Food
By Angela Thomas                                                         By Lisa Leake        

What are you reading this week?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mini-reviews: Daring Greatly and If You Find This Letter

Early in this book, researcher Brene Brown discusses a TED talk that she gave. She asked if people in the audience saw their own vulnerability as a weakness. Then she referenced the men and women who had been onstage before her and shared some of their deepest secrets. Brown asked her audience if they thought those people were courageous. The same people raised their hands after both questions.

In Daring Greatly, Brown unpacks our misconceptions about vulnerability one by one. She reveals our dismissal of vulnerability as a refusal of our emotions and a certainty that we don't need other people. One chapter deals with the various methods we use to prevent vulnerability - perfectionism, numbing, and oversharing. Then we learn how to deal with each of those impulses in a healthy manner. She covers disruptive engagement in a workplace or organization, where people realize where they are and work together towards where they want to be. The last chapter deals with parenting, and teaching our children to be vulnerable as we work on it ourselves.

Brown is a researcher and so this book is a mix of research and personal anecdotes. The reader looking for a light read might be wise to look elsewhere. But reading Daring Greatly inspired me and it just may give you the courage to be vulnerable and create meaningful, growing connections with the people in your life.

Daring Greatly: How The Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
By Brene Brown
Gotham September 2012
260 pages
From the library

After college, Hannah Brencher moves to NYC to work with a non-profit. She is far from family and friends and soon finds that her day to day life is a very lonely one. As she sits on the subway one day, she notices a woman who looks the way she feels. Hannah decides to write her a letter full of encouragement - the kind of letter she herself might like to receive. The woman reaches her stop before Hannah can finish the letter, but it sparks an idea. She begins writing letters of love and support to strangers and leaving them around the city. When she takes requests for letters via her blog, she soon has hundreds of people waiting for her words. Can a single letter change a life? Can writing hundreds of them change Hannah's life?

If You Find This Letter introduces readers to a young woman right out of college who is struggling with many of the things her peers do - depression, loneliness, and wanting to find some purpose for her life. But I think what sets Hannah apart is her heart. She takes those moments of feeling like she is not enough and will never find her place in the world and she channels them into other people. This memoir is very honest and admittedly, in some places, she sounds like that college kid that makes you roll your eyes. But most of the time, her words are thoughtful and inspirational as she navigates this growing up thing and reaches out to other people with kindness and compassion.

“Looking back, I wish that everyone could have that sort of moment: a moment where you realize that your hands are so impossibly small and this world is so impossibly big. And the two don’t seem to add up. Maybe recognizing the smallness of your own hands is just the very first step to changing anything at all.” 

If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers
By Hannah Brencher
Howard Books March 2015
272 pages
Read via Netgalley 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Pigs In Heaven

Pigs In Heaven
By Barbara Kingsolver
Harper Perennial November 2003
343 pages
From my shelves

Pigs in Heaven (Greer Family, #2)

Taylor is doing the best she can to keep her small but unconventional family on its feet. When her six year old daughter Turtle suddenly becomes a local tv star, their security is thrown into doubt. Turtle was adopted, but she is Cherokee and the tribe has the authority to approve all adoptions. Taylor is desperate to hold on to the daughter she loves, but what if being with her own people is best for Turtle?

I'm still somewhat of a Barbara Kingsolver newbie. I have of course read The Poisonwood Bible, but that it's it so far. Each time I read one of her books, I become more convinced that she is one of those authors I should be following closely and reading frequently.

My favorite thing about this book is the amazing female characters. And yes, they are mostly female. We meet Taylor, who is so committed to her daughter that she will leave everything she knows behind in order to keep her safe. Turtle herself is a delightful kid who is both wise beyond her years and shy about her own abilities. Taylor's mother Alice also plays a major role here and we see her take control of her life at the age when most people are content to let life pass them by. Kingsolver makes the Greer women so strong and so wonderful that we are prepared to root for them against anyone and anything.

But then we meet Anawake Fourkiller, a lawyer who is committed to ensuring justice for her tribe. Annawake and Taylor have very different opinions about what is the best thing for Turtle. I started out the book convinced that Taylor knew what should happen. It was her daughter, after all. But the wisdom in Kingsolver's writing is that Annawake is coming from a place of love and caring as well. As the reader oscillates back and forth between the opinions of the two women, the tension builds because no one is sure what will happen in the end.

Pigs In Heaven is a heartfelt book about creating your own family and finding your voice to speak up for the ideas and people you believe in. It's funny in several places and chock full of characters to adore. Just don't make the same mistake I did - read the first book about Taylor and Turtle, The Bean Trees, before digging into this one. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Monday and I want a nap!

I am suffering from a serious case of the Mondays this morning. I want to crawl back in bed with a book or two, but there is a very long to-do list to tackle. And of course, a toddler who seems to want to be fed and played with and cared for. Weird, right?

Is everyone signed up for the 24 Hour Readathon?? It takes place on Saturday, April 25 and you can read for the whole 24 hours or just a few! You can sign up here. I just might come visit and cheer you on during the readathon!

Read This Week:
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy                                                Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy                   Shadow Scale
By Rachel Joyce                                                                    By Rachel Hartman

Posts from this Past Week:
It's Monday
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Want to Check In On After the Book
Reviews of Dead Wake and Almost Famous Women

This Week's Reading:
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography                                                                  Finding Jake
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography          Finding Jake
                                                                                                                By Bryan Reardon

What are you reading this week?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Almost Famous Women

Almost Famous Women
By Megan Mayhew Bergman
Scribner January 2015
256 pages
From the library 

Almost Famous Women: Stories

Those of us who love to read history will sometimes find people lurking in the peripheries. They are people you won't find in your high school history textbook or featured in a special on The History Channel. They are the almost famous ones and they are exactly the people that Megan Mayhew Bergman brings to life in her new collection of stories.

The women we meet in these pages are from all over history - a little girl abandoned by her famous father, twins literally attached to each other, a musician in the first integrated female swing band, and the women imprisoned at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Each story is a new experience, as Bergman flips perspectives. In "A High-Grade Bitch Sits Down To Lunch," Beryl Markham determines to ride her new horse, embracing her reputation for being tough. Romaine Brook's story, though, is narrated by the artist's houseboy Mateo. We meet many of these women at the end of their lives when they can only look back at their glory days through a fog of illness and depression.

Some of these tales seem to touch on entire lives, while others give us just a single moment told in a page or two. It would be easy for these stories to become strict homages to these women, but Mayhew takes the more honest and interesting approach. Some of these women are cruel to those around them. Others are self-destructive, ensuring their own downfall. 

My favorite story was about two females - one who had lost everything and one who never had the chance to gain an adult life. An unnamed nun forms an attachment with a girl who has been left at the convent by her father. The girl's father just happens to be the famous poet Lord Byron. Our protagonist finds a kindred spirit in the girl's anger and wild spirit. I found myself desperately hoping that these two could find some happiness with each other, but the women in these stories rarely find happy endings. These are women who didn't fit in the carefully constructed boxes prescribed by society. Their bravery is inspiring, but their fates are often tragic. 

In the notes at the end of the book, Bergman confesses that she found daredevil Hazel Eaton via Internet rabbit hole. Almost Famous Women will be that jumping-off point for many readers. The stories here serve as just enough to whet the appetite, to spark our interest and spur us on to research them further, and to give these women a permanent spot in our memories. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: Dead Wake

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
By Erik Larson
Crown March 2015
359 pages
From the library 

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

The ship sank in less than twenty minutes. The passengers on the Lusitania knew they were traveling through U-boat territory, but they never imagined that a German captain would fire on a passenger ship. The captain received so many conflicting messages that he actually steered them into danger. The members of the crew who knew how to operate the life boats were the same people killed upon impact when the torpedo hit the ship where the luggage was being sorted for their arrival.

Dead Wake is a staggering work of research. It feels as if Larson saw one thread and pulled it and then saw another one and pulled that one too. Everything is meticulously laid out for the reader, so they can see just how unlikely it was that the Lusitania would have been sunk and how the smallest change by any of a number of people would have altered that awful day.

Larson is not content to give you as much information as possible about May 7, 1915. Instead, he goes in depth about the lives of passengers and crew before and after that day, he gives readers insight into the inner workings of a passenger line during war time, and he brings home the uncertainties of war for those fighting and waiting on both sides. We even spend time with Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, who were either too distracted by events in their own life to see the potential danger or perhaps hoped for an inciting incident like this to spur the United States towards joining the war.

One of the most fascinating things to read about is military service on a submarine. Some chapters deal with the terrifying nature of that life, as crews were cut off from everyone else and had to surface without knowing what they would find. But most fascinating is Larson's research into the captain of the U-boat that sunk that Lusitania. By all accounts, Walter Schwieger was a great guy. He even rescued puppies from a ship that they torpedoed and kept one on board as their mascot. But he was also a ruthless commander, determined to sink the most tonnage of any German submarine.

When I finish reading a book by Erik Larson, I always feel as if I have learned a great deal. He has a gift for making history come alive and sending readers to do further research about the people and events they discover in his books. Each chapter is full of detail about the way people lived and the place and time that they lived in, but the story is never bogged down by too much information. Even though we know how the story will end, the tension builds as decision after decision move the blissfully ignorant passengers of the Lusitania towards a terrible moment that will forever change their lives and the course of world history.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters You Want To Check In On After the Book

1. The O'Malley Family
The O'Malley series is one that I fell in love with way back in junior high. It follows six orphans who took the same last name and became a family. Each of them of course has a cool and interesting job (hostage negotiator, firefighter, forensic pathologist) that allows each of them to have a book focused on them and one of their cases. My favorite part, though, was watching these adult siblings care for and interact with each other. Towards the end of the series, something major happened that changed the shape of the family. I would love to peek in and see how they are doing afterwards! 

2. Todd and Viola (Chaos Walking Trilogy)
A lot of stuff happened to Todd and Viola during the three books in the Chaos Walking series. But I would love to know what they did after the events in the last book. Ness leaves things a bit ambiguous and I want to know!!

3. Sergeant Lester Ferris (Tigerman
Lester is one of those characters just begging for some more backstory or a peek into his adventures after the story ends. It began, of course, with a man trying to live a quiet semi-retirement. When that doesn't happen, you know that Lester himself is nowhere near ready to live an orderly and expected life. 

     Tigerman    The Healer (O'Malley #5)

4. Millie, Karl, and Agatha (Lost and Found)
If you haven't heard my rave about this trio yet, consider this your invitation to pick up Lost and Found! Millie is a precocious little girl who wears red boots and Karl and Agatha are the elderly pair who end up on a zany adventure with her. I would love to read about their further exploits. 

5. Anna Wyatt (Girl Before a Mirror)
This protagonist grew a lot during this book, but I would definitely pick up a sequel so we can see the amazing things she can accomplish and how her new relationship works out!

If I'm being honest, I'm having a difficult time distinguishing between wanting to check in on a girl who lives in the most precarious of places and times and just wanting another book by Anthony Marra already. In fact, I just have to take a little detour over to my bookshelf right now and look at the book. I'll be an hour or two! 

        A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

7. Ari (After Birth
After Birth follows Ari as the mom of an almost one year old. But what does Ari look like when she has been a mom for two years or five? I want to know!

8. The whole bunch from Castle Waiting 
Apparently, Linda Medley intended to write the further adventures of the residents of Castle Waiting. But then there were some disputes with the publisher, so she didn't write any more. But what happens next, Linda, what happens next?!?

9. The Traveling Symphony and the keepers of The Museum of Civilization (Station Eleven
Mandel created such an interesting story by jumping forward and backwards in the lives of the survivors of a global pandemic. I would be just fine finding out what happened after the book finished (or even getting some more backstory)!

     Castle Waiting, Vol. 1 (Castle Waiting Omnibus Collection, #1)     Station Eleven

What are the books that make you want to check in on the characters after reading?