BOOKS! and sometimes TV!

Hi sisters,

As Calvin gets more mobile and opinionated I’m having less time to watch and read things. I still find time to read, but it’s not as often as when he was a newborn. Then I would read while he nursed, and I could read while I was holding him and soothing him to sleep in the rocking chair, I’d read all the time! I don’t watch TV as often on my own anymore, mainly because I don’t like to do it while Calvin’s awake, he gets too distracted by it and I’m not ready for him to have screen time ;-). However, I still find the time on the weekends and during naps to watch and read things that are fun to me. Here are some fun books I’m reading:

The Knife of Never Letting Go. Oh my goodness, this book is so great! It’s in the teen section at our library, but I think adults would really enjoy this book as well. It’s the story of Todd, a boy living in Prentisstown, a settlement on a new planet where everyone can hear everyone’s thoughts in an overwhelming stream of “Noise.” How the Noise began and how the people of this new world deal with it is an exciting, thrilling read. It’s such an interesting premise and really well fleshed out. It’s the first in a trilogy, so of course I’m excited to read the rest. This is the kind of book that I avoided for awhile because I knew once I started it I wouldn’t want to put it down and it would stay with me for awhile. It’s a bit like the Hunger Games in a futuristic, intense, violent way but is a more interesting and well written premise I think. Todd’s journey from a boy to a man is easier for me to enjoy than Katniss’s constant uncertainty about everything. 

Zita the Spacegirl! This one is a really fun, quick graphic novel series that I zoomed through. There are three books in the series so far and each one took me about 30 minutes to read. Hatke’s drawings are so much fun to look at and he is so imaginative with space aliens and new creatures and worlds. Zita is a lovely main character, kind and brave and getting into lots of fun adventures. This reminded me of watching Star Wars as a kid and feeling transported to a “galaxy far far away,” but I got the experience in a book! Woot woot.

Another graphic novel that I zoomed through. I never really felt drawn to graphic novels, but decided I needed to give them a try because so many kids love them and request ideas when they come in to the library. Raina Telgemeier is a great graphic novelist whose books Smile and Sisters are really amazing autobiographical stories about middle school and growing up. Telgemeier is now reimagining the Babysitters Club books as graphic novels and it works so well. I read through this one and remembered so many things from my childhood! I was never hugely into the BSC books, but I read a few when I didn’t have anything else to read at home. Claudia’s love of junk food especially stuck with me. I was always jealous of her secret stashes of candy.

I also read a few adult books! I’m a bit of a YA convert, now that I have such a ready supply of books that intrigue me at my work, but some of my favorite adult authors are still putting out books that I’m interested in. I tend to read through these at a slower pace, since I can get through YA books so much faster I often gravitate towards them when I only have a 45 minute nap with which to read.

I always get excited about a new Louise Penny book! Her Inspector Gamache series is incredible. She is so good at writing about her characters’ inner emotional lives and creating a suspenseful mystery. This wasn’t my favorite book in her series, but it was still great. Definitely start at the beginning, it’s wonderful to follow her characters from book to book and see how they’re growing and changing. Does it seem a bit far-fetched that so many murders have affected the residents of one teensy tiny town in Quebec? Yes, of course, but who cares! It’s still a great read.

Another interesting mystery series is Susanna Calkins Lucy Campion series. Lucy is a lady’s maid turned amateur sleuth in 17th century London. Calkins give the reader great insights into the world of 17th century London. I’m reading the third and latest installment
The Masque of a Murderer. This one is fascinating because it focuses on the Quaker movement and the ways in which society and the law persecuted them in the 17th century. It’s one thing to hear in school how Quakers were persecuted and tried to find religious freedom in the New World and another to read about it told through Lucy’s eyes as you find yourself immersed in London in 1667. Sometimes I have a hard time relating to the characters’ plights because they are so foreign to our modern day sensibilities. That’s the fun of reading historical fiction though.

I have a few more books that I’m excited to read, I’ll let you know if they’re any good.

In TV land, Kevin and I finally finished the series Friends!! I’d never seen all of it and we decided to start watching it back before Calvin was born, 7 months later we finished all 10 seasons of it. It felt a bit like finally doing my cultural homework when I watched all of it. I had no idea Phoebe had a happy ending, that was nice to see. I always assumed she went off on her quirky way alone. Kevin says I’m most like a mixture of Phoebe and Rachel and he’s basically Monica AND Chandler, though he wishes he was a Joey ;-).

We just started the BBC’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell after hearing great things about it from Janna and Martha. Kevin usually dislikes 19th century British things, but is intrigued so far.

It is based on Susanna Clark’s bestselling novel about the resurgence of magic in 19th century Britain. It has everything that I like in a show and I’m so excited to watch the rest of it!

When I’m cooking up a storm during Calvin’s naps I tend to watch a show as I work. FINALLY the third series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries came to Netflix and I’m halfway through already. This is truly everything I love in a show. A strong, funny, daring female protagonist who flies in the face of conventional society to help people and solve mysteries in Australia in the early 1900s. SO. FUN. Kevin doesn’t really like it that much, period tv shows are not his thing.

Anyways, hope I haven’t bored you too much. Or made you jealous of my free time to read and watch things ;-). At least y’all have some entertainment options for those days when you might need them!

Love you all,

Jewel

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