It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 10/7/18

IMWAYR-2015-logoOn the blog:

In reading:

spinning silver

Hard not to have a serious reading hangover after finishing Naomi Novik’s fantasy novel, Spinning Silver. Incredible world-building and such rich character creation. Her characters are not always entirely likeable, yet I can’t help rooting for them. Structurally, this one is quite interesting, as perspectives shift among several first-person narrators but nothing within the text signals the shift. At first, I found it very strange not to start a new chapter with some kind of cue for the reader–a label or a different font–to let us know another “I” has taken over the narration. But these characters have such strong voices, it wasn’t difficult to tell them apart, even as the narrators shifted multiple times within a chapter, and I ended up admiring the unusual technique.

luisa now and then

Carole Maurel’s Luisa Now and Then is a graphic novel about thirty-two-year-old Luisa, who’s unhappy with her love life and her family and her job and her noisy new neighbor. The story takes a turn for the magical and the complicated when her fifteen-year-old self shows up. The two of them can’t figure out how the younger Luisa has traveled across time to Paris, and the magic is never really explained, but it doesn’t matter. The story’s true focus is what happens when family and society lead a person to deny and suppress their true feelings and true self, as Luisa has done for years, ever since she first felt attraction to one of her girl friends when she was fifteen.

third mushroom

The Fourth Goldfish was one of my son’s very favorite read-alouds (he adores cranky elderly people–so bring on the book recommendations if you know of some good middle-grade or YA featuring old curmudgeons in significant roles), so he was excited to read The Third Mushroom. Neither of us thought it was quite as good as The Fourth Goldfish, but it was still very enjoyable, and I loved the focus on friendship and what Holm had to say about how few novels place as much of a focus on friendship as they do on romance.

shh were writing the constitution

Another helpful history title from Jean Fritz. I watched so many videos and read so many articles online about the writing of the Constitution, searching for one that would be comprehensible and also at least mildly engaging for my son, and this short book was definitely the winner.

big mooncake for little star

A Big Mooncake for Little Star is an original origin tale explaining the lunar cycles. The story is creative and entertaining, and it’s so beautifully illustrated–absolutely dazzling.

ocean meets sky

Actually, there were several dazzlers this week, because The Fan Brothers’ Ocean and Sky definitely qualifies too. So many stunning images here as a young boy, missing his grandfather, goes in search of the magical stories his grandfather used to tell him.

stuff of stars

I’m going to have to look at The Stuff of Stars a second time. Ekua Holmes’s work is incredible, but I found an early reference to God in the text quite off-putting and struggled to enter the world of the picture book because I was too busy wondering about the wisdom of that early reference.

adrian simcox

Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse has a strong message about imagination and acceptance, though I thought it needed one or two more spreads to make the girl’s transformation from considering Adrian a liar to considering him imaginative believable. Corinna Luyken’s illustrations are really strong.

dad by my side

There’s something so endearing and wonderful about the scale of figures in Dad By My Side: the little girl is so very tiny, and her dad is so very large. This is a charming, touching story about the special connection between father and daughter.


Excellent picture book biography of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated (wonderfully so!) by Julie Morstad.





11 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 10/7/18”

  1. erika4690 Avatar

    WOW! What a great selection of books. How do you find the time to read all of these plus a novel? I am a slow reader and lucky if I can get a novel read. Between life with kids, work, and school, reading is just not a big priority like it should be. However, I tend to read more with rainy days coming our way. Something about them just gets me in the mood for coffee and a good book. Have a great week.

  2. lindabaie Avatar

    Dad By My Side looks very sweet, but thanks especially for Spinning Silver and Luisa Then & Now. They are new titles to me & I will put them on my list. Glad to hear your thoughts about Ocean Sky. I did love it. Thanks, Elisabeth. FYI – your son may like The Orphan Band of Springdale or The Dollar Kids, both include a few curmudgeons!

  3. Juliana Ellington Avatar
    Juliana Ellington

    Enjoyed your post, as always. I love the cover art on Dad by my Side.

  4. Scott Day Avatar

    Books I’ve recently read and loved: 1. Blue Rider and Turn On the Night by Geraldo Valerio. Wordless picture books with beautiful, surreal images. 2. The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewin. Gorgeous cover. Fascinating wordplay (i.e. “cloisterwings”).The wonder that occurs when the silence and control placed upon people, especially young girls, is resisted. Caution: Some painful sequences about abuse. 3. Books in the Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone. I’ve started second book in sequence. Gladstone combines so many ideas and images that I often felt overwhelmed…in a good way. I marvel at what he has created. Agree with you about unnecessary use of “God” in The Stuff of Stars. I like to imagine this as a wordless picture book. Will check out Grace Lin’s new book (I love her books) and Ocean Meets Sky.

  5. Shaye Miller Avatar

    Ahhhh, I keep hearing wonderful things about Spinning Silver — with your recommendation I’ll put this one on my shorter list. 🙂 Just feeling overwhelmed with developing a new course and trying to keep up with my usual reading load. Just not happening. Booo!!! I had The Fourteenth Goldfish on reserve, but had to give it up as my stack was too high to get it finished in time. But I’m looking forward to getting to The Third Mushroom in the next few months. Have a wonderful reading week, Elisabeth! Thank you for grabbing me some habaneros over the weekend — SOOOOO excited to get my hot sauce made. Woohoo!

  6. Elizabeth Avatar

    I’m in the middle of Spinning Silver right now and loving it. I get very mad when the train arrives at my station and I have to stop reading and disembark. She’s so amazing at creating a whole world by jumping right in and not telling you much. It’s brilliant.

  7. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    I don’t know if I’d say they’re curmudgeons necessarily, but I think your son would enjoy the grandparent characters in AS BRAVE AS YOU by Jason Reynolds if you haven’t read that one with him yet.

    Have you read HEY, KIDDO yet? Even though it’s a heavy topic and the grandparents have their own demons to deal with, there’s still a loveableness to them.

  8. Kellee Avatar

    I need to read Fourteenth Goldfish–I love Holm’s writing, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet.
    Mooncake is so amazingly beautiful! I loved it! And Adrian, too!

    Have you all read Sunny Side Up? Awesome grandparent story! Oh! And Classy Crooks Club! Yes!

    Happy reading this week 🙂

  9. aaroncleaveley Avatar

    I agree with what both of you thought about The Fourteenth Goldfish. So many great PBs here I don’t even know where to start. I also liked Ocean Meets Sky and Corinna Luyken’s work. Most of the rest I have not really seen yet, so thanks for the great post. I will be adding some books.

  10. Myra GB Avatar

    Ooo! I will be featuring Bloom soonest and have featured Ocean Meets Sky, which as you noted is so visually stunning! I have put off reading the Naomi Novak series because I’ve read so many conflicting reviews. Argh.

  11. Karen Yingling Avatar
    Karen Yingling

    The Fourth Goldfish reminded me a bit of Erin Fry’s Undercover Chefs with the cranky old people, so maybe you should take a look at that one!

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