It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 4/8/19

You’d think that after taking several weeks off of Monday reading posts to focus on other challenges I’d have plenty of books to share. But I returned my last stack of picture books to the library unread and otherwise have way too many books started to finish many.

I really enjoyed Weike Wang’s novel, Chemistry. It’s told from the perspective of a Chemistry grad student whose failed research project causes one of those midlife-in-your-twenties crises. It’s a novel about being stuck–our unnamed narrator has been essentially fired from her graduate program and can’t make any kind of decision in her life, including responding to her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. For a novel about being stuck and fairly unhappy, it’s really energetic and even fun. There is wry humor throughout, a very strong voice, and an interesting mix of observations about science and life. I think Wang is especially good at exploring the pressures and challenges of being the child of immigrants and having so many expectations placed on you to succeed.

His Majesty’s Dragon is Jane Austen meets Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander with dragons. It’s the first in a fantasy alternate history series about the Napoleonic Wars, and the alternate part is that in addition to the naval corps, Britain has an air corps of dragons and their handlers. Naval captain Will Laurence is inducted into this semi-secret world of dragons and aviators quite against his will when a dragon’s egg he has captured from the French unexpectedly hatches and Temeraire, the new hatchling, decides that Laurence would be the most appropriate handler. Novik writes so well, and the characters are well-drawn. These are highly sentient dragons (Temeraire enjoys Euclid for bedtime reading), and their dialogue and interactions are at least as fascinating as what the humans get up to.

I nearly skipped Game Changer! because I just didn’t think I needed to read another book about book access for all. Talk about preaching to the choir! But I thought this was an exceptionally well-done professional development book, a must read for teachers newer to teaching but with plenty for veteran teachers as well. It’s especially strong in incorporating research and covering all aspects of book access, including topics that are frequently left out of other PD books, such as the importance of book ownership.

Tight was my latest read-aloud with my son. We both loved the characters, the voice and the sticky ethical situations, and he kept interrupting my reading to warn me that Mike, Bryan’s new friend, was not all he seemed to be and was certainly going to get Bryan in trouble. Which he did. This is a surprisingly interior novel for a middle-grade, where the trouble Bryan gets in is mostly feeling like he has disappointed his mother and himself in not acting like the person he wants to be. There is enough action to keep the attention, I think, but the real draw here is Bryan’s thoughtful reflections on the action.





11 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 4/8/19”

  1. lindabaie Avatar

    I think I wrote this on your #MustRead post, too. Thanks for reminding me about Tight, on my list. Chemistry sounds interesting. Thanks, Elisabeth!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Chemistry. Very short novel but I read it very slowly so I could drag it out for a whole week of bedtime reading!

  2. Shaye Miller Avatar

    I love what you shared about your son interrupting to warn about Mike in Tight. That’s too cute! And I’m going to go read up on His Majesty’s Dragon because it’s been a while since I’ve read an adult fantasy book. And for selfish reasons, I’d love to get addicted to a new adult series. Have a great week, Elisabeth!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      My mom read His Majesty’s Dragon in a day! So it definitely worked for her too. I realize that I love fantasy and sci-fi for grownups and just don’t read those genres very much. So I am trying to remedy that. My son has LOVED Tight. Not sure what I’m going to follow it up with….

  3. Amanda Potts Avatar

    Now I can’t wait for Naomi Novik’s book – I loved Spinning Silver *and* Master and Commander *and* Game of Thrones, so this sounds just about perfect! Thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Oh, it sounds like one you might really like then. (Also, did you read Naomi Novik’s Uprooted? Also SO GOOD.)

  4. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione) Avatar

    I enjoyed Tight. Game Changer is in my tbr pile. I have to get to it soon.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s a very quick read. I’ll look forward to your thoughts!

  5. cweichel Avatar

    It is depressing to take those stacks on unread books back to the library, but then other times I find it liberating! I love your story about your son warning you!

  6. Earl @ The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Avatar

    Some reading weeks are better than others which I know from experience. I’m in a kind of reading slump as well.

  7. aaroncleaveley Avatar

    I really enjoyed Tight so I am glad that you were able to find that one.I bought Her Majesty’s Dragon for my wife years ago, who is a big O’Brien fan but she hasn’t tried this one yet. I sent her this description.

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