Sunday, June 30, 2013

Books read in June, 2013

There are a lot of picture books (6) padding out this list.  It was a great month for picture books--thank you librarian book group--and a big slog of a month for YA fiction.  Three of four YA books I found hard to get through.  But the one I liked is a damn fine example of YA literature.

Tiger in my Soup
Kashmira Sheth & Jeffery Ebbeler
Read for Librarian Book Club
Great story for anyone with siblings. The illustrations are wonderful.

My Father's Arms are a Boat
Sein Erik Lunde & I.M. Torseter
Read for Librarian Book Club
I loved the art in this; it was stark and beautiful.  The story was sparse and not the usual American picture-book fare. Probably because it's not American.

The Museum
Susan Verge & Peter H. Reynolds
Read for Librarian Book Club
Very fun.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Cythia Ryalnt & Corace
Read for Librarian Book Club
I've always been disturbed by this story and this time was no different.

Ash Wednesday
Ethan Hawke
So the problem of being a recognizable actor who has also written a novel is that it's hard to seperate the screen persona/actor from the main character, especially if the main character occupies the same general demographic as the author.  With Hawke's first novel, I never successfully separated the two people actor/author and main character, which detracted from my enjoyment of said novel.  In this novel, I spent the first portion picturing Jimmy as Ethan Hawke, but eventually was able to discard this and wrap myself in the story.  Having said all that, I loved the "voice" in this story. It was hard-driving  and descriptive, took no prisoners and just kept rolling along until the end came.

The Summer Prince
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Read for Librarian Book Club
There were a lot of things of interest in this book: futuristic setting; matriarchal society; strange ritual; love affair; art; drama; social commentary.  But somehow, it didn't hold together for me and I had trouble finishing it.  I think the problem stemmed from the fact I never had a really good picture of the setting. How did that pyramid city work, anyway?  Also, the ritual, which is the crux of the book, was explained in such vague and piecemeal ways it took a long time for me to understand it.  I found "the Aunties" to also be confusing.  There were a lot of them and it was hard to distinguish one from the other, plus they went by different names depending on who they were talking to.  The overall effect for me was a gem of a story glimpsed here and there through muddled execution.

The Different Girl
Gordon Dahlquist
Read for Librarian Book Club
This was one of those books to delight over, rip through and recommend.  It has an astounding opening chapter and the masterful storytelling kept dropping things here and there like breadcrumbs, pulling me along.  The prose was also quite pretty too, sparse and affecting.  Very well done.

A Long Way Away
Frank Viva
Read for Librarian Book Club
When I was little, my mother gave me a small book I could read to the end, flip over and then the last page of the book became the beginning of a new story.  It was delightful, and I'm pretty sure I still have that book kicking around somewhere.  Given my past with forward/backward reading, you won't be surprised to find that I loved this picture book which can be read from front to back, or back to front.  There's a lot to look at, making repeated readings necessary.

The Lucy Variations
Sara Zarr
Read for Librarian Book Club
Things I liked:  It was a window into the world of child piano prodigies and it's been a long time since I've read a book with a main character who was very wealthy, which made for a nice change of pace.  Things I didn't like:  as the novel wore on, I found it hard to care about anything happening and I felt the main dramatic device came too late and too abruptly in the story.

Flora and the Flamingo
Molly Idle
Read for Librarian Book Club
No words and pure delight.

The Whole Stupid Way We Are
N. Griffin
Read for Librarian Book Club
I didn't like this book, though in discussing it with the book group I was reminded about some rather charming elements of the book that had gotten lost in my annoyance.  So there are good things and the overall feeling by the members in the group was that it was very, very good.

I was initially put off by the huge amount of profanity spoken by the main characters.  However, at about the same time I was reading this book, I also began reading my journals from late junior high and observed that the swearing level in the book was pretty much spot-on.  I had forgotten how much we swore at that time.

I felt like this book was a (too) long, (too) slow build to a climax that was then a brief flash and it was gone.  Aside from that problem, the author also threw in a confusing sentence or two in the last few moments of the book that left me wondering just what happened with one of the characters. This annoyed me too.

Three sentence movie reviews: The Heat

What I can I say, it was hot.  I was tired of driving and this was the next movie playing so I went.  It wasn't a laugh riot, but was amusing and the two leads worked well together.

Cost: $10.00
Where watched:  Edwards theater in that funnily named place in downtown Boise.

Julia Davis Park

I took a short walk along the Greenbelt in Julia Davis Park.  I wanted to see the river traffic.

But look!  There's a designated smoking area in Julia Davis Park.  Apparently the guy I came across smoking outside of the designated smoking area was not aware of this/does not care.  I did not tell him.
There were a lot of people on the river.
I was hoping for some bridge jumpers, but this isn't the best place to jump and so there were no takers.  But I wasn't the only one seeing how many people were floating.
There are places to pull out of the river and hang for awhile.  One of them is right near the bridge I was standing on.
A certain brother of mine does not like all the new rules and regulations.
I wandered into the water and so did this friendly fella.  He wanted me to throw something, but I just chatted at him.
In the river!
It's pretty shallow here.  If I were floating this would be a BU, FU part.  (Butts up, feet up)
It's a very good way to spend the afternoon.
Here are the pictures I got from the bridge.  I'm partial to the individual tube, rather than the raft, as you get to actually be in the water.  I also noticed that while we used actual tire inner tubes back in the day, everyone I saw today has tubes manufactured for the purpose of floating.

More driving

I put 200 miles on the car in Boise alone.  Thanks to the fact I don't have to do it every day, I do love to drive.

Mom's house, post divorce.  I'm a fan of older, rather than newer houses, but I always liked the details on this house.  I'm not a fan of the new color though.  And mom's landscaping was much better.
Simplot Hill.  This is where we went ice blocking.  I wonder if that is still done.  I just googled the term "ice blocking" and it seems it is not an activity exclusive to Boise, Idaho.  We always did it at night and I used to imagine J.R. Simplot listening to the laughter rolling up the hill to his home.
I drove up to Bogus Basin Ski Area, which I have not really visited before.  I'm not a winter sports person.  I was very surprised at how small and winding the road is.  It was a fun drive, but I don't think I would want to do it in the winter.
The ski area in summer.
And more ski area in summer.
You are welcome, Bogus.
Overlooking town.
More views of Boise from afar.
Again, the landscape!
I love it.
This used to be a grocery store near Simplot's house. It's where we would buy our blocks of ice.
I'm pretty sure this is where my mother bought me the kelly green polyester sweater I had to wear for band concerts at West Junior High.  Just one block down the street was the place everyone got their letter jackets.

Chef's Hut

Here it is!  My first place of employment.  I worked Saturday, trading off with another guy.  One week I would wash dishes, the next, wait tables.
It's bigger now than it was in my time, where that ceiling beam is used to be the wall.  It's also owned by a different person, Corky sold the place awhile back.  So it looks a bit different.
One of the new things is the fan in the door.  This is a good way to get air circulating to the kitchen.  Back in the day there was a refrigerator there.
Here's the sign where the specials of the day used to be written. At the time, there was no website address on it.  One of the people who worked in the business park complex would come in regularly to do the lettering for the next round of specials.  He ate for free, lucky fellow.
I asked if I could stand behind the counter and they let me.

Drive to Lucky Peak and back.

This used to be East Junior High School, where I took oboe lessons for a time.  Don't ask.  Now it's a field.  At least it gets to be a field, unlike my former junior high site.  There's a new East somewhere else.
Driving out Warm Springs to Lucky Peak.
Before I knew about the politics and consequences of hydroelectric dams, I was always in awe of this contrast:  lush water and parched landscape.  Boise left its mark on me in so many ways.
We spent a lot of time at Lucky Peak swimming.  The "sand" was horrible, nothing like sand at all, but the swimming was fabulous.  There used to be wooden rafts floating out "in the deep."  Older kids--teenagers--would swim out there and frolic while I watched from the shallow water.  Later, I was a teenager frolicking out there.  You could dip under the raft and come up underneath, which was a great place to steal a kiss.
Green and brown.
Back in town, I was happy to see this restaurant was still there.  When my coworker from my first job quit, one of the waitresses we worked with took both of us there to celebrate and say goodbye.
Empire Lanes! (Bad picture, but it's there, you just have squint.)  This is a bowling alley, but we went there to play pool, because they had tables that were 50 cents per game. We were horrible pool players, so a game could take up to an hour, making this a screaming deal.  There was also a jukebox and a greasy-bowling-alley food-type restaurant.
This used car lot is where we used to go rollerblading after dark.  The reason?  There were no rocks on this lot.

Breakfast with Lori

We met in Kindergarten and spent a lot of time together growing up.  She had the long blond hair and I had the long brown hair.  Now we both have gray hair.  It was good to catch up.
Our best "cool guy head nod" pose.

Maybe we can convince her to come to the 30th....

Earlier morning walk in Boise

I got up early to meet a friend for breakfast and had more time for downtown Boise pictures.

This Allies of people with HIV and AIDS place didn't exist when I was in high school.  At least not in this form.
They had a jar with condoms available.  Given that it was Sunday morning, I'm not surprised it was empty.
Oh, bad funny t-shirts.  Where would I be if I couldn't look down on you?
But right next door, a fancy clothes place.  Good old Boise!
The Hoff is such a pretty building.  We ate my graduation celebration dinner at the Top of the Hoff restaurant.
It's Lewis & Clark and friends!
Apologies for the lack of proper orientation, but I love that a benchmark has been preserved in recognition of Abraham Lincoln. Also that the sign is bigger than the benchmark.
A look up Capitol Boulevard to the Train Depot, where I spent many happy hours in the gardens on the grounds.
Lincoln, standing not-so-tall.
I mean, really, he's tiny.
Unlike Steunenberg.  I guess you have to be assassinated IN Idaho to get the really big statue.
Darn that organized labor!
I've always loved the Idaho Capitol building.  And I loved living in a state capitol.
These are fun!  Around the capitol building grounds, each county's seal is displayed.  I didn't have time to find Ada county, but here's Benewah.  This also made me wonder if every county in every state has a seal.  It seems a bit much, no?