Nightstand (February 2012)

I have finally managed to NOT almost forget a Nightstand–but I still almost missed it, thanks to whatever was going on with my database queries (still have no idea but crossing my fingers that my “fixes” will work).

But I didn’t forget it–or miss it. Instead, I’ve a whole huge collection of books to share from when I last updated you on my status (that is, since January 15).

This month I read:

Returned in last trip to library

Adult Fiction

  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    Single-handedly responsible for disrupting my sleep habits for a week. This was incredibly hard to put down.
  • The Peacemaker by Lori Copeland
    My little sis recommended this as a senseless read. She was right.

Adult Non-fiction

  • Arguing with Idiots by Glen Beck
    I think I’ve mentioned that I don’t think I’m a fan of Beck. But he does better at polemics (as in this book) than in trying to write socio-moral-political treatise (as in Glen Beck’s Commonsense).
  • Barack Obama: The Official Inaugural Book
    Even if I weren’t opposite Obama on the ideological spectrum, I think this book would still induce dry heaves. The contributors make absolute idiots of themselves, slobbering over the “legacy” of a man who had (by then) done precisely nothing. History will tell what Obama’s legacy will be–but whatever it is, this book will stand as a powerful testament to the ridiculousness of political idolatry.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
    How do you describe this book? It’s the story of a line of cells (link to Wikipedia article) that has been in existence for over half a century. It’s the story of a writer trying to track down a story. It’s a story of medical ethics, of segregation, of identity. Mostly it’s a story about a woman who died and what is left living–her family and her cancerous cervical cells. Descriptions can’t do it justice–this is a true story told well.
  • The Only Wise God by William Lane Craig
    A rather dense but immensely interesting look at “middle knowledge”–an attempt to mesh the doctrines of God’s sovereignty and human freedom. Someday I’ll talk more about this, but I’m still playing it through in my brain. Most readers will probably prefer to hear about this rather than reading it–cause it’s kinda hard to read.

Some more completed books

Juvenile Fiction

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
    Both of the above were read for Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge. I posted about my participation here
  • Blood Red Road by Moira Young
    Saba’s life is forever changed when four riders kill her father and kidnap her twin brother. Determined to find Lugh, Saba sets out an adventure that leads her through the desert, into cage-fighting, and straight to her heart’s desire. Blood Red Road is stunning, intense, and moving–and author Moira Young is poised to be the next epic fantasy author. (I was pleased that Blood Red Road won the Cybil Award for YA fantasy–I read this book as part of Amy’s Armchair Cybils.)
  • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
    A middle-grade retelling of Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” with a dash of a dozen other fairy tales and fantasies thrown in. I loved this book. (Read as part of Amy’s Armchair Cybils. Title linked to my full review).
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
    The protagonists of Chains and Forge are young black slaves during the American Revolution-a unique enough concept in the first place. But what makes these novels great isn’t just the setting or the characters–it’s how the author captures the humanity of her characters within their setting. The reader can identify with the characters, but not (as usually is the case) because the characters have thoroughly modern sensibilities. Anderson draws her readers back into the internal conflict of fighting for freedom while keeping others enslaved.
  • The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson
  • Level Up by Gene Luen Yang with art by Thien Pham
    The first graphic novel I’ve ever read–and I actually ended up enjoying it (a surprise for someone as text-bound as I). A story about video gaming, about med school, about living up to your parents’ expectations, about forging your own way, about guardian angels and exorcising your personal demons. I really was stunned by how much I enjoyed this book.
  • Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg
  • Misfit by Jon Skovron
    I’m not one to dismiss whole classes of books with one fell swoop–and I’ve been reserving judgment regarding paranormal fiction (which for me means simply ignoring it). Misfit, about a half-girl/half-demon-child, has ended up being one of my first forays into the genre. So far, I’m not a fan. Not that the story wasn’t interesting–because it certainly was. But demons aren’t some imaginary entity that we can make out to be whatever we want them to be. They’re real. And this book does not portray them honestly. Instead, the demon-gods of the Old Testament become warring demon factions (some good, some evil) while the true God is completely ignored (except that the “newer” demons can be warded off by a crucifix.) In my mind, demons aren’t playthings–and neither is this book. (This was another Armchair Cybils read.)
  • 2 Easy Reading Cybils finalists
  • 2 Children’s Picture Book Cybils Finalists
  • 53 other Children’s picture books

Juvenile Non-Fiction

  • Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming
    A glossy-paged, black-and-white-picture-filled, informative biography of Amelia Earhart. This book flips back and forth between the search for Amelia after her airplane was lost in the Pacific and the events of her life leading up to her global circumnavigation attempt. I was pleased that this nominee won the Cybil award for YA(?) nonfiction.
  • The Great Number Rumble by Cara Lee and Gillian O’Reilly
    A student narrates what happens when the principal decides to drop the math curriculum-and how one math-crazed student convinces him that he shouldn’t. This is a rather spectacular little book about some of the dozens of real-life math applications from music to Fibbonacci numbers to fractals to topology and cryptology and CG animation effects. I pretty much loved this little book–and think young readers (probably upper-elementary to middle-school students) just might like it too. Who ever knew math could be so cool?
  • Unraveling Freedom by Ann Bausum
    A very interesting look at how the fight for freedom abroad (in World War I) led to an erosion of freedom at home. I learned quite a bit of information I didn’t know–but I wasn’t altogether satisfied with how it was presented. It seemed a bit propaganda-ish to me.
  • 3 other books about math
  • 4 Cybils nonfiction picture book finalists

I just renewed a passel of books this last week–so my Nightstand is loaded with just under three weeks to go before I have to return them all.

Let the reading continue!

On my Nightstand now

Don’t forget to drop by 5 Minutes 4 Books to see what others are reading this month!

What's on Your Nightstand?

11 thoughts on “Nightstand (February 2012)”

  1. I’ve been hearing great things about Blood Red Road, so I’ve REALLY been debating whether or not to give it a try! The same about Breadcrumbs. (I heard it might induce nightmares). :P

  2. I keep hearing raves about Henrietta Lacks, but I have to admit to me the plot doesn’t sound very interesting. But maybe I should read the first few pages.

    I enjoyed The Help, too.

    Breadcrumbs sounds really interesting to me.

  3. I enjoyed both “The Help” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” I recently saw the movie version of The Help and was disappointed. It wasn’t bad per se but the book was better.

  4. Hmmm. . .you make me really want to read Blood Red Road, which doesn’t at all sound like something I’d usually go for. Didn’t you just love Chains and Forge?!?! I think there’s another book in the series due out soon–sometime this year, maybe. I still haven’t read Immortal Life, but my hubby’s job includes teaching labs using some of her cells (or something like that), so I really should read it!

  5. I also loved Henrietta Lacks, such a great look at medicine and ethics.

    I haven’t read Chains and Forge but have been wanting to, I’m studying the Revolution now with my oldest and I think these would be a little too old for him. But maybe for me.:)

    And thanks for the math book review! I’m always looking for math books to add to our curriculum.

  6. Hmmmm….I know everyone is saying so much good about Henrietta but to me the premise is almost too strange to consider. Would I like it? I’m not sure!

    Will definitely have to look for Chains and Forge!

  7. So many of these books piqued my interest. I’ve added the HeLa one to my to-read list as it sounds absolutely fascinating, and the Laurie Halse Anderson ones sound good too.

    I read The Help several months ago and really enjoyed it (though I quickly tired of the rather excessive cursing). I’ve seen the movie too and I actually like them equally.

  8. I’m just going to have to locate a copy of Breadcrumbs. (It’s written down on my library list!)

    I’m laughing at your descriptions of various books. Especially the one about Obama. hahaha! *ahem*

    Glad you liked The Help.

    My first thought, by the way, when I saw your Nightstand post pop up was, “She remembered!!!” ;)


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