Book 436: Dragons in the Waters (O’Keefe Family #2) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - Dragons in the Water (O'Keefe Family #2)I am slowly making my way through the final books in the Kairos portion of L’Engle’s oeuvre. This is the sixth book in chronological story order and the fourth book published in the Murray-O’Keefe books (AKA Kairos). It takes place about six months after the action of The Arm of the Starfish and a few years (I think) before A House Like a Lotus which my response should be published later this week.

I’m glad I’ve expanded my L’Engle reading if only to fully finish the Murray-O’Keefe story line, which the more I dig into the less I think I have actually read because all of her works are intertwined, but I think I will be giving her a rest after I finish this Super-Series. With only A House Like a Lotus and An Acceptable Time left to go I think that would be both a reasonable and acceptable dive into L’Engle’s works.

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Book 428: Girl In A Band – Kim Gordon

Gordon, Kim - Girl In A BandFor our second book in our year of biography/autobiography/memoir books someone chose Kim Gordon’s Girl In A Band. It’s a look back on her time in the band Sonic Youth (never heard of them) and about her life as an artist. Seriously though, not my thing. I looked up a few of their most well-known songs on YouTube and was like “nope.” I just need a bit more structure in my music. It’s probably the same reason I don’t like jazz. I’m also still not quite sure what the difference is between New Wave, No Wave, Punk, and Post punk, but I guess it doesn’t really matter.

If I’m honest, I wasn’t looking forward to this book, or at least two more that we’re planning to read. It’s mostly because I know nothing about the subject matter, but it’s also because I don’t find the subject matter interesting. That being said I did find enough in this book to keep me mostly engaged.

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Book 383: Managing Up – Rosanne Badowski and Roger Gittines

Badowski, Rosanne and Roger Gittines - Managing UpMy final foray, at least for the time being, into professional development was Badowski’s Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship with Those Above You, and if I’m completely honest it’s the only one I should have read.

I enjoyed the “theory” and the “professional opinions” in the Harvard Business Review compilations I read, Managing Up (The 20-Minute Manager Series) and HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across, but neither of them had the wit, the humor or the charm of this book. Seriously, there is something to be said about reading a book that could be an incredibly boring (or pedantic) subject that makes you laugh out loud or giggle to yourself on public transportation. They all provide great advice, but this book offered the advice through the art of storytelling and not the other way around.

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Book 181: The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus #3) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The Mark of AthenaI can’t wait for the next in this series to come out!

When it does, I’m going to re-read the first three all over again because there were so many details I only vaguely recalled AND their just fun reads! (Although this might not happen as The House of Hades‘ scheduled publication is August 2013, but I hope to get the chance!)

From what I do recall from the first two books, this is definitely more action packed and definitely not lacking. However, in the end it was just as much a tease as the others. For the entire book I held out hope that some of the major plot lines of the series would be wrapped up, but only one of them was (which was definitely nice). I was, however, very glad that the seven demigods from the prophecy were finally together and the teen angst in the book definitely added to the plot (although I’ve yet to read an author who does teen angst as well as J.K. Rowling).

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Book 110: The Color Purple – Alice Walker

I must preface this post with the caveat that prior to reading the novel I knew little about it. I vaguely knew that Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey were connected to the film, but that was it. And for future reference, this is how I approach most novels I read.

To be honest, it’s hard to know how to respond to a novel like this. When an author opens a novel with a scene as disturbing as that which opens The Color Purple, how can you respond other than viscerally? How can you relate to something that is foreign to you as a reader?

Take a look at the opening line and you can only imagine where the story goes from there.

“You better not tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.”

And that doesn’t even cover the shock/horror I felt in the first few pages of the novel. It doesn’t reveal anything, really. Clearly, however, Alice Walker wrote an amazing novel. Walker keeps the reader riveted, regardless of your relation of the experience, from the brutal opening scene to the emotionally exhausting closing scene.

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Book 105: Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Well I survived the slog. At points I honestly didn’t think I would get through the novel and really should have waited having just finished the five books of Martin’s epic saga, but I did and I didn’t. It took me nearly three weeks to read the novel (which, yes I know, isn’t a lot of time for some people – but it was never-ending for me), and they were three very long weeks.

Counting for the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge, the Tea and Books Reading Challenge and The Classics Club, I am definitely glad I read the novel (aside from the story of course) because it puts me that much closer to my yearly goals! Technically I’ve finished the Tea and Books reading challenge (my original goal was Earl Grey Aficionado, or six books) but I upgraded last month to the Sencha Connoisseur level which is eight books.

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