Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading - April 28, 2014

Trying to get back into the groove of reading and blogging about reading! Haven't done one of these since last year! And yes, I know it's not actually Monday...

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts each week.

Read Shelf

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling - rereading, mostly through audio. Love this series.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - sharing this with teens for our local library! One Book, One Michiana!
Wild by Cheryl Strayed - gave this one away to staff for World Book Night. Looking forward to the movie.
Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger - great idea! You could spin-off this by giving kids a classic and having them interpret it for today's audience.
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - not my usual fare but I couldn't put it down! Nice twist.
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins - Romance and butt-kicking and fantasy. Plus, some smart humor. Win.

Batty About Books is currently reading Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis we finish up this Saturday, May 3, 2014. Stop by. Here are links to what Maria and I have discussed so far:
Cover Appeal
Part 1
Part 2
Final - Saturday

Currently Reading Shelf

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix - this was my least favorite. I'm currently waiting for the audio to arrive at the library.
More Baths, Less Talking by Nick Hornby - this is a compilation of Hornby's columns for the Believer magazine.  It's like a book of It's Mondays except it's monthly and he lists what he bought and what he actually read then he talks about the books.  I may still that idea for my next post.
Seasons of Wonder (Remnants, 1) by Lisa Bergren - that cover is misleading. That's the series title. I thought I wanted to read some scifi and it's new so I picked it up.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I've never read this. Trying to remedy my classic-less background. Wish I could take a college-level lit course. Also, I believe it was Harper Lee's birthday. Let's see if I make it through this time.

Honestly, with the exception of the Hornby book, I'm not actively reading anything. I just have these on deck...

In the Future
I need to start reading for our One Book, One School next pick. We have some books on the list this year that I haven't actually read. I need to read them. I have 2 or 3 books I'm championing right now but one I need to re-read soon too!

Batty About Books will start Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst. I will post the dates as soon as we decide them.

Hopefully we'll see you next week!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Batty About Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis - Week Two

Batty About Books presents
Not a Drop to Drink
by Mindy McGinnis

If you've missed any discussions, check out Cover Appeal or Part One below. Also, feel free to stop by the Batty About Books Facebook page! Join the discussion!
Cover Appeal
Part One - pgs 1-95
Part Two - pgs 96-195
Part Three - pgs 196 - end

Finally we are here for Part Two. My thoughts are below in blue and Maria's are in purple. As usual, Maria and I both post but her blog, Maria's Melange, has her thoughts with my responses. I kept this spoiler-free this week but note that we finish the book next week, so no promises! I'm always amazed and how close Maria and I are to deeming the same topics worth discussing and how differently we approach them. It would be awesome to see this played out with students - via an electronic discussion where you can't see the other person's thoughts until you post yours. Hm.. Anyway on to Week Two. Enjoy!

Part Two - pgs 96-195
Well, the relationship between Lynn and Stebbs (I wonder what his real name is) has progressed beautifully. I love knowing about the background of why Lauren was the way she was and getting some insight into how they were connected.  There has been some hints at a relationship between Neva and Eli and I hope it’s just a red herring. I would like to see Lynn have another positive relationship. I’m a little concerned about the guy that came by, too. Was that just an information-gathering mission I really like how this relationship between Lynn and Stebbs is growing! It’s comforting to see her have a positive relationship with a man, after all the warnings we know her mother gave her. It was also great to finally get more of her backstory. I was surprised at how quickly that man walking by disappeared from the plot. I’m betting we get more of that later.

We learned more about the city in this section. We know they have population schedules and the use satellites to make water maps. We also know that Stebbs knew about this. Each time he is surprised that the city still uses these tools. But he has hinted that the shortage started at the very minimum 16 years-ago.  We know that people had to move to the city if they wanted water conveniently. Eli lets us know that only the more well-off had pure water. From a tap. So I wonder - why were soldiers hired to go find water if they already had water? Also, why didn't Neva’s mom come with them? She trained with them, she had to know about Bradley’s death and that her daughter and granddaughter would need some help. Why is she still in Entargo? It seems a bit odd… that things broke down so quickly. Sixteen years isn't that long. How are the cities still doing well, and yet the countryside seems like it has been out of civilization for so very long?

Eli and Neva and Lucy
He’s 16 and responsible for his brother’s wife and her 5 year old child. We know that he likes Lynn “...being good-looking doesn't seem to drop the survival rate out here.” 111. “We’re going to have to find a shared vocabulary before I can flirt.” 170 I thought their flirtations were adorable. I loved that Lynn seemed to need to be taught how to flirt. It reminds you that flirting is a learned skill… and very tied to your own culture.

Though McGinnis keeps laying hints of a relationship between him and Neva. I’m hoping this is just what Lynn is thinking and a way to distract us. Eli hasn't mentioned the Grandmother coming to save them. So does he plan to build a life for him, Neva, and Lynn? Does he want to find a new city or does he plan on settling where they are?

Neva also hasn't mentioned her mother coming to find them. She’s angry and sad and knows that she’s not taking care of Lucy. Now she has a gun. I can’t help but think the men that were mentioned earlier will be back for a showdown. Too much has been said about the way her and Lynn look as well as men taking whatever they want.... Especially since we are told over and over how beautiful she is. Yes, and now that Lynn knows a bit more about how men and women interact (how awkward must that have been for Stebbs?), it’s even more tense.

Lucy comes across as much older than a five-year-old. I know Eli mentions that Neva talked to her like an adult, but she’s still five. “...It’s like I got the water inside me, and they can’t just take it out.” 148 Her instant take into this dilemma seemed too insightful even for a bright, precocious child. I want to know what other things she’s overheard. “I know it’s important, all the secrets are” 150 Where is this Lucy is a “water witch” going to take us.... Yes, she does seem awfully precocious. I also thought that the “water witch” thing seemed odd…. like bits of magic stitched into a scientific landscape. McGinnis did make sure to mention that it is genetic… but it still seems awfully magical to me. I’m not sure how well this fits with the rest of the world building.

“He’s kinda like magic, isn't he?” He has this way of bringing everyone together. I curious as to how old he is and if he really is attracted to Neva, after being alone for so long, or if he was just noting Neva’s attractiveness for us. I wondered about that as well. He seems like a much older man sometimes… and relatively youngish at others.

.At first I was surprised to find out that he had a well, especially knowing that Lynn and Lauren depend on a pond that isn't always reliable. I wanted to know why he wasn't helping them but now I know. We know why he is so giving - “Sometimes it’s the things you don’t do that make you feel the worst.” 182

I was also surprised to know that he was a dowser. (Have you read The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt?) And that Lynn didn't immediately get crazy about it, instead she wants to make sure that Lucy keeps it under wraps. But he didn't make more of an effort to share with Lauren and Lynn. I bet if things got rough for Lauren and Lynn, he might have tried to help them with water.

He gave Lynn The TALK! Bwhahahahaha!! I love you, Stebbs! That was adorable - and so awkward! I did appreciate how it was handled. Those reading the books bring their own level of knowledge to what was discussed in that sidebar.

His past with Lauren and Lynn’s dad was interesting. Especially when he admits that he wanted to be with her but missed his opportunity.“...when I shot her down I think it killed everything that was left in her but pride in herself and love for you...” 193

Now he’s trying to make up for lost time and trying to help Lynn. “I’m asking you to be more than she was. Be strong, and be good. Be loved, and be thankful for it. No regrets.” 193 This stems from the part of him that has regrets about not taking Lauren up on her offer, I’m guessing. You mentioned so many of the passages I marked! I love that his idea of having no regrets includes helping those around him.

Lynn continues to grow. She slips back into “old Lynn” a bit here and there but mostly, she’s on a totally different path now. She cares for Lucy and Stebbs and she likes (likes him, likes him) Eli. She even helps Neva. We learn about her mom’s background. We know she has an aunt who could possibly be alive. She has an aunt, who could possibly be ALIVE! How is she not freaking the heck out???

Several times she’s mentioned that she feels like someone is watching her. Coupled with learning that she is as attractive as Neva. Something is coming.  I know! I’m a bit surprised we haven’t gotten more of that, since we are already ⅔ through the book and it’s a standalone - not a series.

I love how she knows her mom was too hard. She wants to make sure Lucy doesn’t wake up alone and that she feels her affection. She decides not to be too hard on Eli. But she’s concerned that the combination of her dad’s illness and her mom’s cruelness has affected her more than she knows.

She’s starting to feel like a teenager. “Seems like it would be kind of nice not spending every living minute working against dying.” 171

”The old Lynn would’ve kicked me anyway.” The old Lynn’s still in here somewhere, so don’t tempt her.” 180


This part moved slower than the first part and felt repetitive to me. (I think this section of the book would have been stronger if I hadn’t been trying to find enough material for a full post. Sometimes I feel like the middle chunk of a  book doesn’t hold up to being examined separately.)Despite that, I was curious to know that both Eli and Lauren had been well-off. This does solve the mystery of the clothes from part one. Lauren’s parents were probably saving clothes for their future grandchildren. I want to know more about the city and how things work there and why Neva’s mom hasn’t come to find them yet. I’m having a hard time understanding how much, or how little, time is passing in the book but I’m eager to tackle the last part. Also, did her mother give birth alone???


The Fickle Fish company has adapted 3 other books I've enjoyed: Austenland, The Host, and (upcoming) Anna Dressed in Blood. The company is owned by Stephenie Meyer (yes, that Stephenie Meyer) and Meghan Hibbett. You can find more news about the option at Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and Deadline.  Can you say EXCITEMENT IS BREWING!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Batty About Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis - Week One

Batty About Books presents
Not a Drop to Drink
by Mindy McGinnis

Cover Appeal
Part One - pgs 1-95
Part Two - pgs 96-195
Part Three - pgs 196 - end

Part one was a super fast read that left me with many questions. We met 16-year-old Lynn and her mother, Lauren. They live alone and will do anything, even kill, to guard their only source of water, the diminishing pond in their backyard. They have a not-so-distant neighbor, Stebbs, who guards his own mysterious water source and they never talk to him. Lynn and Lauren are threatened by coyotes and a gang of men. Should they stay or travel to the unknown south?

Here are my thoughts on the first third of Not a Drop. Some of Maria's responses are here but you can read her complete thoughts over at Maria's Melange.  She really went deep into this first part! She even tells us how to purify water!

Don't forget to stop by the Batty About Books facebook page where I promise to post quotes this week!

Part One - pgs 1 - 95
“Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond...” 1

Mother and Lynn
Lynn has never known any life beyond her and her mother and defending their castle and she never wants to leave. (9)  Mother, on the other hand, makes several entreaties for them to abandon the house and set out to possibly make a better life. “Things have changed...so we change with them.” (14) “Stupid to store up the wood to die warm and starving.” (14) I can see why Lynn doesn't want to go - this is her world. But why doesn't Lauren force the issue? We know they only talk when necessary. How did it come to this?
Maria: I assumed that her mother is unsure that it’s the right choice. Maybe she keeps putting it off because she’s been waiting until Lynn is older and better able to defend herself…. just in case? I think she’s getting ready now because she feels like that moment has arrived.

The Rifles
Their rifles are like a part of them. They pretty much always have them, even though they collect weapons from intruders, they stick to their favorites.
“Lynn pulled her own rifle into her lap, the cold metal bringing more comfort to her than her mother’s touch ever could...hugging it tight in the life-taking embrace she’d learned so long ago...the crack of the rifle a relief.” (4)
Such a dichotomy here. When I think of guns I don’t think of comfort or relief. I also love the contrast - life-taking embrace - the conflict in this phrase rebounds over and over in my head and I keep coming back to it. What does this relationship with their weapons say about Lynn and Lauren? Does it say anything about them or does it talk more to their relationship, or lack thereof, with the outside world? 
Maria: Excellent quote selection! I found the dichotomy to be one of the things that made me understand just how desperate the world has become. Mom seems so literate - so much like someone who would have been generous and helpful to those around her in the world before.

Lynn has never gone to school, never had friend outside of her Mother. She’s only once heard another person speak; their neighbor, Stebbs, because she remembers her mother treating him for gangrene around when she was six. He was the “one other person she could name in the world” (55) “Stebbs was proof that not everyone would attack them...” (63) His handkerchief was “...the only element...that had ever spoken of hope...” (63) He has a quiet sense of humor and proves to be very helpful later. “I think we are in danger of becoming friends.” (82) 
Maria: I can’t even begin to imagine how hard Lynn’s mother must have had it when Lynn was little. I identified so strongly with her mother in the first chunk of this section! I’m thankful for Stebbs, because his quiet strength and the little bits of humor he has revealed so far help ease some of my anxiety as I read the book.

The Rest of the Story
There’s a lot I want to say here but I’m trying to avoid spoilers, at least for now. I wonder how they had clothes for Lynn as she got older? She mentions the attic having different sizes where she would go “shopping” and also put her outgrown clothes. Why did mother think it necessary to keep the old clothes? Fuel?  What happened that mother didn't like men? Where was Lynn’s father? Why didn't they join forces with Stebbs?  
Maria: I agree! I wondered about the clothes as well. Maybe the house (which seems large) was a family home… and the clothes belonged to another relative? Maybe they were even mom’s clothes as a girl? Or maybe they were from scavenging raids on the other places in the area? All of these questions, and more, intrigued me!

There are portions of the story that remind me of Alabama Moon by Watt Key (survival) and Pathfinder by Eoin Colfer (passing down wisdom) and I wonder what Mindy McGinnis’s influences were as she was writing this story. I look forward to reading part 2, pgs 96 - 195. 
Maria: I haven’t read either of those, I’ll have to check them out!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Take That! The Ninja Librarians

The Ninja Librarian have a task for you to complete: 

Name 10 items that you would take from a book if you could (and the book you took them from!) And let us know what you’d do with those items!

Here are mine!

  1. The Invisibility Cloak from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. (What wouldn't I do? Not a real question)
  2. Two-Way Mirror from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I know we have Skype and Facetime but this seems like more fun)
  3. Hermione's Handbag in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (A handbag that literally holds everything? Yes, please!)
  4. A Leviathan from Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Would be a fun way to get to work)
  5. Balanchine's Medicinal Cacao Bar from Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin (All kinds of chocolate drinks! Some you would need an ID for!)
  6. The paper from The Archived by Victoria Schwab (You can write notes to the person who has the other paper and they can instantly write back. Like texting but no one would guess and it disappears!)
  7. Translator implant from so many awesome fantasy/scifi books. (The ability to automagically understand any language? ::checksamazon::)
  8. The Dilemma from When Did You See Her Last by Lemony Snicket (It's a car that's awesome and you can bring down buildings with it!)
  9. The Soulcaster from The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (You can make food, housing,money, etc! It would be amazing to have one or even be one!)
  10. Kazam Mystical Arts Management from The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (An employment agency for magicians. Enough said.)
Wow, that was a lot harder than I expected!! It was hard not to just pick all the things from Harry Potter, especially since I'm rereading the series (actually listening to them) right now! All the things are so awesome!  So, what's at least ONE THING from a book you would love to own?


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