Reading Report from North Central, Texas: October 2016

oct2016Fall is well underway here in Central Texas.  The first two weeks of the month were beautiful and cool.  We were able to keep the windows open all night.  It probably didn’t help anyone’s allergies, but it was magnificent.  While we have had cooler mornings, the afternoons have still been in the mid to upper 80s.  We are waiting patiently for cozy reading weather.  You know, those perfect days that you can take your book, your cup of tea, and your afghan/blanket to the sofa for a snuggly read. We have managed to read our way through some great books despite the weather! Here’s this month’s reading report.


You may recognize three of the books in the stack above. They were a part of my reading for this blog in October.

  • Mark Kelly’s Astrotwins
  • Victor Appleton II’s Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship
  • James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small

Since, I read Handling Sin by Michael Malone, a number of years ago, I have been on a quest for another really funny book.  That was another book that I wasn’t aloud to read in bed, because it made me laught out loud!  Fannie Flagg’s book, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! was recommended to me.  I like her writing and I enjoyed reading this book.  It has its amusing bits, but it was not the absurdly funny book I have been seeking.

I decided that I wanted to read more classic science fiction/fantasy .  NPR’s 100 Top Science Fiction/Fantasy Books as a guide. Science fiction/fantasy is a genre I really like so I was not surprised by the number of books on the list I had already read.  Skimming through the list for something different, I decided on #87, The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolf.  The book I am reading is Volume I and includes The Shadow of the Torturer  and  The Claw of the Conciliator. Here’s a brief summary from that list.

In the distant future, after the sun has cooled and dimmed, the disgraced torturer Sevarian recounts his hard-fought rise to absolute power.

So far it has been a terrific read, but it will take me some time to finish it as it is rich and dense with descriptions of life in this torturer’s world.

pathfindersOn my Kindle App I read Pathfinders by Aidan J. Reid. This book is written from several different perspectives. It is the first I have heard of lucid dreaming.  I will never quite look at dreaming the same way again. I wish the book had tied up more of the loose ends, but it was fun to read.

  • Flagg, Fannie.  Welcome to the World Baby Girl! New York: Ballantine Books, 1998.
  • Wolfe, Gene.  The Book of the New Sun.  Volume I: Shadow and Claw.  New York: Orion, 1980 & 1981.
  • Reid, Aidan J. Pathfinders.  NP: Self Published, 2016


This month, Jim finished The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. He and Alexis have both enjoyed this book.  Cixin Liu is a Chinese writer of science fiction.  The Three Body Problem has won honors both in China (Galaxy Award) and in the United States (Hugo Award).  Jim really liked this book.  It is one of the better science, science fiction books he has read in a long time, deeply rooted in complex science and math.  It was also a window into Chinese Culture.

The Three Body Problem is the first book in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy.  He liked it so much he has now moved on to the second book, The Dark Forest. 

  • Cixin, Liu. The Three Body Problem.  Ken Liu, Translator.  New York: Tor, 2015
  • Cixin, Liu.  The Dark Forest.  Joel Martinsen, Translator.  New York: Tor, 2016


Alexis has been plowing through library books.  Here’s a brief list of what she’s been reading. This month her reading ran the gamut from Victorian gaslight mysteries to a zombie apocalypse.  It is always interesting to me to see what she is reading.

  • Thompson, E.V. Murder on Marble Row.  New York: Berkley, 2005
  • Cronin, Justin. The Passage. New York: Ballantine Books, 2010
  • Henry, Christina. Black Wings. New York: Berkley, 2010
  • Cho, Zen.  Sorcerer to the Crown.  New York: Ace Books, 2015


This morning I had a conversation with Sarah about what she was reading this month.  She has been busy so her personal list is short.  She is still reading Everything, Everything.  As I said last month, this is a part of an Austin ISD reading program.  On her Nook, she is reading Happily Ever After edited by John Klima.  It is a series of fairy tales retold by various authors.  She says that this book has an awesome introduction.

  • Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. New York: Delacorte Press, 2015
  • Kilma, John (Editor). Happily Ever After.  San Francisco: Nightshade Books, 2011

After we talked about the books she was reading for her own pleasure our discussion moved into the books that she read to her music classes this month. Music and literacy are very connected.  Just look at this year’s Nobel Prize Winner, Bob Dylan.  Always know for his music, he was recognized for the poetry of his lyrics.  Here’s a run down of what was enjoyed in her classes.

  • Snickett, Lemony.  The Composer Is Dead.  Illustrated by Carson Ellis.  Music by Nathan Stookey.  New York: Harper Collins, 2009
  • Engle, Margarita. Una Niña, Un Tambor, Un Sueño: Cómo La Valentía De Una Niña Cambió La Música.  Illustraciones de Rafael López. New York: Scholastic, 2015
  • Wood, Audrey.  A Dog Needs a Bone. New York: Scholastic, 2007
  • Trapani, Iza. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  Watertown, Ma: Charlesbridge Publishing, 1997
  • Ehlert, Lois. Growing Vegetable Soup.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1980
  • Williams, Sue.  I Went Walking.  Illustrated by Julie Vivas.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996.

This last book, I Went Walking by Sue Williams was a favorite with her class.  Evidently the book features animal butts.  Her students took delight in that fact and they had fun guessing what which animal it was.


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