Monday, February 9, 2015

Commuter Corner [1]

So, if you've noticed, this particular haunt of mine on the World Wide Web is getting a little...dusty.

This can be readily (and, in my opinion, justifiably) attributed to the fact that, for the better part of the week, I'm ducking in and out of classrooms, straining under the weight of textbooks, added snow days to the end of the semester and professorial expectations.

Oh, and the constant looming weather. If you ever wondered what form Ebenezer Scrooge would take were he not human and hadn't had the fear of God (and the joy of Christmas) scared into him, it is totally the way it's looked outside every single day since the semester started.

(Seriously, wake me up when February ends. Actually, just hit the snooze button and leave me alone until mid-May.)

Just. Pretend that's snow. And ice. And hail.

In any case, I don't want to leave things around here high and dry while I do my best to be a diligent college student, so I'm opening up a new feature.

(Yeah, it doesn't have a particularly catchy title. Bear with me here.)

Since I've fortunately been able to squeeze in my reading around homework deadlines, in between class periods and even in the car at particularly desperate moments, I'm hoping to provide some on-the-go progress reports, mini reviews and maybe even forecasts on what I might be reading next.

What I've Finished

Well, I've definitely demolished several Georgette Heyer novels over the past few weeks, in short order. The dreary skies and a prolonged case of sleep deprivation have teamed up to force me into a mood that most certainly requires fluffy, frothy happy endings and Austenesque surroundings.

The one I've most recently tucked into is These Old Shades, which is apparently part of its own little series/universe? I haven't checked out the others, but this title in particular features a certain nobleman who doesn't really have too much of a heart (his own siblings, along with most everyone else he encounters throughout the story line, have a particularly wicked nickname for him: Satanas).

Oh, and there is also his young page, Leon. And in case that sounds very uncomplicated and well...un-Heyer, to you, did I mention that Leon is not actually a Leon, but a Leonie? (Yeah, who knew there was a feminine twist for the name Leon? I certainly didn't.)

So there's the added benefit of identity masquerades the Bard would certainly wink at, a vengeful elite from Leonie's mysterious past, and of course, the requisite "We must turn you into the most beautiful belle at the ball!" wardrobe montages.

Every Heyer heroine to all the young men already fawning in her wake. Like, she's already gorgeous and has a million suitors - but let's just multiply that by ANOTHER million after adding a new gown and rouge and styling her hair.

It was definitely what I needed at the moment, but your mileage may vary.

What I'm Reading

A dear friend convinced me (only just last night, actually) to read The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, finally. If you haven't heard of this particular middle grade, you might be anticipating the animated movie adaptation, Home, which will be dropping from Dreamworks next year.

I've read another title from the same author, Cold Cereal, so I was expecting quirky hijinks and a generally fun ride, but The True Meaning of Smekday has the added element of a not-so-veiled commentary on colonialism and the eradication of a culture (that, ironically, was built on eradicating others) - which, I must say, doesn't always get it right by any means.

For instance, there's a particularly cringe-worthy discussion centered around a not-yet-introduced Native American character that is fraught with stereotypes. Fraught.

Presented without further comment.

Settling problematic elements aside (but, of course, never dismissing them), the fact that the main character is in herself diverse, and the tense and sometimes wryly hilarious adventures she's tossed into in the name of finding her loveable, hair-brained and alien abducted mother, kept me churning through the pages until I had to rush off to my next class.

And if you're a certain beloved neighbor who may just be my only reader at this point...I think you'll like this a lot. That is, if you haven't beaten me to it. 

What's Next?

I'll spare you the reading associated with academia. Thank me later.

(I mean, a lot of it isn't so bad and may be downright fascinating, but really - are you here to read about that? I don't think so.)

The previously mentioned dear friend, never one to shirk her duty, has also urged me to add Ready Player One to my Kindle queue in the name of mutual discussion, so I hope to dip my toes into that sooner or later.

And of course, I still have plenty of Heyer titles at my disposal to peruse (read: tear through as though a horde of disapproving society maidens are heckling me with well-meant clucking and proffered glasses of Almack's lemonade).

And let's never forget the teetering, dagger-eyed mountain of ARCs that will soon attain a mind of its own and verbally brow-beat me for my negligence. Soon. Very soon.

On the blog front, you should hopefully see a tribute to my dear friend Jasmine Warga and her debut, My Heart and Other Black Holes, when it hits shelves tomorrow.

(In case you've been torn on reading that, a quick line of encouragement: it touched my heart with its well-written characters and very genuine depiction of depression. I don't recommend reading it when you yourself are going low, but I think it can be ranked as one of the best contemporaries of this year so far.)

And I've been meaning to say a few words - or, knowing me, maybe more - on also beloved Kirsten Hubbard's middle grade debut, Watch the Sky, so keep an eye out for that.

If you happen to be a college student - or, well, any student - how are you keeping your reading game on? If not, what are you reading or fitting into your schedule recently?


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