Friday, January 31, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - January

MonoramaThe first title I read this month was our very own Tony Laplume's "Monorama". This was a very trippy, heady collection of short stories in a very sci-fi vein. The first section of stories are a collection of shorter pieces, each of which could easily (hopefully?) be expanded upon and made into full length stories.

This was also my very first Kindle read.  I was given a Kindle for Christmas 3 years ago.  I instantly purchased "The Princess Bride" (as my local library's copy had gone missing), but I have never been able to finish it!

I have read the first 15 chapters of "The Red Pyramid".  This was sort of a "have to" assignment.  In order to help my teaching partner, I agreed to shave 15 minutes off of each of my math classes in order to carve out some dedicated time for Novel Study groups.  I offered to read this and create the Teacher's Guide for the group.

I liked the first Percy Jackson novel well enough but never felt particularly compelled to go back.  I think I am feeling the same about this one.  I'm sure I'll finish it, to help the kids, but it won't be a labor of love.

I understand that authors are able to hit a groove or style and run with it (Cussler and Patterson leap to mind) but sometimes the groove becomes a rut that I'm not interested in.  Then again, I'm not the target audience.  I will give Riordan full credit for attempting some newer ideas (the two main characters are not the typical protagonists of Young Adult works) and the wink towards his Percy Jackson series drew a smile, but that's about it.

Fortunately, the MilkEarlier this month, my teaching partner bought a book for my classroom library.  Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young's "Fortunately, The Milk" was an absolute delight.  An easy, breezy adventure that I think would make a lovely stage production.  I could envision it performed in several different ways...a multi-media one person stage show...a full blown humorous play...it was so much fun.  I've never been a big fan of Young's illustrations in the comic books I've seen, just not my cup of tea, but they work so well here.  And Gaiman is firing on all cylinders.


I received "For Boston", the Boston Globe's World Series Commemorative book for Christmas and read it while sick one weekend earlier this month.  I'm not a fan of Dan Shaughnessy, but most of the stories in here are great for a Boston fan.  The layout of the book is curious, in that it starts with the Globe's stories about the World Series victory and then tells the tale of the rest of the season in reverse chronological order.  Curious choice.

This allows me to publish my favorite picture of the post season:



I'm on the left.  My teaching partner, a Phillies fan is next, followed by our Coffeehouse host, The Armchair Squid himself (an Orioles fan), and our host for the evening is seated (also a Sox fan).  This was during the game 3 loss...I can't remember the play, but I left as soon as the game was over.



The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us:

1.The Armchair Squid2.What's up, MOCK?!
3.Words Incorporated4.Scouring Monk
5.Huntress6.A Creative Exercise
7.Libby Heily8.Trisha @ WORD STUFF
9.Wishbone Soup Cures Everything10.mainewords
11.Subliminal Coffee

24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I believe I will be buying a copy for myself before too much longer!

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  2. A shout-out! (Alas, it would be a long time before I expand any of those stories. If I do.)

    My sister is a big fan of Percy Jackson, so I read all the books in the first series. I kind of liked them. Not my favorite writer, but Riordan can crank out reliable storytelling. It's a Patterson rut, surely, but an okay one.

    I haven't read this Gaiman, but I enjoy Skottie Young's work immensely.

    And surely a curious way to talk about the season. The logical way, if they weren't going to go strictly chronologically, would have been World Series, Boston Bombings, then everything else.

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    1. If you decide to expand them, I have a few that should be your priority! LOL!

      The previous end of the World Series winning series both went chronologically. Doing so here, especially with the Bombings happening so early and driving so much for the team, would have made a more compelling narrative...

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  3. Thanks for your thoughts. Been meaning to get Milk from the library...you've put it back on my to-do list.
    Veronica
    http://vsreads.com

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    1. I'd like to think it would be worth your time!

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  4. I felt the same way about Riodan. I liked it but not enough to return to his world. But I might go back and give him another try sometime.

    Love baseball stories. Even though I'm a Royals fan, (stop that. I saw that look on your face) I'll check out For Boston.

    Regarding the photo of yourself the Mr. Squid: Angst seems a bit thick in the room. LOL
    Author of Wilder Mage at Spirit Called
    Facebook Wilder Mage

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    1. Even with so many World Series in recent years, I am told I am the most angsty of fans with whom to watch a game!!

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  5. Love the picture. As a sports fan who has the misfortune of rooting for the Reds and the Bengals, I can relate to your gesture in the pic very well LOL.

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    1. It's tough to go so long with no Championships...

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  6. Not a reader of Ya or sports books I can appreciate the reviews and reading to help a classroom of young readers. Kudos!

    Go Seahawks!

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    1. I miss teaching Literacy. I do my best with my end of the day read alouds and stocking a decent classroom library.

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  7. My son is a HUGE Rick Riordan's fan. I'm not even sure he's read this book yet, but I'll mention it to him (he's probably the right audience for it.)

    Thanks for sharing that photo. Our Coffeehouse host is very different from what I had envisioned.

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    1. According to one of my students, apparently Riordan did a short story where all of his main characters meet up!

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  8. Oh... not such a flattering photo. Had I known, I'd have shaved or something. Lorena's comment begs the question: what was she expecting?

    You've been reading plenty! I've never been able to get through The Princess Bride, either. The movie is so stinking brilliant, you'd think the book would be more accessible.

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    1. Not to worry, Mr. Squid! It's just that you're MUCH younger than I thought you were (maybe because you review a lot of classical movies I thought you were older) :)

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    2. The Squid is NEVER what one is expecting.

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  9. Love this picture! LOL

    Really couldn't get through The Princess Bride? Maybe it's a girl thing...when I was in ninth grade I carried it around and reread it obsessively. Of course, I haven't read it all since ninth grade, probably because I have the movie now. Hmmm...

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    1. Like The Squid said above, I think I was just expecting something....else. It has glimmers of brilliance that keep me going back...just not enough to finish it in one sitting (let alone three years!)

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  10. Man, I loved the Princess Bride! though it's one of those situations where the movie was equally as awesome, in my book :D

    seems you've been reading a fair bit this month!

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  11. Has shocked me that I've never tried to read the Princess Bride! Damn it!
    As a writer, personally, the rut is a much bigger fear than the block.

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  12. Completely agree about Riordan but the kids seem to like him. If you like Neil Gaiman try The Graveyard Book. I loved that :)

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  13. My son loves Riordan and has asked me to read his books as well but I can't work up the enthusiasm. I read a lot of YA but middle-grade series novels are just not my thing. Now, that Gaiman book ... I may have to make an exception for that one!

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  14. Yeah, Riordan definitely appeals to the kids more than to me. But I'll read anything Neal Gaiman dishes out. I sound just like Stephanie.

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