The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

This is one of those books that kind of makes you ask what you consider to be a graphic novel.  See, when I started at this library, this book was shelved with the young adult fiction.  It wasn’t long before we moved it to the graphic novel section in the hopes that it would get more circulation there.  Even before I read it, I knew this was a neat book and pretty much completely up my alley.  I’d really like to see it check out more.

So, no, this is not a traditional “graphic novel” in that it is not in comic form at all.  Instead, it is told through a scrapbook with tons of 1920’s memorabilia.

Frankie (never Francis) Pratt is the smartest girl in her class.  She is also poor, her father having passed away at a young age and left her mother to care for Frankie and her two younger brothers on a nurse’s wages.  When we first meet Frankie, she is in high school, spending time with her friends and even going on a date with the smartest boy in her class.  She is accepted to Vassar on scholarship but decides to nurse instead in order to help her mother.  However, when Frankie starts a unfortunate relationship with her charge’s grandson, a recently returned war hero, she finds herself on her way to Vassar anyway.

We watch as the 1920’s unfold.  Frankie wants to write and she starts wanting to write like “Mrs. Wharton” but she is soon turned on to Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Joyce.  At college she takes up smoking and bobs her hair.  She goes to New York and Paris and smokes and drinks and has romances.  It’s pretty great.

I really enjoyed this book.  Even if the story is sparse and very “let’s get through everything in the Roaring 20’s,” I found myself caught up in it.  I also googled old brands and found that endlessly fascinating.  This isn’t for everybody but it was definitely for me.

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Tally Monday- January 29, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  2. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
  3. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Bought

  1. I Saw You That Night by R.L. Stine
  2. When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whelan

Read

  1. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
  2. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Reading: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, and Chicken Soup for the Soul

I find it funny that the task of typing up all of the stuff I am reading is more daunting to me than actually reading the stuff.  We’ve talked about this before.  It seems like I am reading sooooo much at once but it’s all very compartmentalized.

Sleeping Beauties is my current “book that I’m actually reading.”  I mean, I guess it’s just my main print book?  My goal last week was to finish it by today and when I got up on Friday I had 200 pages to read by today.  I didn’t make it.  I love Stephen King and one of the things that I LOVE about his books are those little short sub-chapters.  I like that I can break up the reading.  It felt like I read and read and read yesterday but I only cleared something like 40 pages and it was really the first chance I got to read all weekend.  I WILL finish this book this week.  I will work on it diligently.  There will be a break for my next graphic novel but I completely spaced on that today so whatever.

The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights is my ebook that I read at night.  Now, I have the SK on my Kindle too and I thought I might make a bigger dent in it if I read it at night too but then I realized that I actually can’t sleep when I read it.  My brain goes, “Oh no!  You’ll be in a cocoon if you fall asleep!”  But this is a GREAT book for night.  A lot of people calling it “dry” and some people saying that “there is value in reading the source material” and I don’t know about all of that noise.  I like it.  Look, it’s just that the language is a little different and the story is very oral feeling.  It’s not hard, though, and it doesn’t feel dry to me either.  Maybe I’M dry!  Don’t say I am, please. lol.  I’d rather not know.

The Gallagher Girls series continues on audio and they are still a blast but I’m starting to feel the need for a break.  Usually I take a week in between audiobooks to listen to some podcasts and kind of rest my brain but the one I’m on now only checks out for two weeks and has to be done by next Tuesday.  The final book in the series is on hold for me and I’m excited to finish this one up!  It’s been amusing.  I’ve enjoyed it.  But I can’t wait to start my next series!

My nonfiction, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, is a bit eh.  Just eh.  I mean, I can see the appeal but basically it’s like all of the self-help books that I’ve read but with a more abrasive tone.  And whatever!  Abrasive is fine!  I find myself a little irked with the author though, telling his personal stories about how he thought he was so special and nobody is.  I also dislike it when he talks about how he’s not going to feed you the same line of bullshit that other self-help books do but really he IS but with swears and also didn’t he just say he wasn’t special?

And everything else is just stuff I dip into every day.  I might read Chicken Soup, I might not.  I’ve done January in Empowered Mama.  I’ve kept up with Simple Abundance which, btw, I love.  Last week I had a Deep Thought and then this week I came across a version of it in SA!  I wonder if I got it there in the first place?

Anyway, I’m enjoying my chaotic and sporadic reading life.  I’m also enjoying The Wire, which Hubby and I started watching a couple of weeks ago, and my podcasts (of which I started following 8 more last week.)  I’ve been playing with my baby and hanging with my hubby and, all in all, life is pretty sweet right now.

Always be reading, my friends!

Graphic Friday- Blankets by Craig Thompson

Welcome to Graphic Friday, where sometimes we accidentally post on Wednesday.  We’re working on it folks!

I was surprised to see that this book came out in 2003.  The way Thomson talks about his teenage years, which I placed vaguely in the early 1990’s, made it feel more distant at the time of writing.  You know, I am one of those people who forgets that I graduated 16 years ago so I guess that’s not really surprising.

This book, well, it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me.

Thompson tells the story of his coming of age.  I can’t think of any better way to describe it.  He tells stories throughout that are memories of his childhood, when he shared a bed with his little brother.  Craig says that he was not a very good older brother, that he was sometimes mean to his brother and that he didn’t protect him.  He touches on the inappropriate conduct of a babysitter, a trap that he let his brother fall into and that sent him headlong into religion and the striving for heaven.

Craig takes religion seriously, seriously enough that his pastor asks if he has considered going into the ministry.  Craig hasn’t really considered anything about his future.  Then he meets Raina at winter church camp and he is instantly smitten.  When he goes to stay with Raina and her family in Michigan for two weeks in the winter, he begins to see that he may have missed out on some of life.

This book touched on a lot of sensitive and emotional subjects: religion, abuse, first lover, doubt.  However, I felt like all of these things were handled very well.  I can promise that I was invested in this story after my initial doubt that it was for me.  Craig’s experience of first love and his realization that he may not have been invested enough in the real world felt like legitimate experiences to me.  They felt real.

This was a touching tale but one which I can see not fitting for everyone.

Writers Gone Wild by Bell Peschel

Out running errands one day right after Little Dude was born, Hubby wanted to stop into Barnes and Noble and I was actually too tired to go in.  Me.  Too tired to go into a book store.  I waited in the car with the baby, my shoes off and my phone out, until he returned.  He thrust a bag at me and this was what was inside.  Hubby randomly bought me a book about writers because he is just that awesome.

It took me a while to read it because, as always, I have so many books stacked around that it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle.  This one sat on my coffee table for months and I dipped in and out of it until about a month ago when I decided that it was time to buckle down and clear some book clutter.

These stories are great.   They were short tidbits that filled my conversations up with trivia.  When asked to help fill in the blanks in a public discussion of Hemingway, I told a story about him breaking a walking stick over his head, much to my delight and embarrassment.  But I think it really says something that these tales of writers behaving badly actually stuck with me.

If you are interested in “literature” at all, there is most likely something in this book that will catch your attention and keep you reading.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tally Monday- January 22, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Bought

  1. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
  2. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
  3. Night Shift by Charlaine Harris
  4. Chicken Soup for the Soul
  5. The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  6. My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews
  7. The Qualinesti by Paul B. Thompson
  8. The Time of the Twins by Margaret Weis
  9. Stonghold by Melanie Rawn
  10. Six of Swords by Carole Nelson Douglas
  11. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
  12. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings
  13. Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings
  14. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings

Read

  1. Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap
  2. “Are You Mine and No One Else’s” by Danny Lorberbaum
  3. The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes
  4. Writers Gone Wild by Bill Peschel

Reading:  Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, and Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

Now that is a reading week, you guys!

And the honest truth of it is that I didn’t do much.  I just kept on with my own thing and happened to finish a lot in one week.

I’m actually kind of disappointed because I forgot the next graphic novel I was going to read.

Because today I get to talk to a bunch of middle school kids during their lunches about the upcoming Battle of the Books.  You know, the one that I haven’t read the books for yet?  Well, usually I take about 5 minutes to talk during each lunch.  I’ll be at the school for about two hours and I will talk 15 minutes of that time.  In between talks, I read.  I might have been able to finish the next, massive graphic.  Instead maybe I’ll make a good sized dent in the King.

Let me explain about the books I bought.  My name is Rachael and I have a problem.  But I refuse to feel guilty about it!  I used the rest of my Amazon gift card to get the Harris books in a bundle and the rest of the books I paid a total of $1.10 for!  I went to the Salvation Army with my mom on Saturday and I scored, I kid you not, three cardigans and eleven books for less than $10.  I am a bargain fiend!  I couldn’t resist, you know.  Somebody cleaned out their fantasy shelves and I benefited.

I’m feeling good this week.  Hubby and I talked a little bit and he said something to me that I am trying to keep in mind.  I won’t tell you what it was but I will say that I plan on taking some time to read and color this week because life is short and I deserve to enjoy it.  And the best way for ME to enjoy it is with a book.

Always be reading, my friends!

Graphic Friday: Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap

Woohoo!  It’s been a while but I am back with another Graphic Friday!  This week, in a further attempt to catch up my TBR, I read Tin’as Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary.  I loved it.  I simply loved it.  This was the first time in a long time that I have read a whole book, even a comic, in a day.  It was hard to put down, even when I planned on putting it down.

Tina is a fifteen year old at Yarborough Academy.  For her English Honors class final project, she is keeping an existentialist diary which she chooses to write to Sartre.  The idea is that she will explore philosophical questions and her life and her teacher will mail the diary back to her in three years.  Tina sets to work thinking about who she is and learning how to be.

But, like any fifteen year old, she is going to face a lot of changes in the coming year.  It all starts when her best friend Alex, an ex-Mormon whose parents recently divorced, starts wearing tight clothes, gets a boyfriend, and dumps Tina for a whole new group of friends.  Tina suddenly finds herself pretty much completely alone at school.  She begins spending time on her “bench of existential solitude” but before long she finds herself branching out and filling up her life.

Friend fights.  Loneliness.  Family drama.  First love.  School plays.  Tina is about to learn that she is a lot more than she previously thought.

As I said, I loved this book.  I loved it enough that I wrote down a few quotes from it just to keep in mind.  Tina’s feelings were very accurate to my own past experiences and I felt them achingly along with her.

Tally Monday- January 15, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Bought

  1. The Hunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates

Read

*sad trombones*

ReadingSleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, Only the Good Spy YoungWriters Gone Wild by Bill Peschel, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Weary Blues by Langston Hughes, Tina’s Mouth by Keshni Kashyap, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

As happens every year around this time, I have spent the last month fretting about reading.  I have SO MUCH TO READ because I have battle of the books coming up and I have to go and sell five books to a bunch of middle grade students during their lunch break.  This is a pretty terrifying thing to do and I always put a lot of pressure on myself to read all of the books before I present.  But I was reminded last week by my right hand at work that I’m a librarian and therefore a pro at using Goodreads to sell books that I haven’t read.  She told me not to worry about it and that was really helpful.  Because now I feel a little freer than before and when I pick up a book to read I am not thinking so much about deadlines and such, just the book.  It’s not a competition.  I don’t have to read the books before everyone else.  And I’m not going to because both of my staff are faster readers than me, have more time on the clock to read than me, and don’t have a rambunctious 9.5 month old at home.

And so I wrote two goals in my planner for this week.  The first is to do things that bring joy.  The second is to take back my reading life.

You may notice that I am reading five million books at the present.  Let me break that down for you.

Sleeping Beauties is my actual book at the moment.  I have been working on reading this for almost two months but I am actually making some headway now.  It always takes me a little while to get into Stephen King but once it clicks, it clicks and it has clicked.  I am enjoying it and hope to read a lot more this week.

Only the Good Spy Young is my audiobook.  I listen to audio at least 45 minutes Monday through Friday.  After I finish an audiobook, I like to listen to some of my podcasts for a week as a kind of cleanser.  This one is the fourth in a six part series and I just started it this morning.  I’m already sucked back in.  A delightful romp.

Writers Gone Wild is my nonfiction book at the moment.  I try to read 10 pages of nonfiction a day.  Hubby surprised me with this one a few months ago and I decided to read it now so that he would know I love him and appreciate it.  But it’s also a hoot and right up my alley.  Last week I was asked to help give a talk about Hemingway at work and I spoke purely from this book, which basically means that I told an off color story about a walking stick.  A.  Hoot.

The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights is my ebook.  I like to have an ebook to read at night in bed because then I can read when I can’t sleep without turning a light on.  I’ve been sporadic about this one because I have the King book on my Kindle too but I sleep better when I don’t read a book about women being wrapped in cocoons in their sleep, it turns out, so I’m back on it.  It was a free download, as I’m working through from my oldest ebooks to my newest and I downloaded a TON of free books when I got my first Kindle.  A lot of people say they find it dry but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it.

Wearly Blues is my book of poetry.  I try to read at least one poem a day but these are so short that I am tearing through them.  And they are WONDERFUL.  I don’t think I’ve ever read Langston Hughes before but he’s freaking amazing.

Tina’s Mouth is my current graphic novel.  Remember Graphic Friday?  Well, I’m bringing it back!  As part of my plan to take back my reading life, I started this this morning and plan on reading most, if not all, of it today.  Review to post on Friday.

Simple Abundance and The Empowered Mama will take me the year to read.  If you are not familiar with Simple Abundance (which, oddly, a surprising number of women are), it is a “day book of comfort and joy.”  I don’t know how to explain it except that it is like the epitome of women’s self help.  This will probably be the fourth or fifth time that I have read it and every time it brings new depth and meaning to my life.  January is an introduction to the six principles of SA and already I feel myself altering.  Empowered Mama is similar but it is a workbook organized by month.  January is about focusing on me and committing to spending 10 minutes/day recharging.  I’ve cleaned off my reading chair in my office and I have sat in it much more over the past week.  I’m also taking a look at my values and figuring out how to build my life around them.

So, there you have it.  Is it complicated?  Yes!  Do I give a fuck?  NO!  It’s MY reading life, after all, and I like the variety and depth it gives me.  I like how reading is a part of my daily rounds.  It is like my religion, you know.  I’ve been saying that for years.  The best part is that by next Monday there is a good possibility that I will be done with FOUR of these books.  It just works out like that sometimes.

Always be reading, you guys, and I hope that reading is exactly how you want it to be!