Reading Round-Up: April 2020

Here is April's Reading Round-Up!

I know its a bit late and its been a while since I put up a post. I've been reading a lot but my internet access is a bit spotty.

I had predicted a jump in reading---that didn't exactly happen. I actually spent more time playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch (my boyfriend lent both to me), so my reading had another lull as far as my norm. Here is what I read:

MTH: Summer of the Sea Serpent The Demigod Files Funny, You Don't Look Autistic Persuasion Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
The Last Olympian Winter of the Ice Wizard Moneyball Green Arrow 1983

The list:

  • Summer of the Sea Serpent by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan
  • Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
  • The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  • Winter of the Ice Wizard by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  • Green Arrow 1983 mini-series by Mike W. Barr
Summer of the Sea Serpent and Winter of the Ice Wizard were the next two books in the Magic Tree House series that I needed to read. I'm still working through that series. 

The Demigod Files are a collection of 3 short stories and some bonus fun material that add onto the world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The short stories take place between the fourth and fifth books in the series, and they're pretty fun. This is a very small book compared to the main series entries, but it is definitely worth taking a look at if you're a fan of Percy Jackson. 

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic was the Big Library Read last month. Every few months, my local library will participate in the Big Library Read. It is kind of like a book club read, but digitally. There are no wait times on the title that is selected, which makes it really nice. You don't have to place a hold or wait weeks on end. Enough copies are provided to instantly start reading digitally. There is an area online where you can go comment and discuss the book (I don't always do that portion, but I like to see what books get picked). This is the 4th Big Library Read I've read. This one is a non-fiction youth memoir, in a way. The author is a young comedian who has autism and he talks about the challenges he faced from diagnosis to young adulthood (he's currently in his twenties). He writes humorously, while informing people about the struggles that some autistic people can have. He reflects on the differences between himself and his brother who also had autism, the challenges of school and classmate interaction, and the quirks he has and how they became his love of stand up comedy and performance. What I like about Big Library Read is that you can read a book that you might normally not have picked up otherwise. While I have read a few things and have experiences with disabilities, autism is not one I read or know a lot about, so this book was really interesting. I also like that it is from a young person's perspective, and not a later in life biography or memoir. 

Persuasion is one of Jane Austen's six complete novels. It is a classic and it was one of three novels of hers that I have not read. Now I only have Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey left to go! In this book, a woman encounters the gentleman that her family and connections PERSUADED her to turn down a marriage proposal from. Years later, she is still unmarried, and so is he, and it is the story of navigating the intricate waters of interacting with a lost love, re-finding your own voice, and making your own choices separate from what those around you want or think is best. I didn't know much about it going in, and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to get into it and read through it. This was a one day binge read for me and I absolutely loved it. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder is the first novel in a cozy mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen. She is a single lady who owns her own bakery. She lives in a small town and behind her shop, one of the locals is murdered. Her sister's husband is law enforcement and everyone in town comes to her shop to gossip or orders from her for their events, so naturally Hannah gets thrown into the middle of the mystery and insists on trying to find out what happened. It's an amateur detective story with a lot of investigating that no one in their right mind would engage in, but it was entertaining. I've been trying to find a cozy mystery/amateur detective series I can get really into, and while this one is better than the last few I've read, it still wasn't crazy amazing. It's fun and light, but not inherently thrilling or long-lasting. 

The Last Olympian is the last novel in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. I finally finished re-reading it! Now I get to move on to the secondary series, The Heroes of Olympus, which should be tons of fun. 

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis is a non-fiction book about the Oakland Athletics team in 2002, and their strategy that defied what most baseball teams were doing at the time. It is the book that inspired the movie of the same title that came out in 2011, with Brad Pitt. I watched the movie last year or the year before and enjoyed it, so when I saw that my local library had a digital copy of this book, I was really interested in reading it (also after reading Who's on Worst? which mentioned Billly Beane). Billy Beane was a baseball player who was drafted as a high potential prospect, but ended up being more of a dud. However, he was a really good general manager who decided to look at things a different way. A lot of major league baseball administration heads don't care much for what he did and how he did it, since it was different, but the results are pretty hard to argue with. The book has a lot more focus on statistics than the movie does, but that seems like a given. There is a lot of discussion of how Billy Beane learned from statistical approaches developed and discussed by Bill James. There is a lot of discussion of financial aspects of baseball in terms of player drafting and about approaches to drafting. However, it isn't a guide book, by any means. It is a book that shows how a major league team with one of the lowest drafting budgets in the entire league, could have one of the winningest seasons in the sport. A team that only had a few million compared to other teams' hundred millions to get players, won more games than those hundred million dollar drafting teams. Teams that had all-star draft picks, were able to be beat by a team who picked up some outcast draft picks that normally would go overlooked entirely. It is a really interesting book, and I have a decent level of appreciation for the approach the Oakland A's took under Beane's direction. I enjoy sports a lot, so for me, this is a solid and interesting read. 

Green Arrow (1983) by Mike W. Barr is a four-issue mini-series focused on.....the Green Arrow, a DC comics hero who is a master of archery. I started watching the CW show, Arrow, and realized that out of all the comics I have read up to now, I have not read very many Green Arrow comics. I decided to look into some of the series that have been done, and found this mini-series. This is the first solo comic series that the character had, despite having been introduced in 1941. It is pretty fun, but generally breezy as far as comics go. It feels like a quick summation of the character with a brief mystery to solve. Oliver Queen was stranded on an island after the ship he was on crashed. He taught himself archery and survived, eventually coming back to Star City. Oliver Queen owns a company and used to be a rich playboy. Now, he becomes a crime fighter. In this series, before the shipwreck, he knew an elderly woman, whose daughter or granddaughter he briefly dated. He hadn't seen her in a long time, but she passes on and she leaves part of her fortune, and her company, to him. Her death seems suspicious, however, so Green Arrow gets on the case to figure out what happened to her. It shows his inability to run a company, his playboy persona, and his crime fighting, so it hits a lot of the major character points. This is an 80s comic so it is in a slightly older art style than what we have now, but it is still fun and enjoyable. It's a light, quick read, without much depth, but I feel like it is a decent introduction. I'm going to try to find some other limited series runs to go through. 

This concludes my Round-Up for April. I'll do my best in the future to do some full reviews for some of the books I mentioned today. I'll see you for the next review, and also at the end of this month for the next Round-Up!