First, What Are You Reading? Volume 20, April 2012

Last year, I did an April Fool’s version of First, What Are You Reading?, but this year I don’t want to waste an opportunity to share some really good books with you.  Enjoy, and I can’t wait to hear what you are reading.

Here are my answers to the four questions I ask on the first of each month:

first, what are you reading?

what do you like best about it?

what do you like least?

what’s next on your list to read? 

As always, I hope you’ll consider your current reads on your blog and/or sharing here in the comments or on Facebook.  Happy reading!

First, what are you reading?  

Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists with an introduction by Leonard S. Marcus

Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman

What do you like best about them?

The graphic book I was going to talk about in this space was so bad I don’t even want to name it .  It was about media bias and media coverage, and it was terrible.  Far better for kids and adults to have a healthy sense of

So I decided to substitute another graphic novel read that is well-done, and Nursery Rhyme Comics fits the bill.  I really enjoyed the interesting takes on classic Mother Goose-type rhymes.  Some are better than others, but it’s a neat idea.  Leonard Marcus’ introduction talks about how each artist was able to craft a “back story” for the rhymes.  I especially loved “Pat-a-Cake” by Gene Luen Yang and “Hickory Dickory Dock” by Stephanie Yue.

Love, love, LOVE Nerd Camp.  Gabe is 10 years old, and heading off to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, better known as Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads, or Nerd Camp.  He realizes he is a nerd because of his soon-to-be stepbrother Zach, who scoffs at things “nerds” would like, like reading actual books, being in math club, and going to camp to learn.  Gabe decides to make a logic proof of the whole summer, deciding whether or not he is, in fact, a nerd. 

I read Nerd Camp one weekend afternoon after a morning of cleaning and when I was too tired to do any “real” writing or tougher reading.  It was just the right pick-me-up.  I laughed out loud, delighted in the story and in how terrific it is to be a nerd. 

Great things about the actual camp, and why I want to go there:

*a Funny Quotes poster, where Gabe and his buddies write down funny things they say

*learning the digits of pi.

*the  karaoke sing-off between Gabe and his girl nemesis (or friend?) Amanda.  The song?  An alphabetical listing the countries of the world.    I’m “this” close to writing the author of the book to see if such a song really exists.

*Jeopardy with Alex Trebeck as the actual host.

*a 13-year-old who is the “cool” nerd for making a clandestine lab at camp.

What do you like least about them?

Because there are so many artists in Nursery Rhyme Comics, there are plenty that fall flat, or just really aren’t as good as others.  But so many do work, I think the book is a worthwhile read overall.

It’s just a little sad that part of Nerd Camp revolves around a divorce, with parents sharing custody of Gabe, and his father getting married again.  But it’s not handled negatively or positively.  It primarily serves as a plot device to put Gabe in the path of a non-nerd in the form of his soon-to-be new step-brother.  In our family, this just served as a discussion topic, brought up seamlessly.

What’s next on your list to read?

Working through a list of potential fiction for my June column.  This is no problem, as I love fiction.  Finding the time amid spring cleaning and “life” has been more of a challenge lately.

So, what are you reading these days?  Any books you would like to share?