Monday, September 9, 2019

TTT: To Be Read or To Be Avoided?

 TTT is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl .  If you want to quadruple the size of your TBR AND find a bunch of great book blogs to follow head on over and check it out!

The topic this week is: Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

I'm feeling kind of called out here. There are so many books I keep meaning to read, but even when I have the chance, I pick up something else.

Some examples:

1. Night

Night (The Night Trilogy, #1)

This was the first book I thought of for this topic. Years ago, a friend was shocked to learn I hadn't read this and loaned me her copy. I STILL HAVE IT. Unread. Well, I tried once, and got a few chapters in, and it was engrossing and well written, but then I chickened out again. It's not like it would take a long time to read. It's not like it would force me to know about atrocities I don't already know about. But it's just really hard to read a first person account of the Holocaust. 

2. A Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

Seventh graders at the school I work at have read this basically every year since it came out in their world studies class. I have not. What is wrong with me? It sounds serious, and like it has great potential to be either boring or depressing. I've never heard a seventh grader complain about it (and they WOULD!), so I'm pretty sure it's really good...but what if it isn't?

3. Bad Feminist
Bad Feminist

Gay is an influential writer and thinker, but all I've read of her work are occasional magazine essays. I feel like I should read this book--and that "should" is probably why I haven't.

4. Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)

I like Diana Wyn Jones. I know this is one of those titles where there is serious debate about the book vs. movie (which I haven't seen either). It wouldn't take long to read. It's on the shelf in my classroom library. So why haven't I read it? I think it might be some subconscious fear of anime, which is what I associate the movie with.

5. Becoming

Is it going to let me down? Is it going to be all celebrity-biography or self-helpy? Will it be one of those reads that makes me feel good in the moment, but then later I'll realize there actually wasn't much of substance there, just well phrased clichés? I don't want my Michelle Obama bubble burst.

6. The Forgetting
The Forgetting (The Forgetting, #1)

This is supposed to be so good! The premise sounds amazing! People whose taste I trust highly recommend it! But that cover--it just LOOKS like a book I won't like. I can't even analyze why. 

7. A Feast for Crows
A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

I read the first three Game of Thrones books (I know, I know, they're actually the Song of Ice and Fire books, but pop culture has decided otherwise) over two summers. They're too long to tackle during the school year, but then waiting nine months means I feel like I've forgotten too much to keep going. 

8. Amina's Voice
Amina's Voice

This middle grade novel has won all sorts of accolades and was featured as a Global Read Aloud selection last year. I really should read it. It's timely, #ownvoices, and beloved. But it just looks like a message book to me, and since childhood I've strongly resisted reading those. The trouble is, about 1/3 of them turn out to actually be as good as people say they are, and then I end up kicking myself for waiting so long. 

9. The Forest for the Trees
The Forest for the Trees

My in-laws gave me this one birthday, which was so thoughtful of them. It looks really interesting. But I am still, fifty years into this life, waffling about whether or not to really try to write. So I read books with plots instead.

10. The Unreal and the Real

The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin

I claim Ursula K. Le Guin as my overall favorite author, and I have certainly read many of her books. I was so amazed when I saw this giant book with its gorgeous NW cover, and the next time someone gave me a gift card for books, this is what it went to. It has sat on my shelf, unread, ever since. It's just...really big. Like, it looks like it will be kind of uncomfortable to hold. 

I could go on and on, but thankfully, we only have to wade through ten of these. Will I ever read any of these? Or will they always be books I hope to get to someday? 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Post #39/Sunday Salon Post #13

Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts the weekly Sunday Post link-up, and Deb at ReaderBuzz is expanding Sunday Salon from a FB group to a link-up as well.

What I Read
School started back up this week--Monday was a holiday, of course, Tuesday was a final day to get ready, and Wednesday through Friday we had students. Wednesday I was so tired that when I got home, I turned off the car and fell asleep in the driveway for five minutes, before waking up long enough to go inside and take a two hour nap. IN OTHER WORDS, I didn't read much this week.

But with the final book in the Three Dark Crowns series hitting shelves this week, I started a re-read, and Saturday I made my way through the first book. It is SO GOOD. I realized it's the third time I read it, which is highly unusual--Megan Whalen Turner is the other author whose series I re-read each time a new book comes out, and I'd consider doing it for Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, and Victoria Schwab too. Basically I will re-read fantasy novels that are both well written enough to bear up under re-reading and complex enough to require it for best enjoyment of future books.

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1) Five ​Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns, #4)

What I'm Reading/What's Next
Foolishly, I only brought home the first book from my classroom library for the weekend, even though I already have bought the final book. And I couldn't find an ebook on my preferred sites (the library and Scribd), so I tried to split the difference by reading recaps and Nicole's spoiler filled discussions on Feed Your Fiction Addiction. I started Five Dark Fates, and it's great, but I decided to stop after a few chapters and wait the 36 hours until I'll be able to get the rest of the books from my classroom. LIFE IS HARD.  But at least it's not "kill your sisters or be killed by them" hard.

In the meantime, I'm reading book two in The Naturals series, Killer Instinct.  More love triangle angst, more serial killer creepiness--I kind of hate that I kind of love it.

Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)

Three Things

  • My daughter has signed up for a Synchro Skating team. Parents are required to volunteer, My husband and I had a great time laughing about how terrible either one of us would be at Hair & Makeup or Social Coordinator.  We're on fundraising instead, which is only slightly less insane. Wish us luck.
  • We are expected to wear college shirts on Fridays this year. I went to an obscure college in Vermont, and shirts have to be ordered through the bookstore or the little sporting goods shop in that town, so let's just say they ain't cheap. I splurged on a sweatshirt, but picked up a cheap Hogwarts t-shirt to wear in warmer weather. I don't know if anyone else thinks I'm as funny as I think I am, but I did have a student run up to me and ask which house I am.
  •  I'm looking forward to having longer class periods with my new students this week--the first week we have advisory (homeroom) all morning and just run 10-14 minutes class periods in the afternoon.I'm now working with my niece-in-law's cousin, or as I prefer to say, my sister's son's wife's dad's sister's daughter, OR the first cousin once removed of my great niece and nephew. 

Have a week, folks. A good one, if possible. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

August in Review

Well, here I am! It's the end of August, and the end of summer (not technically, but practically), and time to get back to blogging.

My Reading

# of books read: 13 in August and 24 in July. I guess I was busier overall in August, since I also blogged a lot less. I didn't meet my book-a-day challenge this summer, even though I counted all the picture books that I don't include in my monthly or annual counts. Still, seventy books is respectable. Tons of four star books too, which is great.

Best(s):(In which I tell you all my five star reads and make up categories so they each win something.)

Best second novel with an interesting structure: Birthday by Meredith Russo

Best book that is not quite a novel in verse, but is more plotted than just a book of poems: They Call Me Güero by David Bowles

Best middle grade book that is as cute as its cover: Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Best series finale to a terrific detective series that could be subtitled "They ALL Die At the End": World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters

Book that worked its way into my heart and plans to stay: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Best fantasy that I loaned to my sister because she loves Neil Gaiman's Stardust: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (who is terrific on Twitter, BTW)

Best book my 13 year old daughter listened to on audiobook, then read, then took my classroom copy of and informed me I need to get my students a new copy of because this is her book now: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Can you tell which one is my Book of the Summer?

Bookish Events and Happenings

Lots of time at the library and bookstores, for sure. Also, I got three bingos on my bingo card.

Barely Missing Everything, Daughter of the Pirate King, Birthday, Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World, Juliet Takes a Breath

FOURTH ROW: A Moveable Feast, Once & Future, A Very Large Expanse of Sea, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, No Time to Spare

RISING DIAGONAL: Front Desk, Once & Future, Shout, They Call me Guero, Juliet Takes a Breath.

And in my defense, I never could track down copies of The Boy Who Steals Houses or Keep This To Yourself.

On the Blog

I kept us on minimal life support status by posting three times on Sundays. 


This was the fun stuff. I was just thinking that if Oregon, which apparently has a shockingly short school year compared to most states, ever lengthens that time, they'd better add it in June, not August. I love August in Oregon so much.  We spent a lot of time outdoors and as a family, so I'll go with the whole "a picture is worth a thousand words" thing and leave you with these. Some are repeats from earlier posts, but these are the summer highlights. (Minus pictures of the fronts of my kids, who police my social media exposure of them with ferocity.)

My monthly summaries are always linked to the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up on Feed Your Fiction Addiction, along with many other terrific blogs' monthly reflections.  Nicole usually puts together a fun scavenger hunt giveaway too, so go check it out! I'm also linking up this week with the Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Sunday Salon at ReaderBuzz