Thursday, June 30, 2016

June in Review

My Reading

Books read: 13, but only because I'm counting all five volumes of the graphic novel/comics series Saga.  I expect my reading pace to pick up now that school is out.  


I finished reading The Girl I Used to Be to my seventh grade class that was crazy for read-alouds all year.  We all really liked it, but I'm afraid that the real-life premise was more engaging than the fictional resolution.

I'm also getting back into reading The Prisoner of Azkaban out loud with my kids.  

This is exactly what we look like when reading aloud.  Minus the sheep.  And I have two kids.  Who are 10 and 12.  And I have terrible posture.  And wear yoga pants with stained t-shirts.  But it's the general idea, for sure.  

Mildly Disappointing

I didn't know a lot about Relish: My Life in the Kitchen going in, but it was just kind of meh for me.  Not bad or anything.  I am pretty sure that if I were a foodie, I'd love it.  Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman had sections that were terrific, but the last half or so of the book got dull.  I'm not going to be renewing my Book of the Month Club subscription, because I really don't feel a need to own books that I can't share in my classroom, and I liked the first book they sent me far less than Shrill.  


 I started reading e-books on Riveted and flew through both Play me Backwards and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour.   They were both fun reads, pretty light without being dumb.


Saga (volumes 1-5) is a great time.  It's full of all sorts of stuff, from sex, which always kind of startles me in graphic novels, to explorations of colonialism and militarism, to family interconnections and interracial relationships (between a winged being and a horned being).  Can't wait for volume six!


The Living, by Matt de la Peña, is another book that balances sci fi adventure with human relationships and commentary about race and class in our society.  I just love the voices of de la Peña's teens, who sound like the actual teens I work with.  The Porcupine of Truth balances humor, heart, and social commentary really well also.  I guess that's kind of my thing.  

Wow, wow, wow!

Because You'll Never Meet Me is crazy inventive.  It's an epistolary novel, and the letters sent between the angry and pompous German boy and the optimistic and lovelorn American boy capture their differences beautifully.  It veers from unlikely-contemporary to straight up sci-fi in a way that's a little jarring, but otherwise I loved it.  

Assorted Stats

My reading of authors of color has increased to 25%.  I've read 36 books so far this year in which major characters were people of color, 16 in which major characters identified as GLBQT, 17 books in which major characters had mental illness, and 23 in which major characters lived in poverty.  The last one is subjective, of course, but the way I log it is if the character's actions are seriously driven or constrained by financial worries, then it counts.

My Writing

Did I mention I went to a writing retreat?  I may have, a few hundred times or so.  It wasn't a book blogging thing; most of us were working on creative nonfiction.  I got some work done that I was happy with, until I heard what everyone else had written, anyway.

This is my 15th post this month, fairly average for me.  I almost didn't do any TTT posts, because there were a lot about anticipated and favorite 2016 releases, and my reading doesn't really focus on the very newest releases.  Instead, I tried out a really interesting Diverse Books Tag and a fun Netflix and Books Tag.   But when I saw that yesterday's Freebie topic coincided with my first blogoversary, I was inspired to start off several days of celebrating with a TTT post about what I've gained and learned from this past year of blogging.   Stay tuned for the rest of the celebration posts this week, with a giveaway on Saturday!

I wrote a few posts that were about interacting with the blogging community.  I asked you to help me choose which books to bring home from my classroom library to read over the summer, then I shared the results.  I hosted my very first Rafflecopter/Giveaway, creating the scavenger hunt for the May edition of this monthly wrap-up round-up that Nicole hosts at Feed Your Fiction Addiction.  And I announced that I'm joining the Summer Commenting Challenge for July.

I posted one discussion post, about the format people prefer to read in, and one themed review post, about road trip books I've read recently.  The rest of my posts were Sunday Posts.

Not surprisingly, the most popular post was the May wrap-up (since the giveaway pushes people to at least skim those!), and the one with the most comments was the discussion post.


June is about three things: winding up the school year, celebrating birthdays, and transitioning into summer vacation.  This year, it was also about going on the writing retreat.  The end of the school year was, predictably, chaotic, fun, stressful, and all the other things that it usually is.  I'm changing rooms this year, so there was a lot of work to do in wrapping things up.  
Treats from students
Painfully accurate whiteboard graffiti

My son's birthday is early in the month, and my sisters and newphew have birthdays a week apart, and father's day falls in the middle of that.  My son took some friends to the local amusement park, but the other celebrations kind of slipped past me.  


Plus, yes, we were bottling wine, which involves several days of work as well as many more days of planning and wrapping up.  

My sister and my winemaker fill bottles.

You don't have to be old enough to drink in order to work the corker.

My friend brought her kids to play with my kids at the winery we were borrowing.

I feel like summer is off to a good start.  We've picked raspberries, made slime, laid out under the stars, used our fire pit for the first time in six years of owning it, and read in the hammock.  So far, so good!  



  1. Your wrap-ups are so thorough! You make me feel lazy. :) I love your photos and your whiteboard graffiti. I’m also impressed that you can read so many books. I think I maybe read 5 last month?

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. That whiteboard graffiti is hilarious! Leave it to kids to tell it like it is. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. I loved Amy & Roger!! Happy July!


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