Saturday, July 30, 2016

July in Review

Monthly wrap-ups are rounded up by Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction.  Check out what everyone's been up to and enter the scavenger hunt/giveaway!

My Reading

Books read:
16.  I wish I could just read all day every day, but I'm still pretty happy with the amount of reading I've gotten in this month.  Links below go to the book's page on Goodreads or to my review on Goodreads, if I've written one.  Warning--my reviews are just me rambling on about my personal response.


My daughter and I are still working our way through Prisoner of Azkaban.  It hasn't been a great month for bedtime read-alouds, as we spent several nights at the beach with family, and then she just got back from a week at camp.  But I did finish reading the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid to my son.  I think the series is great for hooking reluctant readers, and the way it combines words and art and blank space on the page was revolutionary.  However, the main character is a jerk.  That's kind of the point, and the humor lies in seeing the reality he's blind or indifferent to.  But the slower pace of reading it out loud made me just loathe the kid. I did not mention this to my own kid, in part because who am I to disparage a book he actually wants to finish, in part because he's still so literal that he missed a good 50% of the irony anyway, and in part because, "Wow, this character isn't being very nice to his little brother, is he?" is a good way to take all the fun out of a deliberately irreverent read.   

Mildly Disappointing

All of these were disappointing because I had high expectations and because they were uneven in one way or another.  I liked them all, but wanted more from them.  Fish in a Tree was my favorite of this group.  


I'm really happy to find out that so many of the books in my classroom library that I hadn't read are really, really good.  These were all unique and fun reads.  

Double Wow!

While I didn't have any five star reads this month, I find it interesting that all of my 4.5 stars were given to books for adults, two of which are memoirs.  Last summer I was reading amazing YA novels like Challenger Deep, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Made You Up, I'll Meet You There and Scorpio Games.  Am I pickier now?  Am I reading books based on "Which students will like this?" instead of "Ooh, this looks good!"?  Have I read so much YA in the past year that adult books are what I'm craving right now?  

Not Rated and In Progress

I'm reading Jasper Jones, A Darker Shade of Magic, and a professional book called Reading Ladders.  I've listened to part of E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle, one of my childhood favorites, but the narrator is bugging me.

Assorted Stats

I continue to read a preponderance of white, American, female authors.  Typecasting much?  Over half my books are from the library, and another quarter or so are from my classroom library.  I tend to write many more quick responses on Goodreads than formal reviews on the blog.

My Writing

This is my 16th post this month, which seems to be the average amount I've settled into.  My posts are all over the place in terms of content.  I suspect this will either drive you nuts or make you very happy, depending on your own personality.

I wrapped up my first anniversary of blogging with a post about my favorite reads from the past year and a woefully under-entered giveaway.  (If you are one of the winners--I haven't forgotten you!  Watch your mailbox this month!)  I participated in a few TTT's, sharing ten random facts about me, ten books set around the world, and a list of books that have inspired me to write.  I wrote a discussion post about my intense love for going into books absolutely clueless about the content, and a personal post about dropping my daughter off for a week of summer camp.  I did the Mid-Year Freakout Tag and updated on my progress with the Make-Me-Read-It Read-a-thon (Success!) and the High Summer Read-a-thon (Failure!).  And after watching the movie Legends of the Guardians with my kids, I wrote about talking animals in books.

I've been mulling over what will either be a series of posts, a PhD dissertation, or a book about the #WNDB and #OwnVoices movements and what that means for writers and readers.  (Spoiler: It will probably end up in blog post form, since I'm not in a PhD program or publishing academic books.)  (As if I'm publishing non-academic books!  Ha!)  This month also brings the Shattering Stigmas event, organized by Shannon at It Starts at Midnight, and I need to get cracking on some writing for that as well.


July is the Saturday afternoon of a teacher's enforced unemployment summer vacation.  I made the most of it--well, maybe not THE MOST, but I did have a good time.  There was the family reunion at the beach with my in-laws, which was really rather lovely.  There was the float trip down a local river on my birthday, courtesy of a friend I've had for 39 years now.  Board games with the fam.  An afternoon with a high school friend and her kids at a park; another afternoon talking on the couch at a friend and colleague's new house while our kids watched Zootopia.  Dessert and port with my sister one warm evening.  Reading professional development books at the pool my son's friend invited us to.  A day trip to Mt. St. Helens with my husband and son.  And cleaning the pantry, which really needed it.  The Winemaker got our downstairs bathroom put back together, which is kind of exciting and very appreciated.  We had a huge leak LAST SUMMER and decided to do the repairs ourselves.  "Ourselves" being a very loose term that really means "I pick out the paint colors and do some painting and you do everything complicated or difficult."  

August is my Sunday evening, and it's always bittersweet.  Some very fun things planned, some very good books to read, but my mind is going more and more towards school, and my body will have to follow suit soon.  Enjoy this most beautiful of months!  (Well, it is here in the Pacific NW.  Not sure about the rest of the world.)


  1. It sounds like you had a good month and read some interesting books. I remember when We All Looked Up came out, and I was super excited to read it. I never got around to buying it, and it kind of fell off my radar. So many books, so little time! I still need to read Furiously Happy. That one has been sitting on my shelf for six months. Also, I totally know what you mean about craving adult books. I love kids’ books, but reading a bunch of them in a row can get mind-numbing.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I need to read We All Looked Up and Scarlet Epstein Hates It here! Both sounds like something I'd love. Anyway, July seems like a good month for you. Hope for the best in August! :)

  3. Sounds like a really nice month, especially the beach & river. I hope the new school year starts well for you.

  4. I had to go check out your review for Death by Toilet Paper, just because that title was too awesome to resist. The fact that it made you cry makes me want to read it stat!

    I don't know how I've missed so much on your blog lately - I know that I was out of it this month, but apparently that affected me even more than I realized! I'm now headed off to check out some of your July posts that I was apparently absent for.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  5. I Love the cover of Furiously Happy! It just makes me smile :) And yes I know just what you mean about Diary of WK. I read the Harry Potter books to my daugher several years ago and loved sharing them with her. Special times

  6. You did awesome for reading. A few of those I have on my wish list! Happy August!


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