Sunday, October 1, 2017

September in Review

My Reading

# of books read: 20, 9 of which were graphic novels, so take that with a grain of salt.
Best(s): The Female of the SpeciesDigger!  Lily and Dunkin!

I had Mindy McGinnis confused with some other author, but once I read this one, I was all, "OH MY GOD SHE IS AMAZING LET ME READ ALL THE THINGS SHE HAS EVERY WRITTEN OH LOOK I ALREADY READ A MADNESS SO DISCREET AND REALLY LIKED IT, WHO KNEW?!?" So then I went to our school library and checked out Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust and devoured them as well.  It is not very often you start a book with your protagonist straight up murdering someone, even if they do kind of deserve it.

And Digger--why does the entire world not know and love this comic?  Digger is a wombat, a wombat of vast skill and practicality who is thrown against her will into a world of magic and gods and oracular slugs.  It is hilarious, it is adorable, it is heart-breaking, it is endlessly creative and surprising and touching.  I read the omnibus but am counting it as all six volumes, because I can.

I'm not sure why I hadn't prioritized Lily and Dunkin, because I think Donna Gephart is terrific, and I need to really focus on terrific MG, since it's often more accessible to my students than the YA I tend to love.  But I went to see Penny Kittle present on Friday, and of course she book-talked a bunch of books, and I stopped on the way home to get this at the library and finished it a few hours later.  It is really good.  Lily is a transgender girl who is trying to convince her dad to let her start hormone blockers and trying to ignore the bullies at school who still think of her as Tim and call her nasty names.  Dunkin is a hyperactive kid who just moved to Florida from NJ, and you gradually realize he is dealing with some serious mental health and family issues.

Mt. TBR progress: I read four, which brings me up to 50 for the year--only halfway to my Mt. Everest goal with a quarter of the year left.  Yikes.

Bookish Events and Happenings

As I said, I got to see Penny Kittle present on Book Love.  She's the teacher/author who started the foundation that gave me 500 books last year.  It was a great day of inspiration as a teacher, writer, and reader.

I found out that I get to be a round 2 Cybils judge for the third year in a row.  This time I'll be judging YA speculative fiction, which is so exciting!  The nominations are open, so head over and make sure your favorite books published in the past year have been chosen.  It was really hard to just pick one for several categories, so I'm hoping others will nominate some I couldn't.  In case you don't know--it's the Children and Young Adults Bloggers' Literary Awards.  They accept nominations from everyone (yes, you!) in many different categories from board books to YA nonfiction. Then round one judges read all the nominations in their category by the end of the year, and in January, round 2 judges read all the finalists in their category and choose the winner.

I have really enjoyed being exposed to some of the best books each year and being encouraged to think critically about them and discuss their various merits and short comings with my fellow judges.  The first year I did YA fiction (we chose Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone), last year I did MG/YA nonfiction (we chose Every Falling Star for YA and Nachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story for MG).

Don't forget to sign up for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, coming October 21!  I am really looking forward to that (though I wish I hadn't lost my glasses.)

On the Blog

Argh.  Still not posting as much as I want to, although I keep coming up with ideas!  All I can say to explain is that when I get online, I get caught up in following the news instead of focusing on writing.  I really want to get back to blogging more.  I only posted six times in September, which isn't even twice a week.  Maybe I need to start with that as my goal for October.

I was happy to see Top Ten Tuesdays come back, even if I only posted once, about my fall TBR.  I also got a discussion post up, about what makes or breaks an audiobook listening experience for me.  I shared a post of random bits and pieces from my reading life, and I shared two posts about the experience of reading a book a day all summer long.  One had the stats of what I read, and the other listed my favorites.


I had a great time with banned book week this year.  I told the kids "check out my banned book socks!" and they weren't entirely sure if I was kidding or not at first.  Then they were awed (or possibly stunned) to realize that banned book socks are a thing.

There were major forest fires just outside of Portland during the first half of the month, and we had ash falling and smoke in the air for days.  I'm worried about our beautiful hiking trails, but am relieved nobody was injured or killed.  

My family went to a Ukrainian Festival last weekend that turned out to be a Urkainian/Trucking festival, because why wouldn't it be?  So the kids got hats and pens from trucking companies and we all ate the Ukrainian version of shashlik or shish kebob.  

I tweaked my back while sleeping the other night, and was in so much pain in the morning I couldn't reach the toaster with either arm.  Getting old SUCKS.  

We picked the remaining dozen apples off our two trees and made some applesauce.  I don't can, so it was a major event in my life when I figured out you can still make applesauce and just eat it fresh. 

My mom canned applesauce, peaches, pears, cherries, and pickles.  Yep.  Made her own bread too.  And dried clothes on the line.  Changed sheets and vacuumed the entire house every Friday, and never served her kids fast food.  Oh, and worked full time.  As a nurse.  Sheesh. 

I hope you're looking forward to October.  There are so many great books coming out this fall, not to mention the thousands and thousand that already exist.  Happy reading!

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!


  1. Wow! You do some neat things. Your socks are awesome. Homemade apple sauce = yum! Ukrainian food also = yum! I hope your back is better (getting old does suck. I have a herniated disc and sciatica, so I can relate). I have been reading a little more MG, and have to say, I am so impressed with the books that are being written.

  2. I still need to read The Female of the Species. I’ve read a few other Mindy McGinnis books and liked them. I’m also excited for Dewey’s. This will be the second time I’m participating. Have a great October!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. I hope your back is feeling better! I read The Female of the Species and enjoyed it for the most part. Homemade apple sauce sounds absolutely amazing. I've been wanting to read more MG because I'm sure I'm missing out on some amazing books.

    I hope you have a wonderful October!

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

  4. You're doing Mt Everest!! My respect. I am only doing Mt Vancouver and I'm not sure I can manage it :D
    I just joined the Dewey readathon too. Can you tell me more about it? Because it doesn't really have much info on their website, and I've never tried this readathon before :) your socks are pretty awesome!! I've had back problems since I was 14 BTW, maybe that makes you feel better :D but I still hope your back gets better soon too :)

    1. You might want to check out their Goodreads group; I think there are a lot of conversations going on over there that might give you more direction. Basically, I find out when to start (5 am Pacific Standard Time, if that's any help), and I just start reading. Every hour there is a check-in, often with a challenge, posted over on their webpage. You can participate in as many or as few as you choose to. If you are a first time read-a-thoner, someone will probably stop by your preferred social media site and cheer you on periodically. I usually make myself a little spreadsheet and check in every hour with pages read, coffee drank, naps taken, and snacks eaten. I take a quick look at the official check-ins, but don't participate in many of the challenges, because they take time away from my reading! But you can of course get involved in the more social parts if that's more fun for you. Feel free to contact me with more questions.

  5. Ursula Vernon rocks. I read the entire Hamster Princess series and hope she writes more. So much fun to read her work. I love making homemade applesauce. I hope to make some later today.

  6. I know I'm way late to this post, but I still thought I'd come by. I have The Female of the Species and I keep putting off reading it for some reason I can't even fathom. I know everyone raves about it, so I'm not quite sure why I've waited so long.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


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