Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts the weekly (duh) Sunday Post link-up. I participate sporadically, but am ready to roll this week!
Well, hi there!
I am clear across town right now, in the suburb that is on the complete other side of Portland from mine. Where Beaverton is on the way to the coast, rural within my lifetime, and has only become less white with the development of Intel, Nike, and other large companies who hire internationally, Gresham is on the way to Mt. Hood, has been full of strip malls and car lots for my entire lifetime, and is one of the few multi-ethnic areas that has yet to be gentrified back to whiteness after the white flight of the '60s and '70s. I came out to pick up my son from my nephew's apartment after he'd hosted him so I could host my daughter's slumber party, and it turned out they were still enjoying each other's company and wanted 3 more hours.
So what's a girl to do when she's in an unfamiliar part of town with several hours to spare? Figure out where the nearest library is, of course. Since I have a Multnomah County library card in addition to my home county's card, I knew I could find a refuge even though I'm 40 minutes from home.
I am using the library headphones to block out the sound of other's coughing and typing, but I can't get Spotify to work, so I'm listening to this on Youtube:
Something about the hungover way I feel made me want to listen to early '90s Latvian rock. Don't you ever feel like that? No? Just me?
I'm not hungover, just to clarify. But hosting six tween girls overnight creates the same effect at this point in my life. I finally went downstairs and just sat in the kitchen for a half hour so they'd stop talking long enough to fall asleep (around 1 am). Then of course they bounced awake at 8:30, but everyone's mood was a little fragile and I ended up having to soothe hurt feelings. I got to my nephew's and asked him for Tylenol, then when I went to look up the address for the closest library, I said to myself, "A hundred and secondy-second" instead of twenty-second.
Book Read This Week
I've finished two books this week, both thrillers. Neither were world class, though one was pretty good.
I just didn't really like this one. It was contrived and overwrought and ultimately kind of pointless. This is the third book of hers I've read, and I haven't really liked any of them, so I think I'll stop now.
This one was pretty good. Not amazing, but good. There is a middle section that is straight up adventure story, less psychologically twisty, but then the devious factor kicks back in. My kid cleaned out her bookshelf and sold a bunch of books to the used bookstore, which grants 50% off credit, so I gave her the cash and spent the credit. Their selection of material I want to add to my classroom isn't very big, so I also picked up some mysteries for myself. I paid like 2 bucks for this, so I don't feel as bad about breaking my "don't spend money on books just for me" rule.
My classes are listening to audiobooks right now. I had a killer cold during and after spring break, and my voice still isn't back to full strength. But I didn't want to postpone a read-aloud until I could handle reading five periods a day, because I hate it when the semester or year ends before we finish our book. I let classes pick from audiobooks I had access to at the time, and they got some good choices.
- Bang by Barry Lyga The narrator accidentally shot and killed his baby sister when he was 4. Now he's 14, and this is the summer he plans on ending it all. The tension is palpable.
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (In case you've been living under a rock...) Two narrators, two points of view. Rashad is severely beaten by a white cop who thinks he was stealing chips. (He wasn't, as if that matters.) Quinn is a witness who is conflicted by his friendship with the cop's little brother. We are having LOTS of interesting conversations about, oh, Starbucks calling cops on black guys for existing, or how mug shots of black kids are used in news articles while yearbook photos of white kids are used when they've been accused of the exact same crimes. Or, hey! How about in the school district where my kids attend, the deputy superintendent retweeting incredibly racist slander of immigrants? Sadly, there is no shortage of current events we can relate this book to.
- The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya I am breaking all laws of read-alouds and reading this for the first time with the kids. It does at least allow me to be noticing, wondering, and making connections alongside them. The plot revolves around a crooked developer, which is a little less immediate for kids than for adults, but there's enough personality in the narrator that so far it's keeping their interest.
- Violent Ends by various authors, edited by Shaun David Hutchinson I thought I had an audiobook of it checked out, but it was actually an ebook, and there IS no audiobook, so I am reading this one aloud. (One day when I choked on a cracker at lunch* I talked one of my better readers into reading for me, but even a kid who reads really smoothly can focus and understand better when listening than while reading aloud.)
Other bookish thingsI missed Kwame Alexander's Portland appearance the other night. But this library does have multiple copies of his new book in, so I'll be reading Rebound in the near future!
I'm going to have to give this next Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon a miss, but you can still sign up!
My daughter was with me when I told the bookseller, "I need horror for middle schoolers that is scary but still somewhat age appropriate." One of the books I ended up getting is The Cellar. She was out with her dad the other night and bought her own copy of it, and can't put it down. The clerk apparently pointed out to her, "This says 14 and up," and she said, "Yep," and stared him down. (She just turned 12.) This is where my anti-censorship, "trust the kids to know what they can handle" philosophy gets put to the test.
Life snippets* So there I was, running an errand at lunch and eating a triscuit so I wouldn't starve. And it got stuck in my throat. And I couldn't breathe. And I thought--there is way too much going on with my family right now for me to effing die. I stopped my car more or less in the middle of the road and considered getting out and doing the "I'm choking" sign in hopes that someone would stop and Heimlich me. But I finally got it out myself. It was pretty terrifying though, and the next two days my back and neck were sore from the effort I'd put into getting my airway open. Of course, once I got it out, it became just a kind of funny story. My friends informed me that I am no longer allowed to eat when I'm alone in the car.
My face is feeling quite smooth today, because the slumber party craft this year was making face scrubs and masks. We did a cocoa one (cocoa, honey, and cream), and a banana-avocado one. It was pretty hilarious overall. Otherwise I mostly just stayed out of their way and tried not to judge their conversations. You couldn't pay me to be 12 again. Which is why I was all weird about insisting my kids wait until their12th birthdays to get their ears pierced. I figured there had to be SOMETHING cool about hitting that age. Most of puberty's changes are, well, not so fun.
I'll leave you with one of my other favorite Latvian songs from my twenties.