Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November in Review


My Reading

# of books read: 11
Bests In which I tell you all my favorite reads and make up categories so they each win something
  • Best November re-read: Scorpio Races
  • Best interconnected short stories: Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town
  • Best dystopian journey book I never would have picked up if it weren't nominated for OBOB*: The Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
  • Best classic I'd never read before: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • Best book from my ALAN** box so far: His Hideous Heart
  • Best Audiobook set in the Pacific NW that managed to write hopefully about a foster kid without annoying the heck out of me: What I Carry
  • Best graphic novel that is an updated spin on a classic: Nancy Drew and the Palace of Wisdom

Bookish Events and Happenings

*OBOB = Oregon Battle of the Books, and in addition to running a club at my school, I also volunteer on the selection committee. Nominations are wide open to anyone, so we wade through the 85 or so titles for a few months before making our 12 choices (or 16 for 3-5th and 6-8th grades). Even though I teach and coach middle school, I like to read the high school choices, because, well, because I like YA better than MG. I'd read about 30 of the nominated books, and I rather foolishly signed up to read another 24 between now and February.  I only chose books that sounded good to me, many of which were already on my TBR and/or in my classroom library, so it's a win-win, really.

**ALAN = the Adolescent Library Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English (You can see why they went with an acronym.) NCTE is a huge and exciting conference that I've attended twice, but I didn't think it would be as valuable in virtual format. ALAN is tacked on to the end of NCTE, and I'd only been once. It is more passive, in that authors talk about their books and we just listen and fangirl/boy. This seemed like a better fit for Zoom, so I signed up. The big draw for ALAN is the book box--publishers give each attendee some 30 new books and ARCs, randomly selected from the most recent works of the authors who are there. So YES I got 30 new books for my classroom AND I got to hear Tiffany D. Jackson, G. Nehri, Leigh Bardugo, Mindy McGinnis, Yamile Saied Méndez, and dozens more talk about their craft, their inspiration, and the work of pushing back against censorship and white supremacy.

I also found out that I got a $500 grant I'd applied to for my classroom library. Very exciting, especially as First Book is created to make new books affordable for classrooms in need, and because Powell's agree to give me 20% off for this specific purchase. So I'm getting about 65 books for my 500 bucks. 

On the Blog

Apparently, I read instead of blogging. I posted ONE TTT post y nada más. 


Well, the world continues to be a dumpster fire for the most part, but I'm doing okay. Here's a few things going on. 
  1. I told my daughter I'd knit her a sweater, then it turns out I chose a pattern that has some stitches I didn't know (increases + short rows), so it's taken me three false starts. I'm hoping this one takes, and I'm not expecting to actually get it done by Dec. 25.
  2. We've been taking occasional dusk walks in hopes of seeing the owls along the nature trail by our house. This weekend we saw a nutria (invasive species, but still kinda cute) and a salamander instead. 
  3. I tried two new recipes at Thanksgiving--gluten free crumb crust for the dairy free pumpkin pie, and a gluten free apple crumble. Lots of food allergies and so forth in the extended family. I wasn't sold on either of them, but you can definitely make a delicious pumpkin pie using coconut milk in lieu of condensed milk.
  4. We started watching Wheel of Time. I never read the books. So far I'm enjoying the story and the world building but haven't gotten very invested in the characters themselves. 
  5. My daughter has her first "date" tonight. In quotes because they're going to walk up to the middle school and shoot some hoops after school, so that's pretty low key. We wouldn't even know it was a date if she hadn't told us. I'm trying to play it cool, but AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. As I mentioned last month, she's in a whole different social sphere than my husband and I were in high school, so I'm not super confident in how to navigate this stuff. 
I'm looking forward to December. I always and forever love summer best, but December and the festivities associated with it help a lot with winter blues. 

My monthly summaries are always linked to the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up on Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight, as are terrific blogs' monthly reflections.  Nicole and Shannon usually put together a fun scavenger hunt giveaway too, so go check it out!


  1. Yay! Congrats on all the new books! I also started Wheel of Time and am having the same problem. Cool world; "meh" characters. I hope you have an awesome December!

  2. When one's child starts to date (even if it's just basketball), it feels huge. I wanted to guide my daughter through it all, give advice, etc, but I controlled myself (well, most of the time). Good luck!

  3. I feel like everyone is talking about Wheel of Time right now, lol. I hope the books get better for you. Characters can make or break a book!

    I crochet and have been trying to do more difficult patterns, but I get frustrated easily. Hope you're able to finish the sweater in time. :)

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

  4. I've missed seeing you on your blog, but I can see why...you have been crazy-busy. Happy holidays!


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