It’s Monday! What are you reading?


I have been reading a ton since Christmas break.  (I included reading a book on my resolution list, and so far, so good.)  Here are ones I’ve just read or am planning to this week:


Chopsticks is a Young Adult novel that I put in the graphic novel section at the high school.  I suppose it could have gone in romance, after reading it.  It was a really quick read, and I think I should reread the ending because apparently I didn’t come to the same conclusion as a lot of readers did, judging from the Goodreads page.  It reminds me of The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt.


I’d been meaning to read this all fall, as it kept showing up on great books lists.  I wasn’t disappointed.  But I’m learning to NOT read other Goodreads reviews!  It sort of hurts my feelings if someone doesn’t like a book as much as I do.  But what do they know – it’s being made into a movie.  I’m not quite sure how they’ll do the marketing because it’d be hard to not do major spoilers.


I picked this one up at the city library.  I hadn’t read many LGBT-theme books before (Hero by Perry Moore is the only one that comes to mind), but really enjoyed the writing.  So much so that I read the entire book – 320 pages – in one day!  I don’t think I’ve done that since John Grisham’s The Client in 1993 (I stayed up all night for that one, finishing at 5 a.m.).  For this book, the Goodreads reviews are all positive – which tells me you have to take those with a grain of salt.  I mean, I did like it too, but someone who isn’t going to like the subject isn’t ever going to pick up this book.  Obviously, I do use more than Goodreads and Amazon to make purchasing choices for the school library, though!


I started reading this, and with all the other reading I’m doing, I’m not done with it yet.  It’s a short book, but will definitely have it done by April for the annual conference of the Iowa Association of School Librarians, as Alan November will be the headline speaker.

I also finished Sycamore Row by Grisham, and am working on Voyage of the Damned and Tomatoland, the latter two which I’ve been working on for awhile.

I have no idea what I’ll read next, though!  I’m trying to read all the fiction genres at both school libraries.

What are you reading?

Best or Favorite? Booking Through Thursday


The question:

Are “best” and “favorite” the same thing? If someone asked you “What’s the best book you ever read?” would the answer be the same as for “What’s your favorite?”

My answer:

Definitely not!  “Best” and “favorite” are not the same.  The best book ever written To Kill a Mockingbird.  My favorite may vary, but it’s likely either My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen or The Odyssey as edited by Robert Fagles.  Now my favorite author is hands-down Carl Hiaasen, though I doubt if he lands on any “best author” lists . . .


It’s Monday! What are you reading?


I’m taking part in It’s Monday! What are you reading? meme hosted by Book Journey.  One of my professional goals this school year is to read more, and I’m going to blog about it to keep me on track.  (I blog here about books in the school library that I read.)  (The justification for reading for pleasure to be a part of my personal professional development plan is that it helps with reader’s advisory and to know the books in the library collection.  But reading grown-up books just helps me to be a happier person!)

ImageSimon, R. (2011) The story of beautiful girl. Grand Central Publishing.

My mom has been asking me to read this for a long time and I finally got it from the public library.  It begins in 1968 and follows Martha, a widowed woman, never a mother, who finds herself in charge of a baby.  She was once a teacher, though, and Mom knew I’d like this passage:

There were two kinds of students who liked the library:  those who devoured one book after another and those who savored the same book repeatedly.  Some teachers saw the former readers as intrepid, the latter tentative, while Martha held the view that old comforts, by encouraging patience, prompted discoveries.  Now, though, Martha understood those rereaders differently.  Aware that she was about to behave uncharacteristically by climbing back under the quilt in midmorning, she realized it was not the rereading that led to fresh insights.  It was the rereader – because when a person is changing inside, there are inevitably new things to see.  (pp. 80-81)


Franklin, B. (2007). Not your usual founding father, selected readings from Benjamin Franklin. Yale University Press.

I love Benjamin Franklin.  I’ve read Isaacson’s biography, and of course Ben’s autobiography, but this one is enjoyable in a different way.  (It’s available as a bargain book on Amazon right now.)  It’s basically reading the primary source documents that Isaacson used, but with Edmund Morgan’s apt editorial commentary helping along the way.  We have four foreign exchange students at the high school this year, and I sent this to teachers who were struggling to communicate with them:

 I have sometimes observed that we are apt to fancy the person that cannot speak intelligibly to us, proportionably stupid in understanding and when we speak two or three words of English to a foreigner, it is louder than ordinary, as if we thought him deaf, and that he has lost the use of his ears as well as his tongue. (p. 8)

What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I’m trying to read (and blog) more, so let’s get started!  It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It's Monday - What are you reading?

I’m really enjoying this book, by Scott Douglas:


It is my favorite librarian book so far, next to This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson.

I’m also reading this book by Dawn Dais:


I’m not sure I have the ability to run a marathon (she goes from “getting off your butt” to “3 miles” entirely too quickly for my taste) but she is very motivating.

And on my Follett Shelf, I’m reading Gary Schmidt’s book (a few years late, I know!):


What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


I talked about what we did in my school library for World Read Aloud Day, but didn’t mention what I read to the fifth and sixth graders:



Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker (yes, that Sara Pennypacker) is a remarkable picture book.  It’s a fictionalized account of Mao’s war on sparrows that eventually killed millions and millions of birds – and people.  I plan to use it this spring with a high school Biology class to discuss the inter-relatedness of things.

I finally finished the Stephen King book, 11/22/63.  It was remarkable – I’d always been afraid to read King, and then this was entirely NOT what I expected.

Then I started going shopping for books on my Kindle again (I never used to buy new books like I do now), and I see John Grisham has a new title.  I’m disappointed I didn’t see this right away; I always try to read his in the first few weeks of release.


And I got an email from Amazon today about an ebook sale, so I bought two more books that I’ll start soon:


I’ve read several books by Temple Grandin – you should too! – and well, spring is coming and I do, in fact, need to get off my butt and on with my training.  Ahem.

I’m looking for a current book on computer programming, and I cannot wait for this book to come out (June 11th).

And since I link to a children’s librarian blog above, I should state a children’s book I’ll begin reading this week, too:


(Yes, I know I’m a little behind . . . )

So what are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


Well, thanks for asking!

On my Kindle Fire, I’m reading my first Stephen King book ever (I was always a little afraid to):



I thought I was zipping through it quickly but then I found out I was only on page 59.  I think if I was reading the print version, I’d be done with it by now (because I’d see the physical book on my bed stand, I’d lug it around with me, etc.).

I’m also going to read two new-to-our-library graphic novels this week:





What are you reading?


Top Ten Books I Read in 2012


10.  Smile by Raina Telgemeier


9.  Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook


8.  The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles


7.  Chomp by Carl Hiaasen


6.  Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs


5.  Cloaked in Red, by Vivian Vande Velde


4.  Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen


3.  Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin


2.  Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs


1.  They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? by Christopher Buckley


Top Ten – Wait! – Eight Tuesday: New to Me Authors in 2012

8.  John Cotton Dana


Not terribly exciting, but one of the first books I downloaded when I got my Kindle Fire.

7.  Margret Rey Image I am NOT a Curious George fan.  I mean, have you ever READ the book?  But, since I have a miniature dachshund myself, how could I resist?

6.  Anthony Horowitz Image I know Horowitz has written a lot of teen books and I probably should have read him before.  And I also know this is quite a departure from his other books.  But this one is fabulous – the first time the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes novel.  It left me hanging until the very end, and is oh so respectful of the original.

5.  Mike Lupica


I should have read Lupica  before now, too, but I’m really not a big sports fan (but I do buy lots of sports books for the library).  This was a fun read, though, and I see why kids like him.  (Actually, I have read him before, his book Hero, book it is quite different than this, his typical YA sports fare.)

4.  Rachel Joyce Image Rachel Joyce is a new author, but I did quite like this book.  (As you might discern from this list, I’m not really into finding new authors!  My list of my favorite books of 2012 would be harder to wade through as there would be a lot more choices.)

3.  Robert Fagles


Fagles is the translator here of good ol’ Homer, but what a difference he makes!  I read Fitzgerald’s translation a decade ago and it was fine and good, but Fagles’ translation is simply beautiful.  If you’ve read Homer before, read it again – but only this Homer.

2.  Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell


Some high school students were doing a project on banned books and wanted to know if I could had this one.  I didn’t, nor did any school or public library around me.  Of course it’s controversial but ridiculously so – it’s a true story and a sweet one at that.  At any rate, I own it now, and am glad to do so.  I hope Richardson and Parnell find other sweet stories to tell.

1.  Michael Connelly Image I’m surprised I hadn’t read this author before, as it is right up my alley.  I found him by watching The Lincoln Lawyer on Amazon (with Prime membership, free – Prime is the best $79 I’ve ever spent!).  I wanted to go read another book right away, but I’m not going to make the mistake I did with Jonathan Kellerman and read all the books (with the same characters) together very quickly – I’ll never want to read another again if I do that!  I like his style, though – quick and smart.  Of all the authors here, this is the only one I’m sure I’ll read again.

It’s Monday – What are you reading?

It’s Monday!  What are you reading?
Sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey
I have been busy reading this week – I finished The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (I was really surprised by the book, in a good but sad way), but most of my reading has been for my Coursera class.  I’ve suspended reading Tomatoland until my Kindle reappears as it’s gone missing in our house!
So this week, I’m reading:
The Odyssey, Fagles translation, chapters 9-16.  I plan to get this done before Sunday so I can actually watch all the videos before the quiz is due.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – I told my(adult) daughter she can read it when I’m done so I best hurry up on this one.
Anna Quindlen is one of my favorite authors so I was happy to see this available at the public library.
I love to read cookbooks!  I have Ree’s first book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.  Although I do find the step by very slow step (“Here’s an egg,” e.g.) a bit annoying, I will say her cookbook gave me the courage to try chicken fried steak, one of my favorite dishes when I go out to a restaurant, and it was fabulous.
We have a stack of new books to add and this is one I definitely want to read.  I’m going to a couple of meetings in the next two weeks, so when I am here, we’re doing technology things with the classes, so no picture book reading for me with the students.  But this one looks great – I don’t want Donna to get all the fun!

It’s Monday – What are you reading?

I mostly stuck with blogging last week – took a long weekend away then did one last night.  But this one, “It’s Monday! What are you reading?” (sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey) has sure motivated me this week to read, read, read!

I was so excited when The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry came in off the hold shelf for me at the public library!  It’s British, so there’s a few “what the heck” moments with the vocabulary, but it’s an interesting book.  It’s the story of a newly retired man who gets a letter from a woman he knew decades before.  He responds by letter, and intends to drop it in the mailbox – but just keeps walking.  “He hunched his shoulders and drove his feet harder, as if he wasn’t so much walking to Queenie as away from himself.” 

I’ve read The View from Saturday before, but it’s the first selection for the 5th grade Book Lovers’ Club in the library (reason:  we had enough copies!).  I think it’s an appropriate book for that, too, because it’s about a group of smart kids . . . and that’s my Book Lovers’ Club!  I’ve done a book discussion group for fifth graders before, and it remains the best thing I’ve done in a school.  I hope the kids get as much out of it as I do!

I just started Why We Broke Up by Daniel Hadler and Maira Kalman.  That’s Daniel Hadler, AKA Lemony Snickett.  The one thing that stands out for me with this book is the quality of the book itself.  The pages are really thick!  I appreciate that in a book.  I wonder why more don’t do that, or why they did (or how they had the clout to demand it).

And I’m highly anticipating J.K. Rowling’s new book, Casual Vacancy, which comes out this week.  I read all the Harry Potter books, but only once, and I definitely am more on the “muggle” side of the wizarding spectrum.  As Daniel Radcliffe said in his SNL monologue, “And to the adults who read the Harry Potter books and devored them, I just want to say, those books were for children. You were reading children’s books.”

What are you reading?