It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/23/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over atTeach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

I finally tackled my DRC of Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep, which will be published on 4/16. I am ruminating over a full review of this genre-busting incredible work, of which Shusterman is most proud. And I still haven’t read the multiple starred reviews it has already received.


I picked up a 2-CD audiobook of The Taming of the Shrew at our public library’s book sale. It is a BBC production and was very well done. Although not as entertaining as watching the play, the verbal sparring made this an enjoyable one to listen to.


I still  can;t recall how Charles Frazier’s Nightwoods  made it to my to-read list, but I read it nonetheless. Here is the Goodreads description. It was an intense read, as the story is filled with broken people living bleak existences. Like in real life, there were a fair amount of unresolved issues, but there was a glimmer of hope at the end, too. Not sure I am ready for another one like this anytime soon–just not my type of book. Note: This counts for my Random Reads 2015 challenge.

Currently Reading/Listening To:

On Deck:

IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/16/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over atTeach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

I really wanted to love Platte F. Clark’s Bad Unicorn, which I read to prepare for our “Funny” Books and Bites. Just looking at the cover and title makes me giggle a bit. Turns out that I liked it, but it was not as hilarious as I wanted it to be. It is the story of Max Spencer who finds a dusty leather book under his bed that only he can read, or even touch. It is The Codex of Infinite Knowability, a powerful book by his powerful ancestor. With it, Max and his friends are able to travel to a magical realm and a future earth. All the while Princess, the carnivorous and dangerous unicorn who can take animal, human, and robo- form, is hunting him. I think where the book fell flat for me is that there are a number of moments where you can “see” the jokes as jokes. I will have to get some student feedback, though, as many are intrigued by the description and the cover.


I also finished the audiobook Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way. It was as campy and fun as I expected, as it recounted Bruce’s supporting role in a fictitious romantic comedy directed by Mike Nichols and starring Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger. Through a series of changes both suggested by Campbell and foisted upon him, the film degrades into B-movie madness. It’s a great listen for fans of Campbell–others just won’t get it.

Currently reading/Listening To:

I am about halfway through Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman–amazing. I am also half-way through Ready Player One, a re-read for the Nerdist Book Club. I picked up a $1 audiobook of Taming of the Shrew at my public library’s book sale, too.

On Deck:

IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/9/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

None. I made good progress on three books, though, so no shame here :-)

Currently Reading/Listening To:

On Deck:

March Random Read

It’s time for my March Random Read! Thanks to imlovingbooks.com for hosting this meme. This year, I’m reading off of my Goodreads to-read list because I have added all the things that still interested me from my Shelfari list. Today random.org chose #26 for me, so I will be reading Nightwoods by Charles Frazier. I have to admit that I don’t recall putting this book on my list (I haven’t even read Cold Mountain), but I am going for it nonetheless.

nightwoodsGoodreads summary:

The extraordinary author of Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons returns with a dazzling new novel of suspense and love set in small-town North Carolina in the early 1960s.

Charles Frazier puts his remarkable gifts in the service of a lean, taut narrative while losing none of the transcendent prose, virtuosic storytelling, and insight into human nature that have made him one of the most beloved and celebrated authors in the world. Now, with his brilliant portrait of Luce, a young woman who inherits her murdered sister’s troubled twins, Frazier has created his most memorable heroine.

Before the children, Luce was content with the reimbursements of the rich Appalachian landscape, choosing to live apart from the small community around her. But the coming of the children changes everything, cracking open her solitary life in difficult, hopeful, dangerous ways.

Charles Frazier is known for his historical literary odysseys, and for making figures in the past come vividly to life. Set in the twentieth century, Nightwoods resonates with the timelessness of a great work of art.

2015 Challenges: February Progress

  • Goodreads goal of 125 books: 10 this month, 28 total
  • Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge (24 specific categories of books): Three this month, five total: World War Z (audiobook), Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (short stories), and Tomboy by Liz Prince (a graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind)
  • Award Winning Books goal of 11-24 books: One this month, four total: The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
  • Horror Reading Challenge 2015 goal of 6-10 books: One this month, one totalNight Film by Marisha Pessl
  • Random Reads goal of one book per month: One: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

 

IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/2/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books:

I finished the 640-page Night Film by Marisha Pessl this week. This adult book centered on reporter Scott McGrath’s investigation of the apparent suicide of a famous horror film maker’s daughter. What I loved most about this book was the rich history and mythos Pessl created about the filmmaker Stanislas Cordova. I was so intrigued by the description of his films, methods, and mystery that I wished it were all real so that I could experience the movies for myself. However, the actual story of McGrath’s investigation into Ashley’s death was more telling than showing–there’s lots and lots and lots of talking to various people from the lives of Ashley and her famous father and then lots and lots more. The best part of his story comes  near the end when McGrath stumbles onto Cordova’s old film sets. I needed more of that. This book was my Random Read for February and counts for my Horror Reading Challenge 2015.


I picked up Tomboy by Liz Prince because I left my book at home and was facing a long wait before my son’s band concert. This graphic memoir focuses mainly on Liz’s teenage years, although she preferred to dress in “boyish” clothes all of her life. Emotions are raw and powerful in this book, as Liz struggles to find those who will accept her rather than pass judgement. But this book is far from bleak; rather, it is infused with humor as well. And although it is about being a “tomboy,” it will speak to anyone who finds him or herself going against the mainstream of society during such an already difficult period of life. I would recommend this book for all high school libraries and public YA collections. There are just a few too many instances of the “f-word” for me to be comfortable with it in middle school. This book counts for my 2015 Read Harder Challenge ( A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind).


While Tomboy is an important book for every high school collection, Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky is important for middle schools. This is the first novel I’ve read for this age group that takes the subject of gender-identity head-on. Twelve-year-old Grayson, while physically born a boy, has felt more like a girl on the inside for a long time. Grayson is prepubescent, so the book’s focus is not on physical attraction, but Grayson’s preferences: drawing princesses, long t-shirts that could almost be dresses, the colors pink and purple, glitter pens and more. When Grayson tries out for the school play, it is for the role of Persephone, not for one of the male characters. Grayson’s teacher and drama coach, Mr. Finnegan, not only allows the try-out, but casts Grayson in the role. This causes somewhat of an uproar at school–although a very few students and adults are supportive, most are at best confused or concerned and at worst cruel and judgmental. One of the strongest aspects of the book is that Grayson’s aunt and uncle (who raise Grayson) do not agree on “the situation.” Grayson’s aunt fears the potential ridicule and repercussions, not only for Grayson but for the rest of the family, while Grayson’s uncle is supportive while not entirely outspoken about it. This is a book that is certain to spark much deep thought and discussion.


Lynda Mullaly Hunt has given us another heartprint book: Fish in a Tree. Ally Nickerson hates school and thinks she is dumb. In order to avoid having to do things like read aloud or write in a journal, she constantly does things to get herself in trouble. It is not until her new teacher, Mr. Daniels, approaches her with patience and admires her creative thinking that she starts to feel better about herself. With his support, and the support of two new friends, Keisha and Albert, Ally starts, little-by-little, to believe in herself. It is Mr. Daniels who first suspects that Ally has dyslexia and works with her to get the help she needs, and that makes all the difference. The previous description just does not do justice to how heart-wrenching Ally’s story is at first and how much the reader rejoices with her in her triumph. This is a must-read for middle graders. This book counts for my 2015 Read Harder Challenge (a book published this year).

Currently Reading/Listening To:

Bruce Campbell’s audiobook is great comic relief at the end of a long day. I am re-reading Ready Player One to participate in the Nerdist Book Club. I’m looking forward to joining a couple friends and many strangers in discussing this book.

On Deck:

badunicorn