It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/21/14

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.

Well, my reading has certainly slowed down this month compared to June. I decided that #bookaday is not really for me–if I were a picture book reader, it would work, but I felt like I was rushing through some novels and choosing some because they were short–not the way I usually operate. So this month’s pace could be a little faster, but, I am reading every day, and that’s satisfying me right now.

Last Week’s Books:

escapefrommrlemoncellosWhen Escape from Mr. Lemencello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein first surfaced, it enjoyed a huge amount of buzz. And I can see why. After reading it, I almost feel like I need to review it twice.

First, from a book lover and library lover’s perspective: What a bundle of fun this book was! Twelve-year-old me would have swooned to spend a night in a library competing in the mother of all scavenger hunts–heck, I would love to do that now. I enjoyed following the clues, rooting for Kyle’s team, and imaging what it would be like to visit (or work at–GASP!) such a phenomenal library. I felt smart and proud when I caught the literary references that Mr. Lemoncello made every time he spoke, especially since I have read nearly all of those titles. You can tell that Grabenstein is a lover of children’s literature.

Now, from a middle school librarian’s perspective: I know a lot of students who love to read, but I do not think this book will appeal to all of them–because readers also have to invest themselves in the puzzle solving and appreciate the wackiness of it all. And students who don’t love reading and libraries will not be drawn to this book from the start. In addition, I felt like I got to know Kyle very well, but there was not much development of the other characters. Novels with strong character relationships are a key draw for middle school readers, and so they might not be as satisfied with this one. When I think of my small budget and all of the others books out there, I’m not sure this one will make the cut. But I still am sure glad I read it 🙂

welcometothedarkhouseI finished the e-galley for Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz early in the week, but life got in the way of my writing a review of it. The book will be published tomorrow (7/22), so my goal is to post the review then. In fact, I’ll probably start writing it almost immediately after this post.




Currently Reading:


The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro is book #2 in The Strain series. I watched the series pilot episode a week ago, and I must say that it is filling the horror gap left by The Walking Dead‘s summer hiatus. Plus it is interesting to think about some changes from book to series that have already come to light and to speculate about more of them.

On Deck:

thefaultinourstars paperboy

I know, I know, I am probably one of a handful of middle school librarians who have not read The Fault in our Stars, and AMAZINGLY, I have remained relatively spoiler-free. How about that?


12 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/21/14

  1. I know what you mean about Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. I think I enjoyed the reading of the book even more knowing that I would be working in a 4th grade classroom this year. I know I can share it with 4th graders and they will be wonderstruck and enjoying the fun of the book. Had I been continuing with 8th graders, I would have had a split personality review as you did. I think it is smart to recognize that most middle school readers would not really enjoy this book as much as we adults or younger readers do. There sure are a whole lot of great books out there to purchase!

    1. Egad, yes! And my budget has taken a HUGE hit these past couple of years. I have never in my 18 years as a school librarian agonized so much over book orders 😦

  2. How in the world have you remained spoiler-free about TFIOS?? Looking forward to your thoughts on it when you finish. It made the rounds very fast in my Adolescent Lit class last semester because as soon as one student would finish it, they would browbeat someone else into taking it and reading it! I still need to read Paperboy…I have it checked out of the library now, but that doesn’t always mean anything. I liked Mr Lemoncello’s Library but I did not love it in the way that I expected to. Character development was lacking for me as well. #bookaday only works for me because I read so many picture books. I simply don’t read fast enough otherwise to do #bookaday–unless I pick short books on purpose just to finish books quickly, which I have done before (especially at the end of the year when I’m trying desperately to reach my reading goal!) but that rarely leads to memorable or worthwhile reading!!

    1. I bought TFIOS at the end of last summer with the intention of reading it before adding it to my middle school collection. And then there were so many students asking for it that I had to give it to them. And then of course both copies were checked out all year with a gigantic reserve list as well. I guess when I say I am spoiler-free it means that I do not know which one of them dies. I have seen enough tears in students’ eyes to warn them that I don’t know what happens as soon as they enter the library. And I am very, very careful not to read about it…or the movie. 🙂

      1. My copy was off my shelf for the entire semester and several of my students’ personal copies were circulating in the classroom too. Love it when a book catches fire that way and demands to be read! Hope you enjoy it. My fave John Green is probably Paper Towns or Will Grayson Will Grayson, but many of my students love TFIOS best.

  3. Escape from Mr. Lemencello’s Library sounds fascinating to me, as a reader, but I like how you draw the distinction between what you appreciated about it vs. what your students might (or might not) appreciate. Still might check it out, if just for me!

  4. While my family and I have already watched TFIOS in the cinemas, I confess to not having read it yet. John Green is a hit-or-miss for me, I did not particularly enjoy Looking for Alaska. A lot of friends have been telling me though that TFIOS is different and after having watched the film, I can see why that could be the case.

    I was sooo intrigued by your mentioning the TV series that is based on Guillermo Del Toro’s novels – what is the title of the series? The Strain? Or The Fall? I would be on the lookout for that one. My husband and I are crazy about series. We’re going through the episodes of Penny Dreadful – I like creepy stories. 🙂

    1. How did I miss your comment, Myra!?!

      The series title is The Strain. It’s really interesting to be just finishing the books while seeing the TV adaptation. There are pieces from book 2 being revealed in early episodes, but that makes it interesting to ponder why those choices are being made for the television audience. A very strong adaptation so far. I haven’t read The Night Eternal (book 3) yet because I had to return it to the library–I couldn’t renew a second time 😦 I had checked them all out at once (= too ambitious with other reading I had to do) If it’s not there when I go back to the library in a couple days I might just buy it. School is starting soon, and I hardly ever read adult books from September-May.

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