what are you reading monday

It’s Monday! What are you reading?–Special Edition–Summer Reading Report 8/19/13

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It’s back to work tomorrow, and as I reflect on this past summer’s reading (while listening to City of Ashes on my newly renovated patio, a pleasant, steady breeze wafting under the cedar pergola) I feel like I’m saying goodbye to my summer camp friends.

I remember  back in June when I loaded up my bags with books that I had been promising myself (and my students) I would finally spend some time with while school was out.  I’m so excited to recommend these books to students this year and to chat about my reactions with my regulars who have been hounding me to try them.

Books I read:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  5 stars.  Lovely, lovely, lovely.  This one took some investment and a lot of faith for the first 100 pages.  Despite the non-linear plot with dual narrators, I felt a tiny ember take root in my heart after the first few pages for the main character, Taylor, and her entourage in the Australian bush.  It’s mysterious, heart-breaking, and ultimately–healing.  When recommending to students, be sure to touch base with them frequently in the beginning and support their “wanderings” and wonderings early on.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  4 stars.  Crazy. Creepy.  Sinister.  This was my indulgence in an adult best-seller with a soon to be released feature film (Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris–perfect casting. I found myself picking up my jaw more than once during this one.  Although I did purchase it for my library, I’m thinking that it might find a comfy spot in my office for special recommendations to mature and older teen readers due to several graphic and sometimes violent sexual scenes and situations.

Legend by Marie Lu.  3 stars.  I’ve heard this series likened to Hunger Games on several occasions.  There were many things I enjoyed about Legend.  As a dystopian title for teens, it delivers on pacing, character, plot, and romance.  With a male and female narrator, it has wide appeal for teens and a nice gender-neutral cover.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  3.5 stars.  Also a feature film due out in theaters this week, C of B was a demon-killer book I could get behind.  I enjoyed the mix of supernatural creatures (vampires, werewolves, warlocks, demons, and a race of humans descended from Angels).  I had to joke with a friend who had read them before after the first 50 pages that I had the story line for the next 3 books down.  Predictable?  Yes.  Even the twist of fate between the star-crossed lovers can be deciphered early on in the first installment.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth.  4.5 stars.  I finished this title yesterday during my last day of vacation in Galveston with my family.  I can say that it is perhaps the most honest book I’ve read in a while.  I’ve wanted to recommend this book with its odyssey of a young girl whose parents are killed in a car accident the day after she kisses a girl for the first time in rural Montana, but I don’t want to sell it as just another LGBT title like I sometimes can when recommending dystopia or fantasy.  Cameron Post is so much more.  It’s a moral tale on empathy, identity, and friendship.

Book I’m reading (listening to ):

Books to read (before the kids actually start in 9 days!)

Who did you meet this summer in your books?  Which characters will stay with you, leaving that lasting and warm impression like the first friend you found at summer camp?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 3/18/13 (The Evening Edition)

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I don’t have much to report this past week (sad face).  But I did manage to finish one book and a brand-spanking new shipment of books did arrive in the library today with more expected this week, so my TBR list is about to sky-rocket!

Books I read:

Hardcover–which I much prefer.
Suits the tone and mood of the book
with the rough-hewn dress and sans make-up
Mary in smoky-eye and blackliner?
I don’t think so paperback cover.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.  I am a self-professed M. Night Shamylan fan and as I mentioned in last week’s report, I was really excited by the The Village-esque quality to this story.  I don’t know how I feel about the protagonist, however…I’m getting a “I’m a choosy girl who has two great guys who adore me and I just don’t know what I want so I’m going to let my indecisiveness destroy everyone around me” vibe.  But, Mary does have some difficult decisions that I know all seventeen-year-old girls can relate to:

Do I believe what I’ve always been told and conform to what’s expected of me?
Do I leave the familiar but limiting community I’ve grown up in to face the dangers of the unknown and risk being even more alone than I am now?

Do I choose the boy who makes me feel like I’m burning or the one who has the constant source of warmth?
Do I run into a forest of flesh-eating zombies, many of whom were once my neighbors and relatives, or do I hide on a platform indefinitely?

I mean, come on…who wouldn’t relate?!

Books I’m Reading:

Books to read: 

What are your reading plans this week?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 3/11/13

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It’s a very special Monday–Spring Break Monday–which means that I am sneaking in a quick post in between car inspections, tire rotations, and a bathroom remodel.

Last week I neglected my favorite day of my blogging week but for good reasons; I am now a GREAT aunt!  Between the arrival of a new baby and three classes of seniors researching in the library for the last two weeks I am “knackered” (to quote the characters from one of my favorite reads these past two weeks).  So, here is my reading report for the last two weeks:

Books I finished:

Yes, this is a big one–Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.  And, I really enjoyed it.  Granted it was full of horror and ghosts and gore, all of the things I try my hardest to avoid. I was completely captured, however and promptly passed it on to as many patrons as I could find.  I even included it in my Romeo and Juliet book talk, likening the star-crossed Anna and Cas to Shakespeare’s quintessential teen lovers.

P.S.– apparently Stephenie Meyer is producing a film adaptation of Blake’s gothic romance.

I also read Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray.  I enjoyed this contemporary re-make of Ophelia’s experiences growing up in the midst of Elsinore’s family drama, but I found myself feeling detached to the heroine rather than empathetic in the end.

And finally, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith (sigh).  Confession:  Sears has  commercial called “Connecting Flights,” a spoof on the romantic comedy flick.  But, every time I see it , I am secretly wishing that it really were a film!  The trailer begins with two professional bloggers who meet in the airport when their flights have been cancelled, thus ensuing a comedy of errors-adventure, resulting in true love.  This book is that movie, but better!  Jen talks about her thoughts regarding the emotional layers to this book, and I absolutely agree.

And now I must shamelessly scour the internet for any reports of an upcoming film adaptation…

Books I’m reading:

The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.  This series has been sitting on my TBR shelf for about a year now, but I’m really enjoying it.  It has a definite M. Nnight Shyamalan’s The Village feel to it.  My mind has already robed all of the characters in mustard yellow and bright red.

 Books to read:

I should be binge reading this week, but I have wracked up a “honey-do-list” for myself this week.  I will most likely continue with Ryan’s series and move through The Dead Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 2/25/13

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Thanks for joining me for another #IMWAYR! 

With my 2 year old’s birthday party, a parent night for the big grant project, and major iPad woes at work all added up to reduced reading time 😦

But!  I did finish one book that I promised to last week, continued on my audiobook adventures on bomb-making, and even found some courage to start a truly frightening book.  Here’s my reading report:

Books I Finished:

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.  I gotta say I saw it coming!  (Okay, so maybe I had a hunch, accidentally dropped my book, which happened to land on the last page of the book and my eye naturally caught one word…which is all that it took!)  Can’t wait to see how Lena continues to evolve and how the series concludes.  I’ve read parts of some reviews from ARCS, carefully avoiding spoilers.  But, I know that Oliver really comes into her own in the final installment, Requiem.

Books I’m Reading:

Today, I sat outside while my toddler played with bubbles, trucks, and sidewalk chalk and devoured the first 100 pages of Anna Dressed in Blood.  Now, I’m the girl who has to plug her ears and closer her eyes when a teaser for a horror film that is rated pg-13 comes on during Once Upon a Time.  The cover of Anna alone is enough to give me nightmares.  During bathtime I managed another 15 pages, but it was getting to dark for my scaredy-cat heart to pick it up again later.  I might be such a wuss that I even stowed it in my bag in my car so I don’t accidentally glimpse the floating white-dressed girl with inky-black hair.  Other than being scared of a book in broad daylight, I’m really enjoying Cas and his quest.

Books to Read:

Amy over at www.threeteacherstalk.com published a retro review over at Nerdy Book Club introducing me to Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray.  My nerdy heart goes bonkers over literary adaptations, and I’m really looking forward to this modern re-telling. 

Now, I’m expecting a HUGE order from my jobber anyday now, which will bring with it many of the 2013 YMA winners and honor books.  Where on earth am I going to begin???  Spring break is two weeks away; I think my TBR pile is about too take on a life of its own in preparation.

What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 2/18/13

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It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!

Be sure to stop by Teach Mentor Texts for a list of participating bloggers and even more great reading ideas from Jen and Kellee.

Read more: http://www.teachmentortexts.com/#ixzz2KcK6RDGH

Books I finished:
Shatter Me by Tahera Mafi–Yes!  Wow, what a ride.  This girl knows how to spin a story and paint such a dark, twisted world with beautiful language.

I spent my life folded between the pages of books.

In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.

Lovely, lovely, lovely!  I’m not sure if I can wait for my jobber to send me the sequel, Unravel Me.  It might be a Nook purchase this week.
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver–I haven’t quite finished it, but tonight when I get home it’s me and Lena and we’rre gonna do this thing!  I can’t remember when I have enjoyed a sophomore sequel as much as I have this one.  Delirium was nice.  It was slow but sweet.  Oliver’s second installment is a character power-house complete a non-traditional plot twist:  “then” and “now.”  I love seeing Lena develop, fight, and claim her own path.

Books I’m reading:

BombThe Race to Build–And Steal–The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin–I never thought I would enjoy listening to a nonfiction book as much as I do this one.  Reading it in print would be just as pleasurable.  I’ve already passed the library copy onto our AP World History teacher, and I have two more teachers in line to read it.  I’m excited to hear their reactions.

In Darkness by Nick Lake.  I have to digest this one in small doses.  It is just like it sounds, dark. 

Books to read:

Decisions, decisions…

Hopefully, Unravel Me, will show up on my library door step.  And, poor Anna Dressed in Blood is still sitting on my bedside table.  This week is a busy week as the Boy is turning 2, and we have a wonderful Winnie the Pooh party planned for Saturday. 

Introducing Blog-of-the-Week

I read so many wonderful blogs each week from colleagues, librarians, and book-lovers that I want to start adding a blog-of-the-week for #IMWAYR.

How often do you hear from students and colleagues, “I don’t have time to read?”  Jennifer over at Empathic Teacher has a response to that!  Check out her blogpost reflecting on all the creative ways she finds time to include reading in her busy day

Happy reading!

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 2/11/13

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It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!

Be sure to stop by Teach Mentor Texts for a list of participating bloggers and even more great reading ideas from Jen and Kellee.

Read more: http://www.teachmentortexts.com/#ixzz2KcK6RDGH

Books I read:

Amazon speedily delivered the following award-winners for 2012 to my home for my son and I to enjoy together:

Austin’s lovely, reaching live oaks provided a peaceful and tranquil canopy as I enjoyed the new memoir, Just Keep Breathing by Joan Scott Curtis.  I’m glad I bought two extra copies, because this is a  pass-it-on read.  

Books I’m reading:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (audiobook from Audible.com)…there are moments listening to this book when I am in awe at the author’s style and use of language.  I don’t know if this will be an audiobook purchase for the library, however.  The text employs strikeouts to convey narrator’s thought process, which is relayed through an annoying pen scratch sound in the audiobook.  And, the narrator sounds too young and girl-y for my interpretation of Juliet.  The story is fascinating;  think Rogue from X-Men meets Juliet Capulet. 

Bomb: The Race to Build–And Steal–The world’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (audiobook from Audible.com).  I’m really enjoying the vocal talents of this narrator as he captures the international personas of scientists who sought to steal from one another to be the first to create the atom bomb.  There are numerous threads that run through this spy-espionage-historical-nonfiction thriller.  Some readers might prefer the print version so that they can re-visit passages.  The audiobook is working well for me especially with all of the European and Eastern European names that I would have no clue how to pronounce for myself. 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot…ahhhh, HeLa.  I’m still making my way through this fascinating read.  Nonfiction is most definitely my book gap for a reason.  My fluency slows down and my stamina while reading it.  Whereas I am perfectly content to read an entire novel in the course of a lazy afternoon, my mind just doesn’t want to commit to long reading bursts of nonfiction, no matter how interesting the subject or eloquent the writing. 

Books to read:

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake still scares me.  I think I’m still recovering Libba Bray’s The Diviners, but I have promised a pair of my most loyal patrons that I will read it! (But only in daylight.)

In Darkness by Nick Lake (Printz Award winner next up in my Audible queue). I’m not exactly thrilled about this one.  I’ve been admiring the cover all year, but the synopsis just hasn’t compelled me.  I think I’ll spend a little quiet time with this one today at the circulation desk once lunchtime madness winds down. 

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver…is still sitting on my nightstand, winking at me.  This week I learned that the first installment Delirium has been optioned for a Fox television series with Emma Roberts!  

What are your reading plans for this week?

What are you reading (listening to) Monday? 2/4/2013

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You know how the saying goes, “the best laid plans…” and all of that. Last week I had a wonderful reading plan, and then something monumental happened; I discovered that the Season Pass for Downton Abbey allows you to download the remaining episodes for season 3.  Whoops.  Needless to say my TBR pile only grew this past week, especially following the YMA announcements. 
But here’s my report:
Books I Read:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  2013 NEWBERY AWARD winner that is as much a kid-pleaser as an award-commitee pleaser.  Since reading it Monday night, I’ve had several discussions with librarians and teachers about its content.  We feel that this is definitely a read-aloud or read-along book for upper-elementary to middle grade students due to the obvious issues relating to animal ruelty and abuse.  But, we made it through the heart-breaking pages to a beautiful conclusion that is both real and magical.
ummm…yah, that’s all I finished.
Books I’m Reading:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  I’m on my second week with this book, not because I don’t really enjoy it and find it fascinating, but because–once again–my obsession with period drama t.v.  I finally feel cool when talking to my science-y friends.  I’m like, “so, He-La. Those are some crazy cells, right?”  Henrietta Lacks reads like a novel that weaves together the narratives of multiple Lacks generations and a science-fiction thriller. 
yah.  that’s it.
Books to read:
Here’s where I get really excited!  A dear friend and colleague published her first book for adults this past week and I have a copy tucked away in my bag to read in the hotel while away at a conference this week.  Just Keep Breathing by Joan Curtis is a memoir chronicling Joan’s life following the death of her husband Dennis.  Knowing the background of this book and witnessing her journey writing the book over the past seven years that I’ve known her, I believe that it will be one of the greatest reading experiences of my life.  I don’t say that lightly.  Even though I never knew Dennis, anyone who knows Joan and hears her talk or reads her writing feels like they know Dennis;  her love for him is that powerful.
For the road-trip to Austin for my conference, here’s my Audible listening TBR stack (inspired by last week’s award announcement and one book that I’ve been promising my students I would read):
Happy reading!
Be sure to visit Teach Mentor Texts for a list of participating bloggers for #IMWAYR!