I read quite a few books this week! Look at them all in this photo -- mostly kid lit and YA, which is why I could get through so many. Let's start with the YA:
~ More Than This by Patrick Ness. As I read, I kept changing my mind on what kind of book this was. An "issues" book? A coming-of-age story? A dystopian novel? Science fiction? In the end, I decided it was any and all of these. Loved it.
~ May B. by Caroline Starr Rose. I think the author was inspired by the Little House books. A wilderness survival story with a blizzard and dyslexia to boot! And it's written in verse. May B. is a great heroine.
~ A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. How have I not read this before? How have I never read any Woolf before? How can I admit to being an English major? Well, now I can. I was worried; I've always been intimidated by Woolf, thinking she wouldn't be accessible to me. I learned that yes, she is as smart as I assumed, but she's also a hoot, and I had a blast hanging out with her.
~ Divergent by Veronica Roth. With Skye, for mother-daughter book club. Easy to get swept up in the story. I liked Hunger Games better, but this one also has momentum. Skye is about 1/3 of the way in and she isn't yet sold.
More winter favorites
We also read more picture books! We love Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport with pictures by Bryan Collier. And we each picked out another winter-themed book to read together. Again, can you guess who picked each of them?
Here they are! I took off A Reader's Book of Days because I thought it would be dull to see that on my nightstand every week this year, but imagine that Nissley's book is always there, too. I took a few out that I haven't finished in order to (hopefully) focus my reading a bit more. It's interesting to see what books actually get read in these piles! I always wish I could read them all in one week, but alas...
This week, I finished listening to The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen on audio. I ended up really liking the reader for this book. She sounded like a teenage girl to me, and her growth was evident in the changes to her voice. Really nice story. The Running Dream is one of this year's Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominees. We read these with our Kids and Teen Book Clubs at the library, and every year, I attempt to read as many as I can. So many great picks this year.
Felix and I finished reading the next Littles book, which means there are now two left to read of my four old Scholastic copies from when I was a kid. He immediately grabbed the next book and demanded we read it, so these are a hit with him.
We've been immersed in the Warrior Cats books for our nighttime read-alouds. The kids love 'em, which makes it hard to talk them into something else. So, I've promised to read the first series with them -- six books -- and then we will move into something else. We are now halfway there, as we completed #3: Forest of Secrets this week!
We also read a few picture books together. Felix is studying the solar system in school, so I checked out some nonfiction books at the library. He saw Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System! in the pile, and wanted to read it right away. He liked it -- was very engaged and asked lots of questions.
I also got out our winter picture books. Wow, do these bring back memories! I had them each pick a favorite, and I picked one, also, and then we read them aloud together. Can you guess who picked each one?
I think I'm going to try to keep track of the picture books we read together this year.
I'm finally catching up with these posts! Hopefully now, I'm on a roll and can continue these on time.
Here's what my nightstand looked like on Monday this week. Lots of the same ones, but there are two or three that haven't been here before. Let's see which ones I can finish this week. It's Friday evening, so I have a couple more days/nights of reading. I believe at least one of these will move off of my nightstand.
This past week, I finished Lisa See's Dreams of Joy for my IRL book club. I liked the book, but didn't love it the way I remember loving Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I admire Lisa See and all the research she does, and as I told a friend, this is a much more effective way for me to learn history. After reading this one, I got online and read all about the Great Leap Forward, China's propaganda posters, and more. Also, the book made for great discussion with our book group.
In anticipation of seeing author Laurie Halse Anderson speak, I read these two picture books of hers aloud to the kids, and we enjoyed both. The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School is so much fun, and timely, since Felix is now learning about the solar system. (You'll have to check out the book to see how the solar system comes into this story.) And Independent Dames shows off her passion for history. She's good!
(Yes, I hope to write a bit soon about the LHAnderson event that Skye and I attended. Skye is finishing up Chains now, and says it's very good. When I found out she was coming a few weeks ago, I pulled Speak off the shelf (it's been waiting for me for a long time) and read it in just a few days. Fantastic book.)
One more post for today: My nightstand book stack on Sunday evening, January 5.
I've added a book that will stay there for all of 2014. Do you see that top book? That's A Reader's Book of Days by Tom Nissley; click on that link for a review of the book. I saw it recommended by Nancy Pearl one day in December on Facebook and made a note of it. When my parents gave me a gift card to a favorite local independent bookstore for Christmas, I used it to buy this book.
There are a few more books that have been in every picture, but they aren't meant to stay there all year like this one will. But some may take a month or two...
Wrapped up 2013 with three fun (in their own way) books:
~ The Elements of Style Illustrated. An English major who's never read Strunk & White? Yup, it's true. This summer, after listening to E.B. White's three children's novels on audio with the kids, I requested just about everything from the library that had his name attached to it. And that's about as far as I got -- except, my English major guilt got me to crack open the Strunk & White. It helps that this edition is illustrated by Maira Kalman. Read it in bits & pieces, and checked it out again to finish it up this year. Now, I am guilt-free (because I've read their rules and can now choose whether or not to follow them.)
~ Fortunately, the Milk. You can always count on Neil Gaiman to tell a great story. This one is so much fun! I read it aloud to Felix, and Skye listened in a bit, then grabbed when we were through and gulped it down herself. We all laughed a lot!
~ Hilda and the Troll. I believe our library has three Hilda books now. I've loved them all, and Skye has, too. Great graphic stories; check 'em out.
And started 2014 with three more fun reads:
~ The False Prince. As usual, our Teen Book Club picked a winner. Skye and I both raced through it. The first in a trilogy, and we just checked out the second from our library. The third is due out in February: Yes!
~ The Littles. Read this one aloud to Felix. I have the old versions of these, from Scholastic book orders when I was a kid, and I think this is part of the fascination for him. I don't know how long this will be there, but I found the book on Etsy. Quick, take a peek, and let me know if it's familiar to you.
~ The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics. This was a part of Skye's book stack last year, and we finally both read it. It's cute, but I wish the Dot was shown to have better qualities. Not sure she deserves that wonderful, creative, intelligent, devoted Line.
Here's my nightstand on December 29, a Sunday evening. Another vacation week ahead, which you'd think would make for a good reading week, but that's not always the case.
It looks pretty much the same as last week, but rearranged. Can you see which book is missing? Of course, The Florist's Daughter, which I said a bit about in a previous post. I also discussed Lips Touch there, but since I finished it Sunday night, it's still here on my nightstand for this photo. Still figuring out how to do this... I think I will take photos on Monday instead!
I'll post soon about what I read this week. It's past history, so you don't have to wait too long!
Here are the books I read/finished this week. Not bad for a busy week! Felix and I finished Cornelia Funke's When Santa Fell to Earth, which he certainly liked. I think he was just the right age for it. I've never read anything by Funke, but I've always intended to try Inkheart. Someday.
My book club read The Florist's Daughter last month, and I'd only gotten halfway through it by the time of our November meeting. I was enjoying it and intended to finish; late November and December's busy schedules meant I got to it later than I wanted, but I was able to jump right back in where I'd left off. Patricia Hampl's memoir about her parents, written at the time of her mother's death, after her father has already passed, was interesting and engaging. Hampl is a local writer, and I found her descriptions of mid-century St. Paul, the neighborhoods and the people, fascinating. She writes beautifully and intelligently, and the style is very memory-based, moving around in time, just as memories move along with us through our lives.
Laini Taylor's Lips Touch: Three Times was a treat. We'd read one of her Faeries of Dreamdark books, Blackbringer, with our teen book club this past year, and when I saw this on the shelf at our library during book club in December and expressed a keen interest in reading it, one of the teens strongly encouraged me to check it out that day. So I did! She's a wonderful writer, and I love how she plays with the fantasy genre. Her characters are fabulous, and her storytelling keeps you reading.
Cinderella: The Graphic Novel was even more of an impulse check-out at the library. I often check the graphic novel shelves, and seeing this one, was curious about it; I'd just seen a wonderful version of Cinderella at our Children's Theatre Company, and so I was primed. The drawings in this book are about as different as you can get from the scenes set in the play I saw, but I thought about how neat it is that this story can be told in so many different ways, and still succeeds in hitting the spot.
I have a fun idea for my blog, and I'm going to give it a try. I have been sorting out exactly how to do this, so I'm a little behind, but intend to catch up.
Inspired by Nick Hornby's monthly reading column in The Believer magazine, I wondered how I could do something similar. He tracks "books bought" and "books read" each month. How about if I track the books on my nightstand each week?
In the photo on the right, you can see what books were on my nightstand on December 22. Each Sunday or Monday, I'll take a photo of my TBR stack and post it here. The intention is to watch it change throughout the year. What books will move quickly? What books will take their time? When will the pile be modest and manageable? Will there be some weeks (many weeks??) where the pile threatens to topple?
So, this stack looks fairly reasonable to me. I wouldn't expect to get through all of them in a week, but I'd hope to see some movement and changes in the coming week.
To find out how I did with this stack, check out my next post.
I have set a goal on Goodreads again of reading 100 books in 2014. That will include the chapter books I read with my kids, too. I have been reading lots of middle grade & YA fiction, which I love, but as always, I want to make sure I find time for "grown-up" books as well.
I will read at least 25 shelf-sitters this year! I have too many books on the shelves that I've been neglecting. I picked the number 25 because that's about how many I read last year, but I'd be happy to see that number move up this year. Included in this goal is to read at least six of my Persephone books. I will continue to read with my kids. The three of us read a chapter book together just about every night. I also read books alongside Skye for our mother-daughter book group and our teen book club at the library, and we discuss together; and I've been reading chapter books aloud with Felix, some for the kids book club at the library. I'd like to find more time for us to look at picture books together, which they both still love. I hope they always do!
I will keep up with the reading for my online and IRL book clubs! We just started our IRL group this past year, and it's been fun to get together every month or so, discussing books and developing friendships. I will track my reading on Goodreads. This has been a great resource for me. I really enjoy being able to look back at what I've read, putting books onto different "shelves," and I love seeing updates about what my friends are reading.
I hope to post much more on this blog. Writing is another goal for me this year, and this is such a fun combination of two of my favorite things to do.