this bookclub reads

My grandmother started a bookclub over fifteen years ago with my mom, my mother-in-law, and some dear friends. This is the bookclub I'm in today. It's really special and every month I leave the meeting inspired to read more.

This is not a casual, excuse-to-drink-wine bookclub. Although we do partake in our fair share of libations. This is a group of twelve women who READ.

In addition to giving the monthly selection a rating of 1-10, each member reports out on what else they read that month. A lightbulb went off in my head last week: let's share here on this blog!

February was an especially productive month for us because of the snow I think. Believe it or not, this list is actually missing four absent members! HA! Here's what we read and listened to  in February:

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Angle of Repose // Wallace Stegner
The Long Road Home // Mary Alice Monroe
Once Upon a Time, There Was You //
Elizabeth Berg

The Unwinding // George Packer
A Story of a New Name // Elena Ferrante
Sharp Objects // Gillian Flynn

Middlemarch // George Eliot
H is for Hawk // Helen Macdonald
A Spool of Blue Thread // Anne Tyler

Still Alice // Lisa Genova
The First Bad Man // Miranda July
10:04 // Ben Lerner

The Landbreakers // John Ehle
Limbo // Melania Mazzucco
Crazy Salad // Nora Ephron

Leaving Before the Rains Come // Fuller
The Laughing Monsters // Denis Johnson
The Call of the Farm // Rochelle Bilow


The Dinner // Herman Koch
Joseph Anton: A Memoir // Salman Rushdie
Housekeeping // Marilynne Robinson
Barrel Fever // David Sedaris
Bossypants // Tina Fey
Me Talk Pretty One Day // David Sedaris
David and Goliath // Malcolm Gladwell
I Remember Nothing // Nora Ephron

this week in the elementary library

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Since last week was basically none existent for me at work...I had a different sub every day! Which means this morning I found the library in the state pictured above. Whoa. Things get a little crazy around this time. In two weeks we've got fall break, everyone's burned out and coughing.

No better time than to start on our spooky Halloween read alouds. Kids love spooky stuff. I don't read anything truly scary, but things with a subtle level of creep. Started with Lemony Snicket's The Dark today.



This book came out last year and it became an immediate favorite with all my library patrons. We love it's playful language and Jon Klassen's illustrations are always amazing. The kids always know them from other favorites like I Want My Hat Back and Extra Yarn. One of my favorite things about Klassen's illustrations is the color palette. Not the typical colors used in children's books...they are muted, earth tones most of the time, but it works.

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If you want to read this alongside another book, I suggest I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll. That's what we're doing this week and the two pair very well together.


5 books for Amy in Austin

2014-08-10 10.42.22 This is my favorite bookshelf in the new house. Can you believe it, but we don't have near enough books to fill all the shelves...dang, what a problem to have! HA! I'll take any excuse to buy more books.

A former coworker and friend at Castle Hill in Austin recently reached out on instagram for book recommendations. LOVE.

Here are five (actually six if you feel like reading not one, but two books about creepy obsessive friends) books that I've read within the past few years and loved. These are all fairly short, fast, entertaining reads, but still well-written and somewhat literary. That's what I'm always looking for in a book, btw.



1. Can't we talk about something more Pleasant? by Roz Chast

This immediately comes to mind because I finished it yesterday! New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast's graphic memoir about her aging parents is insanely funny and deeply sad. So great and can be read in one or two sittings.


2. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A collection of different points of view with every character making a small appearance in the chapter preceding their own. Really cool book, super fast read, and it won the Pulitzer! Bonus!

The Woman Upstairs

3. The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Dark story of female "friendship" (?!) Super well written and great to discuss. If you like it, read Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller for a double dose of creepy. It's even better.

Notes on a Scandal



4. We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Don't read anything on Amazon or elsewhere about this book! Just pick it up and start reading. There are major spoilers in reviews, etc. It's amazing. First book to make me truly cry in a long, long time.

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5. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

I've read this book once on my own, again for undergrad, again for grad school, and then again on my own. It's perfect. Everyone should read it.


this week in the elementary library...

cover-lennon We'll still loving our picture book biographies in third grade. This week it's time to learn about...The Beatles. WAH!

I love this biography of John Lennon, John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier. The illustrations are strewn with lyrics, which is always nice.


To enhance the experience, I've been showing Ed Sullivan clips along with other fun Beatles videos.


I love my job, but a little part of me dies every time a kid says gleefully that Big Time Rush (who? what?!) is better than The Beatles. HA! They were trying to get me and they did.


this week in the elementary library

Morris I have posted about this before, but I can't help myself, I've got to share it again. This week in the library we broken in our new Smartboard by watching The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I show this to all grades every year. They all love it--it's just 15 minutes of perfect. Watch it here:




This week at the elementary library...

2013-08-02_1375466491As I've said before, I really love my day job as an elementary school librarian. We started back school on Thursday. Yes, I'm fully aware that's still in July. We are on "year-round" school, which I'm pretty excited about. Two week break in October!

This year I want to share more about my job,, including weekly posts featuring authors, illustrators, or books that I have read to kids in the library that week. Since I've been at this school for a couple years now and know most the kids, the first few days were a lot of fun.



This week I'm reading Library Lion to all the first grade classes. I love love love this book. Wonderful illustrations by Kevin Hawkes and a charming story from Michelle Knudsen. I like to read it at the beginning of the year because it's about breaking rules in the library...and how that can be a good thing sometimes?!? Some people may think that's a little nuts to read it to kids on the first few days of school, but whatever, it works for me.

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Can't wait to share more fun things from the library. Happy reading!

Happy Friday!

[youtube] Yeah, I'm more than a little excited to see Aziz Ansari tonight. This is one of my favorite little bits of his. And I'm super excited to see Kaylex and baby Graham. And to eat here. It's going to be a good weekend.

In other stuff, I'm loving the idea behind this new book of photography by Dinah Fried, Fictitious Dishes. Photographs of literature's famous meals. Awesome! fictitious_dishes_kill_mockingbird_dinahfried_1348fictitious_dishes_catcher_dinahfried_1348

Thanks Kayla for sharing!

life is better when Maggie Shipstead writes about ballet


I heard Maureen Corrigan review this book on Fresh Air this week. While her voice and inflection on the radio drives me insane, I do often agree with her opinions on books. When I heard her gush about Maggie Shipstead's new book, Astonish Me, I knew I wanted to read it. Not only does Shipstead's new book come highly recommended by Corrigan, but it's set in the world of professionally ballet. That is enough for me right there. I love ballet movies, books, etc, etc. I'm fascinated by it.

After our book club meeting, I checked it out at the library (one of the biggest perks of living in a small, literary titles are somewhat easy to snag). I sat down with it last night and couldn't. stop. reading. Will hopefully finish today. It's great.

life is better with...kadir nelson

At work last month, my read alouds were limited to titles in celebration of Black History Month. Which means that I got to stare at a ton of Kadir Nelson's amazing illustrations. He is brilliant. How great is is that he illustrates a massive amount of children's books then goes and does a crazy amazing album cover for Drake?! This guy...I love him.

Here are some of my other favorites This last one is from his latest book, Baby Bear, which is about the sweetest thing ever.

39 books in 2013...maybe



I did it! I completed my initial goal of 30 books in 2013. While I did not get at least six read in the Jane Duncan series, I feel ecstatic I was able to exceed for goal by nine books....almost...

I am currently working on these three:   

I am determined to finish by December 31st...I know I can! I'm almost there on The Goldfinch...really enjoying that one! My Friend Annie should go quick quick, it's the massive tome that is Matterhorn that will take me a bit. Wish me luck!

Speaking of books, I have book club this afternoon where we will have our annual Christmas burning. I plan to burn one of my student loan bills...because that stuff is gone! I'm even more excited for tonight...Andrew and I are celebrating our anniversary with dinner at Milkwood...mmmmmm

life is better with...this interview

I already loved Neil Gaiman. I love his books, his speeches, everything. Seriously, he's just perfect. I'm reading aloud his latest silly children's book, Fortunately, The Milk to fourth graders right now and they are loving it.

So naturally I was thrilled to wake up this morning, check my podcast feeds, and see that he was on On Point yesterday. Listened to this hour of radio while getting ready for work ...fantastic. What a great way to start my day!

Here's a link to the interview...I highly recommend:

life is better with...this audiobook

After finishing Patti Smith's Just Kids halfway down to Asheville last weekend, I switched over to Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. This one has been on my list to read for awhile, but I am so glad I decided to listen to it instead. Narrated by British actress Fenella Woolgar, this audiobook sucks you in immediately. Creepy, funny, mysterious, fantastic.

I'm not sure why it has taken me this long to discover audiobooks via Overdrive at my local library, but I'm loving them! However, this book is loooooong and because I had my default circulation period set to just seven days, it disappeared off my phone and I'm only halfway finished. I'm second on a wait list to check it back out...good thing, because I wasn't getting anything done!

life is better with...Oliver Jeffers


Amazing right?

I'm reading Oliver Jeffers books all week to kids at school and we are all loving it. He's pretty much perfect. Not only does he do many, many wonderful picture books, but has some truly enchanting iPad versions of his books! Read by the one and only Helena Bonham Carter!?!? The kids go crazy for this. Dying. Check it out:


life is better with...Pamela Zagarenski

This week at work was crazy busy....two words for you: Book Fair. BOOOOOOOOO.

Of course I love that it allows me to have additional funds for my library, I do admit that it is one big pain in the you know what. I tried to brighten each day this week by reading Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. I love Zagarenski's illustrations...they are to die. She also did this book, which is fabulous as well.

Halfway there...

Wow! Halfway done with 2012 already! Time to look and check on my New Year's resolutions...

Looks like I'm doing pretty well!

1. Finish yoga teacher training  I can definitely check this off--I graduate next Wednesday!

2. Be a better baker Yeah...this is definitely still a work in progress...Especially since I stopped buying a few things...

3. Read 30 books I'm right on track with this one. I just looked at my list of books read so far this year...13 with two in progress! Here's what I've read so far:

4. Keep blogging Yay!

5. Try to be more patient in daily life. Doubt I'll ever be able to cross this one off the list...