I'm in two book clubs and I love it. For one of them we had a fantastic meeting last night where we picked our selections for this year. I thought it might be fun to share what I'll be reading for both bookclubs this year, feel free to follow along!
I recently ordered a new picture book for the library, Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess. It looked super cute like many books do, but when I opened up the Prime box and started flipping through it, I kinda lost it. I immediately had to Google Janet Hill and find out more about her.
She has an Etsy shop with tons (seriously, a LOT) of paintings. I love them so much!
I think I most certainly will be ordering something soon...the hard part will be deciding which one!
I made it! I actually read fifty two books this year! Thank goodness for that last trip to Asheville--audiobooks save the day.
I'll admit that some of these titles are fluff, but hey, I'm fine with that. My favorite of the year? Elena Ferrante's final Neapolitan Novel, The Story of the Lost Child and Alexandra Fuller's Leaving Before the Rains Come.
Least favorite? The First Bad Man by Miranda July. God awful I'm afraid.
I counted a few children's middle grade chapter books...boo, I know, but hey, they were first time reads for me! And decent lengths...
Also have a graphic novel in there...
I've got a couple weeks left, so I might even push beyond the goal. I can't believe it!
Good meeting yesterday. Lots was read by all in attendance! Here's what we read. Believe it or not, this is not everything, just some highlights.
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:
These ten books are very different. Are they my favorites? Not necessarily, but I do really love them. These are special books. For some reason, I have very specific memories of where I was and when I read these titles. They just stick out...do you have books like that?
New and old, one nonfiction selection (!), and a couple of children's titles. Classics and the obscure. Light and dark. I recommend them wholeheartedly.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Read lying on the grass at UNCA while tightly clutching iced caramel macchiatos
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Yeah DUH. Pretty much every day of my early childhood I could be found listening to its audio version. E.B White narrates and it is perfection.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Better than movie x 100. Read this with multiple comforters piled high while in bed in our first Norwegian apartment. That was a cold, dark winter and this book was perfect.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Read during my senior of college and loved it. It's so universal, but I definitely want to read again now. And again in another 10 years and again 10 years after that.
Eloise by Kay Thompson, illustrations by Hilary Knight
Every day. All day and always.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
I bought this book at a bookshop on the island of Santorini in Greece. I had a finished another paperback on the first half of our two week trip and need something else. It was one of the only english language titles that caught my interest. I had read A Wild Sheep Chase for a class at UNCA (THAT YOU LORI HORVITZ FOR INTRODUCING ME TO MURAKAMI) and loved it. I remember reading this one furiously the whole time we were in Santorini.
A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
On a plane either coming from or going back to Edinburgh. As I started the famous PowerPoint chapter, I was dubious, but by its end, thrilled.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Another audiobook that really stuck with me. I listened to this one while reading the bus and walking around Stavanger. Waiting in endless lines to get our marriage visa was not so bad with Jeff Woodman's great narration. This book also has one of my favorite quotes ever, super long, but worth it:
"What if the water that came out of the shower was treated with a chemical that responded to a combination of things, like your heartbeat, and your body temperature, and your brain waves, so that your skin changed color according to your mood?
If you were extremely excited your skin would turn green, and if you were angry you'd turn red, obviously, and if you felt like shiitake you'd turn brown, and if you were blue you'd turn blue. Everyone could know what everyone else felt, and we could be more careful with each other, because you'd never want to tell a person whose skin was purple that you're angry at her for being late, just like you would want to pat a pink person on the back and tell him, "Congratulations!"
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
This is not available in hardcover anymore. Boo. It was one of my all-time favorites as a kid. I read it over and over and over. It's BRILLIANT. READ IT.
What was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
Creepy and good. I got this out of my beloved Stavanger library. I remember being so completely and totally into this one that I might have missed a bus stop or two.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
As 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.
Can't wait to share more fun things from the library. Happy reading!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYdsWtku9gg&w=640&h=390] 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!
Thanks Kayla for sharing!
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 town...new, 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.
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.
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
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: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/11/25/neil-gaiman-sandman-overture
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!
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:
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.
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:
5. Try to be more patient in daily life. Doubt I'll ever be able to cross this one off the list...