best of 2016...if that's possible

So, the end of 2016 wrap-up season has been a little different this year. And by different, I mean downright depressing. I feel certain that 2016 will go down as a historically bad year. A year full of tragedy and violence (at least in the media...we are still living in the most peaceful of times in recent history). A year that ended with a shocking election and its following absurdities. 

However, I can't lie...it was a pretty wonderful year for me personally. I finished my 500hr advanced teacher training, grew the studio, enjoyed library work to no end, found out I'll be an aunt again to another nephew, had an amazing and surreal trip back to Norway and Scotland, and the day after we got home....found out we were pregnant!

I've said it before on this blog, but I feel so grateful. One positive of the election? It has made me look at my life and appreciate it even more than I did before. My priorities are crystal clear and I am so ready for the big changes 2017 brings for my personal life...But the world at large? I'm not so sure.

 MAJOR adjustments ahead and it is definitely not going to be boring.

A couple weeks ago I read Amor Towles' debut novel, Rules of Civility, which I LOVED. The following is a passage from the end of the book and it's my favorite thing I read this year:

"It is a bit of a cliche to characterize life as a rambling journey on which we can alter our course at any give time--by the slightest turn of the wheel, the wisdom goes, we influence the chain of events and thus recast our destiny with new cohorts, circumstances, and discoveries. But for the most of us, life is nothing like that. Instead, we have a few brief periods when we are ofered a handful of discrete options. Do I take this job or that Job? In Chicago or NewYork? Do I join this circle of friends or that one, and with whom do I go home at the end of the night? And does one make time for children now? or later? or later still?

In that sense, life is less like a journey that it is a game of honeymoon bridge. In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions--we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made will shape our lives for decades to come."

I enjoyed so many other things this year, but this is all I feel like sharing. 

Much love.

things to look forward to this fall

You know it's coming...FALL. That time when all of us love to talk about how much we love it.

It's right around the corner and here are some cultural things I can't wait for:

Nutshell by Ian McEwan (09/13)

A new novel from my all-time favorite author, Ian McEwan. As usual, this one sounds creepy and wonderful. However, it does feature a narrator that is still inside its mother's womb. Not sure it will be easy for me to read, but of course I will.

Mascots (09/13)
I can't wait for this new film from Christopher Guest to come to Netflix. He's the best.

Also, how weird is it that when I hear a movie is headed straight to Netflix, I think of that as a good sign!? My, things have changed.


Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X (09/21)
I know, I know, I know....but we love it.

This season is going to be exceptionally bad given the ridiculous generalizations bound to fill the generation-centric teams.

La La Land (12/2)
A new movie musical that is completely original material starring Ryan Gosling. I'm in!

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The Happy Cook by Daphne Oz (09/20)

Similarly to Gwyneth Paltrow's books, I find it somewhat embarassing that I enjoy Oz's lifestyle/cookbooks. But hey, what are you going to do?

This one looks good and I like the tagline.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (12/16)
Duh. I'm actually a little bit more excited about this one than I was for Force Awakens after watching this trailer.

Felicity Jones is so good.

Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets Illustrated edition (10/04)

I'm glad to see they are continuing into the rest of the series with these gorgeous illustrated editions. 

And maybe it will take away some of the sullen hangover left by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I felt very validated after listening to Slate's Audio Book Club discussion of it. 

The Girl on the Train (10/7)
I was definitely not a fan of the book, but this movie looks decent. I like Emily Blunt  

New album from HAIM
No details are known just yet, but it is rumored that HAIM is releasing a new album this fall. Given that their first one, Days Are Gone, was and is played more than any other in my house, I'm excited.

Gilmore Girls returns to Netflix (11/25)

what my book club is reading...second half of 2016

I realized today that I never wrote the second half of this post from earlier in the year.  Unfortunately, the newer of the two bookclubs has been disbanded...we lost members and now two of us are pregnant, which does not bode well for attendance! Ha!  

Other bookclub still going strong (and it has been since 1998...crazy!) and while it still has the same two pregnant members, we are a minority and it will not topple the applecart whatsoever.

We picked all our selections for 2017 today and it reminded me that I never posted our picks for the second half of 2016. Here's what we read/are reading until the year's end:

July                                                                          August

September

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November

October

December

 

 

what I'm preordering right now

Every summer, right before school starts back, I spend several days online researching upcoming releases. I like to get everything preordered so it just arrives on the day of publication. I particularly enjoy building up some excitement for big releases before they arrive...last year we all about lost our marbles waiting for Amulet: Firelight. It was too perfect because the day of its release, I had a bunch of kids reading outside and we saw the UPS truck drive by, causing us all to erupt in loud cheers.

So far, here's just a handful of what I have ready to preorder:

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Yeah duh. Telgemeier's complete domination in middle grade continues. I'm excited about this one and one copy is not going to cut it. I've ordered three, which is not enough either.

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

This is the third "Hat" book and if it's anything close to I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat, it will be in instant classic in the library.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Yeah...While I don't love Pilkey's books, I can appreciate them for what they are: a gateway into reading for those who don't want to. HA! I'm thrilled to see something new that's not more Captain Underpants.

Return by Aaron Becker

Becker's wordless series has a special place in my heart. It's just so beautiful. So far we've had Journey, Quest, and now this final (?) installment.

Moo by Sharon Creech

It's a new Creech novel. No other explanation needed...it just must be ordered.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers

I always look forward to new releases from Jeffers. However, they can be hit or miss. I don't love all of his books, but this one looks like it might be a winner...in the same vein as The Incredible Book Eating Boy or Stuck.

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson

I get genuinely excited about new Phoebe books. These graphic novels (which are great for BOTH boys & girls regardless of the front covers) are hilarious! I love the unicorn so much whose name is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Perfection.

 

 

LISTENDOWATCHREADMOVECONSUMEFIND

LISTEN

A lot of Jack Garratt, The 1975, Matoma, and yes, I'll say it again, Justin Bieber. That new album!?! It's all in my winter 2016 playlist right here.

WATCH

Throwing it back to Kacey Musgraves' NPR Tiny Desk concert...on the day same sex marriage was legalized! Kind of magical. If you want immediate goosebumps, fast forward to 18:30 in! #followyourarrow

MOVE

I wish I could say barre with Mel, but we had to reschedule to tonight because of the snow. Can't wait!

In yoga I started practicing handstand dips and working with arm variations in tripod headstand.

CONSUME

La Carayon Rose is back in stock at Trader Joe's! Even though it's most certainly not rosé season and I'm not drinking on the weekdays, I'm still endorsing it!

READ

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli. Nothing like starting a big fat novel about war and romance on a snow day.

FIND

A nice long list of Anne of Green Gables gifs. I can die happy.

DO

Went to Costco last weekend and loaded up on frozen crap. Also, spent all day last Sunday prepping food for the freezer. We're stocked up for awhile!

elementary library picks of 2015

Closing out another year. These were my favorites this year at work.

PICTURE BOOKS

Lenny and Lucy
Phillip and Erin Stead are at it again. I love their illustration's so much. The story here is unique and slightly creepy. I paired this as a read aloud with Wild by Emily Hughes and Where the Wild Things Are. Kids loved these three together.

The Day the Crayons Came Home
I don't think it's possible to write this post without including it. They are insanely popular for a reason. So clever and funny.

Float
One of the many beautiful wordless picture books out there year. I want them all for myself!

The Only Child
Another wordless--this time  with over 100 pages of brilliant, heartbreaking illustrations. It is a combination picture book/graphic novel. 

First time illustrator, quojing, is from China and this story addresses the overwhelming loneliness felt by the massive generation of single children now coming of age.

 

 

MIDDLE GRADE

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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison
Endearing graphic novel about roller derby. Great for girls or boys. It's funny, has a little edge to it, but with good taste.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Creepy story that takes place in the basement of the Biltmore Estate? Ca. 1920? Sign me up!

The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Over 600 pages which are gilded along the edges. Beautiful book! Over 2/3 of the pages are just pictures, similar to Selznick's other books. This is a very sophiscated tale of New York City, Shakespeare, and the theater in general. I was way impressed.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Boy, Katherine Applegate really knows how to make you feel ALL the FEELS. Her last novel won the Newbery, The One and Only Ivan. I read it aloud to third grade every spring, so when this came out a couple months ago, I snatched it up. We are about to finish this one with fourth grade. It is a bit of a downer, but so so good. Short chapters, it gets right to the point.

back on track...

I'm reading again! Praise be! While I'm still behind, I'm closing in ever so slightly on that 52 for 2015 goal. Here's what I've been reading:

Currently listening to not one, but TWO audiobooks!

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler and Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. Of course, the Kaling is wonderful...the Tyler one? I'm unsure...anyone else read it out there? Thoughts?

It's a big week in the library for fourth grade...a NEW Brian Selznick book came out yesterday! After his beloved The Adventures of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, we were eagerly awaiting this one. I stayed up late last night to finish and get it the first person on the waiting list today. SO GOOD. Loved loved loved it.

Last I managed to finish up not one, but two other books! One super fast memoir, Mortality by Christopher Hitchens. Hilarious and deep all at once. The other, a fluffy novel, Days of Awe. Good, but nothing to rave about.

Let's be honest, I'm mostly just speeding through this stuff so I can start Elena Ferrante. Thinking about saving it for the plane in October...