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jennyifer24's 2018 reads

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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1jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 1, 10:12am Top

I'm back! Getting started today, then I'll be back in January! (2 books to go for 2017!)

edited: Happy 2018! I squeaked out my 75th read on December 30.

I'm Jenny, and this is my fifth year in the 75ers. I usually finish right at 75 right around the end of December, so this is a perfect place for me!

I'm a second grade teacher in Michigan, and so picture books sometimes also make an appearance here, although I don't count them toward my total. Aside from teaching and reading, I spend a lot of time with family and friends, and watching sports. I grew up in a Michigan State family (Go green!) and also cheer for the Detroit pro teams. I'll really watch any sport though- the Olympics are a terrible reading time for me since I'm glued to the tv! I also enjoy traveling, and although I'm back in Michigan now, I lived in Virginia for seven years.

I'm a library (and librarything) browser, so I come up with some eclectic reads during the year. I tend toward ya, historical fiction, biography/memoir and mysteries but I've been reading a lot more fantasy lately. I'm always open to suggestions!

2jennyifer24
Edited: Apr 3, 1:58pm Top

January-March

1. Caraval (2017)
2. Midnight Riot (2011)
3. On Pilgrimage (1948)
4. Moon over Soho (2011)
5. The Queen's Accomplice (2016)
6. The Paris Spy (2017)
7. I Capture the Castle (1948)

February
8. The Night Circus (2011)
9. Strangers and Sojourners (1997)

March
10. Oh, Fudge (2017)
11. Zone One (2010)
12. The Power and the Glory (1940)
13. The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1958)
14. One of Us is Lying (2017)

3jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 30, 1:28pm Top

April-June

April
15. What Alice Forgot (2009)
16. Flat Broke with Two Goats (2018)
17. Still Me (2018)

May
18. Ready Player One (2011)
19. Shades of Milk and Honey (2010)
20. Wedding Cake Crumble (2018)
21. The Divine Comedy (1304)

June
22. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2017)
23. Scrappy Little Nobody (2016)
24. Cold Sassy Tree (1984)
25. Endurance (2017)
26. Cloche and Dagger (2013)
27. Les Miserables (1862)
28. The Power (2016)
29. Penderwicks (2005)

5jennyifer24
Dec 27, 2017, 11:47am Top

October-December

6jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 5, 12:09pm Top

2017 recap

top 5ish


March: Book Two and March: Book Three were equally as good as the first. Other good ones included Hidden Figures and Passenger, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Handmaid's Tale. The Legend trilogy grew on me, and The Selection and Red Queen were both amazing but the rest of the series went downhill for me.

Describe yourself:
Describe how you feel:
Describe where you currently live: Full Dark House
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Five Days in Skye
Your favorite form of transportation: My Italian Bulldozer
Your best friend is: Uprooted
You and your friends are: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey
What’s the weather like: The Coldest Night
You fear: Hidden Figures
What is the best advice you have to give: This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare
Thought for the day: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
How I would like to die:
My soul’s present condition: Wayfarer

8jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 10, 10:49pm Top

book series update- I took out a lot of the finished series and a few I don't really care to finish.
Book listed is first unread in the series

Bed And Breakfast Mysteries- Dune to Death
https://www.librarything.com/series/Bed-And-Breakfast+Mysteries

Bryant and May- The Water Room
https://www.librarything.com/series/Bryant+and+May

Candy-Coated Mysteries- caught up!
https://www.librarything.com/series/Candy-Coated+Mysteries

Cupcake Bakery Mystery- caught up!
https://www.librarything.com/series/Cupcake+Bakery+Mystery

Drew Farthering- Murder at the Mikado
https://www.librarything.com/series/Drew+Farthering

Eight Cousins- Rose in Bloom
https://www.librarything.com/series/Eight+Cousins

Elizabeth Parker- Murder Most Austen
https://www.librarything.com/series/Elizabeth+Parker

Father Koesler- Masquerade?
https://www.librarything.com/series/Father+Koesler

Harry Hole- Nemesis
http://www.librarything.com/series/Harry+Hole

Inspector Devlin- The Rising
https://www.librarything.com/series/Inspector+Devlin+%5BMcGilloway%5D

Knightley and Son- Knightley and Son K-9
https://www.librarything.com/work/15476174

MacDonald Family Trilogy- caught up!
https://www.librarything.com/series/The+MacDonald+Family+Trilogy

Maggie Hope- caught up!
https://www.librarything.com/series/Maggie+Hope

Maisie Dobbs- An Incomplete Revenge
http://www.librarything.com/series/Maisie+Dobbs

Meg Langslow (blacksmith)- Duck the Halls
http://www.librarything.com/series/A+Meg+Langslow+Mystery

Peter Grant- Whispers Under Ground
https://www.librarything.com/series/Peter+Grant

Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop- Out of the Frying Pan
https://www.librarything.com/series/Poppy+Markham%3A+Culinary+Cop

Red Queen- War Storm
https://www.librarything.com/series/Red+Queen

Sam Levitt caper- Marseille Caper
https://www.librarything.com/series/Sam+Levitt+caper

Temperance Brennan- caught up!
https://www.librarything.com/series/Temperance+Brennan

Will Anderson and Elizabeth Hume- Detroit Breakdown
https://www.librarything.com/series/Will+Anderson+and+Elizabeth+Hume

The Woodcutters- Hero
https://www.librarything.com/series/The+Woodcutters

I'd also like to hunt down the sequels to In Lane Three, Alex Archer. I read it years ago and recently discovered sequels, although I haven't gotten any of them into my hands to read!

9jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 2, 11:02pm Top

Challenges- After a few years of the category challenges, I switched to 75 books because although I love to plan, it's just not how I read. I'm a library browser, and the categories weren't working out for me. That being said, I like how the TIOLI challenges have introduced me to so many new books and authors. I'd like to try out some of the other challenges, including British and American authors, genre-specific, etc. I'll aim to complete one challenge a month (either from the 75 challenge or the category challenge) and record them here.

January: British Author Challenge (read a debut novel)- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

10jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 24, 9:54pm Top

Ongoing challenges- I have threads for Dewey, and reading around the world (maybe more?) that don't get a lot of love. Hopefully I can keep up with them a little better in 2018.

50 state challenge

reading globally challenge

Dewey challenge

***Finished!!**
This year a book club I'm in is reading Les Miserables for June. They've technically chosen an abridged version but a friend and I are going long! My edition has 908 pages so I'm trying to chip away a little bit each day.




And because another challenge never hurt anyone, here's a classics challenge borrowed from DeborahJade.

1. A 19th century classic -
2. A 20th century classic (pre-1968)
3. A classic by a woman author -
4. A classic in translation - Les Miserables
5. A children's classic -
6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction -
7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction -
8. A classic with a single-word title -
9. A classic with a color in the title
10. A classic by an author that's new to you -
11. A classic that scares you- The Divine Comedy
12. Re-read a favorite classic -

11jennyifer24
Dec 27, 2017, 11:52am Top

That's it for now! See you in a few days!

12drneutron
Dec 27, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Welcome back!

13thornton37814
Dec 28, 2017, 2:11pm Top

I compromised by assembling "nonmeaningful" categories for 2018 for the Category Challenge. I'm just going to alternate my reads between categories, reserving the right to move a few around when they actually somehow fit the category's name.

14FAMeulstee
Dec 31, 2017, 9:52am Top

Happy reading in 2018, Jenny!

15The_Hibernator
Dec 31, 2017, 12:47pm Top



Happy New Year! I wish you to read many good books in 2018.

16ronincats
Jan 1, 12:32am Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

17PaulCranswick
Jan 1, 4:01am Top



Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.

18jennyifer24
Jan 1, 9:35am Top

>12 drneutron:, >14 FAMeulstee:, >15 The_Hibernator:, >16 ronincats:, >17 PaulCranswick: Happy New Year and happy reading! Thanks for the well wishes!

>13 thornton37814: I found your thread and I love your category idea! You'll get to kind of make the categories as you go!

19jennyifer24
Jan 1, 10:37am Top

January plans:

Les Mis- 200 pages
On Pilgrimage by Dorothy Day (book club)
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares (book club)
-January challenge?? Irish Author Challenge Edna O'Brien, British Author Challenge (debut novel) or Catetory Challenge Shared read Frankenstein
-start reread of Little House or HP
-read three books on hold from the library (all came up at once!) Ready Player One, Seven Days of Us, Midnight Riot

Or I'll read totally different things...we'll see ;-)

20thornton37814
Jan 1, 12:11pm Top

Have you decided which O'Brien you are reading yet? I'm considering Little Red Chairs because I know we have it at the library where I work.

21kgodey
Jan 1, 4:32pm Top

Happy New Year, Jenny! May you have some great reads in 2018.

22jennyifer24
Jan 2, 12:56am Top

>20 thornton37814: I haven't read any of her books before, so I'm not sure yet. I'll have to see what the library has- I'll look for Little Red Chairs!

>21 kgodey: Thanks! Happy New year to you too!

23MickyFine
Jan 2, 4:45pm Top

Dropping off a star, Jenny. Looking forward to keeping an eye on your reading this year.

24foggidawn
Jan 4, 3:46pm Top

Happy New Year! I don't think I've posted on your thread before, but I saw you read YA, and I'm always looking for people to discuss children's and YA books with -- so, hi!

25jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 5, 4:53pm Top

>24 foggidawn: Thanks, it's nice to meet you! I'll look for your thread too- I'm always looking for ya readers to talk to!

26jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 6, 9:50pm Top



1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
January 4

Scarlett and her sister Tella live with their abusive father, the Governor of their island home. Scarlett is looking forward to her prearranged marriage as a way to escape with her sister and protect them both. Caraval is a magical game led by Legend. It travels throughout the world, and Scarlett has repeatedly written to Legend, asking him to bring Caraval to her home island. This book has really great potential, but it was disappointing. The descriptive writing is over the top, and doesn't hide the lack of world building, and explanation of certain events.

This book could have been so much fun- a lot of potential for a great setting, adventure, mystery; it just didn't live up to it.

I finished this book feeling let down and confused- too much changed in the plot and with the characters. Being misled/purposely confused as a plot twist is one thing, but there has to be something real to hold on to in the story. I'm still not sure who to trust and if what the author claims is real at the end is really what's real. Several characters were underdeveloped- The Count?! and although Tella solved her problem by "dying", she didn't really solve Scarlett's. So many questions...

All that to say I'll probably still read the sequel...maybe it'll get better?

27foggidawn
Edited: Jan 5, 12:10pm Top

>26 jennyifer24: I had many of the same reactions you did -- a promising premise, but a lot of confusing stuff going on! Plus, the prose was very flowery and purple. And I didn't ever buy into the romantic plot line. I probably won't continue with the series, but I'll keep an eye out for your reaction!

If you want to visit my thread, here's the link: https://www.librarything.com/topic/279849

28ronincats
Jan 5, 12:37pm Top

Oh, both Ready Player One and Midnight Riot are quick and highly entertaining reads!

29jennyifer24
Jan 6, 4:05pm Top

>28 ronincats: I'm more than halfway through Midnight Riot already and I'm really enjoying it! Love how it works magic into the "real" world!

30jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 9, 10:03pm Top



2. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
January 6

Peter is finishing his probationary period with the London Metropolitan Police and is hoping to avoid a job filling out paperwork. During a murder investigation a ghost gives him an eyewitness account, and this leads him to a more interesting assignment.

This is the first urban fantasy I've read, and I liked it a lot! I love London, so its key role in the story drew me in. The way magic is explained and accepted in the storyline and by the characters was interesting. Looking forward to the next one!

31PersephonesLibrary
Jan 7, 5:46am Top

Oooh, I love the Bingo sheet! I think I will transfer it to my thread, if that is ok with you! Happy reading weekend!

32jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 7, 9:48am Top

>31 PersephonesLibrary: Sure! I borrowed it myself, from BingoDOG in the category challenge. You can get it here (I hope- I've never linked a specific message before!)

33jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 7, 12:28pm Top

In 2015 I started keeping track of the year of publication for books I read, just because. I looked at the three years 2015-2017.

2015
mean: 2006
median: 2011
mode: 2014 (12)
books read: 80

2016
mean: 2003
median: 2012
mode: 2015 (13)
books read: 75

2017
mean: 2000
median: 2012
mode: 2013 (11)
books read: 75

I was surprised by the mode each year- I have always thought I didn't read that many newer books, but apparently I read more than I thought!

edited to fix a couple mistakes in 2016 data

34PersephonesLibrary
Jan 8, 1:36pm Top

Thanks! And to look at read books in the sense of publication year is quite intriguing. It is funny how perceived reading and actual reading can differ.

35jennyifer24
Jan 9, 9:55pm Top

Found out yesterday that Ready Player One is due back at the library tomorrow, after only a week checked out. It was a hold, so I'm guessing that someone requested it while I was out of town, before I checked it out. I can't put it back on hold because it's checked out to me...so I started it but it will have to be continued...eventually. Slowly plugging away at Les Mis in the meantime.

36jennyifer24
Jan 9, 9:57pm Top

>34 PersephonesLibrary: I'm blanking on who I saw on LT that tracked by publication year that led me to try it but it does give interesting info! I have not yet tried filling in the missing years with specific books, but maybe that will come later!

37jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 11, 10:31pm Top



We started reading some 2017 picture books in my classroom today, looking for the potential winner of the Caldecott. Before break we read some previous winners to talk about the criteria. First up today was Egg by Kevin Henkes. I don't think it'll end up being my personal favorite but it was cute! We were comparing it to The Extraordinary Egg (don't know why this touchstone isn't right) by Leo Lionni. It was fun watching the kids vote, and thinking hard about the criteria.

38PersephonesLibrary
Edited: Jan 10, 1:35pm Top

Well, it shouldn't become any pressure: Statistics should just be for fun! :-) I just try to consciously read more women and in general diverse authors.

May I ask you something about the Bingo Card? What do they mean with those two challenges?
- "Fits at least two kits/cats" - Do they mean size-wise? Like a coffee-table book?
- "Read a CAT" - I have got no idea...
I could already tick off three fields of my card. :-)

Uh, letting children vote is so much fun and intriguing. To find out what they think is important about a book! Brilliant!

39jennyifer24
Jan 10, 10:14pm Top

>38 PersephonesLibrary: I don't know a lot about the category challenges, but I think they do a few big challenges each year (CATS) and then some people decide to do their own challenges (KITS?). I didn't very far into figuring them out myself, but I'll get back to you if I find out more. Or someone else could chime in?

Today we read Wolf in the Snow which is basically wordless. Some of them did not know what to think about a wordless book. It was quite interesting to watch/listen to what they were thinking about it.

40foggidawn
Jan 11, 8:38am Top

>39 jennyifer24: I love that you're doing a Mock Caldecott! At a library where I used to work, I did one for several years as a passive program (the staff selected a shortlist, we had multiple copies of each book available for checkout, and we had a brochure with the titles and voting slips that they could turn in). It didn't match the actual Caldecott process, but it did draw attention to some of the great books published each year.

41jennyifer24
Jan 11, 10:13pm Top

>40 foggidawn: It's been fun so far! I had only ever heard of mock Newberry which wasn't going to work with my 2nd graders, but somehow stumbled across Mock Caldecott in the vastness of the internet :-) I'm enjoying it myself too because I'm reading a lot of new picture books and getting to know some new authors and illustrators. One of my favorite parts is reading multiple books with the same illustrators- it's neat to be able to pick out their style of illustrating :-) I love it as a way to find out about new books!

42jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 19, 10:09pm Top

for Mock Caldecott, on Wednesday we read Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell. This was the wordless book mentioned above.



Today we read Blue Sky, White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus.



43thornton37814
Jan 13, 9:14pm Top

>42 jennyifer24: That wordless one looks interesting.

44PersephonesLibrary
Edited: Jan 14, 5:29am Top

@Jennyifer: I just made two new challenges out of those two fields. But thank you! The last three picture books you read look lovely!

45jennyifer24
Jan 14, 11:01am Top



3. On Pilgrimage by Dorothy Day
January 14

This book was written over the course of the year 1948 in a journal format. Some entries are accounts of her day, some are reflections or essays on various topics including social justice, pacifism and love. Dorothy Day begins her year in West Virginia awaiting the arrival of a new grandchild. Most of the rest of the year is split between New York City and Maryfarm, a farming commune north of the city.

I'm really glad I read this. I've been aware of Dorothy Day and knew a bit about what she did, but I learned a lot more reading this. Whether or not you agree with her politics or platforms there is a lot to consider and think about in her writing. It definitely reads like a journal- some parts are filled with daily life, while other entries are digging into some complex issues.

46alphaorder
Jan 14, 3:21pm Top

Stopped by to check out your thread and to wave hello from across the lake.

Looks like you are quite a Backman fan. Do you have / have you read Beartown? Happy to send it to you if you haven't yet. If you would like it, PM me your address.

Best, Nancy

47jennyifer24
Jan 15, 6:37pm Top

>44 PersephonesLibrary: Good thinking! I'm still waiting to fill in something on my bingo board!

>46 alphaorder: Thanks- I might take you up on that!

48jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 15, 6:42pm Top

January plan update

Les Mis- 200 pages I'm on pg. 81
On Pilgrimage by Dorothy Day (book club) done
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares (book club)
-January challenge?? Irish Author Challenge Edna O'Brien, British Author Challenge (debut novel) or Catetory Challenge Shared read Frankenstein get The Little Red Chairs from the library
-start reread of Little House or HP not going to happen this month
-read three books on hold from the library (all came up at once!) Ready Player One, Seven Days of Us, Midnight Riot read Midnight Riot, had to return Ready Player One, not feeling Seven Days of Us right now

49jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 22, 9:33pm Top



4. Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
January 17

Second in the Peter Grant series. More fantastical creatures prowling around London, this time attacking jazz musicians. I missed a couple of plot points, but I think I'm blaming it on reading at night when I'm too tired to get everything. I love his city descriptions. When I did study abroad in London we stayed in Cartwright Garden, which is close to Russell Square and other prominent settings in the book. It's so fun to read about the area!

50jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 19, 10:19pm Top

Mock Caldecott update

It's going to be a real stretch to see if I can remember all the books we read this week...let's see.

This was another wordless book.



This was definitely the class favorite of the week.

This book had my favorite art of the week.

Although the art in the mock Caldecott books we've read so far have all been really great, the stories have sometimes fallen flat for me. Maybe I'm more into a picture book that tells a story with a more traditional story arc, but some have not been books that I would necessarily pick to read again. This House, Once started off beautifully, showing where the parts of a house came from. The door was an oak tree, the stones were underground, etc. But then it kind of took an abstract veer that I didn't love as much. Claymates may be the overall favorite right now because of the humor and use of clay as the art medium. I think Wolf in the Snow is my frontrunner. I'm still waiting on a few from the library, including a few that seem popular on some Mock Caldecott lists I've seen online.

51foggidawn
Edited: Jan 20, 9:37am Top

>50 jennyifer24: Interesting, that they liked Claymates so much. Right now, I think my favorite for the Caldecott is After the Fall by Dan Santat, but I haven’t made as much of a study of Caldecott hopefuls this year as in some past years.

52jennyifer24
Jan 20, 1:24pm Top

>51 foggidawn: After the Fall is one I'm still waiting for from the library. I've heard so much praise for it; I can't wait to read it and see what they think!

53jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 28, 1:44pm Top



5. The Queen's Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal
January 21

Maggie is working in London. She's asked to help catch a murderer mimicking Jack the Ripper. I hate to say much more because of spoilers. Another good book in the series, but a few plot points that confused me or didn't wrap up neatly (maybe they'll come back up later?). The whole situation with Mark was so strange, and ended quite abruptly. There was very little explanation. It's also been awhile since I read the last book, but it seemed like sexual harassment was a theme the author wanted to explore, so it came at Maggie from all angles. I appreciate these situations happened, but I don't really remember them to this extent in the other books. Also Max- what's going on there? He just coincidentally went out with Maggie and the almost-victim of the Beast? What ended up happening to him?

The next book actually came up on my holds before this one, so I'll probably continue the series next.

54PersephonesLibrary
Jan 25, 3:12pm Top

I need to check out if I can get Why am I me? somewhere. And The House once's illustration design looks lovely!

55jennyifer24
Edited: Jan 27, 10:38am Top

A few more potential Caldecotts:



There was some beautiful art in this group! Red & Lulu had some wonderful pages; Pomegranate Witch and All the Way to Havana had art that really matched the mood of the writing, and The Book of Mistakes is a book I'll definitely use again in growth mindset lessons.

56PersephonesLibrary
Jan 28, 9:23am Top

So many, so different picture books. I need to keep myself from starting to buy those, too... or I can start adding a book shed in my garden.

57jennyifer24
Jan 28, 1:43pm Top

>56 PersephonesLibrary: I'm pretty good about books for myself- I tend to read from the library or buy from used book sales. I have less self-control for kids books though. My classroom library is much bigger than my home library, lol. I just bought Blackout yesterday. It's a new favorite.

58jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 1, 9:24pm Top



6. Paris Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal
January 28

So, it was a no on tying up some of the loose ends from the previous book. I don't want to say much about the plot- there's a lot to give away.

59jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 9, 6:26pm Top



7. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
January 31

I snuck this book in under the wire (finished it at about 11pm on Jan. 31) for the British Author Challenge to read a debut novel. This is a reread for me, and I still love it. It's an interesting play on a Jane Austen-type novel, and there are just some laugh-out-loud funny parts. I'm glad I fit this one in.

60jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 1, 9:55pm Top

More mock Caldecotts!




After the Fall finally came in from the library. It had some great pictures with interesting perspectives, but I have to say that Life is the one that might have knocked Wolf in the Snow off my top-of-the-list. It's a book about appreciating the beauty of life, and the art is just stunning. I kept saying, "this might be my favorite page..." throughout the whole book while I was reading it aloud.

The Wolf and the Duck & the Mouse is one weird (the kids and I agreed) book, but I like Klassen's art in it and in Triangle. The color palette and style remind me a bit of Leo Leonni, which is only a good thing!

61jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 1, 9:58pm Top

We have just two mock Caldecotts left to read, and then next week we'll vote. The official vote is Monday, Feb. 12. I think I saw that you can live-stream it online so maybe we'll watch it in class. I hope it's a book we've read!

Our two remaining books are How to be an Elephant and The Antlered Ship.





I have to add that I'm totally won over by mock Caldecott. It's just been a lot of fun. I've read so many new picture books and discovered new authors/illustrators. The kids are excited to see what we're reading next. The books are hot commodities in class- everyone wants their turn. This week we put up pictures of all the covers and there has been a lot of buzz about who likes what. I'm excited to work it into the year earlier next year and also to hopefully get some other teachers on board.

62aktakukac
Feb 2, 9:57am Top

So glad the mock Caldecott has been a success for you and your students! I always enjoy looking through the new pictures books I've ordered when they come in at work. There are so many good ones out there.

63foggidawn
Feb 2, 10:41am Top

Hooray for Mock Caldecotts! You've read a lot of my personal favorites for the award. This year, I don't have just one favorite, so I'm not setting myself up for too much disappointment, I hope. I don't have a pick for the Newbery, either. It's a very unusual year for me.

64jennyifer24
Feb 2, 11:08pm Top

...and this is why I'm not a reading planner

January plans
Les Mis- 200 pages (made it to page 92)
On Pilgrimage by Dorothy Day (book club) (read this!)
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares (book club) (nope)
-January challenge?? Irish Author Challenge Edna O'Brien, British Author Challenge (debut novel) or Catetory Challenge Shared read Frankenstein (read I Capture the Castle
-start reread of Little House or HP (nope)
-read three books on hold from the library (all came up at once!) Ready Player One, Seven Days of Us, Midnight Riot (only read Midnight Riot, although to be fair, I only ended up having Ready Player One for a week, but didn't realize it until day 5)

So in February, the really need to dos...
Strangers and Sojourners (book club)
Salt to the Sea(book club)
keep reading Les Mis- maybe a goal of how many days I read?
February challenge- BAC, IAC or another challenge
finish Night Circus
...watch a lot of Olympics...

65jennyifer24
Feb 2, 11:10pm Top

>62 aktakukac: Yes! I've read so many new picture books for the first time in a long time. And focusing on the artwork is a fun switch (instead of focusing on what reading or writing standard it can teach :-) )

>63 foggidawn: I've had such a hard time picking a favorite. I'll be happy if one of my faves gets something! And if the winner is one we actually read.

66alphaorder
Feb 3, 10:35am Top

I never plan my reading. Just go with what I feel like at the time. But I do plan my book buying - as in mark my calendar with release dates and then purchase. I think being a bookseller for 20 years has something to do with this...

67jennyifer24
Feb 4, 12:15am Top

>66 alphaorder: And this is exactly why I'm in the 75ers and not the Category Challenge :-) I should just go with it- but planning is fun even if you don't follow through!

I do a terrible job of keeping up with new books, but I bet the anticipation is fun!

68alphaorder
Feb 4, 8:46am Top

>67 jennyifer24: Not so fun for the pocket book! :)

69BBGirl55
Feb 7, 10:17am Top

Hi and thanks for voting, Just so you know the Vote was tied, so please go vote again. Thanks.

70jennyifer24
Feb 9, 6:26pm Top

>69 BBGirl55: Oops, I missed the revote, but looks like it was decidedly one-sided! Happy reading!

71jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 21, 8:18pm Top



8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
February 9

The Night Circus, a marvelous black-and-white traveling circus, is the perfect location for two dueling magicians. The rules are vague and unknown, but the results are amazing.

This book does not read like a "regular" sequenced, plot-drive narrative. The focus is on descriptions of events and characters that weave into a narrative. The chapters are short vignettes across time and location, which can get confusing. Unwinding the narrative is also a bit tricky at times, but it's done purposefully. I enjoyed it. I wouldn't like for every book to be written this way, but you were always wondering who knew what, what happened next, how the time frames fit together. And the descriptive writing was great- you could really get swept away.

72jennyifer24
Feb 9, 6:38pm Top

Snow, snow, everywhere! Basically all of southern Michigan shut down today as a snowstorm went through. I can't remember the last time we've closed the night before school before it even started snowing but it's happened twice this week! I was happy to get time to finish Night Circus before the Olympics really get going this weekend. Hope everyone in the line of the snow is traveling safely or able to stay home!

73jennyifer24
Feb 9, 6:48pm Top

Since we were all anticipating snow on Thursday (it felt like my time in Virginia, the way kids were talking about a snow day as a done deal, and even more like the south when we got one the night before it started snowing!), we went ahead and did our Caldecott voting. The official results will be announced live on Monday morning.

We did not read The Antlered Ship because of course it came up on my holds list Thursday after school :-) We'll read it sometime Monday.

I forgot the vote list at school. I know I have the right top 5, but I'm not sure if 3-5 are in order.

1. Claymates
2. Triangle
3. After the Fall
4. Egg
5. The Book of Mistakes

74alsvidur
Feb 10, 8:18pm Top

Yeah, the roads weren't that bad (in Macomb county) since most people were off the roads yesterday and today. I'm so glad the schools were closed!

Looking forward to seeing the final results announced!

75ronincats
Feb 10, 8:44pm Top

>71 jennyifer24: I loved The Night Circus. I read the hardback from the library and waited for several years on PaperBackSwap.com for that edition to come up because of the quality of the endpapers and illustrations between chapters. I also loved the way the ending page circled back onto the beginning page.

76PersephonesLibrary
Feb 11, 9:27am Top

Oh my. I have owned The Night Circus for several years now - and I still haven't read it!
I really need to change that...

Happy Sunday, Jennyifer!



77jennyifer24
Feb 11, 5:49pm Top

>74 alsvidur: glad yours weren't too bad! I went out for the first time this morning and the roads were pretty terrible, even the main ones- but we got probably 3-4 new inches overnight/this morning.

>75 ronincats: It's a beautiful cover, and unique in how it incorporates art! I just saw that ending coming before it happened (like the paragraph before lol). But I had to look back to doublecheck to make sure the lines matched!

>76 PersephonesLibrary: It's definitely recommended! I actually found it in a review of Caraval. The Night Circus was preferred, and preferred by me too! Although I'm still frustrated by what a good idea Caraval was, and how the book didn't live up to its great idea. The Night Circus lives up to its idea. Hope you had a great weekend!!

Very little reading this weekend, except for Friday. So much Olympics instead ;-)

78foggidawn
Feb 11, 6:45pm Top

>77 jennyifer24: Oh, agreed about Caraval vs. The Night Circus!

79jennyifer24
Feb 14, 8:08pm Top

>78 foggidawn: I just want someone to redo Caraval and give that idea some great writing!

80jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 14, 8:27pm Top

So, I've done no reading since last Friday, but I have watched an awful lot of winter sports. This is bad for the books I'm supposed to be reading for end-of-the-month book clubs. Oh, well!

Monday was the Caldecott Award announcement (along with all sorts of other book awards). We were excited to watch but ended up having a snow day Monday. So, Tuesday morning, I found the video and even got to the right spot, all without seeing the winners myself. We turn it on first thing- 4 honor books and 1 winner. Turns out, we read none of the honor books. Ooops. The winner, Wolf in the Snow, was not a class favorite (although it was one of my favorites). Actually, only one other student voted for it along with me. I had some kids who did not approve of a wordless book winning, but I was happy to see them emotional about books! I was disappointed, though, that we'd read just one of the books mentioned. At least we have some new books to look forward to reading!

Next year I'll try to start earlier and spread the books out a bit more. Apparently I also need to look at a wider range of sites to find some potential favorites!

81thornton37814
Feb 15, 10:12am Top

My reading is slowly tapering off to my normal pace. I've barely had time to pick up a book this week.

82foggidawn
Feb 15, 10:58am Top

>80 jennyifer24: When I was doing a Mock Caldecott, I looked at the Calling Caldecott blog (they usually do a post early in the season with a long list of books they plan on looking at), various Mock Caldecotts (some libraries/schools post their shortlists fairly early), and the Goodreads Mock Caldecott list. The last one is more likely to be about popularity than anything else, and some of the books on it may be ineligible for the real award, but it's one of the few places where you can get information early on.

83jennyifer24
Edited: Feb 15, 5:32pm Top

>81 thornton37814: Eventually I'll even out...I feel like January was a really solid month, and February's just had a lot going on!

>82 foggidawn: Thanks! I'll check out the blog! I kept an eye on the Goodreads blog (but also started looking late) and surfed the web to look for overlaps. I ended up reading a lot from http://mrschureads.blogspot.com/ 's list. The more lists the better!

84jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 17, 10:29pm Top



9. Strangers and Sojourners by Michael O'Brien
February 21

I read a book! It was a long one, but it's felt like forever since I've finished something.

Anne is raised in England and moves to British Columbia after WWI. The book follows her life in this rural area. It's a spiritual novel and also a story of survival and change over time. It was a good book, and I'm very interested to talk about it in book club tomorrow. I feel like there are parts that went over my head because I didn't necessarily give it the time and thought it deserved (probably not the best book to read parts of in the commercials of the Olympics). The story is engaging and thought-provoking, and I think it will improve with discussion.

85jennyifer24
Mar 1, 10:07pm Top

Report cards and conferences next week...if I can make it through that, I can read books again!

86MickyFine
Mar 2, 11:50am Top

87jennyifer24
Mar 4, 9:23pm Top

>86 MickyFine: Thanks! I hate to wish away the week, but it'll be nice to have them done with!

We're celebrating Reading Month at school, so we are doing some fun reading stuff! This year we have a dog theme and so twice a week the school does a "paws" to read altogether. I had The Borrowers on my shelf and haven't read it in forever, so I started it last week during our first "paws". I thought the office was going to make an announcement when the reading ended, but they didn't, and my kiddos and I were reading away, so we went 10 minutes over before I realized it :-)

I also have a lot of parents signed up to come in and read, and I organized a teacher swap, where we trade classes to read a book. Yay March!

88MickyFine
Mar 5, 3:53pm Top

>87 jennyifer24: That sounds like a lot of fun. I remember loving The Borrowers as a kid but I haven't read it since.

89jennyifer24
Mar 10, 11:10am Top

>88 MickyFine: It's been fun remembering as I reread. I think there a lot of Borrower books but I don't think I ever read any of the others, strangely enough.

90jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 17, 10:47pm Top



10. Oh, Fudge by Nancy Coco
March 10

I read a book! Made it through conferences and report cards. I went to the library yesterday after school and picked out a stack. This was definitely the fluffiest (feels weird saying that about a murder...).

5th in the series- Allie owns a hotel and fudge shop on Mackinac Island. A local woman is found dead at the butterfly garden, and Allie's cousin is suspected. There was some sloppy writing in the one- timeline issues that bothered me, a few typos that made it into the book, and the author really loves knowing (and using) the term "fudgie" (tourist), but the story and characters keep me interested. I really started reading this series, though, for the setting. I go to Mackinac Island for a weekend once a year with my family, and it's neat to be able to picture exactly where they are as you're reading.

91jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 25, 12:14am Top



11. Zone One by Colson Whitehead
March 16

I'm a month behind, but Colson Whitehead was the February AAC author. I came across Zone One in the library and decided to give it a go, despite not being into zombies.

Mark Spitz (not the swimmer) is working as a sweeper- clearing NYC buildings of left-behind zombies and stragglers in the aftermath of the plague. I have read no other books about zombies, but this struck me as pretty low-gore, which was fine with me. The book reveals Mark's past, his story of the outbreak, and how he has survived so far. It's an interesting look at how society would react in such a situation. I was making lots of comparisons to Station Eleven as I read. I thought both were really good- it was just interesting how people reacted, rebuilt and struggled in each.

I thought this was a good book. There were some confusing time-hop parts where I had to reread to figure out the timeline, and a couple questions left unanswered but overall interesting, suspenseful and thought-provoking.

92jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 25, 12:05am Top

Reading is going very slowly, but I have been watching a lot of basketball. I went with my sister and a few friends to two of the NCAA games in Detroit yesterday. We saw MSU/Bucknell (we all went to MSU) and then Syracuse/TCU. I got my masters from Virginia, so that didn't go so well and the crowd at Little Caesar's Arena was not siding with Virginia (they were showing that game on the big screen between games and during timeouts of the late game).

note- Last year on March 16 I was on book 13, so I guess I'm not too far off pace??

edited to say: basketball- ughhh

93jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 28, 9:08pm Top



12. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
March 25

Missed book club where they talked about this one, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It was a slow starter for me but I ended up finishing it quickly.

A priest in 1930s Mexico is hiding and on the run because Catholicism has been made illegal. The book deals with many topics including sin, mercy, forgiveness (by God and of yourself), suffering, poverty, self-preservation vs. loyalty. This book shows that life is messy and imperfect, and there are often not clear-cut right and wrong choices. Recommended.

94aktakukac
Mar 26, 4:39pm Top

Since you went to MSU, what are your thoughts about U of M being in the Final Four? My dad went to MSU and I've spent time on campus there for 4-H stuff. Now I'm married to a Buckeye, and you know how they can't stand the Wolverines!

Your reading is moving along at a good pace, in my opinion :)

95jennyifer24
Mar 26, 6:42pm Top

>94 aktakukac: Ugh. I cheer against UM, always. I'm just rooting hard for Loyola at this point. Honestly, I've only watched bits and pieces of games since MSU lost but them winning is more incentive not to watch.

I have a friend from home who went to MSU, but lives in Marysville. Her husband is a Buckeye fan too, so they are at least united against UM. Their kiddos have quite a collection of green and red! Most of my group of friends went to MSU so we do our best to keep them MSU fans when we see them :-)

Thanks about the reading! I think it just fell off so drastically after a really good January that it feels worse than it is. Now that conferences and report cards are done (and spring break is coming) I can get back into the habit!

96drneutron
Mar 26, 7:04pm Top

Wait, MSU? As in Spartans? I was there for an MS 1985-87!

97jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 26, 7:31pm Top

>96 drneutron: Yes! Go Green! It's so exciting to find fellow Spartans! I live in Lansing so I get to campus pretty often.

98drneutron
Edited: Mar 26, 8:02pm Top

Awesome! UM has a big aerospace program, so I'm surrounded by blue at work. It's nice to have some relief from that! So is Bilbo's Pizza still there? We used to love the stuffed pizza they made.

99jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 26, 11:03pm Top

>98 drneutron: Bilbo's closed in May 2000 which was just before my time (like, a few months). There's still one in Kalamazoo though, I think. Campus/Grand River has really changed a lot in the last decade or so. Lots of new buildings.

100aktakukac
Mar 27, 11:28am Top

>95 jennyifer24: I have a friend from college who also lives in Marysville, and she married a guy who went to U of M.

My husband's aunt worked at a hospital at OSU, and she gets season football tickets. We went to the MSU/OSU game a couple years ago where MSU won. My husband knew OSU wasn't going to win, and he made us leave early to get out ahead of all the traffic. I, of course, was wearing green :)

101jennyifer24
Mar 27, 5:22pm Top

haha, good work! I've been to a couple of games there but never good ones that we won. That wasn't the field goal winning game was it? (I guess that one wasn't decided until the end...)

102aktakukac
Mar 28, 9:54am Top

Yes, it was that game...but we left before the field goal. That was the best game we've been to (in my opinion), although the weather was horrible. We've gone to a couple others where OSU has blown the other team out of the water, so they were kind of boring.

103drneutron
Mar 28, 10:54am Top

>99 jennyifer24: Say it ain't so! Ah well, I'm sure that area's changed quite a lot over the last 30 years. 😀

104jennyifer24
Mar 28, 8:49pm Top

>102 aktakukac: !!! I'm so sorry you left early!! :-(

>103 drneutron: There have been many changes. One of the funniest/strangest is that they remodeled a lot of the dorm cafs. People go to Brody now for date nights! I went with a friend a year or so ago and it was really nice! Stations with different food options, Dairy Store ice cream! I lived in Case, and now they apparently have sushi. Crazy stuff! These kids nowadays don't know how lucky they are :-)

105jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 28, 9:10pm Top



13. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
March 25

This was a favorite book of mine somewhere in my teens, but I haven't reread it for many years. It came right back though.

Kit moves from Barbados to the Connecticut colony to live with her aunt's family after her Grandfather's death. Her upbringing has not prepared her for Puritan life in New England in 1687. I read some GoodReads reviews complaining about Kit's whining about her new surroundings, but I think she actually does pretty well. The shift from a life of luxury and freedom to Puritan Connecticut is probably not one many people would adjust to quickly. Her uncle used to give me anxiety and the mob mentality is still frightening, but tamer than I remember. Kit is not perfect, but there are lots of potential discussion points involving the characters' perspective and experience with slavery, religion and personal freedoms. (It's not a book I've ever discussed with anyone, but I can see it starting conversations, or being a piece of a conversation about those topics)

106jennyifer24
Edited: Apr 15, 4:19pm Top



14. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
March 26

Five kids go to detention after school. One kid dies. Who did it?
There were some interesting twists and turns to the story, and also some cliche parts. I felt like all the characters seemed too unlikely to have done it. I guess that's part of the mystery- they all seem innocent! This book reminded me a bit of This is Our Story but having the narration come from the suspects definitely changes things. I liked the characters' story arcs, and felt we really got to know them, and there was some real growth. A few parts were pretty predictable, but there were a few surprises along the way.

This book definitely kept my interest- I probably would have finished it in one sitting if I hadn't started it at 8 on a Sunday night!

107jennyifer24
Edited: Mar 28, 11:41pm Top

Have to do a little movie promotion- The House with the Clock in Its Walls was written by John Bellairs who grew up in my hometown. He based the town in his books on it. This book is a classic to me, but I haven't seen it much outside of growing up. Very odd and cool to see it in movie form! I'd definitely recommend any of his books! I think I started reading them around fourth grade- dark, gothic, fantasy, horror

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls053181649/videoplayer/vi4077434905?ref_=hm_hp_i_3

108jennyifer24
Edited: Apr 15, 4:19pm Top



15. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
April 14

Alice wakes up from a severe bump to the head thinking it's ten years ago. She's struggling to reconcile what she remembers to what is happening in her life now.

This is my first Moriarty book, although I've definitely heard of her. I thought the premise was so interesting. It bugged me a little that people had changed so much but overall I was drawn into the story and cared about the characters. There are so many things to think about her missing- technology, current events, etc. alongside the personal events the story focuses on. Definitely will read more of her books.

109alphaorder
Apr 15, 9:40am Top

>108 jennyifer24: I've never read her either, although many people seem to enjoy her work.

110jennyifer24
Apr 15, 3:59pm Top

>109 alphaorder: I'd recommend this one! The premise was so interesting, I thought!

111jennyifer24
Edited: May 4, 5:40pm Top



16. Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha
April 15

The author and her husband find themselves in thousands of dollars of dept to the IRA. They move into a cabin in the mountains outside Asheville, NC to save on expenses.

As a book about living in the wilderness, spending time in nature, and making an effort to live off the land, this was an enjoyable read. There are too many encounters with snakes and spiders (any is too many for me, lol!), but I could picture their cabin and land in the woods, and it seems like a simpler lifestyle has been beneficial. There are some wonderful stories about the author's family and their ties to Appalachia.

As a book about recovering from financial disaster, this was aggravating. The author pretty honestly (I think) lays out their financial situation and does put the blame on (her husband's) poor financial decisions. However, I don't think they really came out of the situation any financially smarter. The book is filled with references to local craft beers, vet visits, driving long distances to buy goats when they don't have gas money, etc. I don't understand a lot of their choices. The author doesn't seem concerned enough about her financial situation to pursue more work, but instead buys goats and makes herself cheese and soap because she's always wanted to.

This book definitely wants to be about living in the cabin, and not about living with debt, but it's hard to focus on one and not the other. They do drastically change their lives, but they seem to live around this 100k+ debt instead of facing it (which is how they got into the mess in the first place).

112thornton37814
Apr 17, 8:56am Top

>111 jennyifer24: Wasn't it a dreadful book?

113jennyifer24
Apr 28, 3:07pm Top

>112 thornton37814: definitely not a favorite! Won't be rereading.

114jennyifer24
Edited: May 13, 8:43pm Top



17. Still Me by Jojo Moyes
April 28

Third in the Me Before You Series. This one was so much better than the second. I feel a lot better about the series as a whole now that there is a third book. I don't want to give too much away but Louisa moves to NYC to become a social secretary for a rich wife who has a difficult time fitting into the social scene. Lou's life takes a lot of twists and turns- which wasn't too surprising based on the first two books!

115jennyifer24
Apr 28, 3:13pm Top

I'm teaching in a new building this year, and something a lot of the lower el classes do is an ABC countdown- so some fun activity for each of the last 26 days of the year, each starting with a letter of the alphabet (so art project, bubbles, chalk drawing, etc.). As a twist, I'm going to read a picture book with each letter of the alphabet. I'm trying to pick books I haven't read in class this year. Amazingly, we have to start the countdown this Tuesday! I'll post them here too :-) I was putting together a basic list so I had some ideas, and I was a bit surprised about some of the books we haven't read this year- might have to do 2 for a few letters!

116alphaorder
Apr 28, 6:28pm Top

>114 jennyifer24:

Glad to hear! This is in my stack. I think I have been putting off reading it because I didn't love the second one.

117MickyFine
Apr 30, 12:36pm Top

>115 jennyifer24: That sounds like a lot of fun. I hope the kids dig it. :)

118jennyifer24
May 4, 5:38pm Top

>117 MickyFine: They've been pretty excited so far. May has a lot going on though! I'm glad I opted for books over other stuff. Routine is already pretty hard to come by!

119jennyifer24
Edited: May 13, 8:42pm Top

ABC countdown books so far:





I'm surprised that I haven't read A, B, and D to the class yet- I usually fit them in somehow. I've owned The Curious Garden for maybe a couple of years and somehow have never read it. I love his illustrations. So, this is turning into a great second chance for me to read books I haven't gotten to yet.

120jennyifer24
Edited: May 13, 8:50pm Top



18. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
May 2

I'll post more later, just trying to get caught up. I saw the movie opening weekend with my dad and sister, and then read it afterward. I usually have good luck watching first then reading, and it worked this time too.

121jennyifer24
Edited: May 20, 5:33pm Top



19. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
May 9

not sure what's wrong with the cover link...

122jennyifer24
Edited: May 20, 5:32pm Top

123jennyifer24
Edited: May 20, 5:26pm Top

ABC countdown update





Fortunately was a big hit. I'd never read it before but it'd be a fun mentor text for a writing project. We got to watch Harry the Dirty Dog and I Want My Hat Back on hoopla. Goggles! is one of my favorite Keats books- another one I don't know how I missed!

124foggidawn
May 14, 9:18am Top

I'm loving your ABC Countdown picks!

125jennyifer24
May 14, 7:53pm Top

>124 foggidawn: Thanks! It's been fun to find some new-to-me books and also to get a second chance to read some I should have read earlier :-) I need to figure out how to work more picture books in to the theme studies our reading program does. I miss being able to pick my own books to use to teach reading. I used to do almost all chapter books when I did snack read aloud, but last year when I taught first grade I only did picture books and I've carried some of that over back into second grade this year. It's fun to read so many and to hear kids start to pick out favorite authors or artistic styles and then seek out those authors themselves!

126jennyifer24
Edited: May 30, 8:00pm Top



127jennyifer24
Edited: May 20, 5:46pm Top



21. Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
May 19

Finished it! This was a book club book for April (oops!) but I finally just got through it. Dante travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise in response to a mid-life moral crisis. Virgil leads him through Hell and Purgatory and then Beatrice, a woman he loved, leads him through Paradise.

The Inferno and Purgatorio were much easier for me to understand than Paradiso. They read more as a description of what Dante saw, while Paradiso was more theological. If I reread this, I think I'd just read Paradiso and get an edition with more information included. The Canto overviews were very helpful but apparently I needed more background knowledge and information. I do think that overall, the book was not as difficult as I had imagined. The language is pretty simple and the first two books at least, are pretty straightforward in their descriptions. Dante does a lot of name-dropping, and his descriptions in hell can be deceptively simple- not a lot of flowery, adjective-filled language, but when you think about what he's actually describing...probably not too far off what many might imagine.

The cover picture shows the version I read, translated by John Ciardi (this is what the library has, not sure how it ranks as a translation).

128jennyifer24
May 29, 8:10pm Top

4 1/2 days of school! I'm working a bit on Les Mis while also watching a lot (too much) tv and avoiding all things to do with report cards, paper grading, room cleaning, etc. Oops...

129MickyFine
May 30, 12:34pm Top

>128 jennyifer24: You can make it! Did you find a decent picture book that started with Q?

130jennyifer24
Edited: May 30, 8:15pm Top

>129 MickyFine: Ooh, thanks for the reminder to update (and another excuse to avoid report cards!). We read Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood which probably wasn't their favorite, but was at least a real picture book starting with Q! There are some good writing lessons in that book though! We're so close, although our field day was moved from tomorrow to Monday due to Alberto the tropical depression. A first for me (and probably the state of Michigan too). Always something!

131jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 5, 5:06pm Top






Pezzettino was a late add from the school library, and what a good one! Leo Lionni has so many good books and so many overlapping themes. It's fun to read his books.

132MickyFine
May 31, 1:47pm Top

>130 jennyifer24: Good luck surviving the indoor-recess I assume comes with that tropical depression.

133jennyifer24
May 31, 5:28pm Top

>132 MickyFine: It was originally supposed to rain Wednesday/Thursday and then didn't rain until about 7pm last night and blew through by this morning. So, thankfully, they got to go out!

134MickyFine
Jun 1, 1:22pm Top

>133 jennyifer24: Woohoo! And now almost weekend! How much longer after classes end are you at school for?

135jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 7, 10:50am Top




We did it! I finished Zathura at 11:55 before our noon dismissal so I just snuck it in. We had a couple of all-school events that made it tight. I had originally planned to read The Z was Zapped, which I always read on the first day, but after we read Jumanji they wanted to hear the sequel instead.

X was my one kind of cheating letter, but it seemed the best way to go :-)

136jennyifer24
Jun 5, 5:10pm Top

>134 MickyFine: We just have to complete our check-out list and have the principal sign-off so technically we could be done pretty close to noon today (kiddos had a half day). I usually take my time more with cleaning up in my room, so I'll come back tomorrow to get everything done.

137jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 7, 10:57am Top



22. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
June 4

Famous film star Evelyn Hugo has lived a quiet, private life in her later years, but is now ready to reveal her life story to one lucky journalist.

In many ways this book had much less fluff than I expected. There are lots of interesting and controversial topics that would make it a good discussion book.

138jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 18, 3:50pm Top



23. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
June 7

I like Anna Kendrick's films but this book was kind of ehhh, to me. I guess I don't love her mean sense of humor, but otherwise I can't put my finger on why it was disappointing. For me didn't stack up to some other celebrity memoirs I've read (it's hard not to compare). It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great.

139jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 20, 12:59pm Top



24. Cold Sassy Tree
June 15

A boy narrates the happenings in his small southern town of Cold Sassy.

A lot of drama unfolds in this small town in the short duration of the novel. Will's grandpa opens the book by marrying the milliner from his story a mere three weeks after his wife has died. From there, the family deals with (and causes) a string of events.

The story takes place in 1906 in Georgia. The inherent racism and the references to the Civil War and Confederacy were matter-of-fact and not addressed as a plotline. They were there as authentic parts of that time and place. It was surprising to me to read this as accepted fact of the time, but I also felt like it had to be written that way. These were feelings of the time and as a reader I learned more by having them in than if the author had left them out. The author also writes true to the accent of the time and place, which was sometimes difficult to understand. I didn't mind- the few times I couldn't understand right away, context clues helped out. I did find that a bit of the slight southern accent I had picked up from 7 years in Virginia popped back up over the few days I was reading :-)

The action of the story kept me interested and I read the book pretty quickly. I'm not sure, though, that there was a real arc to the story. I'm not sure anything was really solved at the end. This didn't prevent me from enjoying the book, but I didn't feel the satisfaction of closure at the end. (The author wrote a sequel, but didn't finish it before her death. Leaving Cold Sassy is published- I'm not sure if I'll read it or not. That could contribute to my lack of closure though!)

140jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 24, 9:54pm Top



25. Endurance by Scott Kelly
June 20

Scott Kelly shares life lessons and challenges learned throughout his life and specifically during his one-year mission to the International Space Station.

I'm always intrigued by what people do in their jobs. As a teacher, I've basically been going to school my whole life, and so I don't have a lot of experience in what people in other jobs do all day. This was a great look at the life of an astronaut. Scott Kelly became an astronaut during the shuttle era, and then transitioned to the ISS and it's very different types of missions. He completed a year on the station, completing many experiments. The two major experiments were the Twin Study (his twin brother Mark, also an astronaut, stayed on Earth and they have been and still are doing many experiments on how the body changes in space) and lots of testing to see how long-term life in space affects people.

Scott started off as a Navy pilot and test pilot. I was surprised to learn how poorly he had done in K-12 and even the beginning of college. I think his story would definitely be inspirational to someone who didn't find their calling early on, who floundered a bit, or who had a hard time following traditional rules. I also love that his inspiration, when it came, was through a book! :-)

This book flips between chapters during his year on the ISS and chapters detailing his early life and career. It wasn't really confusing but sometimes frustrating as you got caught up in one part of the story. There are a lot of personal stories and space exploration history. It was interesting to piece my own history into his stories- I remember reading about some of the things that happened to him during time on the ISS as they were happening. I have also showed some of his ISS videos to my students.

Well worth the read!

141jennyifer24
Jun 24, 10:02pm Top



26. Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinley
June 23

Scarlett is featured in a viral video showing the downfall of her relationship. She goes to England, where her cousin runs a hat shop left to the cousins by their grandmother, to avoid scrutiny. When she arrives, Vivian is missing, and the scandal and drama Scarlett had tried to escape follows her.

I've read all of Jenn McKinley's Cupcake Bakery series and really enjoy it. This one did work as well for me. I didn't like the characters as much, and there were some weird plot points that bugged me. Overall, though, it was a good premise and mystery. I'll probably give the series one more chance with the second book.

142jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 27, 11:14am Top



27. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
June 24

I did it! I got this book for Christmas, started reading in January intending to read a bit each day (as you do in January, lol), didn't read much between February and June, and then read most of it in the last two weeks. Nothing like a book club deadline to get you moving!

I went into this book knowing nothing about it- haven't seen any stage productions or movies (which somehow happened even though it's my best friend's favorite musical...) and really had very little idea of what it was about.

I'm glad I read this book. The way Hugo lays a scene and tells a backstory (all the backstories!) is impressive and really puts you into the time and place. That might also be the one downside- so much information was hard to take in at times and also took me out of the story (I'm looking at you, history of French sewers!). I loved how the storylines fit together and how the book makes you think about so many different events and themes and characters' actions and traits. I'm eager to talk about it at book club- lots there to think about.

143MickyFine
Jun 26, 4:37pm Top

That history of the French sewers is one of the reasons I'd have been ok with an abridged version in retrospect. ;)

144jennyifer24
Jun 27, 11:12am Top

>143 MickyFine: It was actually interesting, just not what I wanted to read in the middle of the action, haha!

145jennyifer24
Edited: Jun 28, 10:31am Top



28. The Power by Naomi Alderman
June 25

Girls and women gain the power to release electricity through their hands. Religion, gender norms, world power structures are all in turmoil.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I think I'm still figuring out what to think. I read that the author has a quote along the lines of 'only men think this is a dystopian book'. These things have happened in world history, just with men in charge. The shift in perspective in this book is both telling and alarming. As a social commentary, it's powerful.

The author definitely challenges the idea that a woman-run world would be more peaceful and cooperative. The women who rise to power in this novel are just as corruptive, power-hungry and evil as some men in power have been. And they only rule for ten years before the women in power decide they've screwed up so badly they need to wipe the planet clean and start again (of course, I'm sure the actual women who screwed everything else made sure they had bunkers before killing everyone else). As I think more about this book, it seems less about gender and more about power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That feels like the main message of this book. It feels more like a mind-bending commentary on what has already happened in our world.


Chime in if you've read! There's a lot to unpack!

146jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 16, 2:10pm Top



29. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Four young sisters, their father and pet Hound travel to a new spot for vacation this summer. They're staying in a cottage behind a large manor house, and find adventure everywhere!

This book harkens back to a different style of book I haven't seen or read in a while. Even though it's written recently, it feels older. This was a fun, light summer read. My reading's been on the darker side this year, as I look back, and I think I need to find more books like this!

147jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 20, 4:00pm Top



30. Iron King by Julie Kagawa
July 1

Meghan's brother is kidnapped which leads her to discover that she's actually half-fey. She travels with her protector (Puck, who she knew as her friend Robbie Goodfell, lol) to Faery to find her brother and discovers more about her life and this new world.

I don't know enough about fey to know how much world building the author did, and how much was just using what's already out there in mythology as a setting. I thought the premise was interesting. It fell into some YA cliches for sure, and there were some annoying plot holes/parts I thought should have been addressed differently but it kept me interested and wanting to read more.

148jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 16, 2:24pm Top



31. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
July 7

The Penderwick sisters continue to have adventures at home. Another fun, light read. I love the camaraderie of the sisters and the neighborhood.

149jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 17, 1:42pm Top



32. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
July 10

It's a new summer and the sisters are splitting up. Rosalind is going to New Jersey with her friend Anna and the other sisters are going to Point Mouette, Maine with their aunt. As always, they have plenty of adventures to fill their time. You can tell in this book the sisters are starting to grow up.

150jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 16, 8:28pm Top



33. The Water Room by Christopher Fowler
July 15

Second in the Bryant & May series. They are in their new offices, and a suspicious death quickly falls into their laps. It's intertwined with the stories of everyday lives of a neighborhood, facts and mythology of London's underground hidden rivers, and the quirky personalities of the two detectives and their teams.

I really enjoyed this book. I think I should have read it in larger chunks because it was sometimes hard to keep up with the events and characters. It reminded me a bit of Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot because of the underground river connections. They deal with them in very different ways, but the topic is one I really knew nothing about.

151jennyifer24
Jul 16, 8:34pm Top



34. The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
July 16

This book starts about 5 years after the last one takes place, and it feels different. Rosalind, the eldest sister, is in college, and the focus is more on the younger Penderwicks, especially Batty. This book is one big life lesson about being kind to others, appreciating that we all have challenges in our lives, and the powerful influence of having people in your life who care about you. I was basically a sobbing, crying mess for the entire second half. I think I have to read something else before I can read the last book- I'm not ready to let go of the Penderwicks yet!

152foggidawn
Jul 16, 10:21pm Top

>151 jennyifer24: Glad you enjoyed it, tears and all! The next book jumps forward in time again, and I found it less of a tear-jerker.

153jennyifer24
Jul 16, 11:18pm Top

>152 foggidawn: Oh good, I think I cried myself out! I didn't love that big time jump- it took me a bit to get into it and adjust everyone's age. I think it would have been easier if I hadn't been reading them all back-to-back!

154foggidawn
Jul 17, 8:50am Top

>153 jennyifer24: Yeah, I was a little sad to miss out on so many years of Penderwickian shenanigans, but the author has said that she didn't want to write about the girls' teenage years, so I guess that's the reason for the jump.

155jennyifer24
Jul 17, 9:46am Top

>154 foggidawn: Oh, interesting! I was wondering how she decided what to put in and what to leave out. I was thinking that she must have thought of so many more things that happened to them- it'd be hard to edit down!

156jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 23, 3:36pm Top



35. The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
July 17

Boy is hired out as a servant to a pilgrim in the Holy Year 1350. The pilgrim, however, turns out to be quite an unusual pilgrim, a man who escaped Hell seeking Heaven. And Boy has some secrets of his own. An angel who doesn't know he's an angel? They travel toward Rome, seeking the relics of St. Peter.

This book had some interesting twists and turns, good character development, and a focus on self-identity and the pilgrimage of life that fits the target age-group audience. It's religious, which I think it has to be since it's a story of 14th century pilgrimage. It's also complicated- good and evil intertwine and challenge the characters throughout. There are several moral dilemmas that I'm not sure I'd agree with the author about but it's a book that made me think and question, and I appreciated that. It is beautifully written- a good example that books don't have to be long and wordy to tell a complete story. And I loved the cover- that's how I stumbled across it in the library.

157jennyifer24
Jul 20, 3:54pm Top



36. Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
July 19

Second in the series. Meghan Chase (so many people in this book refer to her as Meghan Chase every time they talk to her, which I think is funny, since I also tend to be a first name, last name person to a lot of people) is stuck in the Winter Court with Queen Mab. The Summer Court comes to hand off the Scepter of Seasons, but it's quickly stolen by the Iron Fey. The Winter Court blames the Summer Court and marches to war, leaving Meghan et al to find and reclaim the scepter.

I almost gave up on this book a couple of times. YA cliches were out in full force. First, it makes me crazy that Meghan either defeats a beast/fights her way out of a situation, or hides in a corner and does nothing. Could no one give her a weapon? Also, the love triangle is ridiculous. It's already hard to believe that Ash and Meghan are so very deeply in love. The chemistry and relationship development wasn't that well written, to me, in the first book. Also, two thirds of these characters are hundreds or thousands of years old, yet act like teenagers, and fall in love with a teenager. Is that a thing? I don't know... . Anyway, I finished it. A couple of questions were answered, a few new ones popped up. There's enough of a mystery hanging around like confirming my prediction about this book's title that I will probably/maybe get back to this series, but I'm taking a break for now.

158jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 24, 11:49am Top



37. There There by Tommy Orange
July 23

This debut novel chronicles the lives and events leading up to a powwow in Oakland, California. The location, people and events are all connected, and the connections are made clear throughout the story.

I want to say this book feels authentic, real, powerful; but I feel weird without qualifying it by saying I have zero authority to make those calls. I love that this book is a way for the author to fulfill a theme in the story- the importance of sharing your story and the importance of the stories of current, modern people, not just the traditions of the past.

I thought it was really well-written and gives perspective into so many people and situations. My only critique is that there were so many characters, it was sometimes hard to keep them straight. I had to go back a reread a few times (especially since I didn't read all at once).

159jennyifer24
Edited: Jul 30, 3:50pm Top



38. The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
July 24

Essie is the youngest of six. Her family is on a reality show that chronicles their lives and her father's ministry. When Essie becomes pregnant at 16, Essie's mother works to spin the story to put them in the best light. I feel that's about all I can say without giving anything away.

This book is a page-turner. I stayed up way too late reading it. Not sure this is really a spoiler, but I like going into books without knowing anything that's coming so...the writing includes enough fore-shadowing and suspense that you're constantly making predictions and anticipating how it's going to go vs. how you want it to go. Lots of important issues are addressed, and I don't think the author shies away from them. Liberty's addition as mentor with a sort-of similar past is a pretty interesting addition to the book.

160Dejah_Thoris
Jul 30, 1:38pm Top

I'm just popping into say hi, because I noticed that you added Constance to the TIOLI wiki. Is it a reread for you? It was for me. i thought it held up rather well!

I saw that you reread The Witch of Blackbird Pond this year as well. I think I intended to read when you did, but it didn't happen.

I was a little dismayed when I saw your comments about Scrappy Little Nobody just now - I checked it out last month to join you, but ran out of time. I'm thinking about it for TIOLI #1 in August, but now I'm no so sure.

And congratulations on finishing Les Miserables!

161jennyifer24
Jul 30, 3:34pm Top

>160 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks for stopping by! Constance was a reread- I saw it on the list after you added it and it sounded familiar but I really didn't remember much. I'm glad I reread it- there's a lot in there! Witch of Blackbird Pond was one of my most favorite books for a lot of my teens.

I was disappointed too about Scrappy Little Nobody- I wanted to like it and I thought I would- maybe it just didn't hold up for me against other memoirs, I don't know. Don't give up on it just because of me- maybe you'll love it!

Thanks about Les Miserables! I never would have probably started it, let alone finished it, if it hadn't been a book club selection, but I ended up really liking it a lot!

162jennyifer24
Edited: Aug 10, 12:18pm Top



39. The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
July 26

I was going to wait a bit longer to read this last installment, but I'm glad I finished out the series now, while the others are fresh. Big time jumps in books (or in series, like this one) have never been my favorite, but I understand why the author did it. Less emotional than book four, but I enjoyed everything about this book except I really didn't understand why Jeffrey's mom popped up so much. I think the wedding would have been fun to read, but the book was just fine without it too. I will look forward to rereading this series again eventually!

163jennyifer24
Jul 30, 3:56pm Top



40. Constance A Story of Early Plymouth by Patricia Clapp
July 29

A reread from a long time ago- I'm pretty sure I haven't read this since high school. Constance sails across the Atlantic on the Mayflower with her family. The book is written as a journal telling about her first six-ish years in Plymouth. It touches on a variety of topics including the disease that wiped out half the settlement the first winter, relations with and attitudes towards Natives, early government and repayment of debt, farming, the daily struggle to survive, and finding love. This is an accessible look at life in this time.

164jennyifer24
Jul 30, 5:24pm Top

Excited to start a Harry Potter reread tomorrow! Because if you're going to start a reread in the summer, may as well wait and do it on July 31 right?! I'm aiming to finish by September 1 (of course!). I've never read the entire series straight through so I'm looking forward to reading them as a whole and seeing what new things I pick up along the way :-)

165MickyFine
Jul 31, 12:58pm Top

Enjoy your re-read, Jenny. I often end up re-reading HP over the summer. It just seems the right time of year for those books. :)

166jennyifer24
Edited: Aug 10, 12:36pm Top



41. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
August 4

It's been a while since I've read this one. It was surprising (but maybe shouldn't have been) how much of the book is world-building vs. saving the stone. I love all the world building, so this does not bother me! I did catch a reference to Harry feeling like Snape could read his mind, which was a quick aside in the story, but does speak to Rowlings planning of the story.

I am wondering about the deluminator, which is called a "Put-Outer" in this book. Wondering if it changed in the movies only, or if it's changed in the later books (I remember it mostly from Deathly Hallows) or if it's a British/American thing.

167jennyifer24
Edited: Aug 10, 12:34pm Top



42. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
August 9

I love how Rowling takes her time revealing the wizarding world throughout the series, and how she uses Harry, Dean and others not born into wizarding families to do it. Floo powder, squibs, Phoenix etc. were revealed this way in this book. I know Rowling gets knocked for not editing down (and I know the big books are still to come!) but she has shown restraint, at least so far, in what she's illuminated for us. The three main characters are interesting in that Ron grew up with the wizarding world, and often contributes knowledge he's just known a long time; Hermione knows from reading (it's easy to forget she didn't grow up in a wizarding family because of what she knows) and Harry learns from his experiences and also his friends. Teamwork! :-)

168jennyifer24
Edited: Aug 16, 8:07pm Top



43. Wires and Nerve Volume 1
August 10

Found this browsing the TIOLI challenges. It's a graphic novel continuation of the Lunar Chronicles series, focusing on Iko. I'd prefer another novel to the graphic novel because I thought it lost something in the dialogue (which is interesting, because it's basically all dialogue...) compared to the earlier novels, but I'm excited for a glimpse at what comes next! Quick read, and the gang's all back!

169jennyifer24
Edited: Aug 14, 9:47pm Top



170jennyifer24
Aug 14, 9:48pm Top

Spent the day at Lake Michigan today. Back to school tomorrow for meetings and to set up my classroom, so this was the perfect last-day get-away. Perfect day for the beach!!

171aktakukac
Aug 15, 11:23am Top

Lots of good reading going on over here! I'm waiting for my e-audio hold of the first Penderwicks book to become available. I have a feeling I'll like it. And a Harry Potter re-read sounds lovely and is far overdue!

I'm used to schools in Michigan starting after Labor Day, but I think they changed that starting this year? They always started around the third week of August when I was in school, but by the time my youngest sibling graduated, they had changed to after Labor Day. Hope you have a good year, and be sure to mention picture books you use in your classroom :)

Ahh, Lake Michigan! I'm hoping to plan a Michigan vacation for my in-laws for next year. I convinced them to go to Frankenmuth a few years ago, just for a weekend getaway, and they liked that. Now I need to get them to see more of the Great Lakes and the Upper Peninsula.

172jennyifer24
Aug 15, 10:35pm Top

>171 aktakukac: Good to hear from you! I really enjoyed The Penderwicks- I think you'll like it too!! Harry is working well for the beginning of school. Except I haven't gotten to Umbridge yet- she's never my favorite to read!

I think the starting after Labor Day law is technically still on the books in Michigan. They've had an exemption for a while that districts can apply for, but it wasn't very common for anyone to do it. It's become more popular for districts to apply, and really has taken off this year. I think last year was our first year starting before. We do have a four-day weekend for Labor Day, which I think might be a requirement if you do get the exemption.

I hope you get to go on that trip soon! I forget how close some really beautiful places are. This beach was just an hour and a half from my house. And I live "pretty far" from the big lakes lol :-)

I hope everything is well with you!

173jennyifer24
Edited: Sep 4, 8:07pm Top



44. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
August 15

We learn so much in this book! It took reading this time around to really appreciate how much changed when Pettigrew escaped . The whole series and Harry's life takes such a different path. I love Lupin- he's the teaching opposite of Umbridge. His compassion for Longbottom is so great to read. It's interesting that we never see how some of the teacher treat students from other houses unless they have class with Gryffindor. I wonder how Slytherin reacts to Lupin, for example, or how Snape teachers Ravenclaws. As a teacher, I guess it makes sense I'm analyzing their teaching lol. The teaching in this one (aside from Lupin) got me down.

The frustrating part to me in this book, but throughout the series, is the lack of communication with Harry. Why doesn't Lupin share stories with him? Even if there are things they don't think he's ready to know yet, why can't Lupin at least tell him he and James were friends, and share some memories? It's so strange and sad to me that Harry is surrounded by people who knew his parents but hears so little about them.

174brodiew2
Aug 17, 12:41pm Top

Hello Jennyifer24! What a pleasure it is catching up with your thread. I loved seeing all the children's books as well a nice diversity of novels

>93 jennyifer24: The Power and the Glory sounds intense, but worthy of a look. Thank for the great review.

>105 jennyifer24: I read this in school as well. I remember liking it. Very atmospheric colonial story. That was the cover I read as well. thanks for the bit of nostalgia.

>120 jennyifer24: I loved RPO! I listened to the audio narrated by Will Wheaton.

>146 jennyifer24: I've heard of the Penderwicks and have thought to read it, but never gotten around to it. Looks like fun.

>156 jennyifer24: Book of Boy looks interesting. Nice review.

I have picture book recommendations, if you are interested. My kids are getting to be tweeners, but I love/loved reading picture books to them back in the day.

175MickyFine
Aug 17, 2:55pm Top

>173 jennyifer24: If you don't mind some critical thought about Harry Potter, might I recommend the podcast Witch, Please? So delightful and as the two hosts are academics they often discuss the pedagogy of the Hogwarts staff. :)

176jennyifer24
Aug 17, 7:18pm Top

>174 brodiew2: Thanks for checking in! I'm always happy for new picture books recommendations! Picture books on my page here will pick up soon since we start school Monday! I'm glad a few other books might be interesting to you too! Let me know if you read any of them! Did you see the RPO movie? I saw it before reading and thought it was pretty good. Probably because I did see it first, and also because they really change so much that I didn't get upset by lots of little changes.

>175 MickyFine: I'm glad for the recommendation! I actually happened upon it a bit ago but wanted to reread some myself before I started listening. Thanks for the reminder!! I'll definitely check it out to see what they say about the teachers!!

177jennyifer24
Edited: Aug 24, 9:35pm Top

Today was school day 3! Here are the books we've read so far...









updated to add the books for the rest of the week

178brodiew2
Aug 23, 12:23pm Top

Hello Jennifer!

>177 jennyifer24: Love these covers and I have read The Darkest Dark and Ada Twist, Scientist. The others look fun too. All of the Andrea Beaty books are a kick.

Random Q: What do do when you kids age out of picture books, but your favorite writers and illustrators are still producing quality books?

179jennyifer24
Aug 24, 9:44pm Top

>178 brodiew2: Well, I don't have my own kids and I get a new group of students each year, so this isn't something I've run into lol, but #classroombookaday is a challenge a lot of upper elementary and middle school teachers do with their students. The challenge is to read a picture book each day. #bookaday is similar but I think out of classrooms. Honestly, I read picture books to my mom sometimes; good ones that I find in the library that are funny. She's directed me toward some too. I think continuing to talk about the authors and illustrators, noticing when they have new books out, having those books available (from the library or otherwise) are all ways to keep the conversation going. Also, you're allowed to just enjoy picture books still yourself, even without your kids! I do check books out for my classroom but the public library doesn't actually know that when I go browsing :-) Picture books don't have to just be for little kids!

180jennyifer24
Aug 26, 2:20pm Top



45. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
August 26

Harry's name appears from the Goblet of Fire, binding him to participate in the Triwizard Tournament. He must face three challenges against three other champions, try to figure out who's entered him, and deal with the drama of his friends and classmates at Hogwarts.

Book 4, it's getting real. The Death Eaters are back, Voldemort is back, and Cedric :-( . This is the first book where the plot has taken over school. In the earlier books classes and quidditch are a main focus, and the Voldemort plot slips in. But now the good/evil plotline takes over. We also learn, again, so much new information. I love how Rowling drops information in, often subtly, in ways that move us along but often without realizing it. We know a bit more about Neville now, but still don't know how important he will be.

It's really bothering me that people have "gotten away" in two books in a row now. I know hindsight is 20/20, but Dumbledore really didn't think about having Fudge in listening to Crouch Jr.? He thought only Sirius needed to hear right away what had happened to Harry at the grave? Harry could save three people with a Patronus in PoA but McGonagall couldn't have saved Crouch Jr. from the dementors? She knew how important his testimony was... I understand that the Ministry's official position against Dumbledore is important coming up, but it's so frustrating!!!

Also, I'm reminded in these books why I teach elementary school, lol. Kids can be mean, and Harry getting more than his share. I know some people think he gets angsty, but he's 14 and really, just the school/classmate drama would be a lot, even without Snape and the tournament and Voldemort and everything else. Isn't Hermione great in this book though?! :-) A true friend, standing up for herself, and taking out Rita Skeeter .

181brodiew2
Edited: Aug 27, 1:55pm Top

>179 jennyifer24: Of course you are right, Jennifer. I may take that up #bookaday challenge and bring my kids along. There are so many cool stories being told, with amazing art work. I said I would drop a few recs so here are a few of my favorites:


182jennyifer24
Sep 1, 2:59pm Top

>181 brodiew2: I haven't heard of any of these, so thanks for all the recommendations!

183jennyifer24
Sep 4, 8:22pm Top



46. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
September 3

Dumbledore and the Ministry of Magic are at odds- Dumbledore reconvenes the Order of the Phoenix to fight Voldemort and the Deatheaters, while Cornelius Fudge leads the Ministry in a propaganda war to undermine Dumbledore and Harry.

This is my least favorite HP to read, even though lots of interesting things happen. #12 Grimmauld Place, St. Mungo's, the Ministry of Magic, the DA, Fred and George (!!) are all bright spots of this book. Some positive, but others just teach a lot about the wizarding world. But, the overall tone of this book is so negative. Ugh, it's a slog for me. I can barely handle Umbridge, and once had that fake vision of Sirius I had to stop reading. Then I stopped again when Kreacher lied. It's so awful. Hermione and Harry didn't even get to watch Ron be good at quidditch. Harry and Cho argue, Hermione and Ron argue, Harry's mad all the time, Neville's parents, Mr. Weasley, UMBRIDGE, teachers get fired, SIRIUS, the entire ministry part, everything being worse because people don't talk to each others, it's just hard to read. Also, why didn't Harry think of using the mirror instead of the fire?! Gah!

I'm so ready for HBP! (can you tell?!)

184jennyifer24
Sep 15, 1:43pm Top

The September reading slow-down is on. I'm still working through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince but schoolwork, football, and a flooring installation have slowed me down. I have been watching Friends on Netflix- I missed it the first time around and it's been the perfect show to watch while doing schoolwork.

I wanted to put in a plug for The House with a Clock in Its Walls. I can't vouch for the movie yet, but it's based on a great book geared toward middle-grade/ya readers. John Bellairs lived in my hometown Marshall, MI. He based the town in his books on Marshall. We did a "John Bellairs" walk in 4th grade to learn about some of the book settings. Marshall is a small town, and they are making the most of this movie!

John Bellairs wrote a lot of middle-grade/ya books. He primarily wrote gothic/horror/fantasy-type books. Worth checking out! I remember really enjoying a lot of them as a young reader (even when fantasy wasn't my thing!).

185drneutron
Sep 15, 7:18pm Top

Haven’t seen the movie, but I did notice it seems, well the best I can come up with is perky. I don’t remember The House With the Clock in its Walls like that - it’s been a looong time, but I remember something quite a bit more Gothic. Which really worked for me, way back when. It’s quite cool that Bellairs lived in your town!

186jennyifer24
Edited: Sep 15, 10:24pm Top

>185 drneutron: The movie comes out next week, and I'm with you- the tone will be interesting. His books (and those illustrations!) were definitely Gothic and dark. I purposely haven't read it in the last year so I won't be too picky about the movie. I want to like it! :-)

This article has some pictures of the house. https://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2018/09/michigan_town_celebrates_being.html

187ronincats
Sep 15, 11:07pm Top

I love John Bellairs, but my favorite book is his only adult book, The Face in the Frost. Shivers down my spine!

188jennyifer24
Sep 15, 11:21pm Top

>187 ronincats: I've never read that one...I'll have to find it! I feel like I've read a lot of his books, but there are so many!

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