Books · Reading Life · Teacher Life

Have you seen this book?

Have you seen this book?

SavinSaving Fable_Cover (1)g Fable by Scott Reintgen (@Scott_Thought)is an exciting mix of fantasy and adventure. Saving Fable is set in an imaginary world where characters train and wait to be picked to become parts of stories. Indira Story is one of those characters. Indira is hoping to become a protagonist in a story yet to be written, one that will be loved by readers everywhere — like Harry Potter. However, the process that leads to being picked by an author is demanding, and difficult. Some characters are destined to become side characters, antagonists, or worse, unfinished characters who spend eternity in the Sepulcher. 


Indira is a strong, female character. She faces many difficulties, including a classmate who seems bent on thwarting her every chance at success, and trusted adults giving her false information and advice. But Indira rises above her own doubts and difficulties, and becomes the hero that she was determined to become.

Middle grades readers who enjoy fantasy and adventure will enjoy this book. 

Books · Reading Life

What are you reading now?

I love to read. That is not a surprise to anyone who knows me. That has been a truth in my life as long as I can remember.

I currently have 231 book on my list of “to read” books in my Goodreads account. I currently have 4 books started, even though I promised myself to only read one book at a time this year.

I have 5 more e-books borrowed from the library through the Overdrive app — but I probably won’t even be able to open them before they expire. I guess the next time I get “hold happy”, I should limit my requests — I really didn’t expect all of the books to become available at the same time.


My goal is to not only get through half of my “to read” list this year — or at least 100 books since it goes without saying that there will be many more books to add to the list as the year progresses — but I also plan to blog about my reading.

The books I am currently reading are Beneath a Scarlet Sky, How Not to Die, The Bullet Journal Method, and The Summer of the Monkeys.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan is my book club’s selection for February. It is a WWII novel set in Italy. I have read many books about WWII, but I have never read one set in Italy. The main character is Pino, an 18 year old caught up in the conflict in his home of Milan. The story is a fictionalized version of true events.

I love this quote from this morning’s reading, “How do you find happiness?” Anna paused, then said, “You start by looking right around you for the blessings you have. When you find them, be grateful.” (p. 261, Kindle version).  Anna is a 24 year old maid to the mistress of a top ranking Nazi official in Milan. Pino is his driver, and is a front row observer of the atrocities of the war. I love this quote because it reminds me that there is beauty in life, no matter how hard the day may be.

I just started rereading How Not to Die by Michael Greger. I read this book last year, but I don’t think I really read it with intention. My plan is to read it slowly, and work to improve my diet throughout the year. Today I read the introduction. The main premise is that diet is the strongest component in health. What we eat will determine our level of health, both now and in our future. When we eat whole plant foods, and stay away from the processed foods that I love so much, our health will improve.

I also started reading The Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls this week. This is a middle grades novel, first published in 1998, about a 14 year old boy living in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma in the late 1800s. While looking for a cow that got out of the fenced pasture, Jay Berry Lee has discovered a monkey in the woods nearby. My 4th grade reading team has chosen this book as a read aloud for the 3rd quarter this year. I was able to get through the first couple of chapters during an all day planning lunch break on Thursday. My copy from Amazon just arrived in the mailbox, so I am anxious to continue reading this story.

The last book I am reading is The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. I picked up this book after seeing an online book club forming around it. I have been dabbling in bullet journaling for a few years, and I want to grow in my use of this method of ordering my life, in order to prioritize my days and activities. I have only read a few chapters, but one idea that has stood out to me is that while I keep myself very busy, I often choose activities that do not align with my life goals. For example, I often choose to watch hours of TV, which I enjoy, but the long list of books to read nags at the back of my head. If my goal is to read these books, which also gives me pleasure, I need to decide how many hours should be devoted to each pursuit, and possibly adjust the way I spend my days.

So that is the answer to the question, “What are you reading now?” I wonder if anyone will follow my year in pages.  I hope someone will join me.

Please let me know what you are reading.

 

Reading Life · Teacher Life

A Teacher’s Summer

June 13, 2018

Often people ask me, “What do teachers do during summer break?” Recently I have seen many people saying that teachers don’t need to be paid more because they only work 10 months a year. Today is the first day of my summer break (after two teacher workdays cleaning and moving classrooms), and I thought I’d share a little of what I’m doing.

Today, I feel compelled to make some reading plans. Summer is full of long, unscheduled days and still my list of summer reading is daunting. My summer reading includes many purposes. First, there is the pure pleasure reading and book club books. Then, there are the books assigned by my principal that must be read. I also signed up for some professional development classes that are book based classes. I’m changing grade levels, so I need to brush up on some current titles for the slightly younger set. And finally there is the tall stack of books that I have purchased, possibly started, but never really finished. I really want to dive into those books and check them off the list.

I am currently reading The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, as well as War and Peace by Tolstoy. I started that because of the PBS special “The Great American Read” — I can’t resist lists and that program came with a list of America’s top 100 books, so I picked the longest on the list to tackle. At least each chapter is short, so I feel like I can get a little read every day.

Here is my partial reading list for this summer.

Book club books

  1. Killers of the Flower Moon
  2. Little Fires Everywhere
  3. The Great Alone

 

Books for professional development

  1. The Growth Mindset Coach
  2. The Growth Mindset Playbook
  3. Embracing a Culture of Joy
  4. What Readers Really Do
  5. Joy Write

 

Books I have bought and want to read

  1. Angels Flight
  2. A Darkness More Than Night
  3. City of Bones
  4. Lost Light
  5. How Writers Work
  6. Poetry Matters
  7. Rooster Bar
  8. Lost City of the Monkey God

And the books I need to catch up on for my new grade level – I haven’t picked them out yet.

This is a small piece of what this teacher is doing over my summer break.

Reading Life · Slice of Life

4 Hours, 41 Minutes — Slice of Life Tuesday

4 hours and 41 minutes.

That is what my Kindle is telling me it will take me to finish my current library book, Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie.  I have 3 days and 8 hours before my loan ends and the title disappears from my Kindle library. How can 3 weeks go by so fast?

At the beginning of the summer, I thought I had a great plan for reading all of the books on my growing list. I simply put library holds on the books I wanted to read, using the Overdrive app linked to my local library, knowing that most of them had impossibly long lists of people ahead of me. If you have never tried the Overdrive app, it is simply amazing. You can link it to any library you choose. You can request e-books or audio books, and if the book is available you can start reading it as fast as it takes you to download. If the book has a wait list, an email will alert you to the book being checked out to you and ready for download. You can get Kindle format, or read on your device in EPUB or PDF formats (depends on the book). My school district has even partnered with our local library to provide ebooks to all students through Overdrive and their school id. And the best part — at the end of the loan period, the book just disappears — no late fees or last minute drives to the library to beat the clock. But as with all library books, if there is a wait list, you can’t renew the titles — you have to get back in line to borrow it again.

My plan was that my books would naturally pace themselves due to the long wait times. I was 30-90 people back from the top of the list for the most popular books I wanted — The Handmaid’s Tale, and Big Little Lies for example — the books I want to read before watching the shows (and probably everyone else in my area had the same idea).

At first, this plan worked well. For my first month of summer break, I would have one book to read and one on deck to read next. I even managed to read a paper book that had been collecting dust on my shelf. But then my holds caught up with me. I was getting 2-3 books a week checked out to me. I’m a fast reader, and I can usually cover 2-3 books during a summer week, but this book abundance coincided with a week’s vacation with limited reading time (I managed to read only 2 books, Camino Island by John Grisham and Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, primarily on our cross-country plane flights).

One year I assigned students the goal of reading and writing about a book a week. There were many days when I counseled students to make a plan to meet this goal — determine how many pages did they have to read each day to complete the book they chose, look at the rest of their commitments/assignments and determine how they would get this assignment completed. So now, I will counsel myself. For the next 3 days, I have to read at least 2 hours each day in order to finish this book before it disappears. I have to work this around other commitments, including a live-stream Drum Corp International event from Oklahoma tonight in which my 21 year-old son will be performing, getting my 18 year-old son through his college check-off list, my daily exercise and music goals, and basic household responsibilities.

I guess I need to go read…                             .225x225bb