Monday, January 16, 2012

What I'm Reading - Mid January

I'm participating in the twenty-one day comment challenge at Mother Reader.  It's been wonderful meeting so many good blogs & meeting their creators.  Check it out here.




 You can hook up with this kitlit meme: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA at teach mentor texts!  Here you can discover what others are reading and what they’re saying about them!


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!




     During this school year I have read a lot of books.  There are only two I read in a day.  In early September I read Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt and gave it immediately to a colleague, who then passed it on, and on and on.  It’s a marvelous book about a young man named Doug who is helped in a surprising way to find courage in solving his tough personal problems.  Yesterday I started and finished A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  Its basic premise, a young man who is experiencing great emotional turmoil because his mother is dying, is not surprising, but the metaphorical monster and what happens within and around the story of the interactions with the monster is uniquely poignant.  I am reminded of a character of a long while ago, a young man in the book Ordinary People by Judith Guest. The boy’s work with his psychiatrist was heart-wrenching, but not as metaphorical as Ness’s creations in A Monster Calls. The illustrations offer additional insight into the complex confusion of emotions when a loved one is dying.  The story asks us for sympathy and calls us to wish for a hint of some goodness in the world.  Ness is sly with his sympathy for the reader, but does offer clues that everything will be okay with the main character, Conor.  Even in the first encounter with the monster, we learn that Conor, and we the reader, are there to learn the truth, and that Conor will tell it at the end.  I can’t tell more, only these early words said to Conor: Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled.  Stories chase and bite and hunt.  And this story did.


     I have heard that both these books are contenders for the soon-to-be announced Newbery.  It’s clear to me that they are both books that should be put into the hands of students, to love and discuss and learn from whether their future covers carry a gold medal or not. 

Also read

It’s the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I was grown before I discovered her books, and even then I raced through them, happy to discover the connections throughout.  And I know how much they have meant to my own children and to my students over the years.  I have read this first one several times, and hope to get the 50th anniversary edition and watch all through the year the events that will be commemorating this fine book.  I loved every bit all over again, and will review it soon for a challenge I’m participating in offered by Gathering Books. 

Picture Books:

A Carpenter’s Gift, by David Rubel and illustrated by Jim LaMarche – from the cover: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree.  This is a pay-it-forward story that follows the growth and history of a pine tree that will become a tree at Rockefeller Center and of the little boy who plants it.  

The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel, illustrated by Janet Stevens.  This is a whimsical story about the tools in a teacher’s desk that help to save a little red pen so that papers can be graded.  It’s a spoof of the Little Red Hen story where all need to learn to work together, but they begin with such fun excuses as from the pencil:  I write all day and what do I get?  Sharpened down to a nub.  Who needs a nub?  It’s special to me because Janet Stevens is a parent of one of my former students.

Next: It really is John Green week for me, at least An Abundance of Katherines.  And I’ve heard so much about his latest, The Fault In Our Stars, that I might have to go find a copy.


15 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing "A Monster Calls," Linda - another one for my list. My YA bookshelves at school need freshening up, and this one looks like one of those great reads my advanced readers are always hungry for.

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  2. I adored A Monster Calls and hope it finds many awards. (And Okay for Now as well!) And somehow I never read Wrinkle in Time when I was growing up. I look forward to reading it during my #newbery readings.

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  3. I love A Monster Calls ,too. I think it has great hopes to win an award. I have had such an interesting experience being able to talk about it so frankly with Colby on my blog. It's just such a great book. I loved Okay for Now, too. I actually read Wednesday Wars and then read Okay for Now before It came out and they are both really good. I'm not sure which I like more. I really recommend The Fault in our Stars. John Green has outdone himself with it. I think it's my favorite of his now. :)

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  4. I got behind with the Comment Challenge this 3-day weekend so am spending today reading many many blogs so I can try to come up with FIFTEEN comments. Whew! I won't get behind again, I'll tell you that much. Thanks.

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    1. To Jim. I'm right in the same boat with you. I'm just hoping to hit 15 before the day starts getting too busy. So far, so good. I'm amazed at all the reading going on. I'm lucking if I can sneak in a couple magazine articles and the daily newspaper.

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  5. John Green is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors! Love his stuff! I re-read A Wrinkle in Time last year and it still resonated with me. Try to get your hands on When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, if you haven't already, because it makes a great companion book.

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  6. The way you keep hearing about TFiOS by John Green, I keep hearing about A Monster Calls. I think it is a must read. I haven't read anything by Siobhan Dowd, though, so I feel guilty reading this one.

    A Wrinkle in Time is one of those books my students have somehow missed out on. I think I am going to have to reintroduce them to it this week!

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  7. I really need to read A Monster Calls! I plan to read Ok For Now, but wonder if I should start with The Wednesday Wars. I don't think it's necessary to read them in order, but why not start at the beginning? Here is my list http://wp.me/pzUn5-N7

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing the link to the WRINKLE IN TIME events. I, too, read that book as an adult and loved it. I had no idea all that was going on to celebrate the book's anniversary!

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  9. Such a fun list of books. I've heard of A Monster Calls, but haven't added it to my list. So much to read, so little time.

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  10. Both of your 1 day reads are amazing reads! A Monster Calls is one of my favorite books ever.

    And enjoy John Green's books this week! (And you should definitely read The Fault in our Stars.)

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  11. A Monster Calls is amazing. Glad you loved it!

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  12. Oh wow, now I've even more convinced that I should get my teeth into this book! I am just about to finish Wonderstruck - and I would perhaps move on to this one next. I was actually reminded of The Savage by David Almond (although that one dealt with a recent death) and Slog's Dad also by David Almond and Dave McKean (which might be more along the lines of A Monster Calls). I've actually done a 2-in-1 feature of both books which you might want to check out here:
    http://gatheringbooks.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/a-david-almond-and-dave-mckean-special-for-gatheringbooks-haunting-tales/

    I just feel that they belong to the same family of books. :)

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    1. I love David Almond, but haven't read those two Myra. You are right though, it does have the flavor of Almond. I'll check out the review!

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  13. I read Okay for Now this week and loved it. I am going to read it to my class when we go back to school in February.(New Zealand).
    I haven't read A Monster Calls yet, but did find myself going back in time with nostalgia to Ordinary People by J Guest. Loved that book too.
    Kathryn

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Having a conversation is a good thing!