May 2016 Reading List

41BfcrI4hML._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Tardy again, aargh! (Read this post for a bit of an explanation)

However, better late than never, right? So it is, my May 2016 reading list:

Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls, by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. My husband is in school earning his MAT, but when I saw this book sitting around, I had to read it too. In addition to having three precious granddaughters, I am  a teacher who works daily with at risk teens. Sax’s contention is that there are four factors at play in society that negatively impact the lives of girls and young women: premature pressure to address questions of sexual identity, the pressures of living in a cyberbubble, the dangers of obsessions, and the presence of environmental toxins. Sax cited numerous situations that have already had me concerned, and offers tips for parents (but also useful for educators) to help our young women grow up healthy and strong.

urlLockwood and Company: The Whispering Skullby Jonathan Stroud. This one I got from our school library. It is the second in a series (the first is: The Screaming Staircase). This is a YA fantasy novel set in a modern/futuristic London where “the problem” (ghosts, specters, and all kinds of disturbing supernatural phenomena) has been going on for a long time and young people are the only ones sensitive enough to the phenomenon to be able to get rid of it. The protagonists run an independent ghost-busting agency and are hired to provide protection when a graveyard is prepared for relocation. Darkness, chaos, and a contest with their most aggravating competitors ensues.

urlThe Skin Map (Book I of the Bright Empires Series), by Stephen Lawhead. For my husband and I, anything written by Stephen Lawhead cannot go terribly wrong. And so, with trust, when The Skin Map opened with a contemporary setting (something I very rarely have any interest in whatsoever) I hung on for what was for me a slow start. It paid off. Lawhead unfolds a mind bending (time bending) adventure that pops into ancient Egypt and 18th century England, China, and Prague. Enjoy.

If you were to ask me what was the best book of May, I would not be able to decide. However, Girls on the Edge was certainly the most alarming and thought-provoking and The Whispering Skull the best romp. I would recommend any of the three.

The First Day of Summer: A Remembrance

sun_in_shades.svg.hiCue the Alice Cooper: School’s Out for Summer! (Please, Jay, don’t take this too seriously. I’ll be quite happy to come back in September = ).)

However, we teachers at the DTLC were as ready for summer as the students. For me, it had been a year that started with post-concussion recovery, ended with allergy season, and was filled for the last six months with colds and asthma attacks.

On the last school day of the 2015-2016 year, I stood with delight on the threshold of summer. Let’s channel my own version of Cooper here:

  • No more getting up to the sound of an alarm clock before any time that could even begin to be classified as decent (ie. before 8:00 A.M.)
  • No more limping through the work day on the heels of another blasted cold.
  • No more regimented schedules with microscopic amounts of time for writing.

Summer. It’s here at last!

So, on the second day of summer break I wrote this to capture the magic of Day One and to remind myself that for every teaching year, this day will come:

The First Day of Summer Break

Slept late.
Read long.
Wrote all afternoon.
Paradise.

What about you? Any days you would like to commemorate? Write yourself a little list poem and keep it somewhere to encourage yourself. If you’d like to share, I’d love to preserve your treasure here for you here.

Tell me about one, wonderful day!

A Very, Very Late March & April Reading List

Ruin and Rising by Leah BardugoLate winter and early spring of 2016 has been one of the most difficult in recent years. Between asthma attacks and catching every little cold I came in contact with, I regret much of what I accomplished in these months relates solely to trying to get healthy, trying to stay healthy, and trying to fulfill my responsibilities at work. I am so grateful to be turning the corner into June!

Therefore, today I present my, again, much belated reading list. During the months of March and April, I read the following books.

Each book was eminently enjoyable in its own way. For any writer I would recommend putting Bell’s book on your reading list.

However, the books that made the greatest impact by far were Leah Bardugo’s Grisha series. These were the most gripping and shattering novels I have read in a long time. Bardugo’s Slavic-themed fantasy world is rich and fascinating. Her main character, Alina, is so vulnerable and alone, and what she must do and endure to save her world is devastating. She more than earns her ending. After putting down the final book, Ruin and Rising, I felt utterly broken and bereft (maybe even a little depressed, although I’m sure the Oregon gloom and my health struggles played the majority role in that). These are powerful books, and definitely turned me into a Bardugo fan.