July Days

“This Book is Not Yet Rated” – great YA – enjoyed it – and just in time for Father’s Day when I read it – great book for someone who loves books:)

“The Undefeated” – great picture book – it won an award this past year, after all:) but great book

“Scary Stories for Young Foxes” – another great book – took a while to get to “great,” but it got there – and I enjoyed it – would love to add it to my sixth grade reading list

“Deacon King Kong” – Oprah liked it – so how could I not? 🙂 took a few pages, but I really enjoyed it after that – highly recommendable

“We Are Not From Here” – another great read – not for middle school, per se, but really good, gripping account

“SNES Encyclopedia” – AND if you’re a child of the ’90s, a must book recapping every game ever made for the SNES – wow, upon reflection, there were some really bad games made:)

“A Synthesizing Mind” – Howard Gardner – great book – will be my AAGC presentation this fall

Twas the week before Space Camp…

“Female of the Species” – very strange YA book – very strange – not every day you get to identify with a killer:)

“A Way With Words” – good reminder that what we say online is important – meaningful – and we are held accountable

“Luke Skywalker Adventure: Weapon of a Jedi” – book I won from Ms. Blount – enjoyed it

“Schoolhouse Burning” – excellent book about how we’re not funding public schools to the degree we should

“Kind of a Big Deal” – really funny YA on a kid who “peaked” in high school and her struggles afterwards – references to musicals!!!

“Mighty Justice” – for young readers – probably high school/upper middle school – excellent book

“Exercised” – Harvard researcher on the conflicts between our bodies really always wanting to lounge around but having been designed for activity – great book

Start of Summer 2020…

“Be All In” wonderful new book by a former USWNT player – wrote 3 pages of notes on all I learned from the book

“Pastport: Alabama” – breezy guide to all 67 counties in the state for the bicentennial – it was interesting

“Furyborn” – funny in all the wrong ways:) definitely not a YA book if the Y means young:)

“This is Shakespeare” – good overview of 20 of his plays – the chapters on the ones I cover were interesting

“The Outside Circle” – graphic novel about a program for Native Americans in Canada – good

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” – Hunger Games prequel – good – lived up to the hype – feel like there could be more of these books coming

“The Football Girl” – book prize winner – meh

“Some Tellable Tales of Shelby County” – Judge Head’s recollection of Columbiana – enjoyable read

“Forever Terry” – great book on a great person – still remembered well in Canada 40 years later – really enjoyed this one

“The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost Kiss” – cute YA – good math jokes in there – good description of math/sci gifted characters

“Go Set a Watchman” – took me long enough to read, I guess – really hadn’t missed anything though in my opinion

just another last day school…

“Rise and Fall of Stan Lee” – interesting read – Lee was the face of Marvel – and there’s a good case for why he shouldn’t be – complicates his legacy – and the last 20 years of his life were bad

“Code Name Verity” – reread – from the Ms. Blount files – a book I won – did not remember it nearly as well as I thought I did

“Gods at Play” – really good book – needed a sports book – and this one was the memories of a sportswriter – new stories – I enjoyed it

“Hunger Games” – beginning of the trilogy – Katniss was a more sympathetic character than I remembered

“Catching Fire” – this is was my first reread of the trilogy – to have not watched any of the movies beyond the first one, I gave myself credit for remembering quite a bit

“Mockingjay” – good friend told me she reread the series and appreciated the politics – I didn’t remember any but the anti-war message – but I caught a bit more this time – b/c honestly, why would you wear a Mockingjay pin at the end of the book? the rebellion was just as problematical as the Capital – and I did not remember the ending as “hopeful” as the final key was

“Here to Stay” – a Ms. Blount freebie – and good – it was set in Boston – that’s all I need – but some basketball references – and the book definitely wins for most correct uses of “whom” I’ve ever read

“Blood for Blood” – highly recommendable – I am not a fan of WWII fan fiction – I think it’s overdone – but this one was well done

Re-Opening Day…

“Cary Grant” – book for my mother – I read it b/c it’s not like I don’t have time to read everything right now:) interesting book – sad though

“Evil Angels” – from Dr. Rush – she gave up sports radio for podcasts – and this book was about a podcast – it was an interesting book – took me 30 pages to kick it into gear, but I did enjoy it – and I’m counting the book as professional learning:)

“The Called Shot” – my sweetspot – a sports book – about the 1932 baseball season – I did enjoy that one

“Elway” – this was another sweetspot – Broncos QB when I grew up – his dad was a coach and I learned a few lessons in the book from him

“Stars of Alabama” – disappointing – I guess – I mean, if everyone likes it, that’s usually a sign I won’t, except…

“Kite Runner” – should’ve read this book long ago – very well done – SCHS summer read at some point – I got it from a former student – but very good

“She Comes by it Natural” – another pleasant surprise – about Dolly Parton – I enjoyed the book’s effort to tie Parton into feminist themes from the past 40 years – very well done

“Above the Clouds” – book on a mountaineer – but he’s also a really good distance runner – it was okay – I knew if I didn’t read it and saw people later saying it was great, I’d be upset that I hadn’t read it – so now that I’ve read it, meh, was better off not reading it:)

“Racing the Rain” – first in a running trilogy that’s my all-time fave – so a re-re-re-read – at least – but good

“Once a Runner” – probably fourth time I’ve read it – but first time in at least 5-6 years – I did enjoy it

“Again to Carthage” – the final book in the series – and, again, a great read:)

done with the reread-a-thon…

“Inheritance” – finished the Eragon series – long – I did enjoy the last book once upon a time – I did again this time too

“How to build a Story or the Great What If” – good book on writing for YA audience

“Little Cities: Chicago” – enjoyable – a picture book for kids about Chicago – where I hope to run this fall

“Little Cities: Boston” – again, same theme and same hope – both books mentioned baseball – the Red Sox and Cubs (the White Sox don’t exist, apparently)

“Apostle of Persuasion” – theory was that Paul used rhetoric and message to write – it was good – but heady

“The Infinite Game” – good business book with edu tie-ins

“Keep Running” – enjoyed this one on running – by a good coach in the community

“Teacher in Space” – great book – bio – on Mcauliffe and the Challenger – made me look up some things about the Teacher in Space program during that time

“Too Much Information” – on the limits of information – how too much can distract us from what’s beneficial

April brings out the series challenge…

One down (Harry Potter), one to go (Inheritance Cycle) – the great “re-read challenge”

“Sorcerer’s Stone” – enjoyed it – I think I’d forgotten how much Quidditch was in the early books – I’m sad that they dropped out – probably b/c I’m missing sports:)

“Chamber of Secrets” – this was the book where I discovered Harry was born in 1980 – and that was a cool fact to uncover b/c it meant he was just behind me in school

“Prisoner of Azkaban” – I definitely started seeing plot details that became relevant later on at this point – having the movies and the books to remember

“Goblet of Fire” – they cancelled Quidditch that whole year? C’mon, the other kids deserved to play that year too! And why were Quidditch matches supposed to take days when in the books they were always solved quickly?

“Order of the Phoenix” – started my count of the word “snog” – I remembered how foreign it was to me the first time – this was definitely the book with the most “snogs”

“Half-Blood Prince” – Harry ends his Quidditch career suspended – and Ginny saves the day – I really think he would have to look back on his time at Hogwarts as a disappointment that they did win more than they did – and yeah, other stuff happened – but definitely not as important:)

“Deathly Hallows” – I read the original series in 8 days in 2008 – this one took 9-ish days – so I wasn’t too far behind – with two movies to remind me, I knew most of Deathly Hallows – but it was still nice to read – and I was teary at the end, 19 years later

“Code Talkers” – about the men who helped the US in the Pacific during WWII – really good book for perspective during this difficult time

“Eragon” – my last “go to” stash of things to read that I never thought I’d get back to rereading b/c it’d take forever – careful what you think, I guess – anyway, I remembered the movie being so short and my students were so bummed that all the details weren’t included – I’d like to apologize to the producers b/c upon reread, NOTHING happened in the book – it was a miracle it got a movie in the first place

“Eldest” – I remembered more as I started reading – which was good – I knew there was like a battle at the beginning and the end – I thought the last battle was 200 pages – nope, there was 30 pages of battle – followed by 500 pages of explanation of things – followed by 60 pages of battle

“Brrsinger” – enjoyed more this time b/c I knew it wasn’t the end – so I wasn’t disappointed to think I’d finished a really long (boring) trilogy – now, just one more to get through – and then I can wait forever to read that series again

socially distant, Bookishly close:)

“The Best Man” – won from the library – good Cubs references – was interesting – I knew about the author – so the book surprised me for what it was about – enjoyable for middle grades

“Once Again We Saw Stars” – book about the loss of author’s two year old child – and the year that followed – book about grief – and loss – exceptionally well written – but a book I would think most parents wouldn’t read

“Dictionary for a Better World” – given to me by Coach Mac – from a county PD workshop – local author involved – well done

“Death By Shakespeare” – read at state FCCLA conference – book about how the characters in Shakespeare die – and oh, they do die in the tragedies:) for the premise, I wasn’t that impressed with the book

“Talking to Strangers” – new Malcolm Gladwell – good book – although, I wondered at times – took in a lot of current events – seemed to want to make them fit a grand theory he had – but I did like the book and would like to use it in the classroom

“Readings on Taming of the Shrew” – really enjoyed this book – this was the start of my COVID19 break reading – will help me teach the sixth grade book

“All He Knew” – good YA on mental illness at the time of WWII – based on a true story – the dismal state of mental health institutions during that time – book of poetry

“Pandemic 1918” – right before COVID19 cancelled everything, I started this book – good – and good for the times we are living in right now

“Lou Gehrig” – took a column Lou wrote in 1927 – well, that he supposedly wrote – you have to know that period to know that ghost writers were used all the time – so while the book was pitched as his voice, I’m not at all confident it was – so disappointing

March comes in with some really good books…

“Twelfth Night” – good – better than “Shrew” – still, not as good as the one I had before – maybe I’ll get used to it

“Twelfth Night for kids” – good – entertaining – we’ll use it in the classroom

“An Affair of Poisons” – ugh, you can’t be free, but, well, it was a close call with this book – my favorite part was the guy describing the first kiss as like feeding the homeless

“A Woman of No Importance” – cool WWII history – and remarkable tale of a remarkable lady

“The Sun Does Shine” – great book to go with Just Mercy – sad book though

“Games of Deception” – book on the ’36 Olympics Hoops team – lots of history I didn’t know – was a great YA non-fiction read b/c it was teaching me as well

Post-President’s Day Bash…

“American Royals” – interesting YA – I thought it would be more about the political ramifications of an American monarchy – nope, just about romance – so yeah, definitely not my type of book – but I’m sure my eighth grade girls would love it

“Thanks, Obama” – speechwriter for the president – recaps his years – I liked it – politics is always fascinating for me

“Almost, Maine” – YA book – but I’m not sure why – not traditional in that it was from the POV of young kids – but I guess people can call things what they want

“The Big Dark” – at our library – by Rodman Philbrick – in the vein of Last Book in the Universe – enjoyed it

“The Movie Musical” – 600 pages of fun – really enjoyed it – and I now have a list of movies to watch:)

Gifted AND Talented at Columbiana Middle