Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What to Read Next?

What a delicious problem.

My German "mom" sent me A LINE OF BEAUTY by Alan Hollinghurst (Winner of the 2004 Man Booker Prize) for Christmas. There was no note of explanation. I assume that if I read it, I might discover why it was the perfect gift. But not yet.

HP#6 still waits. I didn't stay up until midnight to get it, but I have had it since July. It's still not the right time.

Maybe some nonfiction? A Christmas gift to myself was OAK: THE FRAME OF CIVILIZATION. Soon. Very soon.

I'll do the actual eyeball-reading (as opposed to listening-reading) of CLOUD ATLAS this summer when I have more time. It's not warm enough for flyfishing reading (READING THE WATER).

Here's the pick -- a book AJ lent me (I'm embarrassed to say) years ago: PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS OF PORTUGAL: PROSE PIECES by Donald Hall. The piece he tabbed for me is about learning to read and reading aloud. Yes. This will be perfect. Short pieces. A book that needs to be returned, finally, to its proper bookshelf.

Book Reports

HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE by Chris Roberson is much much MUCH better than TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE.

CRISS CROSS was good, but not a Newbery book, I don't think.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Almost As Much Fun As Frindle

I think it's the Washington Post that has a vocabulary contest every year. You change one letter in a word to make a new word, and write a funny definition to go with it.

I have a nomination from the papers I've been grading: multiplacation. I'm thinking the definition could be: what a kid needs to do when BOTH parents are mad at him/her. What do you think?


Who said I couldn't have fun while grading papers?!?!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Franki, are you sick of me sending you clippings from USA Today about the "Strange Case of James Frey -- as Dickens might have termed it"?

That quote is from the newest one that is on its way to you through the "pony." ERICA JONG has weighed in as an author who wrote a piece of memoirish fiction that was labeled fiction, unlike Frey's backward approach in which his fictionish memoir was labeled memoir.

The punch of her essay is at the end, when she talks about how "the American language has been utterly polluted from the top down."

Let me know what you think.

On the topic of what to read, you're clearly ahead of me on new kids' books, so I won't even go there. The best adult book I've ever read (audio book-style) that not many other people seem to know about is CLOUD ATLAS. I have a print copy that I could send to you, but I don't know what the print experience of reading would be like. I'm just finishing up KITE RUNNER (way behind the rest of the world I have discovered this story). I would definitely recommend THE RED TENT. I think a culturally sanctioned, once-a-month time out for women is a good idea on so many levels. That's all I'll say. The book is about way more than that.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

My January Reading

Well, I finally picked up a copy of CRISS CROSS by Lynne Rae Perkins--the Newbery Award winner this year. Actually, I can already see why it was the winner. Lots of interesting pieces to it. I'll let you know what I think when I finish. I also picked up THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner. Have you read it? I saw that the 3rd in the series has a starred review from Hornbook this month and I have been meaning to read this first one. Looks like a great fantasy.

My favorite children's book read in January was WING NUT by M. J. Auch. If I had read it before the awards were announced, it would have definitely been on my list of predictions. A great read. I am thinking that it would make an amazing read aloud for 4th and 5th grades. I may read it aloud later this year.

I also finished SO B. IT by Sarah Weeks. Loved it. I am in a book club to discuss it with some of my 5th graders. From the comments that I am getting before we meet, it is one of their all-time favorites. I can see why. An amazing story with characters I love.

I also read ME, DEAD DAD, AND ALCATRAZ by Chris Lynch. I liked it. It is definitely for middle schoolers. Loved the main character and I like Lynch's writing.

I could use a good adult book. I am hooked on Philippa Gregory but am not in the mood for another of her books yet. Mary Lee, any suggestions? I am thinking about BIRTH OF VENUS. Have you read it? (Tracy Chevalier liked it and I trust her reading list completely!) Also, I still have RED TENT on my stack of next reads--it's been there for years. Have you read that one? I think I'll love it once I can get started.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Time to Read

I feel like I never have enough time to read, but I spend all day reading:

reading the sky -- will it rain?
reading a face
reading a look
reading the situation on the playground -- is it play, or a fight?
reading emails
•reading students' minds
•reading the dog's mind
reading over what I've written
reading the clock
reading my own reaction
reading street signs
reading a recipe
reading the back side of my eyelids as soon as I sit down and open my book