Year in Review: Reading

Friday, December 28, 2018

I had such a blissful year in reading in 2018. My 100 small things goal was set at 12 which I figured a book a month seems reasonable, but in part due to my awesome local book club, Books & Brews, and gobbling up some really quick, delightful reads - I'm ending the year with 22 books read!!

10 random facts about me and reading
1. I use any random nearby flat object for a bookmark when I start a new book. This year that has included a random photograph, a note from Gemma that said "I love you" and my birthday card from my sister Kitty.  Sometimes I leave the 'bookmark' in the book when I'm done and the people who borrow my books discover weird random pieces of my life. (a student borrowed a book last year and found an 8 year old uncashed check from my sister for $11 - LOL)
2. I turn down the corner of any page that includes a sentence or phrase of writing I like on the page. This makes for a fun game for anyone who borrows my books to try to guess which line it was that made me turn down the corner.
3. My kids know that momma is "not allowed" to go into a bookstore unsupervised because she will spend all our money.
4. Our kids tell people that Momma has 1000 books at home and she's read them all (both exaggerations!)
5. The only thing that has been on my Christmas/Birthday wishlists for several years has been books. (although I hate gifts, so my first choice is nothing, hah).
6. I try very hard to read the book before seeing the movie
7. Because I write, writing can be very distracting for me in a book; both in good and bad ways. Occasionally it is hard for me to really fall into a story because I spend too much time wrapped up in the words. It's like watching reality tv and constantly thinking about the camera crew standing there (which I also do #hatemyself)
8. Often times, I read while walking around our dining room table, or walking around our back patio when the weather is warm.
9. I do not own an eReader of any kind and have zero interest in ever owning one. All the positive benefits of an eReader will never outweigh the way all of my five senses have a deep love affair with an actual book.
10. My all time favorite book of ever ever is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Second favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. But a book I read this year (!) has made it to the top three!

My five favorites from this year include -

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I loved the writing and the story in this emotional tale of two sisters in France during WWII. As previously mentioned, I do laps around our dining table while reading and as I was nearing the end of the book, Brandon was watching me make turn after turn while sobbing hysterically. It is definitely a book that you need to debrief afterwards with someone else who read it - which is why a few weeks later when my sister who read it messaged me at 2am in the morning when she finished it - I sat up in bed and texted her right back. I tried to talk to B about it after finishing but the only thing I could say to him was, 'I just wish you could be in this world with me right now' LOL. #readerprobs
"But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us." 

I'll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson
One of my current top three favorite books ever. The book follows boy/girl twins Noah and Jude in which each gets their own chapters but in different years. Gosh, the writing. I loved it so much; both characters' voices of Noah and Jude are unique and somehow recognizable (oh, teenage years). The various themes had me soaring and I struggled to decide which I loved more - the fate, the love, the creative process. Gah. I could gush forever. I borrowed the book from our high school English teacher and then immediately went out and bought a copy for myself upon finishing because it's a book that I just need to have on my shelves. Will definitely be rereading again soon, but I loved it so much I ate it down in basically one single gulp.
"When I draw it, I'm going to make my skin see-through and what you'll see is that all the animals in the zoo of me have broken out of their cages."

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult 
Jodi Picoult is hands down one of my favorite authors because I know for certain that I will get swept up in the story because her writing is just solid storytelling. Her writing is never distracting for me (neither terrible or overwhelming beautiful) and her stories are so captivating and well told that I can always lose myself in just the story; I get to take off my critical writer's glasses and just enjoy it. This one was no different. I love her ability to take a story and twist it around 360degrees so you can see from all angles; that it is proven again and again that every story has (at least) two sides and there are shades of right and wrong and well meaning. bravo, Jodi, as always.
"Love has nothing to do with what you're looking at and everything to do with who's looking." 

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
A timely, interesting, and validating read for all mommas and daddas trying to raise babies in the world today. There were so many little things I enjoyed about this book - the Dad's fairy tale strung throughout, their time spent in Thailand, but most of all - the love story between the mom and dad and trying to figure this parenting thing out as best as they could for each of their kids.
"That was how it was. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. All for one....It was just that there was way more to do than two could manage, but by their both filling every spare moment, some of what needed to got done."

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
An important, heartbreaking, inspiring story - one that I am so thankful exists for our young people (and all people, but technically its YA). I watched the movie trailer about 30 thousand times, but have not yet seen the movie yet. I loved this book and have had students requesting to borrow my copy; which brings me so much joy.
"-Momma grabs my hand again - looked me in the eye, and said, 'Sometimes you can do everything right and things still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing the right." 

My full book list this year: 
1. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
2. Every Day by David Levithan
3. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
4. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
5. The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
6. I'm the One who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell
7. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
8. My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry
9. 4 years Trapped in my Mind Palace by Johan Twiss
10. Famous Last Words by Katie Alender 
11. The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien
12. The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
13. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
14. I'll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson
15. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
16. This is How it Always is by Laurie Frankel
17. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
18. PS I Still Love you by Jenny Han
19. Always & Forever by Jenny Han
20. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
21. Juntos by Ally Condie
22. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This year, I was able to extend and enhance my Spanish curriculum planning to include Spanish language learning novels. I can't begin to tell you how many parents come up to me during the school year and say something in the ballpark of "I took Spanish for Xnumber of years and I don't remember anything!" And that's because of the way that we used to teach language - through textbooks and grammar lessons and memorization. It is all different not (yay!) and the new standard in language learning is through acquisition and reading novels. I have a long way to go in my own education of teaching through novels and TPRS, but gratefully I have many inspiring Spanish teacher role models (thanks internet!) to help me figure it out like Martina Bex and Allison from Mis Clases Locas.

This year, we've added these books to our curriculum in Señora Studer's class:

1. Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro
2. Capibara con Botas
3. Fiesta Fatal
4. Esperanza
5. Tumba
6. Robo en la noche

And the two graphic novels by the amazingly talented Señor Wooly
1. Billy la Bufanda y las Botas
2. La Casa de la Dentista

And finally, my husband, the self-proclaimed non-reader - READ a whole book this year! (well, 3/4 of the book and then I finished reading it aloud on our aniversarymoon drive home from the Adriondacks, NY)
The Dry by Jane Harper

All of these books are linked to my Amazon account which means I could receive a tiny kickback if you purchase anything while browsing within my links. Thank you for your support and understanding. 

1 comment:

  1. I am excited to read some of these after your reviews! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    I’d like to suggest one to you: Rules by Cynthia Lord. It’s YA and was suggested to be by our elementary school librarian, but I found it so riveting. My oldest son has Autism and the girl in the book has a brother with Autism and has to create rules for him. It was wonderful writing and a thought provoking story for this mama- I think you would like it too.