Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Saturday, March 27, 2010

So I've Been Reading

Whew, it's been a looooooooooong time since I posted about my reading, well about specific books anyway. Sorry to all my book blogging buddies out there. This one's for you!

In the last two weeks I have completed the following books:

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordian

The Last Summer (Of You and Me) by Ann Brasheres

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

...and I am halfway through Hero Type by Barry Lyga and Nanny Returns (audiobook) by Emma McGlaughlin and Nicola Kraus.

It's been nice having so much time to read, especially since a week of it was spent down south in the sun. I'm back at work now, and a week into Term 3 and my reading time is already slipping away. This is my first year teaching Grade 8 which means lots of prepping as I need to create new Language, History and Geography units for the curriculum, but I am hoping to continue reading around my usual pace. I mean, I have been planning all year and have still managed to read quite a bit.

The Pillars of the Earth~ Chunkster Reading Challenge and Books to Read Before I Die Challenge book

I loved every page of this monster! If it wasn't 973 pages I would have carried it with me everywhere. I loved everything about medieval times as a kid and did quite a number of projects on the time period so it's not a huge stretch that I would love this book. I have also grown to really love historical fiction in the last ten years. I thought that the characters in this book were rich and well developed and as a reader I was fully immersed in their lives and couldn't wait to see what would happen. The dynamics of a "step" family during this time period was endlessly fascinating and I felt that Ken Follett did a great job of creating some really strong female characters that struggled to live within the patriarchal society of their world. I only wish it hadn't ended, although really, 973 pages! How much longer could it be?

The Lightening Thief~ just for fun

My students have been talking about and reading this book forever, and especially now with the movie coming out it seems like The Lightening Thief is on everybody's lips so I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. A colleague of mine from when I taught Grade 7 uses The Lightening Thief as her main novel study for the year as well, instead of teaching The Outsiders! I just found this shocking because you have to read The Outsiders, it's just how things are done! So I bought the first four books in a box set from the Scholastic book orders for my classroom with the intention of reading them. However, a student saw them on my desk and asked if she could read the first one because they are so popular there is a huge waiting list in the library!! Of course, I said yes thinking I would just read it when she returned it. But then another student saw her returning it and asked to borrow, I felt it wasn't right to say no to kids who want to read so I ended up secretly buying myself another copy just so I could read it!

I read it on the beach down in Florida over my break and I enjoyed. It's not the amazing read that is the Harry Potter series but I can see how kids, especially boys would like it. Any anything that gets boys reading is okay with me! I will read the rest of the series because I want to know what happens and I like to be able to discuss books with my students but I don't think I could say it's one of the best books ever written for kids. The characters didn't really have a lot of depth and the storyline seemed a little predictable to me. But like I said, if kids will read it, and fight over who gets it next, then it must be something good.

The Last Summer (Of Me and You)~ advertised as a beach book, not sure if I bought this one or borrowed it from my sister??

This book was written by the same author as The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series which is what drew me in. It's Ann Brashere's first novel for adults and I just loved The Travelling Pants books so I figured this would be a home run! Wrong. I spent the whole book waiting for the big tragic event that would turn everyone's lives inside out, as described in the synopsis, but when you finally get there it's not that unbelievable or even that tragic just sad. The characters walked around each other in circles, never really saying what they meant, or felt, or thought. This drives me crazy in the real world so I don't want it to happen in my books! I couldn't put the book down, however, because the synopsis was so compelling talking about a huge tragedy but when I got to the end I was just disappointed.

Still Alice~ this wasn't for a reading challenge, but I bought it in the summer with a group of books and have been wanting to read it for quite a while!

This book was amazing! One of the best books I have read in 2010 and a for a long time. The main character, Alice, starts to forget things, loses her way, has too many instances of "tip of the tongue" and is worried about what's going on with her. She decides to visit her doctor and then a neurologist only to discover she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease which progress much more rapidly than late-onset. This books is a story of how she and her family struggle with the diagnosis and is a look inside the daily life of someone living with Alzheimer's. I had tears streaming down my face while reading this book and I sacrificed sleep just to finish it one night this week. If you have ever had a family member or known someone with Alzheimer's or dementia brace yourself because the memories will come flooding back. I think this book is an important book to read and to talk about. The main character has a startling insight when she realizes how people are going to treat her now. She talks about how cancer survivors are just that survivors, and they are praised for their tenacity, hard work and strength- as they should be! But Alzheimer's and dementia survivors or suffers are shunned away, looked upon with fear, thought to be crazy and sometimes locked away. It's a scary but real look at how we treat people with certain diseases. I would recommend this book to everyone.

And so my reading continues! I picked up Hero Type in Florida at Borders because I liked the cover and was intrigued by the first chapter. I am about halfway through and although I am enjoying it I can't say yet whether it will go into my classroom because I can't yet decide if it's appropriate for my Grade 8's. Nanny Returns was my audiobook choice for Florida because you can "read" without your eyes open on the beach which makes tanning a lot easier in the sun! It will now become my running book as I bought it from iTunes and have it on my iPod. As a former nanny, I loved the first book and could relate to many of Nan's escapades although my families were not rich snobs in NYC, but a lot of the time parents are parents! I'm not sure where my reading will lead me next but I think I am going to put together a nice order from Chapters online very soon.

Happy Saturday everyone!! I am off to "help" with the kitchen renovations- maybe my next post will be pictures of everything completed? Fingers crossed.

3 Thinks and Thoughts of Others:

Diane said...

Well you have been doing a lot of great reading. I liked Still Alice a lot.

Kristi said...

So glad that you enjoyed Pillars - it is one of my all time favorites. And Still Alice was amazing too.

Hope that the kitchen renovations turn out well!

StephTheBookworm said...

I was extremely disappointed by The Last Summer too! I was thinking it was going to fantastic but it was not.

Last Words...

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe