Friday, February 21, 2014

it's all your fault

I will be the first to admit I should not be blogging.
I have a family and a full-time job that keeps me spinning the plates nicely, thank you.
I put this thing down time and time again, only to pick it up, blow the dust off, and say Okay, let's give it another whirl. Then I try to silence all the critics in my head telling me I don't know what I'm doing; my blog isn't cute/original/stylish enough; this is a waste of time...whatever. That is all true, but I don't care.
And why? Well, you, actually. Yup. You are to blame. You are the ones asking for books for yourself, your kids, and I really do love helping.
You are my kind of people.
Talking about books is almost as fun as reading them. Almost.
My role as a teacher is more like a match-maker because I'm always looking for that next book that will help my students fall in love. So, that is what brings me back. Here are the books I've loved, books I've recommended lately, and maybe the occasional rant about...I don't know...probably mothering or hair products or my addiction to Cake Batter Chapstick. (Have you tried that stuff?? YUM-O)
So here we go. You ready?

 I've been telling everybody about this book. Light Between Oceans lives up to the hype. I picked it up when it first came out a few months ago and thought, Meh - it just didn't do it for me. But when my book club decided to read it for March, I tried again.
And this time, I got it.
The love story pulled me in hard and the book took over my life from then on. Be ready for a love story, but some agonizing moments.
A brief summary - Tom Sherbourne is a lightkeeper with a bit of a sad past. He wants to leave the dark memories of WWI behind and perhaps make up for the trauma he's suffered. He meets Isabel on the mainland (the story is set off the coast of Australia) and they try to make a life on the island together. She suffers greatly as she loses child after child, wanting so much to have a family.
One night, a boat washes up on shore and inside is a dead man and a healthy, screaming infant. Isabel believes God is giving her a baby, but Tom is unsure and hesitant. Will they keep this baby or face the truth?
There are moments in this book that are so gut-wrenching, you have a hard time turning pages, but like all great literature, you are moved and changed when the book finally ends.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty is another book club pick from earlier in the year. This would be the first book I ever read on my phone from cover to cover. So that was weird. I usually HATE reading on a screen, but this story was so compelling, I couldn't stop.
 Based on the real life of Louise Brooks, a famous actress from the 1920s, this follows Louise and her chaperone from Kansas to NYC, where Louise gets her big break.
Honestly, parts of this book made me angry and frustrated, but it was still a well-written page turner for me.
Looking for more? Try these:
  • Sleeping in Eden by Nicole Baart (A bit of a murder mystery and love story in one)
  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (Sweeping epic of one man's care for two abandoned sisters, reminded me of East of Eden by John Steinbeck at times)
Ahh! This book is so much fun, I can't stand it. Henry Clark's What We Found in the Sofa and How it Changed the World. Yes, these kids find a sofa sitting at a bus stop.
Yes, there are things IN the sofa and these are clues that lead them into a grand adventure. I would recommend it to kids in grades 4/5 and up. The dialogue in this book is seriously brilliant.
Looking for other great books for kids? Try these:
  • Cardboard by Doug Tennapel (Thick graphic novel for 4/5 grade and up - a favorite in my classroom)
  • Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (Funny and charming for any age, lots of great illustrations)
  • Knucklehead by Jon Sciezka (Hilarious short memoir with pictures - another favorite of the boys in my classroom)
  • The Incorrigibles Series by Mary Rose Wood (Great for an older elementary or middle school girl)

I could go on for quite awhile, here. But I'll stop and save the rest for another post.
Sigh. It's good to be back.

No comments: