Reading to the Class

Noah loves to “read” books to us. He holds them with the pictures facing out like his teacher does and babbles like he’s reading what’s on the page to us. Then he turns the page and “reads” that page to us through the whole book. I sent this picture to his teacher and she said he really likes when she lets him hold the book she’s reading and turn the pages for her so she’s not surprised he’s “reading” to us at home, too.

January Reads

I read fifteen books in January for a total of 5024 pages. I started off the month by finishing reading Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons to the boys for their bedtime story. I gave it four stars. It was a good conclusion to the duology. It took forever to finish reading it because I was in the car accident and then got sick and couldn’t read aloud for a couple months. After that I read Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. I gave it five stars. I have a love/hate relationship with the Throne of Glass series. This book came firmly down on the love side. Next I read Pandora Gets Jealous by Carolyn Hennesy. I gave it five stars. It was quite a cute take on the Pandora’s Box myth. I won’t be continuing with the series, though. Maybe in a few years to read it to the little kids when they are a bit older.

My next book was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I gave it five stars. That’s the most thought-provoking book I’ve read in a long time. After that I read Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales. I gave it two stars. That book had so many things wrong with it. The writing was just not that good. Then I read The Bitter Taste of Betrayal by CeeCee James. I gave it four stars. It was a well written cozy mystery, but the big reveal came pretty much out of left field and I didn’t really like that.

After that I read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I gave it five stars, again. It was a re-read because I chose it for our January book club book. I read it about nine months ago and I really think it was even better the second time knowing what was going to happen. Next I finished reading The Book of Mormon which of course is five stars. I read one chapter a day and it took me about 2/3 of a year to complete it. Then I read Looking for Alaska by John Green. I gave it five stars, again, as well. It was another re-read because it was the online banned books book club pick for January. It had been almost nine years since I last read it so there was a lot I had forgotten. I always enjoy John Green’s books.

My next book was Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski. I gave it three stars. It started out so good, but then the last quarter it just kind of got lost. It was really too bad since it had such great potential. Then I read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I gave it five stars. I’ve been meaning to read it for years and finally did because I was invited to do a Buddy Read of the series and I can’t figure out what took me so long. I should’ve known it would be amazing since the author is the wife of Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine author) who was the roommate of John Green in college and truly any book by an author in John Green’s orbit is an excellent one. The writing style was so unique and beautiful I could barely put it down. After that I read Madly, Deeply by Alan Rickman. I gave it five stars. I already loved Alan Rickman and now I love him even more because he was a bullet journaler. The book is an edited version of his bullet journal.

My next book was Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton. I gave it five stars. That book is a Harry Potter fan’s dream. So much Potter awesomeness from the guy who played Draco. After that I read An American Princess by Annejet van der Zijl and translated by Michele Hutchison. I gave it four stars. It’s a very engaging biography about a very fascinating woman who literally became a princess (for a while at least). My final book of the month was Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi. I gave it five stars. This book is a novella in the Shatter Me series. I’m truly looking forward to finishing that series over the next few weeks. Such good books so far.

This was my best reading month in a long time with lots of hits, mostly five star ones, and only a couple misses. I also read way more books than I normally do. It was just a great reading month all around!

My favorite book of the month: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

My least favorite book of the month: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Number of 5 Star Books: 10
Number of 4 Star Books: 3
Number of 3 Star Books: 1
Number of 2 Star Books: 1
Number of 1 Star Books: 0

15/100 books read for my goal of the year

I read half the books on my January TBR, so that left Sisters of the Snake, Aries, Murder on the Hill, Darling Girl, Live Wire, and Goblet of Fire to roll over to February. I added the next Throne of Glass book, Queen of Shadows, to my list as well as The Westing Game (which has been requested as the boys’ next bedtime story) and One of Us Is Next and A Rover’s Story. I added Just Mercy since it’s my online book club’s February pick and Cinder because it’s my in person book club book this month. That brought me up to twelve books, same as I had on my January TBR. And then, because I’ve fallen in love with the Shatter Me series, I added the other eight of those books. And, honestly, those are probably going to be the ones I read first. No chance I’ll get all twenty books read, but I should be able to get through a good chunk of them during the month of February.

Storytime at the Library

Ani took Joel to his very first storytime at the library a few weeks ago while I was sick. He had such a great time and wanted to go back right away.

He really loved the movement and songs and getting to be around other kids (he really latched onto a set of twins like he just knew they were like him).

He got to play with the dress-up box (funny… the boys all gravitated to the dress-up stuff and the girls went for the building blocks).

He spent some time looking at books. He also singlehandedly caused a falling down epidemic. He likes to run and then fall (on purpose). Of course the other toddlers thought that looked like lots of fun and so joined him in his antics.

After storytime Ani took him over to the books part of the library and he got to play with some toys and his favorite thing…

The computer. He had a ball playing an alphabet game on the library’s computer. If it’s electronic Joel wants to play with it. He’s been back to storytime a few times since and it’s always so much fun!

December Reads

I read 11 books in December. Ten were regular books for a total of 3,167 pages. The eleventh book was a graphic novel. My first book of the month was The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. I gave it five stars. I apparently read it once before, about a decade or so ago, but I didn’t remember it at all. My second book was The Pact by Jodi Picoult. I gave it three stars. I read it for an on-line banned/challenged book group. Reading this book I learned that Jodi Picoult is the Colleen Hoover of the 90s.

After that I read 1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Revolution, Rebellion, and Change. I gave it five stars. It was quite fascinating reading the essays about a variety of things that happened that one single year that changed the course of history. Next I read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. I gave it four stars. It was quite enjoyable, especially since I do like the fake dating trope.

My next book was Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan. I gave it five stars. I groaned when I discovered my book group book was historical fiction about CS Lewis and the Narnia series so it was a pleasant surprise that I enjoyed it so much. Then I read Lost and Found by Amy Shojai. I gave it three stars. It was a debut book for the author (at least her debut writing fiction… she had previously written quite a lot of non-fiction) and it showed. After that I read Maus by Art Spiegelman. I gave it four stars. It was the graphic novel I read. I like Holocaust survivor stories and it was quite interesting reading on in comic book form.

Then I read Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood. I gave it two stars. The condescension and superiority that oozed from the author made it a bit of an unpleasant read. After that I read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I gave it two stars. How this book got made into a movie I will never know. There was no character development and the main character was incredibly unlikable. My next book was Marriage Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo. I gave it three stars. It was a generic mediocre cozy mystery. I finished the month off with a bang when I read my second favorite book of the year, Like a Sister by Kellye Garret. I gave it five stars. Twists, turns, an end I didn’t see coming plus humor just when needed to diffuse the tension. Just what I needed after such a so-so reading month.

My favorite book of the month: Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

My least favorite book of the month: Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood

Number of 5 Star Books: 4
Number of 4 Star Books: 2
Number of 3 Star Books: 3
Number of 2 Star Books: 2
Number of 1 Star Books: 0

116/100 books read for my goal of the year (plus 4 graphic novels)

I read a lot of the books on my December TBR so I only rolled over seven books to my January TBR. Then I added One of Us is Lying (reread for my in-person book club), Looking for Alaska (another reread, this one for my on-line book club), and Sisters of the Snake, Darling Girl, and Live Wire for my 2023 Grim Readers BINGO board. My January TBR is a very doable even dozen.

The Skin Rainbow

We have a great book, Most Perfect You by Jazmyn Simon (wife of Dule Hill who played Gus on Psych). The mom goes through lots of physical characteristics and tells her daughter how she looked at all the options and picked her favorites to be put together to make her. The kids love the book.

The other day I was reading it to Anthony and Nicholas and they were looking at the rainbow of skin colors and I showed them which ones were closest to their skin colors. Then they wanted to know where my skin color was so I showed them mine, too, and they got so excited. Anthony kissed my arm and Nicholas hugged me.

We spend a lot of time making sure the kids know how beautiful their skin and other features are and teaching them to be proud of what they look like, but we often forget that they love our skin and features, too, just because they love us.

While Most Perfect You is written by a Black mother to her Black daughter, all colors are represented because no matter who you are or what you look like you are the most perfect you you can be. The boys’ reaction to my skin color being on the skin rainbow was a good reminder of that.

Countdown to Christmas Books

We have twenty-four Christmas books for children that we wrap up and the kids take turns pulling out that day’s book each evening. We read it for their bedtime story.

Most of the books are wrapped and numbered at random, but we always read The Story of St. Nicholas on the 5th since St. Nicholas Day is the 6th and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.

November Reads

I read seven books in November for a total of 2983 pages. I started the month off with a bang with The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland. I gave it five stars. I like psychological thrillers anyway, but this one caught me off guard all the way in the epilogue. I need to check out other books by that author. After that I read Remember Me: The Return by Christopher Pike. I gave it three stars. It just wasn’t nearly as good as the original book in the trilogy. That was kind of a letdown.

Next I read The Outsiders by SE Hinton. I gave it five stars. Adrian read it in 8th grade English last year and loved it. I can see why. It’s amazing that a 15-year-old girl wrote a novel that still holds up today, over 50 years later. Then I read The Man With the Sawed-Off Leg by Daniel J. Wakin. I gave it two stars. It was a book that didn’t really know exactly what it wanted to be and didn’t succeed at any of the options.

After that I read The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I gave it three stars. It was hard to keep the characters straight there were just so many of them. That was the November choice for my real life book club (though I missed the meeting due to being super sick). My next book was Remember Me: The Final Story by Christopher Pike. I gave it two stars. I feel like the author should’ve just stopped after the first book of the trilogy. Let it be a standalone and not continue the story at all. My final book of the month was Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. I gave it three stars. I have a like/hate (nowhere near love) relationship with the Throne of Glass series. The last half of the book was pretty good and the last 3% was amazing.

My favorite book of the month: The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland

My least favorite book of the month: The Man With the Sawed-Off Leg by Daniel J. Wakin

Number of 5 Star Books: 2
Number of 4 Star Books: 0
Number of 3 Star Books: 3
Number of 2 Star Books: 2
Number of 1 Star Books: 0

105/100 books read for my goal of the year… I met my goal!

I cleared out a good portion of my November TBR (currently in the middle of reading a few of them) so a lot of the books on this month’s TBR are new ones. In addition to the books rolled over from November’s TBR, I’ve added the rest of the books for the giant BINGO I’ve been chipping away at since 2020 as well as a few others so it’s up to 15 books.

Such a long year…

The saga of just how long this year can end up being continues. This time it was about the book Mayci wanted to check out from the school library.

Zeke has been bringing home Dog Man books and Mayci has enjoyed looking at them. So at one of their library days she chose a Dog Man book.

But her teacher didn’t want to approve her to check it out.

She told her it’s for 2nd to 5th graders, not first graders. Now, we do not police library books. If it’s too simple, that’s no big deal. Mayci has checked out plenty of Piggy Elephant books this year and they are WAY below her reading level. If it’s just right, great. They’ll enjoy reading it with no help. If they are too hard, that’s no big deal either. They’ll either get help with what they don’t understand, work hard to figure it out on their own, or someone older will read it to them. Policing library books is a great way to kill a budding love of reading.

Ultimately she let Mayci check it out. And Mayci read it in two days. She needed occasional help with words, but mostly read it on her own and enjoyed it very much. Especially when pictures included characters in their underwear or references to farts. Heaven help us.