July 15 – Dog walking, reading, and phone calls

You may have noticed that today’s title is the same as yesterday’s. I wasn’t feeling very well today, so I didn’t get up to very much – just the basics:

  1. I took Daisy for a reasonably long walk this morning.
  2. I did some marathon reading, and finished up three YA books today: Z by Michael Thomas Ford (a very average zombie novel that my students will love), The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal (a fantastic fantasy novel full of political intrigue that I loved, but that will probably only appeal to my fantasy readers), and How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (a surprisingly insightful realistic fiction about two teenage girls: one whose father recently died and whose mother has decided to cope with her grief by adopting a baby, and the other the girl who is giving her baby up for adoption. My eighth grade girls will eat this one up, although its length may be a little intimidating for them).
  3. I called my HR department to find out how tuition reimbursement works in my school district, and I think I’m all set to sign up for a grad school class.

July 14 – Dog walking, reading, and phone calls

Today (or yesterday, really, because I’m posting this a little late) was not a very productive day for me – I’m not really even sure where the day went. But here are the few things that I did get done:

  1. I took the dog for a nice long walk.
  2. I read Shine by Lauren Myracle, which is a nominee for the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award. I wasn’t very impressed by it – it was a little too much of a Problem Novel, with the characters feeling a little flat outside of their Issues, and occasionally a little far-fetched that they could have such dramatically different personalities hidden under the surface, and not really reveal them before the book’s climax.
  3. I called my brother, who’s about to buy his first house – I think he closes on it tomorrow. Very exciting!

July 4 – Reading, gardening, and dog care

We had planned to go to a 4th of July barbecue today, but J hasn’t been feeling well so we bowed out and stayed home instead. So today was pretty quiet for me – here are a few of the things I did:

    1. Finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which was a really incredible book. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction, spies, feminism, or intricate plots and writing. I’d heard a lot of hype about it, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was even better than I’d heard.
    2. Picked the first jalapeños from our garden – and 10 of them at that. Anyone have any good recipes for hot sauce? It looks like our plant is pretty prolific this year.
    3. Brushed Daisy’s teeth, which I think we need to work on being a little more vigilant about – a couple of her teeth are looking like they could use some TLC.

June 19 – 3: Ungifted by Gordan Korman

Despite being a middle school librarian, middle grade novels are definitely not nearly as exciting for me as YA novels. So I was pleasantly surprised to really enjoy Ungifted by Gordan Korman. It’s the story of Donovan Curtis, a troublemaking tween who accidentally gets sent to a gifted school. While stereotypical tweens abound in the novel, the characters are still nuanced enough to be enjoyable and interesting, and I liked the overall message that different people have different skills, and test-taking skills and IQ aren’t everything. I think my younger students will really enjoy it, too.


June 10 – 1: Google + Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday

If you haven’t seen it yet, go to the Google homepage right now and check out their animated graphic for Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday.

If you missed it, here’s a Slate article describing it. See if you can track the doodle itself down somewhere on the Internet – it’s pretty cool.


June 9 – 2: Pinned by Sharon Flake

I just finished Pinned by Sharon Flake. While there were a few moments that got a little bit preachy or seemed like they overreached, for the most part I really enjoyed reading it. And I think it’s a really good story for teachers to read – it definitely made me think a little bit harder about what school might be like for my students who really struggle with reading. I’d definitely recommend it.


June 7 – 1: Girl Genius

If you are a person who likes graphic novels, or steampunk, or romance and adventure stories, you have to go check out Girl Genius. I absolutely love it (and I’m not the only one – it won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story three years in a row). A new page is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and one of the best parts of those mornings for me is when I get to see what’s going on in the world of Agatha Heterodyne.