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!

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 3 – 2: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

I read Grave Mercy this weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. From the cover, I figured it would be a Twilight knockoff, and while it does share a few common traits (romance, supernatural elements), it’s far more complex and interesting in terms of its setting and plot than I was expecting.

It takes place in Brittany in the late 1400s, and is at least semi-historical – the major historical figures actually existed and faced the same challenges they face in the book. But it also incorporates a heroine with some supernatural powers, and some fairly implausible aspects given how much freedom and power some of the women in the book seem to have, and a few instances where the distinctions between social classes seem to be glossed over. But it’s a fun story, and even if the history is muddled, it’s still an interesting imagining of historical events that most people (myself included) know little to nothing about.

May 31 – 3: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

I had kind of a crummy day today. Nothing major, just a bunch of little things that all added up to me being super cranky for most of the day. So when I got home, I decided to indulge myself, and I curled up with a book and hoped it would live up to my expectations. And it totally did.

I’ve been intrigued by Dairy Queen ever since I heard about it, which must have been three or four years ago. A book about a Wisconsin farm-girl deciding to go out for the football team? Right up my alley. Plus, several people whose taste I respect had said good things about it.

But my reading list is about a mile long, and my school library didn’t have a copy of it until sometime this year (and I pretty much only read things from my school at this point). So I didn’t get around to reading it until this afternoon, and I’m kind of glad. Because it totally pulled me out of the funk I’d been in all day.