It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 03/12/2018 #imwayr

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Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!

TheBellesI started my reading week off with The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. I’ll just say it: I did not want to like this book in the beginning. The writing in the first few chapters seemed so tedious with overly descriptive similes and metaphors. I thought I might have my first DNF book of 2018. However, I pressed on and I admit I’m glad I did. The Belles was a very creative world that made me see vivid colors and feel the main character’s hopes and fears. It’s a story of both innocence and darkness as the belles (who control beauty) must question obedience and find a functioning path between duty and honor. While I had lingering questions, I liked it enough that I plan to read book #2 once it is released. Interesting tidbit: The story was inspired by Clayton’s painful pre-teen experience of listening in on a discussion several men were having about women’s bodies while looking at magazines. Their discussion impacted her so deeply that she began pouring over magazine images and cutting/pasting to create a secret wall of perfect body parts (things she thought men would like). In her “Note to Reader” section at the end of the book, Clayton says: “As uncomfortable as it might be, I hope this book pushes us to talk about the commodification of women’s body parts and the media messages we send young people about the value of their exterior selves, what is considered beautiful, and the forces causing those things to shift into disgusting shapes.”

TheirEyesWereWatchingGodA few weeks ago, my husband asked me if I would read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. He has always loved this book, particularly the development of Janie’s and Tea Cake’s love story. What a romantic! While their relationship wasn’t perfect, the feelings and honesty were just all out in the open. So tender and raw. In the beginning I had to adapt to the writing (ex: “See dat? You’se got de world in uh jug and make out you don’t know it. But Ah’m glad tuh be the one tuh tell yuh.”), but after I slowed my reading speed to take it in, all was well. This book is such a treasure and quite a bold feminist novel (especially for those times!). It was originally published in 1935 but almost completely forgotten until the 1970s when it was rediscovered. How lucky we are to have it, today!

WordCollectorThe Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds was one of my favorite children’s book reads of the week. Jerome is the main character and he collects words. He makes scrapbooks full of the words he collects until one day the unthinkable happens and his words get all jumbled up. Poems are written. Songs are sung. And everyone is encouraged to reach for their own words to find their voices. I love this little book – the art work and hand-lettering are truly charming.

My family did, in fact, start reading A Wrinkle in Time aloud with our children this week. Since we were having our own sorta “wrinkle” (time change — losing an hour) on Saturday evening, we decided to serve the special midnight snack from Chapter 1 of the book. The kids had the option of the following for supper:

  • Mrs. Murry: Liverwurst and cream cheese
  • Meg: Lettuce and tomato sandwich with onion salt
  • Mrs Whatsit: Tuna-fish salad with celery and little sweet pickles
  • Charles Wallace: Bread and jam (dessert)
  • hot cocoa

We placed all the ingredients out on the table, along with fancy breads and crackers, and let everyone have at it. Most of the kids tried a little of everything and we all ate until we were FULL! Then hubby made French toast for breakfast on Sunday morning (just like in the book). On Sunday afternoon, our older children attended the matinee movie with me so we could all compare/contrast the two story lines. It was a fun (and probably very memorable) weekend for us all!

To Be Read:

Since it was a busy “Spring Break” week, I did not get to finish the last novel of my TBR list from last week’s post. So I’m still working on Last Day on Mars (book #1 of the Chronicle of the Dark Star series) by Kevin Emerson. I also hope to finish Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson. And who knows, maybe I’ll go crazy and squeeze in Granted by John David Anderson. 😉 I’m very excited about all three of these books!

Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!

~Shaye

24 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 03/12/2018 #imwayr

  1. I need to catch up with John David Anderson’s books. Many are praising Granted! I loved The Word Collector, too, want it to be in every classroom. And I love hearing about your celebration of A Wrinkle In Time. What fun!

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    1. Ahhh, our Wrinkle celebration was fun! I love it when we get to read a book just before it comes out in the theaters! My older kids also finished reading Ready Player One just after I did (and now my husband is reading it). So we should all be ready to go together once it hits the theaters later this month. YAY!

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        1. Yes!! I think my kiddos have dug up three trailers (and I frequently hear them being re-played in our living room). They are ecstatic about the release. We’ve already inquired about extra movie posters at our theater. LOL

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  2. What a fun, Wrinkle in Time meal you planned. I have to listen to the book again now that I’ve watched the movie. What my daughter’s teacher wanted to happen in the movie is the kissing of the two tweens. Kudos to you on being able to juggle wonderfully a big family along with a day job. I was so stressed out raising just my two dames. I added Susan Ee’s book to my TBR. I like the sound of it. I think I like angels more in YA than paranormal romance. I will continue the Unearthly series one of these days. I really want to get to Rebel of the Sands. Thank you very much for your eloquent comment on my little blog. Have a great day.

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    1. Oh how funny on that (missing) scene. lol On Susan Ee’s series, I thought it so interesting that she self-published her first book. From what I understand, she gathered such a huge following from that one e-book that she was picked up by publishers for her next two. It’s so neat when that happens!

      After years teaching in public schools and as a librarian, I am now home with my kiddos. When I work for income during these middle years, I occasionally teach a few college courses online as adjunct faculty. Otherwise, when I’m not needed elsewhere I get to be available for the family. It is definitely a privilege. I am grateful, even if it means living on a shoestring. 🙂

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  3. Ooh – I need to read Their Eyes Are Watching God – have heard about it through the years. So sweet of your husband to ask you to read it. My husband leans more toward thrillers!

    OMG, I LOVE your Wrinkle in Time weekend!!! It was my favorite book when I was a kid – I read the entire series many times & even played Meg in our school play. We also enjoyed reading it aloud to our sons, though I was so excited to share it with them that I started too young, and one got scared by it! He loved it when he read it later, though. Enjoy!!

    Sue

    Book By Book

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    1. I’m glad I finally got a chance to read TEWWG! When there was dialogue, it slowed my reading considerably. But it was well worth it. I’m still amazed that Zora Neale Hurston was writing this type of strong female character back in the 30s. And apparently she wrote this book in only SEVEN WEEKS! Whoa. Hubby is an English Rhetoric professor and he has pretty broad interests in reading. I know he would love to give me a long list of books to read so we could sit and talk about them for months. It would be a lot of fun, actually (but I told him he has to hold off until the last week of April if I’m going to tackle my TBR books from the library – lol).

      My goodness, how sad but adorable for them to be scared by It! I think the brain description could be imagined pretty scary. Our seven year old was not interested in this read aloud and our 3 year old struggles to sit and listen for too long, so we focused on our almost-10 year old, our 12 year old, and our 14 year old for the read aloud. The weekend activities were definitely fun. My husband is the only one who’d ever eaten liverwurst, so it was a new experience for all of us. Somehow we all survived our “wrinkle” time loss on Saturday night. 😉

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  4. After the fun I had reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I’m definitely curious to check out Their Eyes Were Watching God. I also think your Wrinkle in Time meal is a terrific idea. Lots of fun!

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    1. I definitely need a copy of The Word Collector in my home and on our library shelves. The Belles is such a unique concept and quite addictive once I got about 10ish chapters in. It’s been a fun reading week!

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  5. It’s really good to know that The Belles might have a slow start. I have it on my must-get-to list, and I planned to start it very soon. Your review (and the tidbit about Clayton) compels me to want to read it right now!

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    1. Oh yeah, I was primarily distracted by the number of similes and metaphors in the first few chapters. It was an adjustment after the previous books I’ve read over the last few weeks. Here’s one short non-spoiler passage as an example: “My stomach erupts just like the sparklers in the skies. My angry thoughts hiss and pop like lightening. My heart thunders in my chest. My hands tremble with rage.” Once I got accustomed to the constantly descriptive writing, it was a good read. And to be fair, I suppose describing all the details is a “must” when you’re writing about beauty. 🙂 Had I read Clayton’s note to the reader before I read the book, I would have been much more compelled to read it (that reader’s note is at the very end of the book, though). Have a wonderful week, Ricki!

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    1. Oh good! So far, I don’t think I’ve heard anything but good things about Piecing Me Together. I’m VERY excited to get to it. Have a great reading week, Carrie!

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  6. Such goodlooking children – precious photo! I have yet to find The Word Collector – you may want to check out another picturebook of the same title by Sonja Wimmer – quite gorgeous too.

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    1. I was lucky that a friend bought The Word Collector, last week. None of our local libraries have it, yet. I’ll go take a peek at the Wimmer book, too. Thanks for the suggestion, Myra!

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  7. Your Wrinkle In Time adventures with your family sounds like a wonderful experience. The Word Collector is on my list, but not available yet in my local library. Times like this are when I most miss my library budget!

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    1. Oh Cheriee, I know exactly what you mean. 😦 I live in a small, secluded college town with one stoplight. We’re almost 2 hours from any real city. I have to ILL many books and they frown on ILLing anything less than a year old. However, before we moved here 12 years ago I worked in the children’s library at Texas Woman’s University. And WOW was that an amazing experience. They could get pretty much anything and everything requested (with plenty of space to put it all). Furthermore, if they didn’t have something on the shelves, we could hit up maybe 30 other libraries all within a short drive. Oh how I miss those days. But the trade-off for living in a small town offers other great benefits, too.

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