It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/7/2019 #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!

I wanted to take just a moment to say this #IMWAYR community has been a great encouragement for me throughout 2018! I was excited to “be here” every single Monday to witness your adventures and share my own. And despite a very difficult fall semester, I was happy to finish reading 305 books as I found new ways to squeeze in good reading time at home, on campus, and places in between. I also figured out how to use our online Overdrive audiobooks (and discovered I could easily listen to books while cleaning and cooking – YAY). Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to a new year of reading and blogging with you all!

This year I’ve jumped on the #MustReadin2019 bandwagon. Carrie Gelson of There’s a Book for That hosts this community, and it’s not too late to join up! If you’re interested in seeing my list, it’s available HERE.

On to this week’s reading…

36959639Small Spaces
Katherine Arden
September 25, 2018
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Oh my goodness, this was amazingly SPOOKY and yet totally appropriate for most middle grade readers who enjoy an exciting hair-raising adventure. This story follows the 11-year-old experiences of Ollie. Ollie has recently lost her mother and everyone at school seems to think she has cracked. She appears to be nearly friendless at the beginning of this book when her 6th grade class goes on a fall field trip to an old farm. But no one could have ever guessed what events would occur in the following hours.

“When the mist rises, and the smiling man comes walking, you must avoid large places at night. Keep to small.”

Arden completely captured the atmosphere of being in middle school in autumn — school bus ride, a creepy local legend about mysterious deaths, leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, some bullying, the sporty kid in your class (who you may or may not be attracted to), a scary old bus driver spouting nonsense, etc. The personalities of each character were well-developed and the reader is given just enough information to keep them guessing throughout. I enjoyed this one so much and definitely plan to read book #2 in the series: Dead Voices. This one might make a fun read-aloud just before Halloween! (And speaking of Katherine Arden, I should mention I’ve also added The Bear and the Nightingale to my #MustReadin2019 list, so I look forward to writing about more of her books this year. YAY!)

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Fresh Ink: An Anthology37007783
Lamar Giles, editor
August 14, 2018
Crown Books for Young Readers

Fresh Ink is an anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. These offered wonderful representation of diverse populations, including Black, Asian-American, queer, Native, Muslim, Japanese, Iranian, Latinx, and trans (written by Schuyler Bailar, Melissa de la Cruz, Sara Farizan, Sharon G. Flake, Eric Gansworth, Malinda Lo, Walter Dean Myers, Daniel José Older, Thien Pham, Jason Reynolds, Aminah Mae Safi, Gene Luen Yang, and Nicola Yoon). There was an important Foreword by Lamar Giles which explained what life was like, growing up reading and yearning for realistic characters to represent him (especially black characters who weren’t stereotyped). And this proclamation really set the tone for the remainder of the book. While I enjoyed some stories more than others, I should mention that I listened to the audiobook narration and it helped bring some of these characters and stories to life. Each story had a different narrator: Guy Lockard, Kim Mai Guest, Dominic Hoffman, Dion Graham, Ron Butler, J.B. Adkins, Henry Leyva, Donabella Mortel, Raymond Lee, Sunil Malhotra, Kirby Heyborne, Nick Martorelli, and Bahni Turpin. I really hope this one will be a much-needed window and mirror for future readers!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

16181775The Rosie Project
(Don Tillman #1)
Graeme Simsion
January 30, 2013
Simon & Schuster

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have checked this book out (audiobook) on Overdrive when it came available. It was my only “adult” read for the week and was utterly delightful!

Don Tillman is a brilliant (middle-aged?) socially challenged genetics professor who was once described as being a dead-ringer for Gregory Peck (from the time of Atticus Finch). He has a very rigorous daily and weekly schedule he plans out to the minute and never once thinks of getting married until an elderly woman he looks after tells him he would make a fabulous husband. So he sets out on The Wife Project and plans to basically use the scientific method to find his perfect mate by questionnaire. Meanwhile, Rosie Jarman walks into his office one day, looking for anything but a mate. She needs help discovering the identify of her biological father. And naturally, Don is the perfect genetics genius to get her search off the ground. This really sets the scene for all that comes after. NOTE: Many reviewers have claimed that Don has Asperger’s Syndrome or that he falls somewhere on the autism spectrum in The Rosie Project, but when interviewed on the Penguin Randomhouse website, Simsion said he purposefully did not diagnose Don. He said diagnosis tends to make us focus on the syndrome instead of the character.

Don is not a bunch of symptoms – he’s a quirky guy who probably would be diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum – but I don’t claim to be an expert. The citation for the Victorian Premier’s Award said Don had “undiagnosed Asperger’s” and I say “undiagnosed except by the judges of a literary award.” 

Now, I won’t lie — I went into this one blind. I don’t recall knowing anything about this book before I started it and so it felt a little slow until chapter 5 or 6. But after I caught on to the rhythm, I couldn’t help but to love Don and appreciate his way of seeing the world. I LAUGHED. OUT. LOUD. sooooo many times and really need to find another friend who has enjoyed this one so that we can giggle together over certain unforgettable parts. I didn’t want to stop the story and may have even found additional jobs around the house just to excuse my listening until I finished it. I already have book #2 on audiobook and can’t wait to carve out some listening time over the next two weeks! Movie rights have been optioned to Sony Pictures.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

To Be Read:

I’m hoping to at least get to the following four books in the coming week. Anything else will be icing on the cake!



27 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/7/2019 #imwayr

  1. Great list of books this week. About a month ago, I added Small Spaces to my Must-read-in-2019 list. I still don’t have a copy so I will have to pick one up soon, it will be useful in either my grade 6 class or the library from the sounds of it. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I picked Small Spaces up on a whim — an audiobook from Overdrive library. I can totally see a classroom of middle schoolers being completely entranced with this as a fall read aloud!


  2. I’ve known about The Rosie Project for a long time but still haven’t read it. Now your review makes me want to, Shaye. Thanks also for Small Spaces & Fresh Ink, both sound good. Happy reading this 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait to see what they do with The Rosie Project on the big screen (if that goes through, of course). Don Tillman is such a complex character. I have book #2 checked out, so hope to get to it over the next couple weeks! Have a wonderful week, Linda, and thank you for answering my questions about NetGalley!


  3. I really need to be more intentional about listening to audiobooks when I cook (I so rarely clean, that wouldn’t work for me, LOL). I have Fresh Ink checked out from the library right now and need to get to it. I also want to read Lamar Giles’s other books. Maybe this will be the year! I really love the #imwayr too and know I read more because I want to be able to participate in the conversation every Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really helps with motivation, knowing there’s this weekly option to share my reading and read about others. I’ve been turned on to some excellent titles (old and new) only because of things I’ve read on Mondays. Do your libraries in RC have Overdrive? If not, you have the CPL option — so many great titles on audiobook. But I sometimes crack up when they have a picture book title only available on audiobook. For example, they have Dreamers by Yuyi Morales and also The Rough Patch by Brian Lies. The text is nice, but the artwork is SO important!! LOL


  4. I’m so excited that you have joined us in the MustRead community! I have read about The Rosie Project and am glad you enjoyed it. The Bear and the Nightingale has been on my list since last year, but I haven’t gotten to it. I am kind of a wuss about scary books so that one and Small Spaces are on my list only when I am feeling very courageous. I am looking forward to reading Fresh Ink sometime this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, I do understand about scary books. It sometimes helps me when I’m listening while I’m cleaning. But if I was sitting in a dark room listening to a scary scene — YIKES! That actually happened to me recently. And since it was right before getting into bed it had me all spooked. LOL Thanks for visiting, Cheriee!


  5. All of the books on your list this week are books that are on my To Read list, but I haven’t gotten to yet. Small Spaces looks like it would be a great middle grade read. Now that the holidays are finished, I can get back to a more regular reading schedule. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, getting past the craziness of the holidays will help me get back into a regular reading routine. And I definitely agree with Small Spaces making a great middle grade read — particularly in the fall (and probably as a good read aloud). Thank you for dropping by, Jana!


    1. Beth, I’m just about 2/3rds of the way through Hey, Kiddo, and I’m enjoying it so much. I think my oldest will especially appreciate this one. Some really rough spots, but all realistic and truthful. Incredibly valuable!


  6. Yay! I am so glad to have you as part of the community!! ❤ And isn't Overdrive amazing?!?!?
    Sea Otter and Hey Kiddo are amazing–enjoy.
    Hey Kiddo is such a special book…
    Fresh Ink is one of my favorite anthologies ever! Glad you liked it as well.

    Happy reading this week! 🙂 And happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the warm welcome this year, Kellee! And YES — I love Overdrive so much. Our library director was telling me that she has students call her up from Alaska saying, “Don’t you remember me, I used to go to school in your town, can I get my library account updated and get the login password to Overdrive?” She has to tell them that, no, unfortunately she cannot let them into Overdrive now that they no longer live in our community. I’ve used it for years, but especially started using their audiobooks in the last year. Such an important resource!!


  7. Small Spaces is definitely a book that I want to read. I keep hearing great things about it! And I agree that #IMWAYR is an amazing community which keeps me informed on so may fabulous books. Grateful to be part of this group! Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fresh Ink looks absolutely powerful, as do Hey Kiddo! I have been meaning to get my hands on that graphic novel last year, but looks like it will have to wait til 2020 – as we explore female authors this year! 🙂 Exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey Kiddo has been one I want to check out as well. and the Rosie Project is still on my TBR from forever now.. and adding Small Spaces and Fresh Ink too to that poor TBR now as they both look so good.. and I agree with what you say about the IMWAYR community.. I hope to be joining you every Monday this year.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was hearing good things about The Rosie Project, so I’m glad I picked it up. I can’t wait to see what they do with Don Tillman and Rosie. Such fun characters to get to know. It’s been a great first year with this group. I hope to see you weekly in 2019, Vidya!


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