My 2017 Summed Up in One Book

In 2016, I heard some buzz via Twitter about a book that sparked a bidding war between thirteen publishing houses and received an unprecedented eight starred reviews. Being the unabashed book nerd (and librarian) that I am, I moved this book from a blip on my reading radar to #1 on my must-read list of 2017. This book is THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas.

I attended the North Texas Teen Book Festival in early March, a few weeks after the release of THE HATE U GIVE. I bought a copy at the event and went to an author panel that included Angie Thomas. I listened to her speak with passion and humor about her just-released book, and I instantly became a fangirl. Since much of the world was still sleeping on the brilliance of this debut author, there weren't throngs of people surrounding her, and I am still mad at myself for not meeting Angie in person when I had the chance.

I read THE HATE U GIVE slowly and had to put it down several times because it was hard and made me feel uncomforta…

Summer Reading 2017: Books Without the Beach

As I was googling a picture for this post, I realized that summer reading is often associated with the beach--like I need sand, surf, and sun to enjoy a book during the summer months. I decided to use this picture because typing these words next to this image is the closest I will get to the beach. By my own choice, this is going to be a "working" summer for me, filled with lots of teaching opportunities, writing time,  and not much traveling. But at least I will have my books even if I won't have a beach.

I also realized that this is my SEVENTH year to post a summer reading list on my blog! I've loved sharing my suggestions with you over the years, and I still can't believe that  my Summer 2016 post had 1,725 page views! (Insert OMG emoji here!) Thank you to all of you who wait patiently for my suggestions and share them via social media. This is why I do this--to spread the Summer Reading Gospel!

Full disclosure: I do not read all of these books. I'm a s-s…

Write My Way Out

My hands are shaking as I type this. I have not blogged since July. I have not written anything substantial since September.

Maybe that's what is wrong with me. 
So here I am. Showing up.  Doing the thing that I feel like I've forgotten how to do.  I'm going to try to write my way out of this funk. 
2016 has not been my best year. And I'll go ahead and name the elephant in the room (no pun intended)--the Election caused much of the suckage. Politics hijacked the year, and it occupied my head-space. I've never been one to pay attention to politics, but 2016 was like a train wreck from which I couldn't look away. I spent most of my free time falling down the black hole of the internet--reading articles and researching issues. And now that the election is over, I'm WOKE. It's hard to unknow things. So for the past month,  I've tried to regain a balance of being informed while not letting it consume my thoughts. Even though it's tempting, I don'…

Hard Conversations

“Miss, reading is for white people.” These words sent shock waves through my soul. It was a typical February day in the Skeeter Library. I buzzed about--doing my Book Pusher Thing--convincing high school students to check out books to read for fun. This is the part of my job that I love the most, but it can also feel like teaching toddlers to tango. Jose sat at a table with four other boys, two Hispanic and two black, when he said those words. They snickered at his comment, and Jose basked in the glow of the validation from his “squad.” Even though I felt horrified by his words, I didn’t let it show; I smiled and waited for them to stop laughing. Then I said, “I want to know why you think that.” The boys sat in silence and then started talking. I listened. One of the Hispanic boys said, “You know, Miss. Mexicans work on roofs and mow yards.” One of the black boys added, “Black people hustle in the streets.” “And white people read.” Jose concluded and then explained, “That’s just the …

SRS 2016

We made it, my friends. Summer '16 is officially upon us. That means it's time for the pool, vacay, and READING! It's now a tradition to share my Summer Reading List with you. (If I do anything twice, it becomes tradition. That's the Aggie in me.) If you click here, you can see my past SRL posts.

But this summer I'm calling it my SRS--Summer Reading Suggestions. Because the truth is that a LIST makes summer reading sound bossy, and I don't need another list bossing me around this summer. TBH (that means "To Be Honest," Mom, because I know you are reading this), I never follow my summer reading list; I use it as a place to start, and then I usually find other books to read and abandon my list all together. The most important thing is that we all commit to READING this summer. For escape. For pleasure. For fun. For ourselves. That's the essence of summer reading.

This summer I plan on reading more adult fiction. I read YA (young adult) year round b…