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Showing posts from 2011

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It's been almost three months since my last post, and I'm not going to waste time with excuses. I was busy enjoying my summer. I read three mediocre books between July and August; they were fluffy, light fare that embody the spirit of Summer Reading. I wanted mindless, and that's what they gave me.

Our trip to Folly Beach, South Carolina, was perfect. Although I did not read a book while on the beach (all adult eyes had to be on the children while they challenged the rough waves), I think the theme of the summer was reading ABOUT the beach since I could not read while actually ON it. Nonetheless, these books served their purpose and gave me the mind candy I was craving.

Even though I did not make a dent in my Summer Reading List nor did I blog much over my time off from school, I still consider it a successful, wonderful summer.

My Summer Slump

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It is June 28, and I have yet to finish a book. Actually, I finished Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, which I started a few weeks ago, but I have abandoned two books. What happened to my summer reading ambition? I had dreams of flying through my summer reading list, soaking up books like the sun's rays, but I just can't find my groove. What is wrong with me?
During the first week of June, I started reading The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy, a memoir about his year of teaching on Yamacraw, a tiny, remote island off the coast of South Carolina. Since I dubbed this my "Summer of Conroy" in honor of our trip to Folly Beach, I thought this was a good first selection to kick off my summer reading frenzy. Simply put: it was not the right book to ignite my summer reading flame. I will pick it back up at some point, but now is not that time. Also, my father-in-law became very sick and had to go into the hospital during the second week of June. Due to his illness, we canceled o…

Summer Time = Reading Time!

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Sweet summer is here. This one is sweeter because I don't have to log on to that darn UNT website to begin a summer session like I've had to do over the past two years. I'M FREE! So that means more time to READ! But in typical Amianne fashion, I have already booked up my summer with stuff. I will: teach the 1st session of the Abydos Institute, travel to Georgia and South Carolina, de-crapify our house and paint some rooms that are still "builder beige," and work on some projects in my library. I don't do lazy well, and I am excited about doing all of these things. And, of course, I will make room for reading in my busy summer.

I've started making my Summer Reading List, and I don't feel like it is as enticing as in summers past. I have yet to come across many "buzz-worthy" new releases, or at least I haven't heard of many that interest me. So I feel like my list is very personal to my tastes because most of the selections are books that I…

Bossypants: HI-LAR-I-OUS

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Bossypants by Tina Fey
Started: May 2011
Finished: June 2011
Format: Kindle
Goal: 13 of 25
(Didn't meet my goal of 25 by June, but at least I read during a very busy time.)

I love Tina Fey. In fact, if I could meet any celebrity in the world, I would want to meet her. And Oprah. It's a close tie. My adoration for Tina goes back to her movie Mean Girls and her stint on SNL doing the "Weekend Update." She's a smart, witty, successful hard-working mom in a male-dominated industry, and most importantly, she's down to earth AND an excellent writer, which is confirmed by her memoir Bossypants. I LOVED this book because it made me laugh out loud, which I don't always do while reading. (For some reason, the laughter stays inside my head when I read--but not with this book.) In fact, my bed-shaking-laughter woke Jason up one night while I was reading and he had already drifted off to sleep. (By the way, when I read him the line, he didn't think it was so funny. I bl…

"The Best Laid Plans..."

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Even though I've committed the cardinal sin of blogging (lengthy lapses of time between posts), I don't feel guilty about it; I've been busy. It makes me dizzy to realize that it is already the middle of May. March was consumed by preparing for my Abydos recertification presentation ; April was catch-up time for all of the things that went neglected in March; May has brought the end of my UNT journey and now it's time for the end-of-the-school-year madness to begin. Whew. This beautiful Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to play catch up and get back on track with the blog. Here's what I've read over the past two months: The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease Started: February 2011 Finished: March 2011 Format: Paperback Goal: 7 of 25 This book embodies all of the research that I did for my Abydos recertification. It should be given to every new parent as they leave the hospital. My copy looks like I went crazy with the highlighter and post-its, which is the sign of…

Out of My Mind: OUTSTANDING

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Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Started: February 25, 2011
Finished: March 7, 2011
Format: Checked out from my library
Goal: 6 of 25

This is one of those "buzz" books that I kept hearing and reading about; it's on the Texas Bluebonnet List for next year, and I'm sure it will be nominated and WIN numerous awards--maybe even the Newbery.This book lives up to the hype. Out of My Mind should be required reading for all of humanity--and I mean that with all of my heart.

While you roll your eyes and think "She loves everything she reads," I admit that you are right. If you've been following my blog then you might have noticed that I like to gush about the books that I read. I'm in the book-picking business (that's why they pay me the big bucks): I know what I like and that's what I read.

But this book is a different breed. It goes beyond "excellent" into the "soul-touching, life-changing" category (there I go again...gush, gush, gush…

Revolution Resonates

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Revolution by Jennifer DonnellyStarted: February 2, 2011 Finished: February 25, 2011 Format: Hardback--My last book purchased from the Border's in Mesquite, Texas. I am in mourning. Goal: 5 of 25
I first fell in love with Jennifer Donnelly's writing when I read A Northern Light, which is still one of my favorite YA books, so I was thrilled when I found out that Donnelly had written another YA book. Revolution uses the same "formula" as Northern Light: two girls from two different time periods are connected by a diary and a dark secret, but that is where the similarities end. These are two totally different books, but Revolution ranks right up there with Northern Light; it is sensational.
I escaped into the 472 pages of this book for most of February. It kept me warm during the snow days, and it provided stress-relief as the rest of the month whizzed by. I read it slowly (until the end), savoring every word because I wanted it to last. This book too…

It's Time to Take a Stand

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Before I use this blog to step up on my proverbial soap box, I must make a disclaimer: I am not a political activist. In fact, what is happening in Texas public education right now is the reason I despise politics. In case you haven't heard or are too self-involved to care, Texas public schools are in trouble--not just any trouble-- but what my three-year-old would call "big bad trouble." $15-27 billion worth of trouble (depending on which "parent" you ask). Listen to the local news and count the number of times you hear "school district" and "budget cuts" in the same sentence--you don't have enough fingers and toes to keep track. Rather than look at the problem objectively, some politicians see things in hues of red or blue. Politics, pride, and that sense of who is "right" are getting in the way of common sense for some of our lawmakers down in Austin.

While school districts are slashing at already meager budgets, cutting pos…

The Winter of My Full Content

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School closed for an unprecedented four days. Wind chills plummeted into single digits and sometimes into the negatives. Impassable roads left us home bound. These are not common occurrences in North Texas. Special thanks to the Packers and Steelers for bringing their winter weather with them to the Super Bowl.
Despite being in our own version of the Frozen Tundra, this past week has been heavenly for my family--lots of cooking in the crock pot, cuddles, and curling up with good books. However, we did not become like Little House on the Prairie and totally disconnect from the world. Technology helped keep the boredom at bay. We watched our fair share of TV and movies, played Wii, and relied on Facebook to keep us up to date on the status of the rolling power outages and school closings.

But we did turn off the TV and turn the pages of our books. Landry read for a total of three hours on Wednesday; she finished two and half Diary of a Wimpy Kid books over the course of our four-day sur…

Matched: The Giver Meets The Hunger Games

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Matched by Ally CondieStarted: Beginning of January Finished: February 1 (Ice Day 2011)
Format: Started as an audio book checked out from the MISD Digital Library and then bought the hardcover from Border's Goal: 4 of 25
What a lovely way to spend an icy, frigid day off from school. I hunkered down in my Snuggie, drank hot tea, and read off and on all afternoon. Pure bliss. Thank you, Mother Nature, for this rare treat. Finishing this book and blogging about it are my two major accomplishments for this serendipity of a day; I feel slightly productive even though I should have been working on my UNT assignments. Blah.
Now to this thought-provoking book, the first in a TRILOGY by Ally Condie, a former high school English teacher from Salt Lake City, Utah. (I have great admiration and interest in former teachers turned writers because it proves that it CAN be done. And I'm so excited to have another trilogy in my reading life!) I first heard about this book in December during my wor…

Room: Wow

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Room by Emma DonoghueStarted: January 13, 2011 Finished: January 23, 2011 Format: Bought it on my Kindle Read for my school Book Club Goal: 3 of 25
I don't think Room is for everyone. This was a selection for our book club at my school, and I know some of my fellow readers found it disturbing and depressing. I found it haunting, heartbreaking, yet hopeful, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since I finished Room, a brilliant book by Emma Donoghue. Told through the voice of five-year-old Jack, Room is his world--literally. I hesitate to write more because I don't want to give anything away for those who have not read it. So if you are intrigued about Room and haven't read it yet, stop reading this blog and start reading the book. Then come back to the blog and let me know what you think. Spoiler Alert for the rest of the blog: You've been warned!
Part of the brilliance behind Room is the element of mystery. Questions kept piling up as I first began: Why are J…

Unbroken: Truth is Better than Fiction

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand
Started: December 4, 2010
Finished: January 11, 2011
Format: Bought it on my Kindle
Goal: 2 of 25

I was in a reading funk when I came across this treasure of a book. In the fall, I vowed to read more "kid lit" books so that I could be a better librarian to my students. Even though I read some decent books that I enjoyed, I felt unsatisfied, and I yearned for something haunting, meatier, more adult. I need to be careful what I wish for.

The life of Louie Zamperini reads like a modern day version of Homer's Odyssey, and it proves that truth is better than fiction. However, it is this fact that made me put the book down and take a breather many a time; I read this book in short spurts over December and the beginning of January because saying it was painful to read is an understatement. It took me almost six weeks to finish it. This is not the mindless, easy read that I wanted to curl up w…

Shiver: Twilight Minus Edward

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Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Started: December 27, 2010Finished: January 4, 2011 Format: Audio book checked out from the MISD Digital Library Goal: 1 of 25
I stumbled upon Shiver completely by chance, and I am so glad that I did. I checked it out from our digital library to make my drive to Houston to visit Em and Trace a little less mind-numbing. The thought of four hours ALONE in the car made me giddy, but there's only so much of the GLEE CDs this girl can tolerate. Shiver made my drive to Houston and back flash by in a blink.
I'm a Twilight fan like most 30-something women, but I'm reluctant to read all of the other vampire series out there because I don't want to be THAT 30-something woman. Plus, I'm just not into paranormal romance. Really--I'm not. But Shiver grabbed hold of me from the first sentence and did not let go. It's the story of Grace, who falls in love with Sam, who just happens to be a werewolf. Sound familiar? Because I'm T…

2011: The Year of No More Excuses

A snowy Sunday afternoon seems like the perfect time to get serious. This is the year that I want to write more and read more.
I've never been good at keeping a journal. I have 14 unfinished journals--yes, I counted. They offer a spotty chronology of my life, and I'm sure they will keep my daughters both entertained and mortified one day after I'm long gone. The problem is that I have no accountability with a journal; nothing to keep me honest about how often I write. I have the best of intentions to consistently write, but life always seems to get in the way. It is my life-long dream to write a book. How am I ever going to write a book if I can't even fill up a lousy journal? Writing a book takes stamina, dedication, perseverance, and the habit of daily writing--qualities that are severely lacking in my writing life. So here I am jumping into the blogosphere. I hope this blog holds me accountable for writing more.It's a start.

Last summer I read The Book Whisperer