A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
Today begins my adventure teaching Upward Bound. I’ll be teaching the book The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls to a variety of high school students ranging from freshman to senior and all of them from diverse backgrounds. I couldn’t be more excited to be starting my first paid teaching job. Yet, I realized that I really needed to get back into blogging and what better way, since I’m teaching literature, to talk about what I’m reading.
On my recent trips to the library, I have checked out too many books to read within two renewal periods. Currently though, I have stalled out on Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve carried it with me to Pocatello, Idaho; Ogden, Utah; Kimball, Nebraska and every shift I’ve worked at Arby’s where I’ve had a break and I have yet to actually open the book. I’ve got three more to read after Shadow and Bone (Snuff by Terry Pratchett, Bo and Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill, and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater), but I can’t seem to get past that cover.
Yet, I have not stopped reading this summer in the way that I seemed to have stopped blogging last semester and year. I have discovered one of my new absolute favorite writers this past semester – Maggie Stiefvater. My supervising teacher, Ellington, brought a copy of the book The Raven Boys to my class up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and two of my students read it and in my race to read forty books before the semesters end, I picked it up too. I couldn’t put it down. I’ll admit that I arranged to have total class periods where my students were busy writing or reading and needed minimal direction and hoovering from me so that I could continue to read this book in school. I don’t think I’ll be able to get away with this in Wheatland, but I loved that book. I would joke with the student who had last read the book, we’ll call her K, about it. I would come by her table and talk to her about the book because I’m a terrible end-of-the-book reader and, after reading the end of the book, I still had questions. She would just look at me and kind of shrug her shoulders and then kind of chuckle at my enthusiasm. She was no help at all, but she seemed to think it was funny how into the book I got. It was amazing. After I finished it and realized it was a series, I was running around to as many different libraries and bookstores as I could to try and get the second book. I only found the second book at a Barnes and Noble in Idaho Falls.
It was this mad dash to all of the available libraries around me that put me in my current predicament though. I checked out:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater *****
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill
Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson *****
How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson ****
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead *****
The Year of the Monsters by Cecil Castellucci ***
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Saints by Gene Yuen Yang ****
Boxers by Gene Yuen Yang ****
Galileo’s Middle Finger by Alice Dreger *****
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore ***
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins *****
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Unusual Children by Ransom Riggs ****
The Selection by Kiera Cass **
(The astrixs next to the titles are my starred ratings of them.)
I’m feeling pretty good about only having four books left on this crazy list, I just need to find the motivation to open up Shadow and Bone so I can tear through that one. And please, I beg you, read The Scorpio Races. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that was so beautiful that it left me with a book hangover where nothing I’ve read since has left me satisfied.
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Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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Stefan Falke photographs artists who live and work along the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region on both sides. All photos © Stefan Falke (use with written permission by the author only)