Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I've Read The Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, please click here!

Today's Topic: Authors I've Read The Most Books From

Young Adult Picks:

#1 - JK Rowling 
Author of the Harry Potter series (obviously!) - I've read all the books once myself and am now going through them again with my daughters. I need to pick up her adult title and give it a shot. She's such a generous and kind woman, I'm happy to support her. (And she once retweeted me, so there's that - lol!)

#2 - Jerry Spinelli
Author of Stargirl, Wringer, Loser, Milkweed, and SO many other great books that kids love.  When I taught fifth grade, we read Maniac Magee every year....
#3 - Beverly Cleary
All the wonderful Ramona books alone would have this author on my list! But Dear Mr. Henshaw has a special place in my heart along with Runaway Ralph and the Ribsy books.

#4 - Judy Blume
Right after my Beverly Cleary phase, I dove right into my Judy Blume era...
To this day, I still FEEL like Peter, and Sheila, and Margaret were childhood friends. My classroom library would not be complete without Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret. And I'm loving the new updated covers!

#5 - Laura Ingalls Wilder
A confession: I once ate NOTHING but baked potatoes for two days straight to get the FULL experience of The Long Winter. My summers were spent running through the woods across from my house pretending I was avoiding panther attacks in the Big Woods. I BEGGED my mom to make recipes from the Little House Cookbook and was so bummed when we couldn't find a rabbit to stew. HA!  If you want a funny look back on the series, here is great Jezebel post on Little House:"I Play With A Pig Bladder Like It's a Balloon!" (LOL!!)

Adult Picks:

#6  - Jane Austen
My year would not be complete if I hadn't reread something by Austen...  Pride & Prejudice is my favorite but my first contact with Jane Austen was actually Sense & Sensibility.

#7 - Barbara Kingsolver
I was introduced to The Bean Trees and Animal Dreams in high school and have devoured everything Kingsolver has written since. My favorites are Prodigal Summer, Flight Behavior, and The Lacuna (this last is AMAZING - especially on audio!)

#8 - Margaret Atwood
Author of the post apocalyptic Maddaddam Trilogy, the Penelopiad, Alias Grace and SO many other incredible novels, essays, and non-fiction works, I'm so glad she's prolific so I've got lots more reading to look forward to.  The Handmaid's Tale alone should be required reading by EVERYONE.

#9 - Bill Bryson
From his travel books (Neither Here Nor There .... A Walk in the Woods - which will be a MOVIE this fall - YES!) to his exploration of a particular time in history (One Summer: America, 1927 ) - I'm willing to go on any journey Bryson wants to share. My all time favorite Bryson book is A Short History of Nearly Everything - that book totally changed my perception of the universe and my place in it.

#10 - Charlaine Harris
Yep - I've read every one of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. And even though my interest waned about half-way through I pushed on to the end to see what happened.

Okay, fellow readers! Who are your most-read authors?

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Monday, August 10, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 8/10/15

A less productive reading week this time, but I still fit in some great books while on vacation!

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and then refocused onto KidLit by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. It's a fantastic way to reflect on your reading and discover great new titles by connecting with the other bloggers that link up.  

I finished reading:

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
What can I say about this book? It came so highly recommended that I was worried I'd be disappointed. Not at all! And I'm really looking forward to participating in the 2015 Global Read Aloud this year featuring this book. Ally is a character every teacher should know.

The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel by Ann M. Martin & Raina Telgemeier
I think I actually screeched in the library when I discovered this graphic novel version of one of my favorite childhood series - by RAINA! Win-win! I've only delayed reading it because I couldn't pry it out of my daughter's hands.  :-)

Fairy Tale Comics edited by Chris Duffy
This collection is amazing and oh so WEIRD! While it includes some familiar stories - Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, etc...  each tale has a strange little twist to it.  And my daughters' favorites were the bizarre obscure stories like The Prince and the Tortoise (DON'T ASK!), The Boy Who Drew Cats (quietly creepy for sure...), and The Small Tooth Dog (in the words of my daughter: "Wait. WHAT?!!")  We've had LOTS of laughs reading these out loud before bed this week.

Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
I wanted to really like this book and while it was okay.... it was... JUST okay.
I tried prompting my 8 year old to read it (she loves pink! this book is pink!) but she gave up 1/3 of the way through. Meh.

The Boleyn Deceit (Book 3) by Laura Anderson (Adult Audio Book)
Such a great series! I am always intrigued by alternative histories, and I have a soft spot for the Tudors. However... in the midst of the story, I had forgotten the brutality that those fascinating Tudors were famous for. I hate it when awful things happen to my favorite characters, so that was a rough listen, but the ending redeemed the earlier difficult spots. 

I am currently reading:

Less on my plate since I just got back from a fantastic three day trip to Hersheypark in PA. My oldest daughter is now tall enough to ride most of the coasters - my stomach is STILL recovering - ha! Here is me reading on 81 North while my sweet husband drives. 

AND.... at first I was psyched to see hundreds of books in the lobby of our hotel!  THEN I noticed they were all selected because their covers were blue.  Not cool, Sheraton. Not cool...

What was your reading life like this week? Comment below or link up!

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Fairytale Retellings

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, please click here!

Today's Topic: Ten Fairytale Retellings

Children's & Young Adult Picks:

#1 - Brick Fairy Tales 
I just love all the "brick" books! In this series, all the illustrations are done using LEGOs - how awesome is that? And like the best illustrated books, you'll be exploring the pictures long after you've read the book to catch all the things you missed the first time.

#2 - Snow White in New York by Fiona French
This is Snow White with a Roaring Twenties twist! With gorgeous art deco illustrations and a clever retelling of the classic, this is always on my read-aloud list every year.

#3 - The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith
Point of view is everything - and this fun read certainly makes that clear!

#4 - The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I'll admit it. I totally fell for the premise of this book the first time I read it as a kid, and it was only on rereading it a few years ago that the whole S. Morgenstern "unabridged" version premise seemed a bit dodgy. Still one of my forever favorites, I have the special reunion scene I requested from the publisher tucked carefully into my book.

#5 - Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists
This anthology is a fun, colorful and diverse collection of fairy tales illustrated by various artists like Raina Telgemeier, Luke Pearson, and Jaime Hernandez. Aside from great retellings of both familiar and hilariously odd tales - this book will also serve as a great introduction to some fantastic graphic artists. Can't wait to add this one to my classroom library!

Adult Picks:

#6 & #7 - American Gods & the sequel Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
This amazing book imagines that "the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: gods of credit cards and freeway, of Internet and telephone..."

#8 - The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
I love a retelling from a different point of view and this incredible book tells the story of the myth of Odysseus from his wife Penelope's perspective. And no worries - this novel is much shorter that Homer's epic!

#9 - The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
This novel imagines the lives of Jacob's four wives from the Biblical story in Genesis. Fascinating!

#10 - The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
Inspired by "The Robber Bridegroom", Atwood recasts the villain as Zenia - a woman who burrows her way into three woman's lives to wreck what each holds the most dear.

What do you think?  What are your favorite fairytale retellings?

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Monday, August 3, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 8/3/15

I finished up a great reading week and celebrated my first successful #bookaday challenge for July!
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and then refocused onto KidLit by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. It's a fantastic way to reflect on your reading and discover great new titles by connecting with the other bloggers that link up.  

I finished reading:

33 Minutes by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Sam Lewis is about to get his butt kicked in 33 minutes by his (former?) best friend, Morgan. I love books that slow down time to stretch out moments and these 33 minutes are packed with poignant details about two long-time friends that are growing apart as they change. The beginning is hilarious and chock full of one crazy thing after another until those last couple of pages that left me.... feeling.  What a powerful last word!

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry & Tom Lichtenheld
Sweet rhyming story about two friends. Loved it!

My Teacher is a Monster! by Peter Brown
This clever book is about how a boy's perceptions of his stomping, roaring teacher change when they unexpectedly meet in a park. No spoilers but the illustration details here are key.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
My daughters and I loved this book - groaning over all the spectacular things the boys miss and then comparing the world they left with the world they fall into  Although.... I gotta say - this book kind of gave me a mini existential crisis!  Where are they? If they go in the house, will their parents have different colored hair? They fell so far - they can't ever get back - aaahhhhh!!  ;-)

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
Professional development book for July with lots of awesome hooks to boost engagement in the classroom.  Although slightly overwhelming to this introverted teacher, I'll do my best to get my pirate on this fall!

I am currently reading:

I joined up with a Learn Like a Pirate Facebook Discussion Group for August- check it out!

I am currently listening to:

Such a fun audio book!  It's also available on Kindle Unlimited so I can peek at the pictures, too when I want.

What have you been reading this week? Comment below or link up!

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