Getting ready for the 48-Hour Book Challenge

Motherreader’s 48-Hour Book Challenge is more than half the reason I started this blog. Or, maybe, it just gave me the kick in the pants to actually go through with it. Anyway, it’s nearly upon us, and, if the fun of getting ready for it is any indication, this weekend is gonna be an absolute blast. (If, by “absolute blast,” I mean I’m gonna sequester myself in my apartment with a huge stack of YA books and some snacks. It’s a blast on my terms, people.. it’s all relative.)

Mr. Penny will be away all day Saturday, so I’ve just about cleared my calendar for a two day window from Friday to Sunday evening. Honestly, I think my biggest downfall will be afternoon napping, which has sabotaged many a plan to finish a book over the weekend. Abby the Librarian had some good tips for planning and pacing yourself over the weekend that I’m going to try to take to heart. I’m assembling a stack of books from school to match the leftovers from last summer (my summer reading eyes are bigger than my… summer reading eyes?) and I’m hoping to bat cleanup on the YA books I’ve got out from the public library too. Of course it will be way more than is humanly possible to read in 48 hours, says the girl who just hit the limit on her Netflix queue and has a “to-be-read” spreadsheet that tops 6000 books.

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Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 11:02 pm  Comments (2)  

On Re-Reading

“The real secret of re-reading is simply this: It is impossible. The characters remain the same, and the words never change, but the reader always does. Pip is always there to be revisited, but you, the reader, are a little like the convict who surprises him in the graveyard — always a stranger.” –Verlyn Klinkenborg, “Some Thoughts on the Pleasures of Being a Re-Reader

As a kid, I was a champion re-reader. I’ve read the Lioness Quartet, The Lord of the Rings, The Stand, The Last Unicorn, Beauty by Robin McKinley, The Phantom Tollbooth… approximately a million times? I don’t know, certainly more than I count, but never enough. I was a re-reader for comfort (I particularly enjoy The Stand while home sick), to get to the “good parts,” as an annual ritual (Diablevert used to re-read A Christmas Carol on the bus home for the holidays every Christmas time, a tradition I absolutely adore), as a prelude to introducing a friend to a favorite book so that I could have it secure in my mind. But I’m not really much of a re-reader anymore. I’ve got great impatience for it, actually, since it seems like there’s such an avalanche of print to just get through these days.

Maybe Mr. Penny reading The Hobbit for the first time will spur me to give it another readthrough, especially since I think I may be conflating some of my memories of it with the Rankin Bass cartoon version, which I’ve also seen about 5,638,409 times.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

The School Librarian’s Glad Game

Right now I’ve been gripped by premature “school’s out for summer” fever, so it’s probably time to get my head back in the game for the tail end of May and all that June to come. So here are some great things about being a middle school librarian:

  1. Boxes of new books. My last one (grant-funded) for the year showed up today, full of shiny new nonfiction.
  2. The giant purple book dragon that’s going to show up in the library sometime this week. The amazing product of two special-ed classes and some incredibly inventive teachers and paras is going to live in the library permanently, guarding the entrance to our student art gallery. It’s complete with wings that fold down and a computer monitor in its belly that I can hook up to a laptop for slideshows and such.
  3. The date stamp. It makes a satisfying ka-chunk. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
  4. Kids who come back for more after you’ve given them a recommendation that hit home.
  5. Checking teen books out to teachers (particularly Tamora Pierce fans who need readalikes).
  6. Planning summer reading challenges for the school.
  7. The wide range of books my school reads, from Henry and Mudge to Life of Pi (some of today’s returns). Sometimes this causes reading level angst, but fundamentally I like the freedom in picking books to serve such a wide range of abilities.

… of course, summer vacation rocks, too.

Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Are the Kids Reading?

I’ll ease into this with a meme from The Well-Read Child: what are my kids reading today? I saw three classes today for independent reading blocks, plus lots of walk-ins, so let’s take a look at what they borrowed:

The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman, 95 Pounds of Hope by Anna Gavalda, 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher by Lee Wardlaw (why does it always seem that the kids who borrow this book don’t need any help on this matter?), Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t to a student who said that her mother wanted her to read fewer books about teenage drama and romance and more “adventurous books she could learn something from, like Judy Blume books” (I refrained from pointing out any irony here), the All-About Guide for AIDS, The Creation of Spiderman fresh from a box of new books, Cruise Control by Terry Trueman, the DK nature encyclopedia, The Dear One by Jacqueline Woodson, The Dark-angel by Meredith Ann Pierce, Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt (totally surprised to see this cross my desk… I loved it when I was a kid, but most Voigt is very rarely checked out), Jinx by Meg Cabot, November Blues by Sharon Draper, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (yay!), The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, Savvy by Ingrid Law, Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, Skateboarder’s Start-Up, the Oceans Visual Guide, the short story collection The Haunting Hour by R.L. Stine, and the poetry anthology Revenge and Forgiveness

Many different books from these series: Captain Underpants, Dear Dumb Diary books, Bluford High, Gossip Girl, Goosebumps, Cirque du Freak, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Fear Street, Andrew Lost, Demonata

Comics: Spider-Man in flavors Amazing and Ultimate, Babymouse, Simpsons comics, Baby-Sitter’s Club, the Batman DK Ultimate Guide, Far Side, Bleach, Bone, Goosebumps, Fruits Basket, Garfield, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kingdom Hearts, Tokyo Mew Mew, Naruto, Yu Gi Oh

A pretty typical day, with over a hundred books checked out. When I got a chance, I was working on Live Through This by Debra Gwartney, since I need to get it back to the library ASAP. Oh, and I had a sixth-grader ask me if I had any copies of Another Country by James Baldwin, since his teacher was reading it, and I tried to let him down gently.

Published in: on May 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment