Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

“Grown-Up” Book Club 2009-2010 September 15, 2009

Filed under: book clubs — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:38 pm

The winners of last night’s planning meeting for “grown-up” book club are as follows:

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Schaffer
and Annie Barrows
The Elegance of the Hedgehog Muriel Barberry
Alison Anderson
My Life in France Julia Child
The Maytrees Annie Dillard
Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf
The Space Between Us Thirty Umriger
Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
The Black Book of Secrets FE Higggins
Distant Land of My Father Bo Caldwell
(and for over achievers or fast readers)
Last Chinese Chef Nicole Mones
The Help Kathryn Stockett
The Middle Place Kelly Corrigan
My Stroke of Insight Jill Bolte Taylor
Last Town on Earth Thomas Mullen
pick from recommended
Peony in Love Lisa See
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life Richard Hofstadter

I had been looking forward to this evening for quite a while and started doing by “research” for suggestions this past July. Everyone in the group brings a suggestion (or two or three) and then we hash it out. Some books are clear ‘winners’ if more than one person brought the book as a suggestion. We also get recommendations from the owner and the manager of the local book store for consideration.  We try to always have one classic, one non-fiction, and one young adult book, in addition to fiction titles. There are a few members who can always be counted on to bring non-fiction recommendations as well as a few who love the classics.  I’m one of two who inhale young adult, so it’s always fun to compare notes as well as getting our friends to read some of our YA favorites. Hunger Games was an easy pick for both of us.

I had brought the three titles in bold and have been holding off on reading Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in hopes that it would make this year’s list (sometimes if too many people have already read a title, it can eliminate a book from ‘the running’.

The classic is always the hardest for me with non-fiction coming in a close second. I still haven’t made it through a classic in three years. It doesn’t help that the non-fiction month usually overlaps when I am reading YA books like a fiend before Newbery announcements.  I’m not making any bets that I will make it to Virginia Woolf, but maybe if I can buy it on I-tunes and listen to it in the car.

The group expanded as many brought a friend and we were able to make decisions in record time this year.  Big thanks to Susan for hosting and organizing. We wouldn’t all be the varied readers we are without your organization.


Not sure where he’s coming from… September 14, 2009

Filed under: authors — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:50 am
Tags: ,

Richard Peck seems to be missing the point. He states that students are telling him over and over again that teachers are reading aloud his books. That is meant as a compliment, not a complaint!

I’m sure not one teacher who has chosen to read his book aloud, set out with the goal of teaching a list of vocabulary words. That part of his interview in Horn Book seems to be at direct odds with the stories themselves!

Endings aren’t “given away” by read alouds-they are shared by students with bated breath, hardly able to wait and see what unfolds.

With “limited classroom time”, reading aloud is the most valuable (and least expensive) of all teaching tools that every teacher has.

While I adore Richard Peck I agree with The Reading Zone, he is really off the mark.


Make My Day September 13, 2009

Sometimes I worry about Facebook.

Is it mentally healthy to be able to stay connected to your childhood friends especially when you live in your childhood town?

Do I really want everyone who is my Facebook friend to be able to read my blog when that is not the audience I intend it for?

All kinds of other silly worries… I know I shouldn’t worry, but…I am me.

But on the other hand I recently received a message from a friend that I haven’t seen nearly enough in the past year (names changed for privacy). That is a positive of Facebook!

Subject: good feedback…

“I’ve been wanting to share with you…  last week I was asking the girls what their favorite part of the first week of school was.  Sally said that your writing time was her favorite, as she proceeded to tell me all about three stories that she started writing (along with a story that you had shared with them).  I didn’t even have to coax her beyond recess!  Thanks for your dedication to all of our kids and their education!  We are so fortunate to have educators and friends like you!”

How much do I LOVE that!

Not that I was her favorite part of her first week of school, but that WRITING was her favorite part! Presentation and storytelling is so important in inspiring young writers! Getting to kick off writing workshop in multiple classroom over multiple weeks has been a blast! It doesn’t matter what the age, their stories are so great, and the ability for kids to learn quickly how to shape words to pull their reader in is darn amazing. I’ve gotten to hear/read during writing conferences with students about how the wind blows your hair back from your face as you go up the incline of a roller coaster and how to feels to pull back the string (so not the actual word) on the bow of your first deer hunt while your dad whispers in your ear and lets you take the first shot (I hate hunting but was able to marvel at his words.).

Pretty amazing. I love my job and I love that most every work day includes a happy, waist-high hug, and enthusiastic silent waves from students on their way from one part of the building to the next.


Piper Reed

Filed under: authors,book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:13 am
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The newest Piper Reed book, Piper Reed Gets a Job, has been read and enjoyed at our house. Author Kimberly WIllis Holt should be very proud of the new Piper Reed Fan Club over at MacMillan. My daughter (and others) will love being in a new club, especially one with the fantastic Piper illustrations by Christine Davenier.  Teachers will be interested in checking it out as well. SO…Get off the bus and head on over to check it out!



What we are Reading September 11, 2009

Filed under: books — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:55 pm

We’ve torn through the Alchemyst series, Percy Jackson, and City of Bones. What will dear hubby and I read next?


My Two Cents—borrowed from Michael Smith September 7, 2009

Filed under: blogs,Obama — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:07 pm
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Blog entry from The PrincipalsPage blog:


President Obama Doesn’t Need a Visitor’s Pass to Speak to Students.

The President wants to talk to the students of America. Evidently, his intention is to encourage students to take their school year more seriously and take greater personal responsibility for their education.

Not so fast.

We are going to need to see an ID.

Somebody needs to stop by the office, sign in, and get a visitor’s badge before he will be allowed to speak to kids.

Mr. President, you just can’t just show up and demand an audience with our students.

Who do you think you are?

This idea of the President of the United States addressing school children has sparked a great deal of discussion.

Educators have been debating this speech for the last couple of weeks. It has been a topic of discussion on Twitter, Plurk, listserv’s and blogs.

In my mind, schools have reacted rather predictably.

The speech is a new idea.

So it must be a bad idea.

Far too many adults seem to be forming their opinions based upon their political beliefs.

Personally, I think this idea needs to pass the “Say It Out Loud Test”.

This method is tried and true.

If you want to see if something is a good idea or a bad idea… simply say it out loud.

So here I go. “President Obama wants to speak directly to school children so he can encourage them to work hard and take school seriously.”

Sounds good to me. Plus, I am willing to give him the benefit of that doubt because he is… The President of the United States of America.

All too often teachers and administrators complain about schools not getting well-deserved respect.

Now the President wants to help by encouraging students to do better… they must do better.

I say we give him a chance.

Just this once, let’s not be overly paranoid about a stranger speaking to our students.

Let’s give a new idea a chance before we sit around and come up with a long list of reasons why it won’t work.

This is a great opportunity to not only teach students the importance of listening, but also the importance of respecting the highest office in the land.

So, echoing Michael Smith, I don’t think enough can be said about the importance of respecting the highest office in the land. Thank God we live in a country where we get to believe and vote as we will every four years.

If we want our children to respect adults (something many of us feel is an area of “Needs Improvement”), starting with the President seems like a really good place to me. ANY president Shouldn’t Need a Visitor’s Pass to Speak to Students.


Yippee Yahoo! September 5, 2009

Filed under: authors — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:47 pm
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As if participating in the Summer ARC Tour of The Miles Between by Mary Pearson wasn’t good enough, I also found out that I won one of the copies. So Cool! There is nothing better than winning something, especially if that thing is a book!

The first person I’m going to loan it to is my friend Tara. I know she won’t be able to put it down!

Check out the fun article at Publisher’s Weekly about the ARC Tour!




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