Best Book I Have Not Read

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

You know it’s been too long August 9, 2014

Filed under: book clubs,reluctant readers,school,Teachers,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:51 am
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when you can’t figure out how to post on your blog

you can’t remember the title of the last children or YA book you’ve read

you’ve only been to your favorite children’s bookstore once in 6 months


Somehow I find a reference

to a couple of women

who were written about in Reading Today

and summarized on Marshall Memo

who have a blog

and the most awesome ideas ever!
and now I want to be just like them

which means…

I need to come out of the world of district administration for at least a little while each week

and read more books

and talk to more kids

and get them as excited about reading as I am reading about their brilliant ideas.

Check out Crazy Reading Ladies at their blog or on Twitter!



It’s Monday! What are you Reading? March 4, 2013

Filed under: book clubs,books — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:51 pm

I’m supposed to be reading for book group:

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
 by Isabel Wilkerson

It’s interesting, but I don’t love non-fiction and it’s 640 pages long! Good God!


I’m actually reading:

The Madness Underneath (The Shades of London book 2) by Maureen Johnson–had to buy it on my Kindle the day it came out


PS-I don’t love the new covers for the series


I’m wanting to read:

Book Love by Penny Kittle 


but it’s not on the Kindle and getting a book here is tough!




Book Club for Grown-Ups October 11, 2010

Filed under: book clubs — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:51 pm
The Magicians Lev Grossman
Telex from Cuba Rachel Kuschner
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
The Children’s Book A. S. Byatt
Prisoner of Tehran: Marina Nemat
One Woman’s Story
of Survival Inside
an Iranian Prison
Those that Save Us Jenna Blum
Hotel on the Corner Jamie Ford
of Bitter and Sweet
Marcelo in the Real Francisco Stark
A Reliable Wife Robert Goolick
Olive Kittredge Elizabeth Strout
Let the Great World Spin Colum McCamm

Here’s what my “grown-up” book club is reading this year. Each September we all bring a couple of suggestions, make a master list, and then get vote. Books with most votes get on calendar for year. We also try to always include one non-fiction, one children’s, and one “classic” Live in G-ville and want a book club? Shoot me a comment and I’ll get you the info :)


Summer is always a little crazy… July 13, 2010

Filed under: ALA,book clubs,KidLit,reading workshop,summer reading,TCRWP,units of study — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:42 am

I enter summer, knowing full-well it’s going to be crazy. It’s always too fast, and make me wonder how I manage to work full-time during the school year. This summer has proven to be crazier than normal. In case you are interested, here is a week-by-week breakdown of the craziness.

first week June-last week of school for kids; swim team starts

second week of June-hubby and kids go on vacation with my family to NC. I have an extended contract so I stay to finish up the 2009-2010 school year. Breathe a sigh of relief that all the administrative team seems to be staying in place for next school year.

Realize that I miss having multiple dogs in the house and add another puppy.

third week of June-

Monday evening-our superintendent announces he is leaving for another district.

Tuesday mid-day-my direct supervisor (Director of Educational Operations) announces he has accepted a job in another district (ARGH!)

Wednesday and Thursday-lots of extra meetings

Friday-leave for D.C for my first ALA

Sunday-return from D.C. with van full of books!

Board member steps down…

last week of Junemidweek: first set of house guests arrive. So happy to see my college roommate and her family! It’s always too long between visits.

last week of June-end of week: one set of house guests leaves, another arrives two hours later-So happy to have Guy’s cousin, wife and baby visiting us! They have the happiest baby on earth! It’s also beginning of arrival in town for husband’s family reunion AND 25th high school reunion.

Fourth of July weekend-house guests, street fair, family reunion AND pack to leave for Teachers College

Our beloved Director of Technology dies unexpectedly of a heart attack.

First week of July– 17th annual Reading Institute at TCRWP. (Great learning opportunity-if you ever have the opportunity to attend one of TC’s institutes, you WON’T be sorry! )Hot beyond belief in NYC (103 degrees at 6 p.m. near the former World Trade Center site (see photo).

get home Friday night very late after multiple delays with flight

Our Director of Student Services accepts another job.  We are a small, relatively stable district. We go years without anyone leaving.

Saturday-all day class at Muskingum University. Approximately 18 hours after leaving Columbia University’s campus in NYC.

Sunday-drive to Michigan and back to deliver son to summer camp. Wish I was staying for a week of Lake Michigan!

Second week of July-let the meetings continue….new board member and interim superintendent named-whew.

What I was looking forward to was a month of reading on my screen porch, with a lap full of puppies. In the plans were-the new Units of Study for Reading books by Lucy Calkins, The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen for my upcoming book club, and as many ARCs from ALA that I could manage. Progress is slow, but I have started the first book in the reading series (such a great resource), finished Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Fantastic!), and at least checked out the book club book from the library. I’ve also learned to type with the lap full of puppies. Unconditional love and affection is worth a few little potty-training accidents.

Instead, I’m reminding myself daily that with each new challenge there lies opportunity. Here are a few of my favorite change quotes:

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Brian Andreas, Story People artist


A Week Flies By November 7, 2009

Filed under: book clubs,book reviews,book turned into movie — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:33 am

We’ve had three weeks where our landline would not work.

My husband took time off Monday for them to come and fix it.

They didn’t show up.

They had called that morning and left a message on our dead landline. Duh!

They arrive Tuesday night to fix it.

The phone now works.

The internet only does when it feels like it (which is not much!).

Have to wait for another appointment for them to fix it.

While not having access to internet, I’ve reclaimed several hours from e-mail answering and blogging that I’ve spent reading. Not so much kid-lit, but adult book club kind of stuff and YA in preparation for NCTE-ALAN.

I finished up The Elegance of the Hedgehog by  Muriel Barbery. LOVE IT. A definite must read! It kept being recommended by staff developers at TC last summer. They were so right!

I finished Zombie Blondes by Brian James. Don’t ask me why. My daughter did, and all I could come up with was, “Sometimes it’s entertaining to read an easy book that is kind of silly”. On the other hand, I can see tons of middle schoolers devouring it.  It’s definitely one of those YA books that is for YA, not adults who like YA.

I finished listening to City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Also YA. The first in a trilogy. I really enjoyed it, but because I was listening to it on my iPod, it took me longer than I would have preferred to get through it. I must get one of the those doo-hickeys to hook my iPod to my car so I can listen there.

I’m tearing my way through My Life in France by Julia Child and . When my book club picked this book, I really wasn’t sure I was going to read it. There is was at the bookstore Wednesday and I haven’t been able to put it down since! I shouldn’t be surprised that I love it-I do love cooking and lived in Europe myself for half a year. It has me missing those days of teaching at the American International School, grocery shopping at little stands, and trying to figure out how to stay warm in winter (but not to the extreme they had in Paris post-World War II).


“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.


Summer Reading Kick-Off Event May 4, 2009

I admit it. I am obsessed with getting kids to read, and not just read, but I want them hooked on reading like a junkie in an alley.  One of my school friends described me as a Book Geisha, but assured me that she meant that as a compliment.  Since it did make me laugh, I guess I’ll take it. 

Last year I became intrigued with the idea of planning for summer reading after reading an article by Franki Sibberson at Choice Literacy with my fourth graders. I have followed similar lines of thinking when it comes to planning for reading over the year or setting a reading goal for yourself at New Year’s. In many ways, a Book Challenge, is like a plan.

Since I don’t have a classroom this year, but I am still peddling books, I’ve decided on a Summer Reading Kick-Off Event for elementary and intermediate families (kindergarten through sixth grade), as well as inviting local preschool families.  

Here’s how I tried to recruit one friend to help with the event…

Hi R,

Thanks for the fast response. I think I’m looking for someone to bounce ideas off of/partner in crime (without the responsibility of planning the crime). I do have quite a few resources including book lists, tips, etc. but I almost have too much. I need to condense it to parent-friendly usable materials. The last week of May I am a Summer Reading Kick-Off here at GIS with an emphasis on planning for summer reading. I can’t have one at both schools because there isn’t enough of me to go around, but I want to the Family Reading Night/Summer Reading Kick-Off to be of interest to families from both schools. J. Patrick Lewis and Tim Bowers will do a brief intro of their new book First Dog and it will be for sale for autographing, along with an array of books that might make good “summer reading”. I’m even kicking around having choices of “sessions” (15-20 minutes) that are age-appropriate. I want to have book lists, but if 4 or 5 books are highlighted for each age group, I know kids are much more likely to read them versus selecting them off a list.  I’m not out to sell books to everyone, but want to provide a service.

I know how many parents really struggle to get their kids to read over the summer and isn’t not unusual at their age to be willing to try or do something because the “teacher said” versus giving mom or dad a hard time about the exact same thing. I want to give the parents the “teacher said” clout to help them keep their kids reading over the summer.  

I’m also kicking around having an event in August for those who participated in Summer Reading.

What do you think? Thanks for offering to help!

I’ve gone on to try to recruit: the elementary reading specialists to work on something for parents of pre-schoolers and incoming kindergartens; intermediate teachers to host parent-child book clubs; local librarians and I’m not done yet. 


Stay tuned as I firm up the details in the next week. It’s not too late to plan one for your school!




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