Reading, Teaching, Learning

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
 
 
These are the books I read this week:
 
MIDDLE GRADE
 
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
 
 
"Holy bagumba!" I loved this book! Kate DiCamillo is a magician with words and stories. I love how she combines fantasy, friendship, and quirkiness in all her books to make unforgettable characters. This one involves a squirrel who gains superhero powers after being sucked into the Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner (weird, I know, but somehow this story element works) and captures the heart of Flora who names him Ulysses, of course. He is a poet and valiant friend, keeping Flora company in her self-professed cynical world. Flora's mother is a romance writer who seems more attached to her tacky lamp than Flora, and William Spiver is the temporarily blinded nephew of the lovable neighbor, Tootie. Flora's parents are divorced, thus her cynicism, but she still believes in superheroes and becomes Ulysses's mentor, giving him his "wings." Even though this book seems suitable for younger elementary kids, it is not for the faint of heart - lots of incredibly challenging vocabulary words are imbedded into life philosophies and sophisticated themes. Here's a smattering of some of the words: malfeasance, vanquish, eradicate, obfuscation, nefarious, euphemism, unremitting - see what I mean? I loved the ending and can't wait to share this with my Mock Newbery Club. Will they like it? I hope so! I feel about Kate's books the way Flora feels about Ulysses when he flies: "It was as if some small peace descended.  The world became dreamy, beautiful, slow."
 
MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT
 
The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1)
 
 
 
 
I listened to this book while a small group in my classroom read it for their extended myth book. It's the perfect book to blend mythology with history, adventure, and fantasy. Sophie and Josh get caught up in a battle between good and evil, eternal life and power.

 
YOUNG ADULT
 
Fangirl
 
 
 
 
Sigh. Two Rainbow Rowell books in one year - both of which I'll never forget. She knows how to create heartbreaking, endearing, unforgettable characters - characters you root for and cheer on. She knows how to write romances that are not too sappy and are full of complications and imperfections, but aren't overly angsty. I don't read or write fanfiction, but that's okay because I totally get the obsession over fantasy/science fiction series that makes you want to wait in a line of costumed readers at midnight for a book or movie release. I understand crying over the last book and wanting the story to continue. Speaking of which, when is the next Rainbow Rowell book coming out? I can't wait!

CURRENTLY READING (my book club book this month):

The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO:

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail The Hunt (The Hunt, #1)
 
Here is what my family is reading this week:
 
My 20-year-old:
 
People of the Book
 
My 17-year-old:
 
The Sun Also Rises

My mom:

The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family

My dad:

Brazos

What are YOU reading this week?
 

36 comments:

  1. I am so curious about Fangirl. I have heard nothing but good things about it. Come see my Monday Report if you get a chance. Happy reading!

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  2. Looking forward to reading Fangirl! Will keep my eye out for the Kate DiCamillo book! Have a great week.

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  3. Do so like the mix of reads. Enjoy.

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  4. Looks like some great middle grade books here. I've just finished The Hero of Hades which came out last week and loved it.

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    1. My students are going crazy over Rick Riordan since we just finished a mythology unit. Several of them bought The Hero of Hades the day it came out! :-)

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  5. The World's Strongest Librarian is on my TBR list and part of my Off the Shelf reading challenge so I hope I'll get around to it soon!

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  6. Kate DiCamillo is my hero. I bought Flora and Ulysses and made the mistake of sharing it with my students before I could read it. Two of them are trading off. I'll have to wait for my turn. I love Kate's smattering of difficult vocabulary in her books. Great for gifted readers!

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    1. Isn't she amazing?! Ha - I always debate whether to read something new before I give it to students or to let them at it. You might not get it for awhile. ;-)

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  7. I haven't read any of these but I love how you include what you're family is reading too.

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  8. I am really looking forward to School Library Journal's upcoming webcast for Flora and Ulysses.

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    1. Oooh - I don't know about that. I will have to look into it!

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  9. So glad to hear about Flora and Ulysses. I have it, but I have not been able to get to it yet. Moving it up the pile :) Have a great week!

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  10. I will have to look for Kate's book. I have have heard many great things about it.

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    1. I gave a book talk about it to my Mock Newbery Club this afternoon. There was so much interest, I had to hold a raffle to pick who got to read it next!

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  11. Good to read your thoughts on Flora and Ulysses, just can't wait to read it!

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  12. I love seeing what your family is reading! That's an awesome idea. I just bought Flora & Ulysses last week. Waiting for my husband to finish reading Origami Yoda aloud to our kids, and then we'll start Flora!

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    1. Awwww - Origami Yoda - another one of my favorites! I love that your husband is reading it aloud!

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  13. We're fast becoming Kate DiCamillo fans at my house, my youngest daughter is reading one of her books and they read one at school too, so we're starting to buy them. We haven't seen this one though, have to check it out.

    I liked Fangirl a lot, very good.

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    1. She's amazing! My Mock Newbery Club loved the video of her!

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  14. Seems like you had an awesome reading week! :)

    Here is our list

    By the way, we are giving away a signed ARC of Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles on the blog. Make sure to stop by and enter! :)

    Andy @ Owl Always Be Reading

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    1. Thank you! I will stop by your blog and check it out!

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  15. I can't wait for it to be my turn with Fangirl! Will you continue The Alchemyst series? I only listened to the first one and haven't really be motivated to go on. http://wp.me/pzUn5-1HX

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    1. Honestly, I don't think I'll continue the series. It wasn't my cup of tea. I'm glad I made it available to my students for our mythology unit, and several of them enjoyed it.

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  16. I was very excited to read Fan Girl. Now I am completely convinced I need this book NOW! Thanks for such a lovely book list to ponder!

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  17. So many great books! I adore Kate DiCamillo's books, and Flora and Ulysses is at the top of my TBR pile. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I want that book, Kate DiCamillo's. Point me to a giveaway or I will put it on my Christmas list. Maybe my local library. Anyway, I am so glad I found your blog too. Will be a regular follower. :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I stopped by your blog and followed you, too! :-)

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