Monday, September 2, 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.

I read this beautifully illustrated tale of Rumpelstiltskin to introduce our read aloud this month, Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin. My students really enjoyed it. We never tire of hearing beloved traditional literature over and over!
The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett (Origami Yoda #4)
I love that I just happened to read this book right after the state letter grades came out that rated our schools.  It made me feel better already. Angleberger shows us that the insanity that surrounds high stakes testing is hurtful to kids. In this book, McQuarrie Middle School has eliminated all specials and field trips to roll out FUNTIME, a brain-numbing program designed to raise test scores. Dwight is back at McQuarrie, and he and Origami Yoda form the Rebel Alliance to try to bring creativity, curiosity, and real learning back to the school. I've got kids eagerly waiting for me to put this on the shelf of my classroom library.  It's not going to stay there for long! 
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

I listened to this book, brilliantly narrated by Sunil Malhotra. Katherine Boo spent years researching this book, following the families of Annawadi, a slum near the Mumbai airport. While Boo's writing is incredible, the story itself is heartbreaking. Extreme poverty has made many people living in these decrepit conditions corrupt, selfish, and brutal. While some hold out hope and show great courage, others poison themselves with rat poisoning and light themselves on fire. I winced with horror and grief many times throughout the narrative. This book is certainly eye-opening to the tragedies of poverty and a corrupt government. Boo's writing is honest and unflinching. It always amazes me when I think of how a place of birth completely shapes a life, and we continually take for granted how blessed we are who are born into a free and wealthy society. 
I was in Richmond, VA this weekend, celebrating my aunt's 80th birthday.  It was a wonderful celebration!  I usually feature what my immediate family is reading, but today, I'm going to share what I noticed my extended family was reading.  I love that when my family gets together, we talk about what we're reading!
My aunt was reading for her book club:
Signs of Life: A Memoir
My cousin's wife was reading:
The Burgess Boys
My other cousin's 7-year-old daughter (who is an amazing reader already!) was reading:
The Harry Potter Collection (Harry Potter, #1-4)
 The first four Harry Potters
She was also reading an adapted and heavily illustrated version of The Call of the Wild
My cousin:
Scientific American Magazine
My cousin's 16-year-old daughter:
Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2)
My cousin's 16-year-old son (reading instructions for a game on the trip back):
My cousin's college kids were both talking about literature courses they're taking.
My mom:
The President's Lady
So many books!  So little time!
I'm still listening to:
On deck for listening:
Currently reading:
This one is for book club.  I honestly don't know if I can get through it.  Stay tuned!
On deck:


  1. Lots of books I recognize! I loved The True Blue Scouts, so I hope the audio does it justice!

    Check out what we read

    1. The audio is fantastic! It's narrated by Lyle Lovett!

  2. I loved Behind the Beautiful Forevers--I also listened on audio and found it riveting. I do love a great audio! Makes the 60-mile commute fly by. Also a wonderful way to explore books I might not otherwise pick up to read.

    1. I agree - I never listen to music anymore - only books!

  3. Holly - I always look forward to reading your IMWAYR post! I have not read Behind the Beautiful Forevers but have heard many people talk about it. My family just watched Slum Dog Millionaire a few nights ago which led to a similar discussion of how fortunate we are to live where we do. Thank you for including the clips of the author speaking of her work. Counting by 7's is also on my "want to read" list! Would love to know what you think of it when you are finished! Thanks again for including all the books your family is reading-a lovely addition to your posts. Happy reading week!

    1. Thank you, Adrienne! Slum Dog Millionaire is a fantastic movie! Glad you enjoy the family reading! :-)

  4. So smart to introduce Rump by reading the original tale, and Zelinsky's retelling is gorgeous! I found Behind the Beautiful Forevers so depressing, I had a hard time finishing it. I'm looking forward to Jabba the Puppet. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I understand you having a hard time with Beautiful Forevers. It was definitely hard to read/listen to. Jabba is much happier! ;-)

  5. So many great titles here, Holly. Behind the beautiful forevers sounds like an amazing and inspiring read, thanks for including it in the AWB reading challenge. The Kathi Appelt title also caught my eye. Have a great reading week!

    1. You've got to listen to the Lyle Lovett-narrated audio of Appelt's book. Priceless!

  6. You've got to finish The Shining Girls. It's a strange read, but it all comes together. It will make for interesting conversation at book club!!

    1. But I REALLY, REALLY don't like icky serial-killer stories. Ugh. I'll try, I guess. There are so many other books I'd rather read!

  7. Now, that's a lot of books. I can't read but half that many in a month. So busy and I'm a real slow reader, but I'm getting there. I used to could put a book away in a day. :)