Reading for the First Day of School

It’s time. My friends in Arizona have been back for weeks now, while our neighbors here in North Carolina won’t go back for another fortnight. It’s the first day of school at our house and I’m remembering this episode of The Cosby Show (like I do every first day of school). It’s especially appropriate this year because I have a new Kindergartener sitting at the table waiting to start and a fourth grader trying to sneak in one more hour of summer vacation before breakfast. Whenever the first day of school is for you, starting the year off with books is a great choice. Here are 5 book lists full of ideas for back-to-school reads worth reading again and again: Continue reading

4 Books I’d Love to See on the Big Screen

4 books I'd love to see on the big screenPerhaps this won’t come as a surprise to you, but I don’t always want my very favorite books to be movies. My nine-year-old said it best when he told me he wasn’t sure he wanted to see the Percy Jackson movies just yet. “Once I see it in a movie,” he said, “it never goes back to the way I used to see it in my mind.” I understand how he feels; my Draco Malfoy looked nothing like Tom Felton, but now he’s stuck in my imagination forever.

That said, there is something magical about seeing a beloved world on the silver screen, especially if the portrayals are just perfect. I don’t hear anyone complaining about Collin Firth as Mr. Darcy or Megan Fellows as Anne. Even Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka made a lot more sense after I read the book and realized how weird the whole thing is. All this talk around my house about the Ready, Player One and The Glass Castle movies has me thinking about the books I’d most like to see turned into films.  Continue reading

4 Books I Read this Month

4 books I read this monthI’ve only read 4 books over the past 6 weeks. It doesn’t sound so bad to say it out loud except when I compare it to how many books I usually read in a good week. They weren’t even long, fancy books that would justify a more thoughtful reading! I was feeling a mixture of guilt and panic about the reading slump I’m in until I remembered that the same thing happened last summer. Turns out I read a lot more when it’s cold outside. Picking up a copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane at a friend’s house snapped me out of last year’s slump, and I’m hoping something I read this coming month will have the same effect. In the meantime, the books I did read were great:  Continue reading

9 Books for a First-Grade Classroom

9 books for a first-grade classroomOne of my very closest friends will be a first-year teacher (teaching first grade) this fall and is looking for suggestions for her classroom library. As you could probably guess, the first thing I wanted to do when I heard the news was hop on a plane and go shopping for books and shelving. We’d have so much fun setting up her classroom! Nevermind the desks, chairs, or learning stations. I want to buy knick knacks for her desk and line all the walls with books. Instead, I’m sitting halfway across the country perusing Amazon for my very best recommendations. Here are 9 that keep coming to mind: Continue reading

Reading the World: 8 Books I’d Like to Try

8 books I'd like to tryOnce a month, I make a list of the books I’ve been reading as a way to keep tabs on my reading and join in with other readers around the internet who participate in Ann Bogel’s Quick Lit. This month, I keep finding myself gravitating more to what I’d like to read than what I’m reading now. (Call it literary wanderlust, if you will.) Thanks to a side writing project I’ve been working on, I discovered both Ann Morgan’s TED talk about reading a book from every country in the world in a year and this world map made by an incredibly creative reddit user. First of all, I’d love to have a map like that on my wall. Secondly, it got me thinking about what I would do if I wanted to represent the world in books. What a daunting task to pick one book to represent an entire country! I’m far from making my own list, but I have enjoyed reading both lists and all the comments from readers around the world chiming in with their own suggestions. My international reading has suffered in the decade since college, so I’m gleaning ideas off both lists for my own TBR list. Here are the eight books that caught my eye first: Continue reading