Before going back to work, I was averaging five or six books per month. My numbers have decidedly dropped. I’d be happy with four books per month, but I guess three isn’t too bad either. Maybe I can make up some ground during intersession. I’m actually pretty pleased with myself this month. I only wish I would have snuck in some nonfiction. Anyway, here’s what I read this month -
1. Tunes for Bears to Dance To by Robert Cormier (Juvenile Fiction)
Short version: In post WWII New England, a young boy struggles with family issues, watches his bigot of a boss treat everyone like trash, and befriends a Holocaust survivor.
Long version: 4.5 out of 5 stars. This book skews very young (thus the reason I noted it as juvenile and not YA), so it was a super quick read. A friend of mine taught a unit on this book back during student teaching, but this was the first time I read it. I love a book rife with self reflection and tough decisions. This one delivers on both counts. Even though the writer hits you over the head with the point (again, it’s juvenile fiction), this one is a winner.
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA dystopian fantasy)
Short version: Jonas is selected to become the new Receiver of Memory, a position of honor in his community of sameness, but he soon begins to learn all the things that have been kept hidden from him and everyone else about the community and the burden of that knowledge.
Long version: 5 out of 5 stars. I’ve already waxed poetic about how much this book means to me in my review of the movie. I decided to re-read the book to see if I was just remember a rosy version of it. No, it still stands the test of time. This is perhaps my all time favorite book. Lowry’s work is layered and smart and intriguing while still being approachable for young adults. I love a book that makes you think and doesn’t spoon feed you the answers. Plus, the ending is perfection.
3. Sparta by Roxana Robinson (Fiction)
Short version: Marine Conrad Farrell returns from Iraq to find that life back home has moved on without him, and he struggles to find his place.
Longer version: 3 out of 5 stars. It took me a while to get into this one, but I’m glad I powered through. After I got 100 pages in, the characters grew on me, and I was fully invested. Then the book got dark, really dark. But I knew it would be dark when I decided to read it, so I feel like I can’t fault the author for that. I wonder if I would have been able to appreciate it more if I read the book at a different point in time. (Like, not when Stephen’s in Afghanistan. But again, I knew that before I read it.) I’m still working through my thoughts, and a full review is in the works with Military Spouse Book Review.
Total # of books read so far this year: 42
Total # of pages read so far this year: 12,028