In my last post (way back in January), I started the year off with a Fave Reads Friday. And now, here I am again in February with another. It’s not that I don’t have a million other things that I want to write about, it’s that I am not making the time to do so. But just now I decided that I had a few minutes, so this is kind of also a TOLT post because I want to rant for a minute….


I am still working down my book list and I got to letter “K” and it was The Knowledge Illusion by Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman. Oh, what a fantastic book so far….but the book is not the issue. People who use my library are.

In the first four chapters of the book I found 3 places in which someone had crossed out the word evolution and wrote the word “GOD” over the top….in ink. This is public property people! Then, as I was trying to figure out where to stop for the night I moved my bookmark to the next chapter start and noticed that it was missing. Yep, you read that right, MISSING!

Needless to say, I returned the book to my library yesterday and let them know about the damage. I requested another copy because I was so interested in the material, but they only had the one. So, now they’re putting in a request to order a new copy and looking through the inter-library loan system for one I could borrow in the mean time.

I just have to say that paying taxes that support the purchase of books does not mean that it gives you free reign to do what you want with them or to push your values into other people’s written works.

So, on to the next one

Last month I finished reading Jewel by Bret Lott. It was a really great story, but I had a hard time picturing the characters some times. It told the story of a family who dealt with the challenge of raising a child with Down syndrome during a time when little was known about the genetic disorder. It was told from the point of view of the mother, Jewel, and focused on her own narrative of life from when she was a child through the end of her years. I felt compelled to keep reading it until my eyes fell closed every night until it was done. At the end I was sad that I didn’t get to read more.

And now that I had to skip “K” for the moment, I have moved on to “L” and last night opened A Lesson Before Dying. I haven’t read much of it yet because I was super tired, but it is the story of two men. One on death row and the other the nephew of the best friend of the godmother of the man on death row. Say that 5 times fast!

Then and Now

When I finish this one I will have to skip around again to my “N” book before it’s due to go back and “I” has finally arrived with “M” on the way. I have decided not to watch tv at night any more because it gives me this time to unwind and read. It’s allowing me to feel accomplished in my goals, wiser, and like I am balancing my time during this new semester. It’s also giving me that time I need away from electronics when I am online for teaching and grading and helping my kids with school all day.

I am still reading to the kids almost daily and we’re so close now to the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The youngest is  on his last book in the Trapped in a Video Game series by Dustin Brady. And the oldest is reading Moby Dick and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator in turns. He checked out 7 shorter books from the library this week to start to meet some of the other categories in his 40 book challenge at his school. Today he read one he really liked called Spring After Spring and now I want to check it out because he almost never recommends books to others and he recommended this one to me.

I am still only averaging about 1 book a month right now, but with nightly reading and grading slowing down I might be able to pick up the book a little more.

What book(s) are you reading for February?

Fave Reads Friday #25 – What’s Wrong With People?

I haven’t written a Fave Reads Friday post in six months, but the reading hasn’t stopped. I don’t know why this is the first post I have chosen to write in 2021, but I think it has a lot to do with my theme for this year (that’s a topic for another post).

In my post linked above I had decided to add the Oprah’s Book Club books to my list of books that I want to read. As of today that list has 175 books, but I am in the process of reading one. I decided to start reading one from each letter of the alphabet in order until I get to the bottom of my list and then work my way back up. At the time I decided this I didn’t have anything in “A”, so I started here:

  • Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  • Earth Hates Me: True confessions of a teenage girl by Ruby Karp (I ended up giving this one to my 15 year old niece)
  • Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (made me like him even more as a person and wanted to be his best friend)
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

And now I had to skip my “I” book because it hasn’t come in yet and I am reading Jewel by Bret Lott. I also have my “K” and “L” waiting on my nightstand.


I am trying to find time daily (even though I am prepping for the new semester) to read silently and allow myself to be transported into the new adventures of my books. I am making time (while my kids are still virtual) to read to them at breakfasts, lunches, and before bed.

We are on to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix now. A friend of mine graciously donated their set to us when her children stopped reading them. It makes it a lot easier to go at our own pace instead of rushing to read the book in time for library due dates. Although, these are the paperback copies and not the illustrated versions we’d been enjoying.

The youngest is reading the Trapped in a Video Game series by Dustin Brady. And the oldest has discovered adventure stories in the form of Great Illustrated Classics and Classic Starts books. He’s on to Moby Dick at the moment as part of a 40 book challenge at his school.

I am averaging about 1 book a month right now with the hopes of more. I wonder if I can’t finish the alphabet by July?

What book are you reading in 2021?

Fave Reads Friday #24 – The List

We finished a few books at our house since my last Fave Reads Friday post.

  • The Tale of Despereaux (which they totally rearranged in the movie; as they sometimes do) had a sweet ending and made my 7yo feel quite accomplished
  • Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl was not one I enjoyed having read to me, mostly because I am not into graphic novels and partly because I hadn’t “read” the first two in the series.
  • The Secret Garden was one that felt like the ending was both necessary and abrupt. We have yet to watch any movie that goes with that book because there’s none free on our streaming channels. Also, it leaves you wanting a sequel.
  • Part of our Lives was the one I finished. It seemed to take me longer to read than originally expected. It started off strong, but then seemed repetitive in some ways. However, I learned a few interesting facts and it did lead to a new project for me….


Other than the few personal stories and times that my hometown library system was mentioned in the book, there were also several books listed that I had never heard of or read myself. I had intended to make this big list of these books and add them all to my library “to read” list, but I never wrote them all down before I returned the book. There also wasn’t a list in the back of the book, so I decided to just go an easier route for me.

In the book, one of the stories is about Oprah. Many years ago, in a whole different part of my life, I had read Cane River because my mom had bought it as part of the Oprah Book Club. I borrowed the book from my mom and I still have it, but only vaguely remember the story.

Did you know that Oprah now has over 85 books on her Book Club list?!

So, I instead decided to add all of the books I could get at my local library to my list and to start reading whatever was available. I really want to broaden my horizons and choose some different books and read some classics and some new things too. My list is now over 100 books again (including some titles I want to read to my kids). In looking for these books I found other books I wanted to read, so the list kept growing.


The first book I checked out from my new list is Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell. I am not sure if this was from Oprah’s Book Club or one I found on my own. I haven’t even had a chance to crack it open this week.

We are also on to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets which we started a couple of years ago and the kids didn’t feel good about the spider, so we stopped. I have read some of the HP books before, but it’s more fun to read them to the kids and I can’t wait to watch the movies again too!

The youngest is reading (reluctantly) Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins. And the oldest was working his way through Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan, but the library made us give back our copy because someone else had put it on hold. I still want to read that one myself (when he’s done with it), so we’re waiting for another copy to come in.

That’s probably one of the things I miss the most during all of this….going to the library and browsing the books. I am grateful for pick-up service and for the digital library access as well. It truly is a part of our lives that is missing right now!

What book are you waiting to read?

Fave Reads Friday #23 – The Library

Last time I wrote about the books I am working on I had just started Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. That took me less than a month to destroy. It was hard in parts because I feel like the book needs some editing….not from a content standpoint, but a fact check of sorts. For instance, the dates jump around in places to where I had to go back and check that I wasn’t crazy in thinking that they were out of order.

Let’s not focus on the negatives though. I really enjoyed this story and it reminded me of the summer when all I read were “the classics” like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Portrait of a Lady. The language is quite beautiful in this type of book, but I can’t read it every day anymore. The only other downside to the book was that the story ended so abruptly. I expected a little more adventure…..


For instance, when they saw the giant man and the mastodons, why did they not go and investigate more? It seems to me that the book really told little of a “Journey” and more of a hike gone awry with little adventure at all other than storms, near starvation, and a few explosions.

My son is waiting on a different version of the book so that he can read it as the language did prove to be a little much for him.

We are still working on The Secret Garden at bedtime and I have gotten about 1/3 of the way through Part of Our Lives (more on those to come). My youngest just finished reading me The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo and we’ll be watching the movie for our Friday night pizza/movie session tonight. He is now working on Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (the third in this series of graphic novels he has read). And the oldest just completed Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (another I haven’t yet read) and is on to something I can’t wait to read myself: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. It’s 500+ pages! I am so proud that he’s attempting such a large book at his age!

What have you read lately?

What’s the biggest book you or your kid(s) have read?

What are you reading with/to someone?

Any suggestions for my summer reading list?

Fave Reads Friday #22 – Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

When I was in high school my parents got divorced. My mom and I used to watch Gilmore Girls (her more than I at the time). When I did watch it wasn’t really my thing, but I do remember wishing that Lauren Graham (aka Lorelei Gilmore) would be my mom and that we could have all that witty banter that she and Alexis Bledel (aka Rory Gilmore) had. Sadly, my mom was a mom of 4 kids and we weren’t that close.

Many years later, after my first marriage ended, I watched Gilmore Girls again…..all the way through. At that time I really wanted to be Lorelei myself. I wanted to have a child and raise it and have them be my best friend. I was seriously considering being a single mom and all of the ups and downs that choice would entail. I found myself unemployed (by choice) and realized that wasn’t such a great idea. Plus, at that time I was still going off of the statements of doctors that with 99% certainty I would NEVER have children of my own.

Skip ahead to my summer reading goals 2020…, to actually make time to read…..

Now that my library is back open for pick-up and drop off (although they come out and place things on a table and there is absolutely no human interaction AT ALL), I have started to check books out again. The first book I picked up was Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. Why? Because it’s LAUREN GRAHAM! I loved her in Gilmore Girls, I loved her in Parenthood, and I am currently loving her in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.

Okay, so I am not going to lie to you, I didn’t read the description of this book before I checked it out I was really disappointed when I started reading it……because……I thought it was going to be a biography….and it’s not. HOWEVER, the story is wonderful and amusing and well written and I found myself pleasantly absorbed in it. The first day I read 8 chapters! In one sitting! The second day I read another 8 chapters….in one sitting! And then I couldn’t sleep that night, so I stayed up and read the whole rest of the book.

It felt soooooo good to read and to read something that was entertaining and well written. If you are looking for a great read by the pool, at the beach, or wherever you’re holing up for the rest of this summer pandemic chaos, this one is at the top of my recommend list.

So, now that I’ve given that one a whirl….what’s next?

Well, I am currently reading The Secret Garden to my kiddos (have never read it myself and there’s a lot of blatant racism in this book). My oldest was supposed to be reading Journey to the Center of the Earth, so I picked up his copy when I was still awake the other night and started on it. Then, I realized there was no way he was actually reading it, so we’ve decided to read it together. And, I returned Someday and picked up Part of our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library by Wayne A. Wiegand. That one remains unopened at the moment. In addition, next month I plan to start re-reading the Anatomy and Physiology text book I teach from to refresh myself and my labs.

What have you read lately?

Ever thought you were reading a different book?

Ever finished a book in three days?

What are you reading with/to someone?

Any suggestions for my summer reading list?

Fave Reads Friday #21 – Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

I love reading Ilana’s book lists. I have found some of my kids’ favorite books from her lists. This one in particular made me think that maybe my kids don’t read enough different authors or types of books. They sometimes have difficulty connecting to stories about kids that are different from them. This is probably a fault of my own doing. I tend to look for books featuring boys (except for our most recent books: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and The Secret Garden). I want to expand our list of titles on our next library trip!


The stories on the news right now are horrifying and make racism in this country seem insurmountable. But we must consider that by not acknowledging the existence of racism with our kids, including all the smaller examples that do not make the news, we are contributing to the problem. This week, Harlow and I read…

via Fill Your Kids’ Shelves with Books About Black Experiences — Mommy Shorts

Fave Reads Friday #20 – Fill Your Kids’ Shelves with Books About Black Experiences — Mommy Shorts

Fave Reads Friday #16 – Summer Reading in Full Swing

Today is the first day of the Summer Reading Program at our local library. They’re doing a big kickoff party tomorrow that we’re going to, but today is the “OFFICIAL” start date. My kids got out of school last week though, so we’ve already been reading. They’re working on the Mensa for Kids’ Excellence in Reading List for K-3rd grade as it encompasses their current reading levels and ages. I’m working my way through the list of books I’ve “saved for later” at the library.

So far I’ve finished three books since I finished teaching for the semester…..

Continue reading “Fave Reads Friday #16 – Summer Reading in Full Swing”