Archive of ‘Mrs. McGriff’ category

The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley knows how to weave magic through the words of her stories, and magic flows freely through the four stories in The Door in the Hedge (Firebird 1981). Whether she spins an original tale or retells a an old favorite, I loved wandering through them to discover fairies and magic just around every turn of the page. What awaits in these four tales?

  • The Stolen Princess – Linadel grows up a princess, but as she approaches her seventeenth birthday, the looming shadow of the neighboring fairyland grows darker. While living next to fairies can offer some advantages, it also threatens. Sometimes boys are stolen as infants, but girls are stolen on their seventeenth birthdays. No one knows why or where, just when. What will happen when Linadel leaves behind an empty bed strewn with flower petals and awakens in a strange land? I love these fairies that are both beautiful and eerie. I got chills reading it until the end.
  • The Princess and the Frog – This has to be my favorite take on this fairy tale. Princess Rana has a problem: The evil Prince Aliyander has brainwashed her brother and wants to marry her to take over the kingdom. Her only hope comes when she meets a frog by the pond. The two form an alliance that might defeat the prince, as improbable as that seems. Oh yes, this princess is no spoiled brat. She is resourceful and determined and true to her word.
  • The Hunting of the Hind – The Golden Hind leads all hunters to their doom. If they return, they are beyond help. Even the Prince lies near death after he chases her through the woods. The only one who dares to seek the Golden Hind now is his neglected little stepsister. Even though this princess is unloved by all but her brother, she sets out to find the Golden Hind and demand a cure for her brother. What she finds is not what she expects even as she is able to see truth beyond deception.
  • The Twelve Dancing Princesses – A soldier’s life is a hard life, but after twenty years the soldier leaves to explore the Kingdom he has defended these many years. Along the way, he hears a strange story of twelve princesses under a curse and decides to offer his services to his king one last time. He discovers wondrous and terrible things, but it is his kindness and steadfastness that save the princesses.

 

 

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

IMWAYR 2015

It’s been a busy week. Not only was I out of town for a training conference for half the week, but I also had tons of veggies from the garden (more in the freezer, more pickles, more zucchini bread, and plenty to share with the chickens). We also enjoyed a visit to the Indiana State Fair on Sunday. With all of that, I didn’t get as much reading done as I would have liked, but I did enjoy watching many Olympic events. The best part of the week, though, was staying up with my daughter to watch the meteor shower on Thursday night. We watched the moon set and then found shooting stars between the clouds that mostly stayed away. I’m still trying to recover from the lack of sleep!

This week’s blog posts…

I finished…

A Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – Picoult raises so many thought-provoking questions in this book, and the best part is that she doesn’t provide easy, pat answers. The shifting viewpoints allow the reader to consider many different perspectives. Even relatively minor characters like the warden have nuanced views with multiple layers. The major characters–Father Michael, Maggie, June, Lucius and Shay–question their own beliefs as they encounter the events that unfold. I wish that more of us (myself included) would take time to consider life in all its complications more completely.

I’m currently reading…

Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott – I love that Lamott makes me laugh even while she makes me think. I love her brutal honesty that reassures me I’m not all alone, that I’m not the only one who screws up on a daily basis. I love that her writing offers grace and hope even in the midst of struggle. My favorite quote from this week: “Another [secret of life] is that laughter is carbonated holiness.” Yes, yes, yes. May we all find holy laughter through this week.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman – I missed last week’s discussion because I was out of town, but it sounds like most of the group missed it as well, so I’m not behind on reading. I have one more chapter in the section Accepting Our Tuesday Soul that’s titled “Confession and Laughter.” I think I’m detecting a trend here with laughter and holiness. I will be on the lookout for laughter through the week.

Mercy and Melons: Praying the Alphabet by Lisa Nichols Hickman – I had hoped to finish these reflections this week, but I didn’t pack this one to go with me out of town. Still, I enjoyed reading about Tie-Dye and Testimony, Understanding and Undulatus Asperatus Clouds, Votive Ships and Vows, Wonder and Wheelchairs. With just X, Y and Z left. I should finish this week and then be ready to look for my own alphabet prayers.

Walden by Henry Thoreau – I have to confess:  I didn’t read any of Walden this week. I was too busy watching Olympics, dealing with the avalanche of vegetables, and going to a two-day training out of town. I did think about Walden, though, as I watched my chickens in the evenings. I’m hoping for better reading this week.

Coming up…

I’m hoping for more reading time this week. I also want to catch up with writing book reviews. I have four books due on Wednesday that I would like to review (and get more), so maybe that deadline will motivate me. I will definitely enjoy the rest of the Lamott book and should finish a couple of more that are near the end.

What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

Panic by Sharon Draper

Sharon Draper has never been afraid to explore the tough issues teens today face. Panic (Atheneum 2013) is no exception. Diamond does the unthinkable. She leaves the mall with a stranger–a man who promises fame but delivers horror.

Meanwhile, her friends and family are left behind to worry–and to face problems of their own. Justin has to deal with the taunts of a bully and former friend, especially since he is one of the few boys in the ballet class (and who is very good). He also has a crush on Layla, who can’t see past her abusive boyfriend. Mercedes is wracked with guilt over Diamond’s disappearance since she stayed behind when at the dance store.

Even though it seems like a book that might go overboard with “issues,” it doesn’t read that way because of the role of dance in each of their lives. These friends come together through dance, and dance gives them a way to express and deal with the things going on in their lives. The dance teacher,, Miss Ginger, is one of my favorite adults ever in YA literature.

Dance ties the story together, from the spring recital to the auditions for the annual musical–a ballet based on Peter Pan. The chapters alternate points of view between Diamond and the friends who worry about her. Each chapter begins with an apt quote from Barrie’s Peter Pan even though these kids have to grow up in a hurry.

While the topics Draper includes might be too much for some younger readers, she handles the issues in a way that is not graphic but still portrays the horror felt by the students and family. This book would pair well with Sarah Darer Littman’s Want to Go Private is opening opportunities to discuss the ways sexual abuse and technology can combine to impact lives.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

IMWAYR 2015

We are in the midst of a garden-palooza at our house. We have zucchini and squash and cucumbers and melons piled everywhere. I’ve been baking zucchini bread, freezing squash and corn, and making pickles. It’s too bad the tomatoes are a bust this year, but I did scrounge up enough to make some peach salsa for us to enjoy this week. As you can see, I’ve found a new source of entertainment this week, too. The hens love time outside their run to chase bugs and eat grass. The neighbor’s dog (an adorable young’un named Sandy) also loves to watch the chickens, so I go and sit with them with Sandy on a leash. I think I may have found a new kind of chick lit!

chick lit

I finished…

Nothing! That’s what happens when I read too many books at once. And I’m learning to enjoy and savor the books I’m reading rather than always rushing headlong through the pages to get to the end. There are still some books I rush through to find out what happens, but the books I’m reading recently have been those that invite me to ponder. I spend time with the book in my lap, staring off into the distance as I absorb the words and thoughts.

I’m currently reading…

Walden by Henry Thoreau – I finished the first chapter on economy. I’m not sure I could live as simply as Thoreau did, but I do find myself thinking about what things cost in terms of the time it takes me to earn the money as well as the price. I can relate to Thoreau’s desire to have more time to pursue his own interests rather than someone else’s (as he would at a job). I think what strikes me the most from this chapter is that Thoreau doesn’t insist that everyone live as he does. Instead he advises each person to discover and follow their own path.

Mercy and Melons: Praying the Alphabet by Lisa Nichols Hickman – This week brought reflections on Origami and Overcome, Prayer and the Phosphorescent Bay, Questions and Queen Anne’s Lace, Rainbows and Resurrection, and Soap and Sanctification. My favorite quote came from the reflection on P: “Maybe prayer is most like this. We jump into the swamp at midnight with the hope of meeting an energy greater than our own. We are lost in the dark, but we leap with faith. And there we are met with light beyond our imaginations. We are met with a grace that we draw around our shoulders as a garment for our grief, a cloak to console, a comforter that holds us together. As we move, tentative at first, we suddenly see that we are swimming in the stars. We are cloaked in a surprising light. Our prayers aren’t lost in the deep, but lifted into an odd but beautiful luminosity.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman –  The three chapters I’m reading for this week focus the state of our souls. I love the invitation to more laughter and less shame. One of the hardest lessons for me is being willing to live without clear answers or direction, but to trust anyway. I love exploring the questions raised by literature, but when it comes to my life I want to know if I’m on the right track before I get started. The past few years have been an exercise in living without knowing where I’m headed, and I’m just getting comfortable with it. I also am intrigued by the question she poses: With whom in the Bible does your soul most closely relate today?

A Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – The more I reread, the more I remember as I work my way through this book. Having read it before (and remembering mostly how it turns out) is allowing me to ponder more of the questions raised as I read it this time through. When, if ever, is the death penalty justified? Could I forgive someone who murdered those I loved most? How do different people see and respond to the same events? I should be able to finish this story this week.

Coming up…

Hmmm…I think I want to finish a few of the books I’m still reading. Then it’s time to head to the library to see what else I find.

What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

IMWAYR 2015

We just returned from our annual family vacation (with all of my husband’s family: 2 grandparents, 3 kids + 3 spouses and 5 grandkids). We filled up a beautiful log cabin just outside Petosky, MI, and spent the week collecting and sanding Petosky stones, biking around Mackinac Island, touring the locks at Sault St. Marie, sampling chocolates athe Kilwin’s factory, paddling down the Sturgeon River and enjoying each other’s company. Oh yeah, we ate plenty of ice cream, too! I am glad to be home, but it feels strange that no one in my house is headed back to school as the new year begins this week. Instead, we are waiting about three weeks move my daughter into a dorm for her freshman year of college. Even though we were busy on vacation, I managed to finish a few good books and start plenty of others. I even discovered two Little Free Libraries in Petosky and had to check them out. I didn’t take any (even though some looked good) since I didn’t have any books I wanted to leave behind.

 

I finished…

Panic by Sharon Draper – Diamond falls for every parent’s worst nightmare: she leaves the mall with a stranger and disappears. She leaves behind family and friends who can do nothing but worry. Draper tells this story with alternating viewpoints from Diamond herself and her group of friends from dance class. While Diamond’s abduction is the focus, several of her friends have big problems of their own: bullies, abusive boyfriends. It seems like a lot to cram into one book, but Draper makes it work.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan – It’s not so much that I learned much new information from reading this book, but Pollan pulls together the information to paint a clearer picture of how our relationship with food (and even our acceptance of how food is defined) has changed–and not always for the better. I’ve always tried to eat healthily, but sometimes it’s hard to know what healthy eating is since nutrition guidelines keep changing. I can get behind Pollan’s manifesto to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Even better, both my husband and my daughter want to read this book as well. I’m also grateful for our garden and chickens that provide us an abundant variety of fresh foods right here at home.

Making Money by Terry Pratchett – This book continues the story begun in Going Postal (my first Discworld novel). Now Moist von Lipwig has the Ankh-morpork Post Office running smoothly, Lord Vetinari wants him to take on the Royal Mint to shake up the banking industry. Even though Moist is loath to admit that he might be getting bored with paperwork, he isn’t eager to take on a job that includes death threats. But it’s hard to say no to an evil tyrant who knows your every move and can even get fate on his side. Soon Moist is taking the Chair of the bank on walks, fending off murder attempts and revealing the secret to controlling the world’s most powerful army. Since this book was published in 2007, I’m trying to decide if the leaders of finance in the modern world used it to design their own schemes or if Pratchett is just that brilliant. Much of the antics could be drawn from not-so-long-ago headlines with a little imagination.

The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley – The master of fairy tales brings four stories in this collection: two retellings and two originals. I love the lush fairyland settings that McKinley creates in each of these stories. Even though they are different, they feel related. The two old stories include the tales Twelve Dancing Princesses and the Princess and the Frog (my favorite in this collection). The new stories create a kingdom that borders fairyland with both blessing and curses and a doomed hunt for a Golden Hind. In all, curses must be broken, but how it happens may surprise you.

I’m currently reading…

Walden by Henry Thoreau – I took this book on vacation with me, but my brain was too much on vacation to tackle reading it. However, I did take Thoreau’s words with me as I enjoyed new experiences. I found myself savoring the memories I was making rather than searching for souvenirs to by. I’m looking forward to reading more now that I’m home again.

Mercy and Melons: Praying the Alphabet by Lisa Nichols Hickman – I’m still enjoying these reflections along the alphabet that pair common objects with aspects of God. This morning I read about Nautilus and not yet. Not yet is a hard place to be (and one I have been in a lot as I’ve transitioned from teaching to writing and other work), but it is not the end of the road. I also find myself appreciating more of those everyday objects in each day as well–and that ties in so well with the other books I’m reading.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman – I’m reading this one with my Bible study. I have to read with a pen or highlighter in hand because I find so many thoughts I want to remember and come back to. I suspect I’m not the only one who struggles with slowing down in a fast-paced world. Freeman writes wise words about living in the small moments of life, of seeking connection rather than competition, of being content in the here and now. Since I missed last week’s discussion, I can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks this week.

A Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – Someone donated this book to my LFL, and of course I wanted to read it. It looked familiar, but it wasn’t until I got into the story yesterday that I realized I have read this one before. I can remember the big picture of the story but not the details, so I am enjoying it a second time. So many lives are woven into that of Shay Bourne, convicted killer on death row who wants to donate his organs. There’s Michael, the priest who is his spiritual advisor–and who served on the jury for the trial that sentenced Bourne to death. There’s Maggie, the ACLU lawyer, who sees Bourne’s case as a way to make a statement about the death penalty. There’s June, whose husband and daughter were killed by Bourne, and her daughter Claire, who needs a heart transplant.

Coming up…

I want to settle down and finish some of the books I’ve started. I’ve also got a book by Anne Lamott I want to read and I still haven’t started Big Magic. We’ll see how I do this week.

What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

IMWAYR 2015

We’ve had the chickens almost two months! We are getting fourteen eggs a day now. If anyone comes through southern IN, stop by and grab and dozen eggs! We have plenty. So far I enjoy being a chicken keeper. They are so much fun to watch and definitely have favorite things. My hens love strawberry tops, spinach and corn. They are not as fond of squash (though the like yellow better than zucchini). They also enjoy scrambled eggs and fresh sawdust! We spread some sawdust out in the run where things have gotten quite muddy with all the rain. They immediately began to scratch in it and then roll in it to give themselves dust baths!

IMG_20160709_173343159

I finished…

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson – A few years ago I read and enjoyed The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but I never got around to reading the sequel until now. Even though the story is set 260 years later, Jenna is still around (thanks to new biotechnology that raises all kinds of ethical questions). This story focuses on Jenna’s friends Locke and Kara. Their bodies were destroyed in a car accident, but their minds were kept alive until new bodies could be created for them. With their new, improved bodies, Locke and Kara try to navigate a world that has left them far behind–and where they are illegal. Just like the first book, this one raises questions about what it means to be human and about how far you should go to keep someone alive. My surprise favorite character–the bot Dot.

Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett – Poor RIncewind the Wizzard just can’t catch a break. The professors at the Unseen University send him off to the Counterweight Continent in response to an Urgent Request. Even though everyone knows Rincewind is an utter failure as a wizard, the waiting revolution (which has progressed to polite protest posters) thinks he is the answer. Through in a horde of geriatric barbarians (including Rincewind’s old friend Cohen), violent luggage, scheming lords, a dying emperor and water buffalo and times are bound to get interesting. Now I definitely want to read more of Rincewind’s other adventures.

Nudge by Leonard Sweet – As always, Sweet was both thoughtful and thought-provoking. After reading his thoughts on evangelism, I find myself slowing down to notice what God is already doing in the world. Some weeks, like this past week, it is hard to see it, but in the midst of horrible tragedy, there are glimpses of God to be found: in the tears and cries of people who say “enough. Let’s do something, in the photo of white and brown bodies surrounding a baby in a stroller to protect it from gunfire, in words and acts of gratitude and compassion. I will continue to look for glimpses of God, and hopefully reflect God’s image to those I meet.

I’m currently reading…

Walden by Henry Thoreau – I have been wanting to pick this up for awhile. I haven’t read it since my college days. Many years later, I find that I missed much of Thoreau’s humor the first time through. As I read now, I find myself chuckling or just thinking, “That’s a funny zinger.” I am also amazed at how much of what Thoreau wrote way back them applies even more today. I’m still in the first chapter, “Economy.” This will be a slow read for me–no rushing to read chapters for class discussion or a paper or exam. This time I can read and reflect at my own pace!

Panic by Sharon Draper – I don’t know how I missed this one when it came out, but I’m glad I found it on the library shelf. Diamond falls for the temptation to meet movie stars and audition for a part herself when she leaves with a stranger from the mall. She ends up living every parent’s worst nightmare. The chapters switch from Diamond’s point of view to those of her friends that are left behind worrying about what happened to her. Through it all, the friends share their passion for dance. Draper is not afraid to tackle tough issues, not only Diamond’s abuse.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan – I’ve just started this one, but I’m enjoying it. We’ve been trying to eat better (not just always, but to support my daughter as she tries an anti-inflammatory diet). Fortunately, it’s not too hard–eat more fruits and veggies, lean meat and reduce processed flour and sugar. Pollan’s book goes right along with this. Eating shouldn’t be that complicated, but we have made it so.

Mercy and Melons: Praying the Alphabet by Lisa Nichols Hickman – Did you know that several of the Psalms are acrostic poems? I didn’t. I guess that got lost in the translation from Hebrew into English. Hickman takes that concept and writes twenty-six reflections. For each letter of the alphabet, she pairs an ordinary thing with an attribute of God–such as Advent and avocados . Pulling on memories and experience, she weaves the two seemingly disparate ideas into a thoughtful call to prayer. This next week I start with justice and Jello.

Coming up…

As you can see, I’ve been distracted with lots of new books to start. I should probable focus and finish some of them, but I’ve got more in my stack from the library that are tempting me to peek between the covers, and we’re starting a new book for Bible study as well. We’ll see if I finish any of them or just keep starting new ones!

What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR 2015It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

 

The past month exploded and got away from me. First we celebrated my daughter’s graduation from high school and all the fun of hosting family from out of state. While I enjoyed it, it didn’t leave much time for reading. The in the midst of the celebrations, we also grieved the death of a good friend, and several work projects all came due at the same time. Now I’m stranded in NC at my mom’s house while I wait for the transmission in the car to be fixed. At least it broke down in a good place–I have a comfortable bed, good food, and good company. Hopefully, I will make it home tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have read a few books, including two that I was able to read in long gulps of reading all day long.

I finished…

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – What a satisfying conclusion to this imaginative series. Just like in the previous two books, Riggs incorporates unusual, historical photographs into the story. The few Peculiars who are left free face daunting odds as they seek to rescue their friends and protectors before the masterminds behind the Hollows destroy Peculiardom for their own ends.  I will miss the world of the Peculiars now that it has come to an end, but I’m glad I can go back anytime into the books, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the movie.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – Another stunning conclusion to a series I love. As Blue and the Raven Boys close in on their search for the sleeping king, the stakes grow ever larger. Blue sees no way to avoid the prophecy that has shadowed her entire life–she will kill her true love with a kiss. Now that she’s met her true love, the prophecy is even more specific. Something is destroying the magic wood along the ley line and threatens to spill danger and doom and destruction out into Henrietta and beyond. Once again, I love how Steifvater weaves magic into our ordinary world.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – I may be a mundane, but I love Cassandra Clare’s world where Shadowhunters slay demons to keep us safe. I had read the original series (at least most of them), but had never journeyed back to Victorian London. Tessa Gray sails from America to London to join her brother, but she finds herself held captive and forced to learn a supernatural skill she didn’t know existed. She escapes to the protection of the Shadowhunters who help her track down just who in Downworld is behind the plot. Of course, amid the danger lurks the possibility–or two–of love as Tessa is drawn to the dangerous Will and sweet James. Both boys hide deadly secrets. Even though the book comes to a satisfying end, there are enough hints of secrets and mysteries to come to make me want to grab the next book.

I’m currently reading…

Nudge by Leonard Sweet – I love Sweet’s approach to evangelism in this book. Instead of hitting people over the head with your beliefs, live life in a way that invites people to want to know more. As I’m nearing the end, the chapters focus on using the five senses, but through it all is the underlying message of how we love our neighbor.  This quote from the chapter on aroma struck me: “A house that smells like Jesus,not because it says, “I’m your Christian neighbor,” but “I’m your friend,” is a house where you can smell the fresh aroma of the gospel. Flowers lose their scent while they’re refrigerated. The aroma of Christ doesn’t fare well when frozen. It needs to be baked and taken fresh out of the oven” (Sweet 267-8)

Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett – I’m back in Discworld with Rincewind the Wizzard, probably the most reluctant hero ever to walk through the pages of a book. The professors of Ankh-Morpork’s Unseen University send him to the kingdom of the Counterweight Continent. There the rebels (who chant politely) expect him to lead them to victory. The lords want to arrest him before the Emperor dies and they fight for power. All Rincewind wants is a nice, boring life. At least Rincewind can count on his oldest friend, the elderly Cohen the Barbarian. I am still chuckling my way through these books.

Coming up…

Well, that depends on how long until I can get back home. I have several books waiting for me at home. I’ve also been eyeing some of my mom’s books while I’m here.

What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

IMWAYR 2015

My husband’s goal while I was gone was to keep the girl, the dog and the chickens alive. He succeeded on all counts. Even though I was glad to get home to see him and our daughter (and the dog, too), I was really excited to meet the chickens. I confess I’m spending too much time just hanging out with them and watching them. They are fascinating. They seem to be settling in pretty well, but they aren’t too sure about this going outside thing. I hope they will warm up to it once they get used to it. I hope we have eggs in a few weeks, too.

I finished…

Four by Veronica Roth – I loved these stories that tell more about Tobias, better known as Four in the Dauntless faction. The first three stories all take place before Divergent begins. Even though I knew most of the big picture from Divergent, I enjoyed seeing the events unfold. I also enjoyed the last story, which happened in the middle of Divergent. This time, though, the story is told by Four. He definitely saw things differently than Tris. If you are a fan of the series, I recommend this collection just for the opportunity to revisit that world.

I’m currently reading…

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – Once again, I am amazed at how Riggs weaves this incredible story that ties together unbelievable pictures. The Peculiars are in dire trouble, and only Jacob and Emma and MacHenry are free to help them. They might be getting some help from a shady ferryman, but they aren’t entirely sure they can trust him. Come to think of it, I’m not too sure about him, either. I am sure that the rest of the story will keep me turning pages. Even better, my daughter shared our love of this series by lending the first two (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City to a friend. I hope she likes them as much as we do!

Nudge by Leonard Sweet – I didn’t read much this week, but one quote stuck with me in the midst of the vitriolic political conversations and even the disagreements which threaten to split the United Methodist church (which just held its General Conference: “The issue is not to avoid controversy or argument. The issue is for nudging to foster dialogue more than discussion. ‘Our duty is not to see through one another, but to see one another through.’ How many of us, when we come away from a conversation (or a sermon), come away with agreement or disagreement, like or dislike? Or do we come away with new insights, fresh understandings, refreshed connections, and varied ways of looking at things, regardless of whether there is agreement or disagreement?

Coming up…

A neighbor came by and dropped off a box of books for my Little Free Library. I spotted several I would like to read before a put them out. I can’t wait to read and pass them on!

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Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

IMWAYR 2015

The chickens are coming–on Tuesday! We were expecting them the end of the month, but they  are coming now. We’ve been working to finish up the last bits of work on the chicken coop–placing netting over the top so hawks and owls can’t swoop down. We also discovered that our coop is not quite as secure as we hoped when we found a nest of baby bunnies. We moved them out of the way (I suspect chickens would eat them) just outside the fence. They seem to be snug in their new nest. My husband even put up a temporary shelter over them. I just hope mama bunny finds their new location.

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I finished…

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – The closer I got to the end, the slower I read simply because I did not want it to end. This book will stay with me for a long time, and it is one I will look forward to visiting again and again. As the competition within the circus drew to its end, I was afraid for all of the characters and could not see any way out. I’m glad Morgestern saw a way out that surprised me yet felt absolutely satisfying. Like my favorite books from childhood, this novel awakens and feeds my need for magic and makes me believe anything is possible.

Love That Boy by Ron Fournier – I enjoyed both the descriptions of the trips to presidential libraries/homes that Fournier took with his son and the reflections on parenting that infused each chapter. We all have dreams for our children, and we all have to let our children pursue their own dreams–especially those different from ours. As I read, I couldn’t help but reflect on my journey with my daughter. I hope that I have supported her in her dreams (and not just mine for her) as we have shared many things together. I’m excited to watch her take the next steps toward independence in the coming months.

I’m currently reading…

Nudge by Leonard Sweet – Pay attention! The sacred and holy fills the very ordinary things of our days. Am I paying enough attention to recognize the mystery in a blade of grass or the face of a neighbor? I am especially reminded that paying attention requires silence and much more time spent listening rather than talking. I think my challenge this busy week is to find time just to be, just to sit and be aware and to listen to what happens around me. I wonder what I will discover?

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – I was so excited when I found this on the library shelf. I loved the first two books in the series, and so far this one is not disappointing. Things are even more dire for the peculiars. Jacob and Emma and MacHenry are on a mission to save not only their friends, but the entire world. Their journey leads them deep in to Devil’s Acre, a time loop in one of the worst slums of Victorian London. Jacob is trying to figure out his newly discovered connection with hollowgasts, and the wights are determined to lure them all into a trap. I can’t wait to see how it all ends up. Of course, the story is a masterful blend of fantasy with eerie pictures from the past.

Four by Veronica Roth – I’m finally enjoying my Mother’s Day gift. So far my daughter has been patiently waiting for me to read it first, but she occasionally asks me to read faster. I am enjoying the stories of Four. The first two explore Four’s choice to join Dauntless and his initiation experiences. Even though I knew the big picture from the Divergent series, I love seeing the details play out in these stories.

Coming up…

I am headed to a conference this week, so I don’t know how much time I will have for reading. I do have books ready to pack in my suitcase, though. What have you been reading this week?

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journey and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. Kellee and Rikki at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts gave the meme a kidlit twist. It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and reviewed the last week and plan what you want to read next. Join up with us and discover what good books other people are reading.

IMWAYR 2015

Despite a wet and chilly week, we managed to plant a new flower bed between showers. This one is a pollinator garden, filled with wildflowers (sometimes known as weeds) that attract bees and butterflies and other critters that spread pollen and make the world blossom and fruit. I still have a few more plants to move into it from other places in the yard and have mulch to spread, but I hope these tiny plants take off and grow. If I’m lucky, I’ll find some caterpillars for monarch butterflies making a home here in the future.

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I finished…

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett – I have fallen in love with Disc World and its quirky inhabitants. Moist Van Lipwig is a con artist extraordinaire–until he lands in a government job to resurrect the post office (after swinging from a noose for his past crimes). Much to his surprise, he learns that he enjoys the challenge of living straight-at least when it involves taking on a corrupt monopoly (the clacks communication system) and getting the girl (one whose nickname is Killer). The city of Ankh-Morpork is a place where the bizarre is commonplace and has eerie resemblance to our own world. I laughed out loud through much of the book and can’t wait to read more.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – I am swooning now that I’ve finally read this Printz honor book. The writing is gorgeous and the story is hauntingly beautiful. Neither Dante nor Aristotle quite fit in with the other kids in 1987, but once they find each other at the swimming pool that summer, they become best friends. Ari tells the story of their friendship as the two young men try to figure out their place in the world and how to become men. Along the way, they learn that love–in all its varied forms–may hold the key to the secrets of the universe. Ari’s voice will stay with me for a long time. Another plus–not only does the book focus on diverse characters, but both boys have parents who love and support them (even if they sometimes get it wrong).

I’m currently reading…

Love That Boy by Ron Fournier – My husband’s Sunday School class chose this book for their next discussions. I picked it up after reading Fournier’s article in Guideposts. A former White House correspondent, Fournier records his journeys to bond with his son (diagnosed with Aspergers at age 12) as they visit presidential libraries. Interspersed with his recollections are accounts of his interviews with experts and parents about the difficulty of letting go of our expectations for our children and learning to accept and love them for who they are.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I am completely captivated by this story of magic and love and, of course, the circus. I want to become a reveur and follow this circus wherever it may go. Even better, I wish I could run away and join this circus. I have fallen in love with Celia and Marcus and Bailey and Widget and Poppet and Isobel and the others. Except for Hector and the grey man. Those I intensely dislike. How could they set up this competition between Celia and Marcus knowing the cost? As the circus grows ever larger and more magical, Celia and Marcus work together rather than against each other as they fall ever more in love. As I near the end, I find myself both wanting to know what happens and not wanting the story to end.

Nudge by Leonard Sweet – I started yet another book by Sweet this morning. This one may be my favorite yet as he transforms what is understood about evangelism. Rather than beating people over the head with your beliefs, evangelism invites people join in love and wonder. I love this quote from the preface: “You will not find in Nudge a gospel of religion; what you will find is a gospel of Christ. What’s the difference? The currency of the gospel of religion is fear and imposition. The currency of the gospel of Christ is love and invitation. Love engenders a spirit of wonder, where fear spawns anger and distrust. Fear seeks to quash wonder and to impose. Love frees to wonder and invite.”

Coming up…

I still have Big Magic waiting for me. My daughter also gave me my favorite gift for Mother’s Day: dark chocolate and a new book. I teased her that she gave me a book she wanted to read (she pled guilty). I’m looking forward to reentering the world of Divergent with the collection of stories in Four.

Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Associates Program. If you decide to make a purchase by clicking on the affiliate links, including in the linked picture above. Amazon will pay me a commission. This commission doesn’t cost you any extra. All opinions are my own.

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