Archive of ‘Mrs. McGriff’ category

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Menor 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.

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It may have been because I was procrastinating other things, but this was a good reading week for me.  I finished up several books that I had been reading for quite a while and started several others.  Now if I can just crank up the writing to match for this coming week!

I finished…

code name verityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I finished this last Monday morning.  The audio was excellent, but I am glad I had read the text first.  Hearing the words after reading them highlighted details that I missed or sped through when I first read it.  I defnintely want to read Rose Under Fire.

2014 childrens writers market2014 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market edited by Chuck Sambuchino – Okay, confession time.  I didn’t read every description of every publisher, agent, and magazine, but I did glance through them and looked up a few using the subject and age level indexes.  Once I get my writing going, I will want to invest in a yearly subscription to refer to.  I learned much from the articles and interviews in the first half of the book.

buggedBugged!  How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee – My view of history will never be the same.  It’s too bad that history textbooks can’t have this much fun with history.

anne of green gablesAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Anne Shirley kept me good company this week as I ran, mowed, cleaned, and canned salsa.  This story has long been one of my favorites that I revisit again and again.  I enjoyed listening to Anne’s scrapes and kindred spirits and imaginative stories just as much as reading them.  Of course, now I want to go back and read the rest of the series.

heaven is for realHeaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent – I didn’t intend to reread this book this week, but it was lying around and I found myself picking it up. (My husband’s Sunday School class is getting ready to start it.)  Once again I found myself captivated and wondering at the experiences of this little boy.

I’m currently reading…

les-miserablesLes Miserables by VIctor Hugo – I’m up to 70% of the way through despite getting bogged down in another detour, this one about slang and a history of language and politics.  I would have found the sland discussion interesting, but my French is not good enough to get the points he was making.  I don’t think the English translation caught the whole of it.

murder at the vicarageMurder at the Vicarage by Agathy Christie – I also downloaded this title from Sync YA over the summer.  I love Agatha Christie mysteries. Even though I very likely read it long ago, I don’t remember the end, so I get to enjoy it all over again–and it is a Miss Marple mystery.  She’s my favorite.

and the mountains echoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini – This is breathtaking so far.  I love how Hosseini’s writing sweeps me out of my world and into one that is so very different.  After reading his books, I would love to see the country and people of Afghanistan.  I’m not sure I’m brave enough to visit in real life right now, but I am grateful that he shares his vision of it through his stories.

Coming up…

I will finish the books I’m in the middle of.  I also want to catch up with my blogging and writing in general.  I have a couple of books that a friend lent me that I’d like to pick up next. I am hoping for a productive week for both reading and writing!

What good books are you reading this week?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Menor 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.

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I got some writing done, I canned more tomatoes and pasta sauce.  I battled yellow jackets and baby snakes.  I even read some.  Here are the books that joined me through this week.

I finished…

cup of our lifeThe Cup of Our Life by Joyce Rupp – I’ve been using this book for my morning devotions the past six weeks.  I’ve used it before, but since I’m at a different place in my life, the reflections are still fresh and relevant.  Once again, I am moved by the symbolism of a cup for many things in my life.

staff of serapisStaff of Serapis by Rick Riordan – I found this one while poking around on Amazon looking for something else.  I still have to wait until October for The Blood of Olympus, but this long short story–or is it a short novella–might hold me over until then.  This time Annabeth Chase and Sadie Kane come together to defeat a monster that combines Greek and Egyptian elements.  The question remains, is Riordan just teasing us with these shorts, or is he planning another series joining the Greek demigods and the Egyptian magicians?

I’m currently reading…

les-miserablesLes Miserables by VIctor Hugo – I know this is one reason my reading (in terms of number of books) has slowed down.  I have spent quite a bit of time this week with Gavroche (a Paris street urchin) as he rescued his unknown younger brothers and escaping from prison with Thenadier.  He may be a rascal and the “master of the house,”  but he does have street smarts.  I am now 67% of the way through.  I’m still working to finish it by the end of the year.

code name verityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I am almost done–just 25 minutes or so left.  I loved Morven Christie’s narration of Queenie/Julie.  She wrung every drop of emotion out of the character without being overwrought.  Then when Lucy Gaskell started narrating Maddy’s/Kitty Hawk’s part, I was blown away.  Her voice brought Maddy to life in my mind.  I will be sad to finish with this story again.

2014 childrens writers market2014 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market edited by Chuck Sambuchino – I have learned so much from reading the articles and interviews–making the most of conferences, creating compelling characters, taking the plunge into self-publishing, and more.  I am almost through the informational part for writing craft and business and to the list of publishers, agents, editors, magazines.

buggedBugged!  How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee – I am having too much fun reading this one.  I have to bite my tongue to keep from sharing gross facts about bugs and the diseases they spread at inopportune times.  Even though much of the information is groww, I find myself laughing, too.

Postponed…

How to Write Successful Fundraising Appeals by Mal Warwick – This one is due back at the library today, and I think I’m going to hand it back in unread.  My heart is with writing stories–both fiction and nonfiction–not in copywriting.  If that opportunity presents itself, I know where I can get the book if I want to learn it later.

Coming up…

I am nearly finished with several books.  I’m not sure what I what I will grab off the shelf next.  I will choose another audio book from the ones I downloaded from Sync YA earlier this summer.  I’m looking for something lighter after the intensity of Code Name Verity.  I’ve also been picking up Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed, so it may be next up, too.

Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth

praying in colorPraying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God is not just a book to read.  Sybil MacBeth invites you to grab some markers or colored pencils or pens or even crayons and a sheet of paper and give expression to your prayers in a new way.

I appreciate how she shares her own spiritual journey in coming to doodle as a form of payer.  I often feel inadequate when I pray.  Sitting in silence didn’t often work for me unless I had a pen and notebook and could write my prayers.  Even though I do write to express myself, sometmes words don’t seem to be enough to still my frantic thoughts.

I dug out and sharpened my color pencils.  I grabbed my notebook.  I began to doodle and pray in color myself.  It is not instantly comfortable for me, but I am finding value in it.  I have to remind myself (and MacBeth emphasizes the point) that artistic talent is not the point.  The point is to hold someone or something in the presence of God.  In some ways, the practice reminds me of the exploring I’ve done with using doodling as a means of taking notes on what I read or hear.  The visualization is a different way of thinking as well as praying.

I found the book easy to read.  The short chapters are focused and sprinkled with many examples–both in anecdotes and in actual icons created by praying in color.  She starts with her journey of using doodles to pray for others.   As the book continues, she shares many other ways to doodle with other ways of praying and entering into Scripture.

Not only do I look forward to what I will learn from this experience, but I am also excited to share it with the teenagers in the Sunday School class I teach.  I hope they find it a way to come before God, too.

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Menor 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.

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Now that school is back in for my daughter, I’m back to trying to balance my reading and my writing…and gardening.  The tomato plants have exploded with ripe, juicy Roma tomatoes that we transform into salsa and pizza sauce and pasta sauce.  Let’s not even talk about the fresh corn, cantaloupe, bell peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers.  We even still have broccoli!  Even so, I managed to finish two books last week and make progress with more.

I finished …

handbook of magazine article writingWriter’s Digest of Magazine Article Writing edited by Michelle Ruberg – Some of the information in this guide repeated what I had read in my previous books in my freelance writing crash course.  Not surprising since the people who wrote the books I read earlier contributed to this book as well.  I appreciated hearing it again (It’s starting to sink in.), and there was enough new information to make it worth while to read.  Following the advice I’ve been reading, I received my first assignment from an editor last week!

praying in colorPraying in Color:  Drawing a New Path to God by Sybil MacBeth – Not only did I finish reading this book, I’ve been exploring praying in color myself.  It is a very different way for me to pray since I have always been more comfortable with writing than drawing, but I am eager to explore more.  I plan to write a more thorough reflection on the book and my explorations later this week.  Meanwhile, I’ve sharpened the colored pencils!

I’m currently reading ….

les-miserablesLes Miserables by Victor Hugo – The story is picking up again and so is my reading.  My favorite part from this week’s reading was when Jean Valjean stopped a pickpocket in his tracks and then gave the thief the purse he was trying to steal.  Then the thief lost the wallet to a young pickpocket, who gave the purse to an old man who had nothing.  My goal is to finish this by the end of the year.  I will need to spend more time with it than I have been.

code name verityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – The audio is excellent and gets better by the minute.  I’m nearing the end of Queenie’s story, and the narration is heart-wrenching to listen to.  I can’t wait to hear how Maddie’s story is narrated.

2014 childrens writers market2014 Children’s Writer’s & illustrator’s Market edited by Chuck Sambuchino – I knew this was a comprehensive list of publishers, agents, and magazines for the children’s market, but I did not realize how much practical advice and tips it contained as well.  I’m learning so much!

buggedBugged:  How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee – i don’t know how it happened, but nonfiction today is much better than back in the day when the children’s librarian at my public library had to beg me to read nonfiction.  (I reluctantly tried mythology and biographies, but not much else.)  I always thought I would want to write fiction (and I do), but I would also love to write nonfiction like this.  It’s not only “swarming with facts” (as the cover proclaims), but it’s funny.

Coming up …

how to write successful fundraising appealsHow to Write Successful Fundraising Appeals by Mal Warwick – It’s another book in my crash course (almost all of them from my local library).  The copywriting I am most interested in doing is for not-for-profits.  Having worked for both secular and religious not-for-profits, I know fundraising is a fact of life for them.  I like the idea of using my writing to help causes I support, too.  Since I keep putting off opening this one, I know where I want to spend my time writing.

What are you reading this week?

Discovering the World Through Literature

imageI’m taking part in the weekly Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by  Two Writing Teachers, where teachers write and share each Tuesday. Join in yourself or head over to check out what’s happening with other slicers. If you’re taking part in the SOL, leave a link to your post. I’d love to read it.

Charleston, South Carolina, offers so many things to see and do–Rainbow Row, stately plantations, history and art museums, Fort Sumter, mouth-watering food, the Angel Oak, ghost tours.  My family and I tried to do it all the week we spent there on vacation, but what was on the top of my daughter’s list of things to see?  Battery Park.

Really?  I couldn’t figure out why she was so adamant about visiting Battery Park.  Yes, it’s filled with lovely live oaks draped with Spanish moss and overlooks sailboats gliding across the harbor, but it’s a park.  Then as we drove past on a bus tour and glanced the gazebo, it hit me.

“You want to see the place where Piper, Hazel, and Annabeth had tea with Aphrodite in Rick Riordan’s The Mark of Athena.”

She grinned in response.  It seems I wasn’t the only one who was touring Charleston with a book in mind.  We saw several sites connected with The Mark of Athena in addition to the gazebo at the Battery.  No monsters were fighting within the walls of Fort Sumter, but I could picture them there.  We even saw a model of the USS Hunley outside the Charleston Museum (where Jason, Frank, and Leo went while the girls had tea with Aphrodite).  The original Hunley has been recovered from the bottom of the ocean, but it is still undergoing restoration.

While my daughter saw monsters and demigods lurking just out of sight among Charleston’s landmarks, I glimpsed scenes from the pages of another series:  Virals and Seizure by Kathy Reichs.  The ferry to Fort Sumter took us by the lighthouse on Sullivan Island, the sight of an important discovery in Virals.  We drove past the Karpeles Manuscript Library, where the pack researches the secret behind Anne Bonny’s treasure.   We even took our best tour of the city–Alphonso Brown’s Gullah Tours–because I wanted to learn more about the Gullah language and culture from first reading about them in these books.

Charleston is not the only place I wanted to visit based on literary inspiration.  I could vacation for years to come visiting places I first read about.  Here are my top destinations.

  • Prince Edward Island:  L.M. Montgomery first took me to Prince Edward Island where I discovered the village of Avonlea and the House of Green Gables and the Lake of Shining Waters.  I dream of visiting this island for myself one day.
  • England:  One of my English professors (Dr. Knight with Romantic Poetry) at Meredith College made us promise to one day hike the Lake District with Wordsworth’s journal in hand.  I haven’t made it to England yet, but when I do, I will spend a day or two tramping through the fields and watching the daffodils.  While I’m in England, I want to visit Canterbury Cathedral (Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales), the Globe Theater and Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare, of course), Paddington Square (my daugther has a Paddington Bear from the station), and Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station (Harry Potter)l.  If I could find my way to Hogwarts or Diagon Alley, I’d visit there, too. I suspect my trip to England will need a lengthy stay to include a jaunt to Wales and Stonehenge (Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series).
  • Pioneer Tour:  I travelled across the prairie in a covered wagon with Laura, Mary, Carrie, Ma, and Pa in the Little House books.  I’ll need a whole tour to recapture those pages.  I can start in DeSmet, South Dakota, and visit the homes and school that are found in By the Shores of Silver Lake.  Then I’ll have to drop down to Mansfield, Missouri, to visit the home of Laura, Alphonso, and Rose–and where Laura wrote the Little House books.  Somewhere on this trip, I’ll have to camp on a covered wagon trip.

What are the literary trips you would like to make?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Menor 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.

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I’ve missed a few weeks due to a fabulous vacation in Charleston, SC.  The books I have read this summer reflect the changes I am making in my life this year.  For the first time in fifteen years I will not be going back to school.  I resigned my teaching position over the summer to pursue freelance writing.  I am excited to see where this new path will take me.  Even though I am not teaching, I will continue to share my passion for reading and literature with my blog.  Here are my books from the past several weeks.

I finished…

id tell you i love youI’d Tell You I’d Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter – I absolutely loved listening to the audio from SYNC YA.  I know I ran more during the month of July just so I could listen to it.  In addition to taking place at a super cool spy school, I loved how Cammie and her friends put their spy skills to use cracking the biggest mystery of them all–boys.  Yes, Cammie uses all she has learned about sneaking in and out of schoo and creating a cover to go out with one of the boys in the local town. My daughter tells me that the series gets progressively darker and more dangerous as it goes on, but this first one was just plain fun!

getting started as a freelance writerGetting Started As a Freelance Writer by Robert Bly – Not only does Bly cover the writing basics, but he includes a wealth of information and tips for handling the business side of writing.  This was a good beginning in my crash course on starting a freelance writing business.  He focuses much more on copywriting for businesses.  I’m not sure if this is the direction I want to pursue with my writing, but copywriting is something to consider.

renegade writerThe Renegade Writer:  A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formicelli and Diana Burrell – These two writers write primarily for magazines, and this is the direction I want to go.  They generously share from their experiences writing for a variety of magazines.

missing microbesMissing Microbes by Martin J. Blaser – I pointed this book out to my daughter (who is interested in all things science and chemistry) while we were waiting in line to check out books.  I ended up reading it instead of her.  Can I just say that I never knew microbes could be so fascinating?

princess labelmakerPrincess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger – Angleberger strikes again with spot on middle school humor.  This time the Force needs help to finally stop the evils of Fun Time.  The help they need comes from quite an unexpected source.  This conclusion to the Origami Yoda series is packed with middle school drama, humor, and doodlings.  As a middle school teacher, I saw first hand the damage that a focus on standardized test scores can inflict on students, teachers, and administrators.  Thank you, Tom Angleberger, for getting the word out.  Now how can we make sure that every legislator and school reformer gets a copy?

9780679748311_p0_v2_s260x420Fidelity:  Five Stories by Wendell Berry – I fell in love with the places and people of Port William, KY, that Berry created in these stories.  Reading each story was like taking a leisurely walk through the woods and fields.

I’m currently reading….

les-miserablesLes Mis by Victor Hugo – I keep reading a little bit at a time.  I love having the Kindle app on my phone to pull it out whenver I have a few minutes waiting.  I’m now over 60% of the way through, and Marius is on the verge of reuniting with the girl of his dreams.  Meanwhile, Cosette’s “father,” Jean Valjean, has no idea how to handle “his” little girl growing up and falling in love.

code name verityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I read this book earlier, but when I saw that this title was included in SYNC YA’s download schedule this summer, I couldn’t wait to listen to it.  I have heard such good things about the audio.  It is not disappointing.  I love listening to a book I’ve already read.  I find that it is such a different experience and I come away with so much more from the book.

handbook of magazine article writingHandbook of Magazine Article Writing edited by Michelle Ruberg – This is another book in my crash course on freelance writing.  So far I’m findling lots of practical advice.

The Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Carol Tice and Laura Spencer – This is exactly what the title says–steps to take to get started.  I’m off and running with a few action steps each day.

praying in colorPraying in Color:  Drawing a New Path to God by Sybil MacBeth – My college roommate gave this book to my daughter for Christmas, and I snagged it from her room (with her permission!).  I am enjoying learning about this creative way to pray.

Coming up…

how to write successful fundraising appealsHow to Write Successful Fundraising Appeals by Mal Warwick – It’s another book in my crash course (almost all of them from my local library).  The copywriting I am most interested in doing is for not-for-profits.  Having worked for both secular and religious not-for-profits, I know fundraising is a fact of life for them.  I like the idea of using my writing to help causes I support, too.

July Books Read

July has been an interesting read.  In addition to reading different books than my usual fare, I vacationed in Charleston, SC, with my family.  It was hard not to star every title as one of my favorites this month.

93) *The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling – brilliant, funny, and heartbreaking

94) *The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner – haunting and lovely

95) *Missing Microbes by Martin J. Blaser – I pointed out this book to my daughter while we were waiting in line to check out books at the library.  She grabbed it to add to our stack, but I ended up reading it.  Who know microbes could be so fascinating?

96) Getting Started as a Freelance Writer by Bob Bly – I learned much from this one, and am still learning thanks to the resources shared in the end.  There is solid information on both the writing and business aspects of freelance writing.

97) The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell – Packed with information and humor, this guide shows wanna-be writers like me how to get started and persevere.

98) *Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger – I loved this conclusion to the Origami Yoda series.  Help for the rebels comes from an unexpected source as they fight the evils of standardized testing.

99)  *I’d Tell You I’d Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter – My daughter has been begging me to read this series for years. Once Sync YA offered it as a free download earlier this summer, I put it on my iPod.  I probably ran more in the month of July just so I could listen to it.  I loved how Cammie and her friends put their super spy skills to use solving the biggest mystery of all time–boys.  The humor was spot on.

100) Fidelity:  Five Stories by Wendell Berry – I was not familiar with Berry’s fiction until my former pastor brought this by to share with me.  I fell in love with the people and place of Port William.  I took a long time to finish this one because I wanted to savor each story and not rush to the next one.

What were your favorite reads for July?  What are you looking forward to reading in August?

The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

Poliser_SummerLettingGo_jkt_website_207_1Gae Polisner’s The Summer of Letting Go (Algonquin 2014) will haunt me in all the best ways long after I turn the last page.  If you are looking for THE book to take to the beach or to the pool with you this summer, this is it.  Even if you are nowhere near a beach or pool, this hopeful, heartbreaking story will transport you there.

Francesca (known as Frankie) Schnell has been stuck in her life ever since she let her little brother SImon drown four years ago.  Now that she is about to turn sixteen, things are changing whether she wants them to or not.  Her best friend Lisette is dating Bradley, the boy Francesca likes.  Then another Frankie–Frankie Sky–shows up and cracks open questions that Francesca may never be able to answer.

One of the things I love about this book is the questions that it raises.  What is Frankie Sky’s connection to Simon?  What happens after we die?  There are more than enough coincidences to make Francesca–and readers–wonder, but the questions linger instead of being neatly answered.  It is in the asking and living of the questions that Francesca begins to live again and to let go of the guilt that plagues her.

How can you not love characters that live in these pages?  I love Francesca’s awkwardness and confusion and courage.  She’s not perfect, but she is willing to step up and do the hard things.  Frankie Sky is a whirlwind of energy and mystery–a four-year-old that is wise and stubborn beyond his years even when he tries to fly.  It is definitely Francesca’s story, but I love the supporting characters just as much, from the mysterious neighbor Mrs. Merrill to the struggling Mrs. Schyler.  Even the parents come across as real people–a welcome presence in a YA novel.  Oh yes, there just might be even a little romance.

Now I hope I can talk my daughter into reading it, but I may have ruined my chances by raving too much about it.

Rain at the Fair

I’m taking part in the weekly Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by  Two Writing Teachers, where teachers write and share each Tuesday. Join in yourself or head over to check out what’s happening with other slicers. If you’re taking part in the SOL, leave a link to your post. I’d love to read it.

I jumped into Teachers Write yesterday.  Jo Knowles invited us to reflect on finding beauty in our writing with her Monday Morning Warmup.  I’m still thinking about that one.  I suspect her words and ideas will resonate for a long time.  I’ve not written directly about her invitation, but thoughts of it are underlying my writing this week and beyond.

Kate Messner provided a powerful minilesson on adding a deeper layer of sensory details.  This is something I know.  It is something I taught my students again and again through the year.  But it is still something that blows me away with its power and simplicity when I remember to do it myself.

I started out sitting on my back porch and writing about what a haven that space has become for me this summer.  I completed a quick description and brainstormed more details.  Before I could incorporate those details into a revised draft, I got interrupted.  I haven’t gone back to that piece yet, but last night at the county fair a rainstorm kept us trapped in one of the buildings.  Here’s my writing from the fair.

First draft:

Not even a thunderstorm can keep people away from the first full night of the fair.  Lightning cracks and thunder booms.  Rain splatters and blows across dirt, gravel, and pavement.  People crowd into the wildlife building to escape the downpour.  Conversations swell around me.  A stroller parks infront of me, green and yellow ballons tied to the handles.  Children skip across the concrete floor, stop and point at the taxidermied critters behind the fence.  Empty wasp nests dangle from the ceiling.

More details focusing on each sense:

  • Sight:  bright green fake grass, wood paneling. bags, rulers, and t-shirts advertising the local hospital and political candidates
  • Sounds:  patter of rain, laughter, shrieks, country/bluegrass music
  • Smells:  buttery popcorn, deep fried poptarts and pickles and Twinkies, sweat and swam from the turtle tank behind me
  • Touch:  smooth hard bench, cool pricks of rain blowing in

Revised version:

Not even a thunderstorm can keep people away from the first full night of the fair.  As lightning cracks and thunder roars, rain splatters across the gravel and pavement between the buildings.  I sit on a hard wooden bench in the wildlife building.  Cool pricks of rain blow against my arm as people crowd in to escape the downpour.  Conversations swell around me.  A lawyer running for prosecutor greets adults as the walk by.  Children laugh and shriek as their feet splash through puddles.  They stop and point at the taxidermied animals posed between a fence and paneled walls.  A beaver, badger, mallard, otter, skunk, snapping turtle, raccoon, and deer stand motionless on a bright green carpet of artificial turf.  A stroller parks in front of me with green and yellow ballons tied to the handles.  A little girl with the straps of her tank top falling down clutches a bag of buttery popcorn and twirls away from her mom’s outstretched arms.  The rain lets up as quickly as it began.  The building empties out and we follow the smell of deep fried pickles out into the rest of the fair.

Now I’m off to try this morning’s quick write!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Is a meme sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Menor 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.

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After the flurry of completing 4-H projects last week, we are ready to celebrate at our county fair this week.  I don’t submit any entries for the fair, but I sure am proud of the sewing my daughter has done this year.  Last week was a better reading week.

I finished…

casual vacancyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – You can read my review by clicking on the title.  (Yes, I am finally getting back to writing book reviews on my blog.)  I was blown away by its humor and tragedy and human frailty.  It was filled with characters I won’t soon forget.

imageW.A.R.P. The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer – I hope to write a review of this one soon, but I enjoyed this audio book.  There were so many twists and turns at the end that I got dizzy.  I’m looking forward to Chevron’s next adventure.

summer of letting goThe Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner – I finished this heart-breaking, hope-inspiring book Sunday afternoon.  It is the perfect summer read, portraying a summer filled with hope, loss, change, and love.  I hope to write a review of it as well this week.

I’m currently reading…

les-miserablesLes Miserables by Victor Hugo – I managed to read a few more chapters and get back to Jean Valjean and Cosette.  They are my favorite parts of the story.

id tell you i love youI’d Tell You I’d Love You But I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter – My daughter has raved about this series for years, and now that I was able to download it from SYNC YA earlier this summer, I’m finally getting around to reading it.  Can I just say, I want to go t spy school.

Coming up…

I will be starting Teachers Write this week (hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor TextsKate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jo Knowles and an amazing cast of authors), so I will be doing lots of writing in addition to catching up on book reviews.  I’m heading to the library tomorrow to pick up these two books:

  • Getting Started As a Freelance Writer by Robert Bly
  • The Renegade Writer:  A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formicelli and Diana Burrell

What are you reading this week?

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