Currently Reading

A peek at my reading habits.

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I saw this tag on whatthelog and decided to give it a try! It was short and easy to answer.

1) How many books do you usually read at once?

This is going to really bother some people…  At least five.  I always have three nonfiction (or short story) books going – one for work, one for the car, one for bedtime reading.  I actively participate in 2 nonfiction book groups every month and occasionally participate in two others.  Usually there is at least one book that’s required reading for professional development at one of my jobs.  I try to average at least one novel a week.

I consider a book to be “currently reading” if I’ve read something from it in the last three days OR the last time I had access to it.  (For example, the book I leave at my workplace for lunch reading once a week). Continue reading “Currently Reading”

Review: President of the Whole 5th Grade

“I have BIG plans. I’m going to be a millionaire with my own cooking show on TV. Cupcakes are my specialty.” page 1

President of the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston.
Little, Brown, & Co., Hachette Book Group, New York, 2010.
My edition Scholastic, 2012.
Middle grade realistic fiction, 276 pages.
Lexile:  730L  .
AR Level:  4.8  (worth 6.0 points)  .

Brianna Justice may only be in fifth grade, but she’s already planning for her future as a famous chef with her own baking show.  Last year her idol, Miss Delicious, spoke to their class and laid out a roadmap… and it all starts with being president of her fifth grade class.  Only this year the rules have changed – there’s going to be just one class president over all the fifth grade classrooms.  Can Bree still win the new, tougher, competition?  Can she keep her integrity and friends while doing it?

President of the Whole Fifth Grade cover

Brianna Justice is not the most likable character.  In fact, in the beginning I was a bit worried because she is downright mean at times.  In some ways she’s very mature and dedicated to planning for her future, with a hefty savings account and a step-by-step life plan.  However she gets wrapped up in her own plans to an extreme, loosing balance in her life and neglecting her friendships.  Although this worried me, Bree does experience consequences for most of her actions.  Because she starts off as not so likable, she’s able to show a lot of character growth in a short period of time.

Continue reading “Review: President of the Whole 5th Grade”

E-book Review: Negro Explorer at the North Pole

“Another world’s accomplishment was done and finished, and as in the past, from the beginning of history, wherever the world’s work was done by a white man, he had been accompanied by a colored man.” page 136

A Negro Explorer at the North Pole by Matthew Henson, forward by Matthew E. Peary and introduction by Booker T. Washington.
Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1912.
Available online at www.gutenberg.org/files/20923/20923-h/20923-h.htm
Accessed in September 2017.
Nonfiction, 200 pages.

Matthew Henson was the black man who accompanied Peary on most of his expeditions, including to the North Pole.  He received scant notice from the white people of the time, but his life story was very much in demand among African-Americans.  Eventually he used his journals from the trip to write this book.

Henson In His North Pole Furs After His Return
“Matthew A. Henson in his North Pole furs, taken after his return to civilization.” Facing page 139, A Negro Explorer at the North Pole.

The book is a curious mix of direct entries from Henson’s journals, summations of journal entries, and his direct writing covering periods of time when he couldn’t write or adding information he felt was helpful.

Racism is very present in this book.  For the most part, this is overt, although it does come out more blatantly.  There are two main forms of racism present – against African-Americans, and against Native Americans.

Continue reading “E-book Review: Negro Explorer at the North Pole”

Good News and Bad

So you may have noticed things were really weird and random around here the last few weeks.

Bad News

Our internet went down and it took a few weeks to be reconnected.  I did have some access at the library or on my phone but wasn’t able to update the blog as RL had to come first.  A few posts that had been scheduled seemed to have still posted, but it probably seemed a little off – sorry about that!

Good News

Since we had no screen time at home for WEEKS, I ended up reading far more than I possibly expected to for Nonfiction November.  Honestly it may have been the best (outside of required reading for school or work) that I’ve done at nonfiction reading in my life!

It will probably take some time for me to sort things out and catch up on the blogs I follow.  Meanwhile, I hope everyone is having a good winter so far.

Review: Gloria’s Way

“My dad was supposed to take care of me, but I didn’t know if he could.” page 83

Gloria’s Way by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Lis Toft.
Puffin, Penguin Putnam books for Young Readers, New York, 2001.
Realistic fiction short stories, 96 pages.
Lexile:  600L  .
AR Level:  3.1 (worth 1.0 points)  .
NOTE: Technically part of the Julian/Huey/Gloria series, but could stand alone.

Six short stories about Gloria, best friends with Julian Bates and his little brother Huey.

Gloria's Way

Some of the stories in this collection include Julian, Huey, their dog Spunky, or new friend Latisha while others focus on Gloria.  As I usually do with short stories, I’ll briefly discuss each individual story.

Continue reading “Review: Gloria’s Way”

Review: Saints and Misfits

“I stand and cringe at the sucking sound as my swimsuit sticks to me, all four yards of the spandex-Lycra blend of it.” page 2

Saints and Misfits: a novel by S.K. Ali.
Salaam Read, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2017.
YA contemporary, 328 pages.
Not yet leveled.

Janna just wants to live her life – hang out with her friends, study, work her very part-time jobs, pray, and maybe dream a little about her secret haram crush.  But something has changed her world, something unthinkable, horrible, and so big she doesn’t know what to do.

Saints and Misfits resized

For some reason I thought this was a light and fluffy read.  However, I completely misunderstood, because by chapter two we’re reliving one of the worst moments of Janna’s life, when she is assaulted by a man who is supposedly holy, the man she calls the Monster.

Indeed, the title of each short chapter (Saints, Misfits, or Monsters) relates to how she sees the main people she’s interacting with in that chapter.  Some chapters contain more than one category, or a comment as she begins to realize that some of those she sees as Saints are really Misfits, etc.

Continue reading “Review: Saints and Misfits”