Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Seven days--seven books?

One of my goals this year is to keep track of the books I read.  I frequently am asked for suggestions or want to refer back to a particular novel only to find I can't quite remember what it was.  Hopefully, keeping a list here will not only help me, but give some of you  ideas on what to read--or not to read as the case may be!

I am a prolific reader--a couple of chapters every day no matter what!!  My retention is a bit sketchy, and I certainly read primarily for pleasure, so do not expect any in-depth reviews of great literary masterpieces.  I also don't hesitate to jettison a book I am not enjoying--with one exception that I will discuss later!

I've failed miserably at tracking January and February, but March has been  quite entertaining so far.  I started off finishing  Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross--a delightful novel I picked up on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed.  Miss Julia is  a stereotypical aging Southern Belle who suddenly inherits  a large sum of money as well as something totally unexpected when her husband dies.  As a bonus, Miss Julia is apparently  a series--you can bet I will be reading more of her adventures!!

At my youngest's request I read Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles and enjoyed it.  Of course, I would enjoy any book that led to a discussion with my third grade daughter, but this one was actually a nice read.  The story centers around a young girl and her grandmother--and what happens when they are separated and out of their comfort zones.  The format is fun for kids as much of the book is written as an exchange of letters between the two.

The Unit by  Ninni Holmqvist is a thought provoking yet easy read about a society that insures each member contributes.  I really enjoyed the ending to this one as it didn't go quite as I anticipated (actually, I had anticipated a couple of scenarios and was still surprised)  I also appreciated the fact that I could read it at a surface level or  contemplate the deeper issues and enjoy the book either way.  A similar book read earlier in the year is Never Let You Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Along the  controlled society theme, I finally read the Giver by Lois Lowry at the urging of my older daughter.  Very good book!  I confess I did not like the ending--mostly because I knew how it was going to end and  preferred the alternate ending  my daughter wrote as a class assignment.  I definitely look forward to reading the two companion books (Gathering Blue and The Messenger).  If you are looking for a relatively quick and easy yet thought provoking YA Novel that may appeal to males and females, the Giver is a good choice.  Lots of opportunity for discussion abut conformity.

Continuing my YA theme, I read Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation by  Matt Myklusch  Think Harry Potter as a Marvel Comic Book Hero.  Decent, but not one I felt the need to hand to my son immediately.  I will probably finish the trilogy out sometime, but no real hurry to find out what happens next.  Much better was Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  If you have ever wondered how Peter Pan and the Lost Boys ended up on that magical island with Captain Hook, this book is a must!   I expect it will be my family summer read aloud.  Naturally, I am following with the second book in the series Peter and the ShadowCreatures, also proving quite good.

So, technically, I guess that is only 6 books read so far this month.  But the title is much catchier as it stands, no?  Oh, and the book I have yet to jettison--The Life of PI by Yann Martel.  I am not liking it, but feel compelled to  learn how it ends.  I'll let you know if it is worth it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lessons

My daughter had her heart broken this weekend.  Her coach made a decision at a crucial time in a game that  undermined my daughter's confidence. Whether or not the decision was appropriate  is actually irrelevant to this post.  What matters is the lesson I needed to learn.

My mantra since the incident has been "If at the end of the day you are certain you did what was right for each child, then consider yourself a success"  This has actually been somewhat catty of me, because I do not for a minute believe this coach meant any harm.  I truly think she was focused more on the game than the individual at that point.  To my chagrin, I realized that today I am not doing my best for MY child--I have been rude, disrespectful and yes, even hateful to my son (who is definitely pushing my buttons--but who is the adult here??)

So, I will trust that the coach can understand my  concerns and will consider the impact of her actions from a slightly different viewpoint next time--even if she makes the same decision, I know it will be handled a bit differently. She is a good coach and a good person.  And I, well, I am going to take a bath and think about the best, most loving way I can say what needs to be said to my son so that when he and I go to bed tonight, we will have no doubt that I did what was right for him..