Book Review: The Well-Centered Home

Well, I assigned The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live by William Hirsch AIA (I think that has something to do with architecture) to my Pandemic Book Club, as the alternative book for February. (The main book—which I’ll review soon—is about stress and health.) I thought that since…

Book Review: Oliver Twist

It is only February, but the first book that put me behind schedule to read 102 books this year was Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. It’s a classic. I had always intended on reading it. And when Lyddie referenced it over and over in my middle grades Language Arts class, I decided to embrace the…

Book Review: On Writing

I just lurve this book. Not a line Stephen King would condone, but I’m stickin’ to my guns. (Another phrase he would edit out because it’s cliché.) Then again, this is a blog, where I embrace the conversational and modern tone. On Writing has been on my Favorites list since my first days with this…

Book Review: Number the Stars

The books we’ve been reading for middle school literature lately (I teach a co-op class) have been so short that the students have actually asked for more reading suggestions. Not all of the students, but still. After Animal Farm and then War Horse, we landed on another super-short novel (which we’re not going to call…

Media in Review: January 2021

THE GOOD PLACE (series, 2016-2020) When I mentioned to some friends that I was watching this show, I was surprised when they said, “Ehn. It was good, and then it wasn’t. You’ll see.” I was so enjoying it. Quirky. Funny. Full of interesting characters. And just an interesting (if slightly heretical) idea: a young woman…

Book Review: We Were Liars

Okay, whatever you do, do not read this book and then watch the book trailer. It will make you so very sad that since its crazy popularity in 2014 and its release to be adapted, there has not been a movie made. The book trailer is so good. It doesn’t help that I love that…

Book Review: War Horse

This book was not what I expected, though if I had seen the movie that came out several years ago, I wouldn’t have been surprised. To be frank, War Horse sounds like a book I would not enjoy, but it was on the required reading list for the middle schoolers I teach this year, so…

Book Review: Life of Pi

I have read Life of Pi a couple of times and I like it. I have reasons, and I’ll give them to you in a sec. I also always leave it a little disappointed. I think my main beef with this book is that Yann Martel tried too hard to sell us his perceived moral.…

Book Review: Lyddie

Lyddie was another in a line of middle grades historical fiction that I have read as the Middle School Language Arts teacher at the homeschool co-op I am a part of. I’ve been more impressed by the selections for this year (part of a writing curriculum based on Modern History as opposed to last year’s…

Book Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien, is one of the best modern books written in the English language and I don’t know how anyone can argue otherwise. Okay, maybe I can, but this is the third time I’ve read this book and it still amazes me. The writing amazes me. The structure amazes me.…

Book Review: Anxious for Nothing

Note: This book review is for a Christian book. I expect to review a Christian book about once a month, this year. You have been warned. When I was a teenager, I found my way to Max Lucado. A pastor and Christian writer, I read everything of his. Why? Because he’s an image-painter, a word-player,…

Best Books: New Years

Oh how I do love thematic reading. Christmastime, love to read something Christmassy. Halloween. Valentines. Even Thanksgiving. In the spring I always think Anne of Green Gables, and in the fall, Harry Potter. I have been getting in the habit of yanking at least one book from my holiday lists as I arch ‘round the…

Book Review: Outlander

Well! There are gushing reviews of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and there are scathing reviews of Outlander. No one expects it to be literary fiction—it’s popular fiction—though many claim it is great historical fiction (though it incorporates time travel), but the real discrepancy revolves around “rape culture.” I would say one out of ten, maybe…

Media in Review: December 2020

BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY (2001) Kicked off the Christmas season with my teen daughter’s first viewing of Bridget Jones’ Diary. It’s possible it’ll be her last, but maybe—while she’s still under my roof anyways—she’ll join me come Christmastime and I won’t have to watch “all by myself.” I believe she said it was “cute.” It is…

Start Your Own Book Club

Is there something that you want to read this year? With all this pandemic nonsense (it’s not actually nonsense, I’m just over it in like August and am referring breezily to something that has been very real and terrible for me lately), I am—like many people—really staring off at the horizon of 2021. Of course,…