Monday, December 30, 2013


I didn't start out thinking I was going to participate in Donalyn Miller's #bookaday, and I haven't quite made it, but I have read a lot over break. Yesterday, I read WINGER, the story of 14-year-old Ryan Dean West, a rugby player (a winger is rugby position, in case you are wondering about the book's title) at a very exclusive boarding school. The theft of a cell phone has landed him in "Opportunity Hall" for the semester. He is a typical eleventh grader- madly in love with his best friend Annie, but also mildly interested in Megan, who happens to date his roommate.  Ryan Dean becomes friends with Joey, a star rugby player, who also happens to be gay. A review I read described WINGER as alternatively "hilarious and heartbreaking" and that pretty much describes it. There were times when I was laughing out loud, and other times when I was sobbing. An added feature- there is a  lot of text, but it also has cartoons and charts woven throughout, which gives it a graphic novel feel. I may have to buy this one- I know the eighth grade guys at my school would love it!

 I have been wanting to read this book for more than six months. I loved it, it was one of my favorite reads of 2013. I'd put it in a "growing readers' hearts" basket, along with RULES, WONDER, and OUT OF MY MIND.  You can read my review here

One of my reading goals for 2014 is to expand my reading horizons by reading ten graphic novels, (I really don't enjoy them all that much), so I decided to start early. MARCH, is a memoir by John Lewis, a congressman from Georgia who has been very active in the Civil Rights movement. MARCH, which is the first of three books, captures his life as a child, then his role in the lunch counter sit-ins. It will be a great book to share with upper intermediate, and middle and high schoolers during the month of January. 

Lisa Scottoline is one of my favorite adult junk reads. She writes mysteries that are fast paced and just good to keep around for when you want to read something, but are too tired to concentrate super hard. DON'T GO is the story of Dr. Mike Scanlon, a podiatrist in the reserves, who ends up in Afghanistan. While he is there, his wife is killed in a freak accident, and he returns home to a baby, then discovers a very unwelcome surprise.
Finally, I read SHADOW CATCHER. My boys are not readers, which breaks my heart.  I'm always trying to find books that might pick up simply because the cover looks interesting. Found this at the library and brought it home the first day of vacation. I read it in one day (think of it as John Grisham does fighter pilots) but neither of the boys has picked it up so far.

I'm at the point of vacation where I am starting to think I really need to drag out some student writing and do some responding, or at least clean house, but this week's reading might include: SALT, BEHOLDING BEE, FLORA AND ULYSSES, FALLOUT, or THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP.  I have all of those from the library and would like to get through at least two or three more before break is over.


Gigi McAllister said...

I have heard so much about Winger lately, it sounds really good. I loved Navigating Early. True Blue Scouts took me a while to get into, but I ended up really enjoying it. Thanks for sharing.

Kristen said...

Such a variety of books! I really need to read Navigating Early, it looks awesome. Have a great reading week!

What we are reading

Beth S. said...

"growing readers' hearts"


Lee Ann Spillane said...

I wasn't sold on Winger at first. I loved pieces and parts (Opportunity Hall, the nerdy boys, Ryan Dean's youth and southern-seeming roots), but mid-book I really fell for Ryan Dean.

Linda B said...

Like you, I've had Navigating Early a long time, a must read but still haven't done it. Winger is definitely on my list, and thanks for the review of March, Carol-it sounds good! Thanks, hope we'll talk more about books soon!

GatheringBooks said...

It's a hit or miss for me with graphic novels as well. Some I absolutely adore, some I just don't get enough for me to even form an opinion about them. Thanks for sharing all this. Have a great reading year for 2014!

Chris said...

Thank you for some new TBRs for the list - I needed some new ideas! I plan to get to the library today!

Mary Lee said...

Two suggestions for your Graphic Novels challenge: Gene Yang's BOXERS and SAINTS -- a pair of books that look at the Chinese Boxer Revolution from both sides of the story.