The Classics Club

While watching the first episode of Jamestown, my wife made a comparison to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

“I haven’t read it,” I said.

She’s often surprised by what I haven’t read. My reading history has the strangest gaps in it. Many of the books commonly assigned in high school were somehow never assigned in my classes. When I was approaching the end of high school, the school’s College Counselor suggested St. John’s College in Annapolis might suit. The school offers a single program, called the Great Books Curriculum, in which students study Greek, French, and a course of classics of Western thought; at the end, they earn a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts.

This idea was vetoed after family discussion, as I was expected to major in something more career focused.

The joke was on me, though, since my degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (my final major was actually Rhetoric, which sounds fancier than “Creative Writing”), and I still haven’t read The Odyssey. Or Animal Farm. (I read 1984 on my own the summer before I started Library School.) Or, as I’ve mentioned before, any Austen at all.

I’ve read two books on this Bustle list of 14 Classic College Books You’ll Want to Read Again as a Real Adult: Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein, both of which I read on my own sometime after finishing grad school.

I see Camus’ The Stranger on lists of “classics you should read” all the time. I haven’t read it. But I did read The Plague for AP English. I have a vague recollection that I read it over Winter Break in order to be able to discuss it as soon as we came back in January. Festive, eh?

Actually, speaking of vague memories, I think I may have read part of Frankenstein in college, along with “selections from” Homer. I did take a pair of classes to satisfy a Western Civilization requirement, but as with many survey courses, we read bits and pieces of lots and lots and lots of things, never really getting to delve into the nuances of any one.

I’ve toyed with the idea of working through the St. John’s Reading List as a way of filling in those gaps. While I was trying to figure out a couple of unfamiliar names (there are quite a few science essays in there), I stumbled on the Classics Club Blog.

I love this.

From the site, the club basics (short version):

  • – choose 50+ classics
  • – list them at your blog
  • – choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles
  • – e-mail the moderators of this blog with your list link and information and it will be posted on the Members Page!
  • – write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list
  • – when you’ve written about every single title, let us know!

They also have some mini-challenges and games, like the Classics Club Spin, to shake up any reading ruts.

I have been working on my list, with a start date of January 1st, 2019. And, yes, The Scarlet Letter is on there.

Are there classics you wish you’d read? What’s on your Reading Bucket List?

This post is part of the 2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Last year, the Los Angeles City Council voted to replace the official City holiday of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In honor of the day, here are some books by and about Native American people that I am looking forward to reading. For more suggestions, please see the Best Books page at American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL). While you’re there, be sure to take a look around – the site was established in 2006 and contains a wealth of information!

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.


The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Nineteenth-century American pioneer life was introduced to thousands of young readers by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books. With The Birchbark House, award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s first novel for young readers, this same slice of history is seen through the eyes of the spirited, 7-year-old Ojibwa girl Omakayas, or Little Frog, so named because her first step was a hop. The sole survivor of a smallpox epidemic on Spirit Island, Omakayas, then only a baby girl, was rescued by a fearless woman named Tallow and welcomed into an Ojibwa family on Lake Superior’s Madeline Island, the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. We follow Omakayas and her adopted family through a cycle of four seasons in 1847, including the winter, when a historically documented outbreak of smallpox overtook the island.


Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.


Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.


Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

Down the TBR Hole #14

Down the TBR Hole was originally created over at Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Visit my to-read shelf to see how very far I still have to go!

Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Rob Salkowitz

Published: May 17, 2012
On TBR Since: August 22, 2012

This is more of an academic business book than popular non-fiction, which is not what I’m looking for.

Stay or Go: Go

Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randall

Published: August 6, 2012
On TBR Since: August 23, 2012

There are several books on sleep hanging out on my TBR, so I can let this one go.

Stay or Go: Go

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

Published: September 1, 2005
On TBR Since: August 28, 2012

Not to be confused with David Grann’s The White Darkness, which comes out this month. And which is also on my TBR. One word: Antarctica.

Stay or Go: Stay

Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature by Philip Nel

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: August 28, 2012

This one falls under Professional Reading.

Stay or Go: Stay

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: August 31, 2012

“Now that the facts aren’t the facts”… and this book is from 2012. Still feels important.

Stay or Go: Stay

The Well at the World’s End: The Epic True Story of One Man’s Search for the Secret to Eternal Youth by A.J. Mackinnon

Published: July 28, 2010
On TBR Since: September 12, 2012

I might come back to this one eventually, but it goes for now.

Stay or Go: Go

The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published by David Skinner

Published: October 9, 2012
On TBR Since: September 26, 2012

This book got a mention on the Dictionary War episode of the Annotated podcast. I went to add it to my TBR and discovered it was already there.

Stay or Go: Stay

Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans by David Niose

Published: July 17, 2012
On TBR Since: September 26, 2012

I think too much time has passed on this particular one.

Stay or Go: Go

The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings

Published: August 7, 2012
On TBR Since: September 26, 2012

Another stunt memoir that I’ve kind of lost interest in since I put it on the list.

Stay or Go: Go

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler

Published: February 14, 2012
On TBR Since: September 27, 2012

Hey, an 1890s Artic expedition sneaked into the list!

Stay or Go: Stay

Half and half – five going and five staying – this week.

R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril) XIII

You know what I really (don’t) need? Another reading challenge.

But I’m going to do one anyway.

I heard about Readers Imbibing Peril XIII on the latest episode of the For Real podcast. I am, as ever, late to the party, since the challenge started at the beginning of September.

And what is this challenge, you ask? From the site linked above:

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Dark Fantasy.

I think I can make that work. In fact, since I’m so far behind on my personal challenge of reading my entire Doubleday Sherlock Holmes this year, I’m already planning on reading both Hound of the Baskervilles and Valley of Fear this month, so there are two books already. (Yes, I am counting them as two separate “books” even though they’re both in my one massive volume, since I think that’s in the spirit of the challenge.)

I’d also like to read Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate this month, for my extremely neglected TBR Pile Challenge. Also on that list is Shadows over Baker Street, another seasonally appropriate choice.

That makes four books, which qualifies as “Peril the First”. Because why not aim high?

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was alone. I was barefoot. I was twenty-six years old and an orphan too. An actual stray, a stranger had observed a couple of weeks before, when I’d told him my name and explained how very loose I was in the world.

Cheryl Strayed’s story is pretty well-known at this point, since her memoir was an Oprah Book Club pick, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, as the cover of my paperback edition proclaims. In her early 20s, she lost her mother to cancer; after that, what was left of her family drifted apart, and then her marriage ended. In the depths of a Minnesota winter, she happened upon a guidebook to the Pacific Coast Trail. With seemingly nothing to lose and nowhere to go, she made an impulsive decision to hike the trail that summer in an effort to rebuild herself.

The memoir unfolds in mostly chronological fashion, beginning with her mother’s illness and death and following Strayed’s trek up the trail. As she travels, though, vignettes of her past appear, doling out the details of her life before the PCT gradually. Strayed is an excellent storyteller, making what was largely an inner journey into riveting reading. She does not ignore the risks that come with being a woman traveling alone through remote locations, but while she has at least one scary encounter with a man on the trail that could have ended much worse than it did, most of the challenges she faces are the result of the mistakes of a neophyte hiker. She takes a wry tone in relating her misadventures, treating her younger self with humor and love.

I heard about this book a lot before I finally got around to reading it. Really, it wasn’t high on my list of things to read, probably because of an overdose of hype. One evening in May, Lil Miss and I were taking a walk to break in our hiking boots before our family trip to South Africa, and I found a paperback copy of Wild in a Little Free Library on our way. How could I resist a book with a hiking boot right in the middle of the cover? On our flight back to the States, the film version was one of the options, so I watched it while I failed to sleep in my seat. Once we got back, I picked up the book off my desk and read it in a day or two, and I really enjoyed it. Good call, Oprah.

Source: Found in a Little Free Library

Challenges: Counts for Read Harder 2018 (Task #13: An Oprah Book Club Selection)

Down the TBR Hole #13

Down the TBR Hole was originally created over at Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Visit my to-read shelf to see how very far I still have to go!

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to their Younger Selves by Sarah Moon

Published: May 1, 2012
On TBR Since: July 4, 2012

There are some authors I already love in this, and I’m looking forward to reading a little bit from authors I’m curious about.

Stay or Go? Stay

Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor by Hali Felt

Published: July 17, 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

I here for science history in general. Little-known women in science are even better.

Stay or Go? Stay

The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Defiant Daughter by Mary Hart Perry

Published: July 31, 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

This is the first in a series that I’m not really interested in anymore.

Stay or Go? Go

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

It sounds like a stunt memoir, but I think Rubin goes a bit deeper than just that.

Stay or Go? Stay

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

Published: October 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

This sounds very similar in concept to The Year of Living Biblically, but different in tone. While I do love a good stunt memoir, I don’t think this one is for me.

Stay or Go? Go

The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health by Paul Campos

Published: May 01, 2004
On TBR Since: July 12, 2012

The description of this is similar to the next book on the list, so I’m going to let this one go and keep the other.

Stay or Go? Go

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon

Published: October 11, 2008
On TBR Since: July 12, 2012

Keeping this one and dropping the Campos book, though I’ve switched editions to the 2010 revised edition.

Stay or Go? Stay

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb

Published: April 2004
On TBR Since: July 26, 2012

Still interested in this bit of running history.

Stay or Go? Stay

A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins

Published: October 1, 2008
On TBR Since: July 27, 2012

I definitely still want to read this, but it’s probably going to be a while.

Stay or Go? Stay

Astray by Emma Donoghue

Published: September 5, 2012
On TBR Since: August 22, 2012

I’ll read almost anything by Donoghue (still not reading Room, thanks very much), so this stays.

Stay or Go? Stay

Seven staying on the list, three going off. I’m never, ever going to reach the end of the list.

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
My rating:
4 of 5 stars

Dear Ms. Smith,

I hope that my letter finds you well. I, Likotsi Adelele, assistant to His Royal Highness, have sought you out high and low over the last few months, at the behest of the most exalted – and most curious – Prince Thabiso. He has tasked me with finding his betrothed, and I believe I have succeeded: it is you.

Naledi Smith lost her parents to a car crash when she was so young she barely remembers them. Without any other family, she lived in a series of foster homes until she aged out of the foster care system. Now in grad school and working multiple jobs to make ends meet, she has zero time for these weird emails that keep showing up, claiming that she is some sort of long-lost African princess, if only she will please send all of her personally identifying information to confirm.

Prince Thabiso grew up wondering whatever happened to the girl to whom he was betrothed when they were just small children. An only child, facing increasing pressure from his parents to settle down with a wife, he is extremely curious when his assistant believes she has tracked the woman down – and she lives in New York City, where Thabiso just happens to be headed on business.

A misunderstanding on first meeting gives Thabiso the chance to get to know Ledi personally before revealing his – and her – true identity. But will there be a way to finally tell her the truth without the betrayal coming between them?

Since this is a romance novel, you already know the answer to that: the happy ending is guaranteed. Oh, but the getting there. Ledi is the sort of character who is so real you would swear you know her. She hasn’t had it easy, and the walls she’s put up around herself are totally understandable. A scientist to the core, she thinks of the distance she puts between herself and others as a

social phospholipid bilayer: flexible, dynamic, and designed to keep the important parts of herself separate from a possibly dangerous outside environment. It had been working for the prokaryotes for eons, and it would suffice for a broke grad school student, which was only slightly higher on the evolutionary scale.

She is smart and funny, and a devoted friend, and she deals with everything that comes her way until her resilience is finally tested to the breaking point. She is a woman of color, working in a STEM field, and she has no family to support her. I loved getting inside her head and seeing the world through her eyes.

The third-person perspective shifts between Ledi and Thabiso, and Thabiso is also an absolute delight. He is honestly baffled by everyday things like taking the subway or cooking a meal from scratch, because he grew up having his every need or want taken care of without his having to even think about it. He so wants to step up and do the right thing… if he can only figure out what it is and how to do it. His assistant, Likotsi, seems to be the closest thing he has to a real friend. His parents are determined to see him married off and settled down to the business of managing the kingdom, navigating the complicated issues that come with the crown.

The kingdom of Thesolo comes across as something of a Vibranium-less Wakanda. It’s a gem of a country in the south of Africa that was never colonized, instead growing into a modern nation that maintains strong ties to its past. In my head, Queen Ramatla is totally Angela Bassett, and no one can convince me otherwise.

I enjoyed this book so, so much. There are elements of Cinderella and other fairy tales, but this is a thoroughly contemporary romance. Ledi and Thabiso have chemistry that leads to some very steamy scenes, yet Ledi is clearly aware of possible health risks (as an epidemiology grad student, one would hope so!) and how to be as safe as possible on that front. The dialogue is entertaining, even when it’s really only one-way, as when Ledi finally sends a two-word response to Likotsi’s “spam” emails. One of my favorites might be when the postdoc in Ledi’s lab approaches her, about to drop some more of his work on her. The entirety of the next paragraph reads: “This motherf***er, she thought.”

(I should note here that the redaction of the curse word is mine; the actual word appears in the book. If salty language and sexytimes on the page are not your thing, this is probably not the book for you!)

The next book in the series features Portia, Ledi’s best friend; the teaser chapter in the back promises good things. Personally, I’m hoping we eventually get a book about Likotsi. A girl can dream.

Source: Checked out from my public library

Challenges: It would qualify for Read Harder 2018 Task 10, but I’ve already completed that one.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in October

After the traditional summer slow-down in publishing, the fall releases are coming fast and furious. Here are 10 books from my TBR I’m particularly looking forward to next month.

Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham (October 2)

These dark and imaginative tales feature an odd and subtly linked world of bizarre venereal diseases, a creepy old woman who feasts on raw meat, a man obsessed with a skin model from a magazine, and a story within a story about ghosts.


The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2) by Mackenzi Lee (October 2)

A year after an accidentally whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of Callum Doyle, a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh; and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.


The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife (October 2)

A rewarding, intimate, and inspiring partnership has developed between the ravens and their charismatic and charming human, the Ravenmaster, who shares the folklore, history, and superstitions surrounding the ravens and the Tower. Shining a light on the behavior of the birds, their pecking order and social structure, and the tricks they play on us, Skaife shows who the Tower’s true guardians really are―and the result is a compelling and irreverent narrative that will surprise and enchant.


The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock, #3) by Sherry Thomas (October 2)

Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t.


Mycroft and Sherlock by Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse (October 9)

Now a force to be reckoned with in the War Office, the young Mycroft Holmes is growing his network of contacts and influence, although not always in a manner that pleases his closest friend, Cyrus Douglas.


A Crafter Knits a Clue (A Handcrafted Mystery, #1) by Holly Quinn (October 9)

When a heartbroken Samantha “Sammy” Kane returns to her hometown of Heartsford, WI, for her best friend Kate’s funeral, she learns that Kate’s much-loved craft store is in danger of perishing with its owner. Confounding all her expectations of the life she would live, Sammy moves back home with her golden retriever and takes over Community Craft. A few doors down Main Street, fellow new arrival Ingrid Wilson has just opened the Yarn Barn, a real “purl” of a shop. But when Sammy strolls over to see if Ingrid could use a little help, she finds Ingrid’s dead body—with a green aluminum knitting needle lodged in her throat.


A Little Tea Book: All the Essentials from Leaf to Cup by Sebastian Beckwith and Caroline Paul (October 16)

Tea, the most popular beverage in the world after water, has brought nations to war, defined cultures, bankrupted coffers, and toppled kings. And yet in many ways this fragrantly comforting and storied brew remains elusive, even to its devotees. As down-to-earth yet stylishly refined as the drink itself, A Little Tea Book submerges readers into tea, exploring its varieties, subtleties, and pleasures right down to the process of selecting and brewing the perfect cup.


The Library Book by Susan Orlean (October 16)

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, “Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie.” The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?


The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll (October 23)

Like many of us, Ryder Carroll tried everything to get organised — countless apps, systems, planners, you name it. Nothing really worked. Then he invented his own simple system that required only pen and paper, which he found both effective and calming. He shared his method with a few friends, and before long he had a worldwide viral movement.


The White Darkness by David Grann (October 30)

Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought to cross Antarctica on foot. Shackleton never completed his journeys, but he repeatedly rescued his men from certain death, and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in history.

Reading Along with Lil Miss

My daughter – who has long been known on the Internet as Lil Miss – started the sixth grade this year. When I was in the sixth grade, way back in the last century, we were the Big Kids of the Elementary School, but now sixth grade is the beginning of middle school. Lil Miss suddenly has a locker and changes classrooms five times a day. I have to admit, getting from room to room on Back to School Night was a challenge for me! She seems to have the hang of it, though.

Recently, her English class has started reading Boy of the Painted Cave by Justin Denzel.

Tao is an outcast. Unlike the great hunters of his clan, Tao does not want to kill the wild bears or woolly mammoths of the hunt. Instead he wants only to paint them. But only Chosen Ones can be cave painters. What’s more, Volt, the clan leader, violently despises Tao. And when the other clan members discover Tao’s secret talent, they cast him out into the wilderness alone. There, he befriends a wild wolf dog named Ram, and the mysterious Graybeard, who teaches him the true secret of the hunt.

The book was first published in 1988 (which happens to be the year I finished sixth grade and moved on to Junior High myself), but I hadn’t heard of it before. I did find a copy of it hanging out on the library shelf, though, so I checked it out to read along with Lil Miss.

I don’t remember my parents ever reading something just because I was reading it in school; did your parents do that? If you’re a parent, have you read a book because your child was reading it in school? Or do you plan to, if you haven’t reached that age yet?


This post is part of the 2018 Discussion Challenge hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight.

Down the TBR Hole #12

Down the TBR Hole was originally created over at Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Visit my to-read shelf to see how very far I still have to go!

Running the Edge: Discover the secrets to better running and a better life by Adam Goucher
Published: Sep 05, 2011
On TBR Since: Jun 10, 2012

This is more of a self-help book than a running book. The library doesn’t own a copy, and I don’t see myself buying it anytime soon.

Stay or Go? Go

Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler by Jessica Speart
Published:Mar 17, 2011
On TBR Since:Jun 11, 2012

Nature/science true crime, along the lines of The Feather Thief, which I loved.

Stay or Go? Stay

Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are by Katherine Sharpe
Published:Jun 05, 2012
On TBR Since: Jun 13, 2012

This looks like more of a memoir than I thought it was. I should really read it before it gets completely out of date.

Stay or Go? Stay

Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott
Published:Jan 01, 2012
On TBR Since:Jun 13, 2012

Oooh, science history!

Stay or Go? Stay

All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith
Published: Jun 01, 2012
On TBR Since: Jun 13, 2012

I will read some Austen at some point. Promise.

Stay or Go? Go

Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection by Simon Winchester
Published: Oct 09, 2012
On TBR Since: Jun 18, 2012

I’m pretty sure I had this confused with a different book. Well, that’s embarrassing.

Stay or Go? Go

Dead Men by Richard Pierce
Published: Mar 01, 2012
On TBR Since: Jun 18, 2012

Antarctic fiction drawing on the doomed Scott expedition? Yes, please.

Stay or Go? Stay

What We Brought Back: Jewish Life After Birthright: Reflections by Alumni of Taglit-Birthright Israel Trips by Wayne Hoffman
Published: Sep 2010
On TBR Since: Jun 25, 2012

Fun fact: I went on a Birthright trip at the end of 2001. It was an experience made slightly more challenging by the fact that I was in a walking cast for a broken metatarsal. I’m very curious about this book.
Stay or Go? Stay

Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1) by Tim Federle
Published: Feb 05, 2013
On TBR Since: Jun 26, 2012

I’m super-late to the party on this one, I know.

Stay or Go? Stay

You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel
Published:Aug 21, 2012
On TBR Since:Jun 28, 2012
I was given an ARC of this at a conference. That ARC is long gone, and there are other similar books I’m more interested in these days.
Stay or Go? Go

Four going, six staying. That seems to be my usual count!