It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 3/27/17



This book cover does not need a name on it for us to know whose work it is. Which is actually kind of amazing when you think about it. I mean, it’s a big brown triangle with crazy eyes. But you know it’s Jon Klassen’s work. Triangle is another very fine and slightly off-kilter-in-a-good-way collaboration between Klassen and Mac Barnett. I read it quickly at the bookstore so will need a second reading to really absorb it, but it’s got a triangle and a square chasing each other across a Klassenesque landscape and playing pranks on each other.

beaver steals fire

Beaver Steals Fire is a traditional tale from the Salish tribe about how humans first got fire. This is a good addition to my shelf of Native American literature and traditional stories.

tokyo digs a garden

I especially loved the art in Tokyo Digs a Garden–so much to wonder over and enjoy in each spread. But the story is a charmer too: Tokyo plants a seed in his urban backyard and is shocked when it sprouts overnight and quickly grows into a forest that takes over the city. I also got a kick out of Tokyo’s pet cat, whose name is Kevin.

project alpha.jpeg

I very rarely abandon read-alouds with my son unless he specifically says he’s bored and he never said he was bored by this book, but I certainly was. It’s the first in a series about a space-traveling group of young teens charged with saving the world from its energy crisis; each volume is written by a different author. Perhaps some of the later volumes are more interesting, but the first book just isn’t written very well. Characters are under-developed, plot takes forever to get going and is highly predictable once it does; and the sentence-level writing is flat.


My son has started to chafe against our nightly routine of bedtime stories, and I have become acutely aware that each book we read might be our last. I’ve decided to make every book really count, to make sure that when bedtime stories do end, they end on a high note. He’s been intrigued by the movie trailers for the new Beauty and the Beast movie, so when we abandoned Project Alpha, I decided to read Robin McKinley’s lush retelling, Beauty, to him. It’s one of my favorite fairy tale retellings, a book I read again and again when I was a teenager, and it was delightful to revisit it so many years later. It’s by far the most descriptive and least action-packed book we’ve ever read aloud, but it kept his attention throughout.

rain in portugal

The Rain in Portugal is Billy Collins’s newest collection of poetry, and it just might be my favorite, though it would be hard to pick a favorite Collins collection, since they’re all wonderful. There were just so many poems that I loved here. I read the book very slowly, two or three poems a day.

thinking about memoir.jpeg

Abigail Thomas’s Thinking About Memoir was another reread for me. It’s a very slim volume that does exactly what the title promises–thinks through some of the questions, problems, and rewards of writing memoir, using memoir-like snippets of narrative that are punctuated by Thomas’s favorite memoir writing assignment, “Write two pages about…” Nearly every page of this book had me wanting to write, which was a problem as I was reading before bed with no notebook handy.





11 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 3/27/17”

  1. carriegelson Avatar

    A Klassenesque landscape <– Love this! He is pretty incredible isn't he? I read this book this week too.

  2. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Hoping to wrap up the year with memoir with my middle schoolers, so looking forward to Thinking about Memoir!

  3. lindabaie Avatar

    Yes, just the cover, and it’s on my long list, but it’ll be a while if I wait for the library. I love all Robin McKinley’s books, have kept Beauty for when the granddaughters get old enough. Nice to hear that your son liked it. I know that you and your son are different, but just to let you know that my daughter and I read aloud to each other well into high school. Thanks for Tokyo Digs A Garden, too.

  4. cweichel Avatar

    Am looking forward to reading Triangle if for no other reason than that writing duo. I’ve bookmarked Thinking About Memoir. I laughed when I read your comment about not writing because of reading before bed. I’ve been listening to Bird by Bird as I fall asleep. Sometimes I end up being too excited for this fall asleep strategy to work, although I don’t usually get up and write.

  5. Tara Smith Avatar

    I’m going to save Thinking About Memoir for summer (that seems what I’m doing today!) – to read and to serve as inspiration to write.

  6. carwilc Avatar

    Have you and your son read anything by Jason Reynolds? ALL AMERICAN BOYS and GHOST might buy you a little more time reading to him.

  7. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    So true about Jon Klassen. His work is so distinct. I loved Triangle and am looking forward to the next shapes in the series. 🙂

  8. Ms. Pesta Avatar

    So glad Triangle is out! Can’t wait to get it!

  9. midwesternheartindixie Avatar

    Oh I’m definitely going to looking in the last one! Thanks for sharing!

  10. crbrunelle Avatar

    I love Billy Collins! Beauty is one of my favorite books. I’ve read it multiple times. I want to get my hands on the memoir book. Maybe this summer when I have time to write. Thanks.

  11. Myra GB Avatar

    I am taking a guess that Tokyo Digs Garden is a Flying Eye book? It certainly looks like one. Would have to find the Billy Collins book soonest! I need poetry!

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