It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 5/20/19

On the blog:

In reading:

Normally on a week when I only finished one book–which is strange and unusual in itself–I would just skip my Monday post. But I am trying to re-establish the habit of posting about what I’ve read on Mondays. So I am here today with just one book. Thankfully, it’s a really good one.

I knew I was behind the curve on The Thing About Jellyfish, but I was surprised to discover this morning that I’m four YEARS behind the curve. This was a National Book Award finalist in 2015, when Challenger Deep (which I also still haven’t read) won.

The Thing About Jellyfish is a middle-grade novel about grief and about the ways that we try to make sense of the world and feel in control again when we know we’re not. It’s also about friendship and cruelty and regret. And the power of speech and the power of silence. And the scientific method. And, yes, jellyfish. There is a lot of interesting information here about jellyfish. This is such a beautifully written book. Suzy’s voice is so strong: she has stopped talking to the people around her, but she has so much to say.

I had planned to start another middle-grade novel right away after finishing The Thing About Jellyfish but I realized I wanted to just sit with it for awhile, and none of the books I have checked out from the library right now seems quite right. I want another middle-grade novel that’s exactly this good, which is a tall order. So instead, I’m reading three books for grown-ups (Dani Shapiro’s memoir, Inheritance, Tommy Orange’s novel, There There, and Cal Newport’s technology self-help, Digital Minimalism.) And I think it’s time for another library trip to find the next middle-grade novel that will be as good as The Thing About Jellyfish. Any suggestions?

8 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 5/20/19

  1. I loved it, too, Elisabeth, though did read it when it first came out. I don’t remember all of it, but know that I loved it. I’ve read more than one I’ve enjoyed recently, but two come to mind that I didn’t want to end (sometimes my criteria for good!): Gary Schmidt’s ‘Pay Attention, Carter Jones’ & Ann Braden’s debut novel, ‘The Benefits of Being an Octopus’. Enjoy whatever you choose, but the Braden one is heartbreaking to see what children are needing to do at home, trying hard to survive.

  2. I loved listening to the audio book of Inheritance. An amazing story. I haven’t read The Thing about Jellyfish, but now I must find it. I know I have it somewhere. One of my students loved it for the mix of story and science. I am reading Dan Gemeinhart’s latest book about Coyote. It’s in his true adventurous style with so many touching moments. I am amazed when a man can write sensitively from a female POV. He’s one of my favorites. I have one more week of school so I will be bringing home a stack of books for summer reading.

  3. I remember being touched by The Thing About Jellyfish. In fact, I think this was one of the books that catapulted me back into book blogging. It was heartbreaking to witness Suzy’s secret being so heavy on her heart and to see the pain of her loneliness — your comments make me want to read this one again. We attempted to ILL Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism back in February. Christine tried a number of participating libraries from February to April with no luck (it was brand new and a popular title, so no libraries were willing to lend it). I think the tri-college system might be purchasing a copy. *fingers-crossed* Really hope you enjoy it and can share some of what you glean!

  4. Jellyfish didn’t seem like a book my students would like. They DO like Amal Unbound, Venkatraman’s The Bridge Home, and Yang’s Front Desk. I think Everlasting Nora deserves more love; it has that Boxcar Children appeal of children surviving on their own.

  5. I loved this book and I was really looking forward to her new one (Paulie Fink) but I did not enjoy it nearly as much.

  6. I have that same problem when people ask me what I’ve been reading–I always go black! Glad I am not alone!
    I haven’t read Jellyfish, but now I want to even more!
    Happy reading this week 🙂

  7. This has been on my to-read stack for the longest time now, and I’ve only read great things about it. My reading has been sorely lacking in the middle-grade genre, hopefully I get to read this one soonest. 🙂

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