Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Monday, March 30, 2020


Today's Monday, though sometimes it's hard to keep up. 
But this is not really a #IMWAYR post. It's more of a It's Monday and I want to Remember What to Read. 

I've seen the word HUNKER used more in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years. (Though, honestly, it never left my vocabulary, but maybe that's a Southern thing.)

So I'm hunkering down and escaping into books.
This is a post to list books everybody's recommending.
Just a list. I'll never read them all!
Possibly I'll be the only person reading the post. It will be messy. I don't really remember where most of these suggestions came from (from whom they came...), but if I do, there's a little note/ name by the book title that will mean nothing to anybody but me. 

I'll keep adding and maybe comment as I read. 

I'm not attempting to pretty it up. Or verify the titles, unless I can't help myself. (All that librarian training and experience may kick in, who knows.)

Some are books to reserve though I've maxed out my Libby reserves. (Thank you public library people for an App for e-books and saving readers during hunkering down times.) 

I'll add links that have really touched me, made me laugh, made me want to read that book! Like these!

Now, here goes my own PANDEMIC BOOKLIST (ouch, that was hard to type, sounds much too light-hearted, but I guess we have to maintain our senses of humor while hunkering).

The first few books on my list were from a social media post by Tracy Winfield Holczer asking for something easy and fun to read. I find my British mysteries do the trick. I couldn't resist jumping in with TANA FRENCH. I'd also recommend Ann Cleeves. And the Jackson Brodie books by Kate Atkinson. But since I've read almost all of the novels by those women, they aren't on my #TBR/ reserved list. And some might not think they're exactly "fun" or light! My definition of fun and light (granted, this is a stretch) is anything that keeps me turning pages and doesn't creep me out so that I can't sleep.

So, everybody, what are you reading right now?

BOOKS for my Corona quarantine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine 
Goodnight, June
Princess Bride
Rachel's Holiday

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Nothing to See Here

Corduroy Mansions

Sookie Stackhouse novels

Goodnight June

Bridge of Clay

Winter Solstice

Walter Moseley. The truth of fiction

Never have I ever. Joslyn Jackson

Joanna Trollope  

if the creek don’t rise.
Peter Swanson

Len Deighton

Blum. What I learned??  (Ron)

Eliz Stroudt. Short stories. Anything is possible

Others by OVE.   (Lyn) 

The good thief
Engineer of beasts
Owl in love

Flight behavior. Audible

News of the world(Monika)
Gesture life.

Gift of rain. (Suzanne)

In the garden of beasts. Larson. Before WW2

Gary Paulson. Winter dance

Miss Jane

Recommended books

James Sallis. Drive

We love you Charlie Freeman

Almost Famous Women. Short stories

Thunderstruck. Elizabeth McCracken

Cool beautiful world

The Wangs vs the world.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Read My Book, please! Read Aloud Permission and Links

For teachers navigating the new normal, here's the link Scholastic has shared with information about reading our books to your students.

I read Chapter One of GLORY BE here:

If you'd like:
Here I am, reading a chapter from THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY.

There are many resources on my blog and my website. I'll continue to post here if new ones turn up.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Monday Again!

This has been my week for reading, and hiding from the world. 

The world has slowed down here in Florida. Yes, we still have our share of spring-breakers, mostly families, but the roads don't seem as crowded, the shops are empty, and spring training has shut down. 
It's a tough time for so many.
My heart goes out to all you teachers and librarians with plans for your kids that are on hold.

SO, with all the craziness in the world, let's read some good books!

First up- a perfect Middle-Grade novel. Such kid-appeal. The clever math connections, the friendships, the strong writing and plot- all make it an easy, fun, and interesting read. 
Perfect sweet spot for MG, ages 9-12. 

Here's a link to Stacy McAnulty's website with reviews, activities, a sample chapter. Good stuff! 

Another terrific middle-grade with a hint- okay more than a hint!- of a ghost story is JUST SOUTH OF HOME. This is Karen Strong's debut, and I'll be on the lookout for her next book. 
Again, this is a story with a lot of kid-friendliness. (Is that a thing?)
Family dynamics in a small southern town, some serious civil rights history woven in, kids who aren't perfect but figure things out pretty well. I loved that the narrator has a strong sense of right and wrong. 
Don't miss this one.

I'm not quite finished with Leslie Connor's newest novel, A HOME FOR GODDESSES AND DOGS, but I'll add it to today's collection. The publisher's suggested age level is 10 and Up, and I agree. Mostly because (at least so far) though there's nothing too advanced about the topic, the language feels older. Lydia, the narrator, is 13 and has recently lost her mother, but she lovingly grieves in the care of her aunt and her aunt's wife. I love the animals, Lydia's lovely memories, the winter setting. 
It's quite different from Leslie's previous two books (All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is as good as- or better than!- any middle-grade novel I've ever read). Her newest novel may appeal to different kids, those special readers willing to invest in a quiet-ish story with heart. 

I'm not sure what made me reread SARAH PLAIN AND TALL. I hadn't read it since I worked as a librarian and that was too many years ago to count!
What a perfect book. 
If it's been a while since you read this Newbery winner, do yourself a favor and find your copy. It will make your day. A perfectly lovely, small gift of a book that takes us away from the world swirling around us.

I'm not much of a Young Adult reader, but that may change now that I've read this one by STACIE RAMEY. 
So good!  The main character is a bright girl with cerebral palsy, a crush on a boy, a mostly/usually amazing family, and a best friend. IT'S MY LIFE will have teens turning pages and then searching for Stacie's other books.


Last but not least, may I recommend a fun book about words, and writing, and grammar and all the things you never have time to think about?

This one's been on my shelf since Christmas, when my brother gifted it to me. So happy I had time to organize bookshelves!

Our lovely little public library just announced it's closed "for the foreseeable future" so I'll be using their Libby app even more and tidying up my own bookshelves.

Sending love and great reading vibes to all my #IMWAYR pals!


Thursday, March 5, 2020

What Great Kids!

It was like Old Home Week, with new people.


A few of the fabulous moments 
from my short two days in Mississippi.

 Packed and ready!

 My new buddy, Heather Wood, super librarian, 
stacking books for me to sign!

 Front and center- lots of smiles!

Photo over the booth where we ate lunch. 

Also, the terrific music teacher at Petal Elementary played all Elvis tunes as the kids came into the auditorium. 
One 3rd grader on the front row knew all the words to Hound Dog!

Petal is just outside Hattiesburg, MS, the place my mother grew up and a town where I spent lots of summers. My grandmother took us to the zoo on the bus!  

This is the church where my parents were married and a few beautiful flowers just now blooming all over Hattiesburg.

It wouldn't be a trip to Mississippi without food! 

My brother, sister and I did some seriously good eating. But I practiced enormous restraint and didn't buy those fig preserves. 
I feared the TSA agents would grab them at the New Orleans airport.