Ok, so my Sunday post is being written on Monday evening. Believe me, it has been a hectic weekend and a busy, busy Monday.
What I finished last week:
Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls, author of Glass Castle; My new second Thursday book club’s selection, The Boston Girl; A wonderful novel by a blogging friend, James Cudney, titled Watching Glass Shatter; Anne Lammot’s beautiful essays, all focused around sewing, Stitches; Dragons: Fearsome Monsters from Myth and Fiction; Sandra Cisneros’ book of love poems, Loose Woman.
Continuing to read:
My “grandson’s” dissertation; Max Lucado’s Anxious for Nothing
An attempt to get back to my Lit major roots, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl; Another inspirational book by John Ortberg, I’d Like You More if You Were More Like Me
Finishing and/or reviewing these books ought to be plenty to keep me busy through Thanksgiving. I’m really looking forward to the holiday. We are spending it at my “grandson’s”. What are your plans for Turkey Day?
Today’s thoughts are on my favorite topic, literacy. These statistics which I collected from different sources recently made me stop and think. I hope they do the same to you:
34% of children entering kindergarten do not have the basic language skills they need to learn how to read.
65% of fourth graders are reading below basic grade level.
Only 37% of high school graduates are reading at or above proficiency levels.
85% of kids who go to the juvenile court system are illiterate.
WE ARE FAILING OUR CHILDREN WHEN IT COMES TO READING!
The object of the “game” is to open what you are currently reading and copy a couple of sentences to “tease” someone else into wanting to read it. No spoilers please. If you decide to participate on your own blog, leave your “address” in the comments, or consider typing in your whole teaser into the section.Be sure to mention the title and author of the book. The more who participate, the more fun. Thanks to Brainfluff which is promoting this “game”/meme for the Purple Booker, the host. Check out both of their teasers, and I predict your To Be Read list will grow.
Here is my teaser from today from a book I have chosen to read to add to my non-fiction reads, Anxious for Nothing, by my favorite inspirational writer, Max Lucado:
“…we have stumbled upon a source of your anxiety. You thought the problem was your calendar (schedule), your marriage, your job. In reality it is…unresolved guilt. Don’t indulge it. Don’t frown in the bilge of your own condemnation. There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror. Your future matters more than your past. God’s grace is greater than your sin.”
Some words to make one stop and think, right?
After many months of posting Every Other Sunday (Evening), school and life has calmed down enough to where I’m ready to go back to posting a catch up each Sunday evening. School is not out yet, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the big assignments are basically behind us in both Freshman Composition at the local college and in Advanced Writing at the university. I even find myself reading more and enjoying a few stress free days in a row at times. Now isn’t that nice!
Here’s what I finished since the last Every-Other Sunday (Evening) Post:
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, an outstanding debut novel (reviewed in the post prior to this one on PWR); Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls a novel based on the unique life of the author’s grandmother, which will be reviewed later this week; A Man Called Ove, our Third Tuesday Book Club’s selection for November and Twice Upon a Time, a children’s book, both of which will be reviewed soon on this blog.
Still continuing to read:
The Grouchy Grammarian, a grammar handbook which illustrates the most common errors in print, enough to make any grammar-lover grouchy, and my “grandson’s” dissertation which I put down to get on with my “Color Coded Challenge,” which I will report on and update in another post.
What I began this past week:
The Boston Girl, a 2014 fast read by Anita Diamond, the selection for November in my second reading group which I shall participate in for the first time this coming Thursday. No worries, I have about one hundred pages to go, and the story is so captivating that it will be a pleasant “chore” to finish.
So, I have a fine week of reading and teaching ahead with doctor’s check-ins and appointments behind me for a while, and a great deal to look ahead to. The Holidays are rapidly approaching, and already my house is decorated for Thanksgiving with my favorite kind of cooking and celebrating to come. It is indeed a time to be grateful and to give thanks for so, so many blessings!
This 2017 debut novel by Cherise Wolas is “a stunning debut–because there is nothing debut about it.” (A.M. Holmes, NY Times bestselling author). I agree with this statement one hundred percent. This is one of the smoothest, most professionally-written, insightful novels I have ever read. Every character is beautifully developed, every plot twist and turn is unexpected, and even shattering in one instance. The story explores, and maybe exploits, the thoughts and inner life of a writer in its main character, Joan Ashby.
The plot Wolas develops stems from “sacrifice” that is demanded with the onset of motherhood and the profound effect it can have on a gifted writer. Although originally unapologetic about her ambition, when the time comes Joan, our protagonist, makes the selfless choice, not once but twice with entirely different and even difficult outcomes. Excerpts from Ashby’s “dark and singular stories ” as one of her critics describes them are interspersed throughout the novel, and I must confess that I would love to read more than one of those imaginary short stories in its entirety.
Her struggles to set her two precocious sons on the road to success and happiness demand time and attention she must steal from her writing. Towards the end, with the plot developments that occur, Joan comes to question every decision she has made in her life, and as she travels to India to examine her accomplishments and failures, to evaluate her life and her life’s work, and there she makes the only decisions she CAN make to satisfy the intelligent reader. The article from a fictional literary magazine, which serves as an epilogue adds to the reader’s sense of closure and satisfaction with “the way things work out at the end.”
I highly recommend this book and rank it “right up there” with A Gentleman in Moscow as the best book I’ve read this year.