This week has been a bit insane, but in a good way (except my reading has suffered). On Wednesday, I began my 21 Day Blogoversary and Birthday Bash to celebrate my one wonderful year of blogging, and impending birthday on the Dec 21 (ugh).
As part of the celebration and Day 6 giveaway of Keeper by Kati Appelt, I have a special guest post especially for all of you It's Monday What Am I Reading fans. So without further ado here is Kathi Appelt:
What I am Reading Monday—for Eating Y.A. Books
Last year after I served as a judge for the National Book Awards, I thought I might never read for pleasure again. I was literally and physically burned out on books. My eyes hurt, my neck hurt, and my house felt like it might explode from the sheer numbers of books that lined its walls. In fact, before the year ended, I packed up about thirty boxes of them and gave them all away. Some went to the DeGrummond Collection, an archive that houses all of my letters. Some went to a friend’s classroom. Others went to family members. So I made sure that they found good homes. But it was a relief to get them out of my house.
It was a strange experience because I totally love to read, and I’ve never ever felt anything but affection and wonder for books. In a million different ways, at a million different points in my life, reading has saved me. And don’t get me wrong, I read so many wonderful stories during my tenure on the panel that one of my huge regrets is that we were only allowed to name five finalists. I could have named many more than that.
There were other pluses as well. For one, I read books in genres that I might never have picked up. As Sara Zarr so eloquently put it on her blog—my reading horizons were stretched. I felt like a braver reader than ever. I also learned a lot about craft, about what makes a fine book and what makes an amazing book. In addition, is there anything more wonderful than an ongoing discussion about stories with a group of fellow authors? Not too many things can top that, at least not for me.
But the intensity of the judging experience, coupled with the huge number of titles that we were required to read—something like 280--pushed me over a reading ledge.
It made me so sad to be honest. So, I just took a deep breath, read the things I was required to read, and basically just dove into my own work in progress—Keeper.
But come this past August, I found my reading self again. Mostly I found it because I discovered some truly wonderful books. At last, after months of avoiding them, I felt like I was saved by books once again. The long winter and summer of avoidance had finally worked itself out. Books. I have a whole stack of them next to my sofa, just waiting for me to jump in. And I also have a stack to share with you.
First up is Jeanette Ingold’s Paper Daughter. Not only is there a mystery here, but this story is also about the power of story and the role it plays through generations in a family. Just a beautiful, heartbreaker of a story.
Next, a book by a relatively new author: The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys, by Scott William Carter. Here is a road story that takes quiet, unassuming Charlie out of his comfort zone and into all sorts of trouble. But it’s far more than just an adventure story. It’s a story about telling the truth and what that is worth.
For the younger set, I just discovered Graham Salisbury’s Calvin Coconut books. My favorite is Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix. Calvin is not perfect, but he’s funny, sincere, and full of life.
I’m completely smitten with Lyn Rae Perkins’ Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth. Another road story, but so much more. There were moments in this story in which I seriously split my sides laughing. And then there were moments when tears went streaming down my face. This is a book to read over and over again. It’s a book for my heart.
Truth with a Capital T, by Bethany Hegedus takes a hard look at who fits in a family, especially in the wake of a long-hidden secret, a secret that doesn’t necessarily shine in a favorable way the light that has been darkened for too long.
It’s Not You, It’s Me, by Kerry Cohen Hoffman. Here’s the thing. This book made me uncomfortable because I so clearly saw myself in the main character Zoë. Not now of course, but back when I was her age, I had a similar experience with a boy—one who dumped me. I did all sorts of really crazy things to try to get him back, things that were humiliating and embarrassing, and even while I did them I knew they were humiliating and embarrassing, but desperate days call for desperate actions. So, the authenticity of this story rang out loud and clear. Hoffman’s writing is crisp, there are moments of illumination, and then there are moments that made me downright queasy because I felt like I was in a time loop. It’s a wonderful book, something of a cautionary tale, but one in which Zoë finally “wins,” and not because she gets her guy back.
Kimberly Willis Holt’s new picture book, Granny Clearwater, makes me one happy camper. It’s a perfect marriage of text and art. I love the dialect, I love the details, I love the rollicking nature of it. It’s jubilant!
So many wonderful books, so glad to have them back in my life. Next up? The Curse of the Wendigo, by Rick Yancey.
I want to thank Kathi for participating in this week's Monday meme.
Make sure you check out my Day 6: 21 Day Blogoversary & Birthday Bash to read my review of Keeper and enter to win your own copy of this wonderful book.
Here's what I read this week:
Nightspell by Leah Cypess
Currently listening to:
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Desire of the Dead by Kim Derting
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohen and David Levithan
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
Can't wait to see what you read this week!