Let’s be honest: this blog has been floundering a bit lately. Work has been killer for me this year. Kids are being kids. We just haven’t been able to post much. Over the next few weeks, we’ll have a fair bit of stuff going up, but after that it’s probably going to be sporadic until the end of March when I finish the additional certification I’ve been working on and things return to (relative) normal.
So anyway, this was a tough reading year, but I did finally meet my reading goal for the year this month. I intend to amp things back up next year, but I’ll talk about that in my yearly review post.
1.Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (5/5) - This is probably the most challenging text my AP students will read this year. I found the second go-round with it easier than the first. It does take its time, but still, what a masterpiece. Teaching this class is a constant reminder of the benefits of paying close attention to the books we read. Still, this is an exhausting read. Hardy makes his point so thoroughly that it’s inarguable. That it is such a painful point makes the book more beautiful, but also harder to read.
2. Songdogs by Colum McCann (5/5) - It took me a while to figure out what to say about this. This was the one Colum McCann book I hadn’t read. It’s also his first novel, so I was prepared for it to be first novel-rough. It wasn’t. This book is all about a lack of resolution. By the time you finish, you don’t really feel like anything much has happened. You know more than you did at the start, but you aren’t sure to what end. But it’s still a satisfying journey.
3. The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler (3.5/5) - This was the second-to-last book I needed to read to complete Cate’s list for me this year. (I didn’t quite finish Madame Bovary, it will be on next month’s book log.) And it was the one I was most intimidated by because I worried that it wouldn’t be quite up my alley. That wasn’t the problem at all. I found the material quite engaging. I also thought it was about 150 pages too long. It’s probably more fair call Fessler the editor of this book than the author, as the text she contributes is dwarfed by that of the women she interviewed. In the end, their stories are all compelling, but often much too similar to make the work compelling at its current length. However, I’m glad I read this book and that I know about what these women went through.
Having hit the end of the calendar year, it’s time for the “spring” book queue, which I give myself until the end of May (when school’s out) to complete. I didn’t read nearly enough new writer’s/contemporary fiction this year, so I’m hitting it hard now. Here we go…
Spring Book Queue:
Open City by Teju Cole
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Swamplandia by Karen Russell
Pure by Andrew Miller
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Round House by Louise Erdich
Dear Life by Alice Munro
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers