Thursday, February 27, 2020

February Reading Update

      These are the books that I read in the month of February:

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Persuader by Lee Child. I really enjoy the Jack Reacher novels, though I've found recently I might be enjoying thrillers a little less. I like how action packed these novels are and I suppose I like the fact that there is always vengeance for the good guy. In this particular novel, Reacher is hired (off the record, of course) to help take down a gun dealer who happens to be associated with a man who killed someone Reacher once worked with. I finished the book in a few days. I also just read an article about the author, Lee Child, and how he feels like he is "ageing out" of writing these Jack Reacher novels. He's passing the baton to his younger brother, Andrew. The 25th Jack Reacher novel will come out in October 2020.
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     The Girl Who Disappeared Twice- by Andrea Kane- another thriller type. This book was a bit predictable, but I enjoyed it. It was not graphic or terribly violent. I had not read any Andrea Kane before, and I will give her another shot if I see more of her books. I would've liked to see a few more things addressed towards the end of the book, but it was alright.This completes my February Keyword Reading Challenge with the word "Girl."
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The Blind Spot-  by Adam Barrow- Rarely do I stop reading a book. In this book, a boy is kidnapped from a planetarium when his dad accidentally falls asleep during a show. You learn about a chapter later that the boy is taken with plans to traffick him to other men. I didn't think anything edifying could possibly come out of this book, so I just stopped. Moving on...
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The Imperfects- by Amy Meyerson. I seriously needed to walk away from the thrillers for a bit. This book is about a family who is estranged from one another coming together after the grandmother of the family passes away and leaves a piece of jewelry, which ends up being the Florentine Diamond, to one of the grandkids. It examines the lives of all the characters individually while addressing the family dynamics. I enjoyed this book a lot. The characters were interesting and their family issues were definitely relatable. There were also bits of historical information woven into this story and I enjoyed that just as much.


The Breaker Boys-   My dad lent this book to me. He apparently knows the author, or someone related to the author. It's about young boys who used to work separating coal from other debris after it had been brought out of the shaft. These boys were usually very young (8-12?) and the job itself had some very dangerous aspects. This story is about a family who relocates to a mining town after the father gets into a dispute with his dad and decides to abandon the family trade. After a short period of time, the father of the family dies and the women of the family are left to fend for themselves. One of the daughters decides to dress as a boy and become a breaker boy.
I expected the story to be a bit more linear and maybe focus on the boys more, but it was interesting. I learned a few things and the characters drew me in. Even though I might've preferred more of the story of the breaker boys, their side stories added a lot to the book. I will say that there were a few mistakes in the book that were distracting to me. Example, there is a character who is referred to as Mr. Yager and Mr. Yeager. I don't know if my dad has an edited proof, but it bugged me that that got through the publisher because it happened a lot. Other than that, I found it enjoyable

Goodreads Challenge- 10/60
Keyword Reading Challenge- 2/12

Monday, February 10, 2020

Feb week 1

Well, I did a great job at blogging for 2 days in a row. Lol. Here's what's going on:

Teaching:

      My district is in the middle of contract negotiations and it's not going well for either side. Many days when I'm teaching, there's a subtle feeling that nags at me about the fact that there are many people that do not value what I do as an educator or as a person. Although I try not to let other people's opinions influence me much, this is one that is hard to ignore.
      Last week was one of those "in the trenches" weeks. First, 1 ton of kids at my school have the flu. At least 6 of my kids have been out for over a week, and not ones who usually miss school. There is a constant flow of "out sick," "returning from being out" and "not feeling good today." Trying to meet every child we're they're at while trying to actually accomplish something with everybody who has been in class can be a challenge to say the least.  I had an observation that was important to me Monday. (Not important in terms of making a difference in my job if I did badly, just wanting to do a good job.) Unfortunately, I did the observation with a new group of kids and it ended up being a terribly "off" day. Then, there were the normal middle school behaviors that we see every day. To say that last week kicked my butt would be an understatement. Thank goodness for those few kids in each class who just make a school nicer to be in.

Reading:

Still plugging away. I've been keeping a log of my February books, which I'll share at the end of the month. Have you read any particularly good books this month?

Writing:

I'm a letter writing machine this month. I think I've sent out 26 so far this month. Still going too. I've been getting a lot of great mail through Lettermo too!

Looking ahead:

Next week is February school vacation. We're going away for a few days and I cannot wait. Lots of reading, writing and family time. If you're not from MA, don't go to Cape Cod in the winter. It's dead. My parents bought a time share there and that's where we are going. We're pretty low maintenance, so we just enjoy hanging out with each other with a nice change of scenery.

        

Sunday, February 2, 2020

2/2/20

     Just a short post tonight because I was foolish and spent hours watching the Superbowl. I sent 2 letters today- 1 to a person who requested to be friends on Lettermo and the other to a penpal who has been waiting for my mail since August. Here is her envelope:
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    I also wanted to tell some of my penpals about the Facebook group Snailmailersrus.  It's a great site if you are interested in swapping. I haven't really met many people there yet but I have swapped things like homemade envelopes, stickers and other penpalling goodies. Today I took part in a "Gimme gimme," where you write 5 things that you would like and someone sends you something. You have to sign up to send something to another member. I am sending someone some tea and a memo pad. A woman in Russia is sending me some Russian snacks, which I'm sure I've never had before.
       Tomorrow is a busy day. I'm being observed by a professor whom I am helping with a research project. I'm feeling a bit nervous about it but I'm sure I'll be fine when I do it. 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

February 2020

     Want to know what my favorite thing about February is? Well, I have a lot- believe it or not. Quite a few years ago, I discovered The Month of Letters, affectionately known as Lettermo. Basically, the premise of the challenge is that you write a personal piece of mail for every day in February and respond to each piece of Lettermo mail you get. I'm a little behind with my writing due to the move in October, but I plan to get caught up quick. Of course, I also have other notes I'd like to send too.  I've prepped by making a whole bunch of envelopes and buying a ton of stamps.  I may blog about the mail every day in February since I might actually get a lot of it and some of my friends have asked what makes penpalling so appealing to me.

 Ironically, the only mail I got today was a tag where someone was supposed to send me a bag of candy but they put the wrong swap in the envelope and I got their mail intended for someone else. I've had a bit of a rough day so secretly I was hoping for Finnish chocolate. :( No such luck.  Hopefully she will resend what I was expecting from the swap I signed up for.
      I'm mailing a bunch of things today. There is a letter to a Lettermo participant that I've never written to before, a letter to a student to thank them for always working hard for me, 9 cards to students who auditioned for a music festival today and 1 card to a former student who just performed incredibly in the Dormagen Junior Men's Sabre World Cup.
     If I can get my act together, maybe I can put the stats for my current mail challenge up tomorrow. I have not done well with writing every day, but I have probably sent out more pieces of mail than there have been days in January. We'll see, I just need to track everything down.