Thursday, August 12, 2010


"The surface of the earth holds a message for you.  You just have to look a little closer..."   This is what popped up when I visited geoGreeting for the first time.  Intrigued, I pressed the "click to view button" and my eyes lit up as I read a message made up of letters from places all over the world.  I was then invited to create my own message, which I did.  (Click here to see the geoGreeting I made.) This little gem is ridiculously easy to use and will be fun to share with teachers and students this year.  

Summer of 100 Books

Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, issued a challenge to her followers in June. She challenged us to read a book a day during summer vacation.  Being a huge fan, I was excited to join her in what she called the "ultimate staycation."

I began the challenge on June 7th reading two books, If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.   I finished Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater today, and it was my 100th book.

Throughout the summer, I read 33 fiction and non-fiction picture books.  Two of my favorites were Mom and Dad are Palindromes by Mark Shulman and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. 

I Heart You, You Haunt Me was my first verse novel, and by reading it, I rediscovered my love of poetry.  It led me to choose 4 others:  Carver: A Life in Poems, Crank, Out of the Dust, and Who Killed Mr. Chippendale: A Mystery in Poems.

10 fantasy and science fiction titles made my summer list.  I adored Shiver and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  Life As We Knew It is still keeping me up at night.  

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, The Summer I Turned Pretty, and The Outsiders were my favorites out of the 14 realistic fiction books I finished, and Countdown, Flygirl, and The Book Thief stood out as the best of the 15 historical fiction titles. 

When I looked at my list of books, I was surprised that 17 were biographies, because I'm usually not drawn to non-fiction. However, Driven, A Photobiography of Henry Ford, Up In the Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman, and The Boy Who Invented TV:  The Story of Philo Farnsworth were all fascinating, and I learned something new from each one. 

2 more books, Writing About Reading and The Right to Literacy in Secondary Schools: Creating a Culture of Thinking made their way onto my professional bookshelf. 

Although I tried to read mostly middle grade and young adult fiction, I did manage to squeeze in a 4 adult titles.   The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was beautiful, and I can't wait to discuss it at book club this year.   I stayed up all night reading Confessions of A Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim.  

So there you have it!  100 books in 66 days.  (My complete Book-A-Day list can be found on Goodreads.)   

I want to thank Donalyn and all the other book-a-day readers for their enthusiasm and encouragement.   I appreciated your comments and suggestions.  You have all inspired me to take my passion for reading and learning back to school.   It was a great summer staycation, and it will be a great year in my learning life.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Read-a-Thon Closing Comments

It was touch and go for a while there, but I finished my third book, Out of the Dust at 11:51 p.m.   I had wanted to finish before midnight, I made it with a whopping 9 minutes to spare!

What a great experience this Read-a-Thon has been!   I enjoyed each book, and I had fun following everyone's progress on Twitter.  Thanks to #bookblogchat, my TBR pile is now the size of Chimney Rock. 

Besides book recommendations, another perk has been discovering some cool new blogs.  In addition to Wallace's Unputdownables (the creative force behind this weekend's event) I'm loving Carin's A Little Bookish, Reese's Bibliophile Girl, and Michelle's The True Book Addict.  You all have inspired me to be a better blogger!

With the three books I've read this weekend, my summer reading challenge (more about that in my next post) stands at 75 books.  

Thanks again to Unputdownables for hosting this event, and to Donalyn for sharing it with me.