Monday, June 7, 2010

Reading, Writing, Rhythm

Happy Almost-Summer! This week our neighborhood book club started discussing beach reads (would that we were going to the beach).  I'm wrapping up my teaching for the semester and thinking I might actually find a few extra reading hours to spare.  I can't wait to see the reading recommendations posted by YOU. For more suggestions, check out the new links in our sidebar to the Bank Street book lists.

I freely admit that I am a fickle reader.  I read a dozen books simultaneously.  Unless I am truly riveted, I may make it to the midway point, the two-thirds point, but it's relatively rare that I reach the end.  I was an avid consumer of fiction in elementary school, but somewhere along the way (too many deadly-dull (to me) "classics," too little time, and a very SLOW reading speed), I turned into a picky one.  I'm not quite a reluctant reader, but I am a reluctant finisher.  Is there a single soul out there with a similar reading style?

My reading-as-a-writer M.O. is haphazard.  No highlighter or studying or writing workouts for me.  Basically, I need a plot that I love and a style that feels natural -- not pretentious, not too "spare," not to "voicey-voice."  If the writer seems to be trying too hard, I will have to try too hard to get through the book.  A book with the above criteria is the one that gets me to the end and sticks with me, often forever. 

In combing through my books-to-finish piles scattered about the house as well as the home page of my wonderful new Kindle (more on the Kindle in another post), my summer kidlit reading plan consists of the following:

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Sophie the Awesome by Lara Bergen
Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher (I am behind the curve on this one, but wow, what a book!)
Before I Fall  by Lauren Oliver
The Billionaire's Curse by Richard Newsome
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban (another wow!)
It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder
The Kane Chronicles, Book One by Rick Riordan
The Seventh Level, by Jody Feldman
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone (super-wow!)

Then there's the ultimate reader/writer/parent book for me:
Book Crush: For Kids and Teens by Nancy Pearl

I also look forward to the treasure trove of easy readers and picture books that my kids will be bringing home all summer long.

For those interested in reading a wonderful novel in poems this summer, enter April's book giveaway here.

Please share your own reading recommendations if are so inclined, and happy summer to all! --Jeanne Marie


Mandy said...

Yes, there is another single soul out there like you. And I thought I was the only one. I always felt guilty that I could never finish a fiction book. I thought that I wasn't really a reader. My friend Michelle is a speed reader so she has read hundreds upon thousands of books. I need great book rec. so they can hold my interest.

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Mandy, bless you! It is so nice to know that one is not alone, especially in a world of writer bookworms.

Carmela, I can't wait to discuss these books with you when (note that I say when, not if!) I finish.

Christina said...

Hi Jeanne Marie (also my sister's name:)
I'm with you, I start many many books but if they don't capture me by at least the first third I start another. I always try to give every book at least three chapters, but there are too many books on my list to spend my time trying to fight my way through one that just hasn't captured me. I am currently reading The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas, a very sweet ya. I also plan to re-read The Hunger Games & Catching Fire in anticipation of the final book's release on August 24th. Thanks for your list. I also am late getting on the Thirteen Reasons Why train -- need to hop on this summer I think!

Great post!

mary ann rodman said...

Im so glad someone else is a multitasker reader. At any time I have at least one book in progress in all the bathrooms, plus all other logical places, including the car. (No, I don't read in traffic, but I DO read in places of unavoidable delay..dr, offices, lines for anything, my daughter's four hours a day at the skating rink.
I am looking forward to hearing about your book lists, since,,,cringe...I haven't heard of any of them. I love how the variety of our reading lists reflects the diversity of our readers. (My list in my post next week)
Nice job, JM,

Carmela Martino said...

Sorry for all the duplicate comments, JM. Blogger was having trouble and said it hadn't posted any of them.

Jen Vincent said...

I loved Crooked Kind of Perfect and 13 Reasons Why. Both great books. I'm the kind of reader who starts a book and feels like I have to stick with it just to make sure I'm not missing something by not finishing it. Not always, but for the most part. Have fun reading!!!

Carmela Martino said...

Mrs. Vincent, thanks for sharing your comments. I'm like you--I generally stick with a book until I finish. Very rarely do I not finish a book. Also, I can only read one novel at a time. However, I typically read several nonfiction books simultaneously, often on very different subjects.

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Christina, thanks so much for the reading recommendation. It sounds right up my alley and has been added to my list. Mary Ann, I also have an open book in every room of the house (and the car). I suspect my husband and I both retreat to the bathroom for a quiet moment when the kids are fighting and shrieking. The most exciting thing about my Kindle is that I can now read something besides a magazine on the elliptical. :)

Mrs. Vincent, I'm heading over to check out your blog right now. Thanks!

PragmaticMom said...

I wanted to share my list of Favorite Books for Reluctant Boy Readers Grades 3-5th at

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World
I blog on children's literature, education and parenting