It's three weeks into the new school year, and I don't remember ever being quite so overwhelmed at the beginning of a school year. Personal e-mail, this blog, and everything except school, sleep, and reading have fallen by the wayside. This year brought more responsibilities, an unexpected extra teaching burden for the first week and a half of school, and a new (and impenetrable) evaluation system.
The first thing I do with my students is cajole, persuade, coax, implore, and entice them to read. I always have a few dedicated readers in every class, and I've had some fantastic conversations about books with my students already.
Some of my reading lately has been inspired by interviews, reviews, and recommendations from my daughter and others. Right before school started I read the amazing and wonderful American Gods by Neil Gaiman. If you haven't read this book, I implore you to go out right now and get it. I almost didn't want to finish reading American Gods it was so magical.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel exceeded all my expectations. I need to write a review (in all my spare time), but this is definitely one of the best books I've read this year.
Then I read The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Wow. This is speculative fiction at its very best. Set in a future of climate change and genetic engineering, The Windup Girl is compelling and completely immersive. I couldn't put it down.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is absolutely stunning. I have so much to say about this book, but I'll have to save that for another post. One of my students was reading this novel, and I decided to read and discuss with her. Picoult has some die-hard fans in my students, and I had forgotten how good a writer she is.
I haven't decided what's next. Maybe Norwegian Wood? I've read a lot of really long books lately, and it's time for something shorter.
In the meantime, I've been dipping into some essay collections, among them The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on Discovering the Pleasures of Reading, edited by Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald. Sherman Alexie's essay "Superman and Me" is one of the best tributes to the power of reading that I've ever read, but this volume is filled with inspiring essays.
It's Monday! What are you reading?