It is over! My first year participating in the BookTubeAThon was a complete success! I thought that I wouldn’t be able to read all 7 books this week because I would be working on school stuff, but who am I kidding?? I’ve still got 10 days before I have to start teaching, and everyone knows the first week doesn’t count anyway… 😉
I managed to read 8, you heard me, 8, books this week! My strategy worked great; I picked mostly short books and also managed to complete all the challenges, too! I participated in every sprint session (that didn’t require me to be up at 4AM) and had tons of fun interacting with people on Twitter and Instagram. If I was smart, I would have done daily updates here on my blog, but I was not smart. So, in the interest of length, I’m writing 2 separate posts: 1) days 1-3, and 2) days 4-7.
Days 1-3: Here are the books I read, in order, with some brief comments about each (I will not be doing a full review on any of them because, well…10 days till my life gets taken away):
The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac: I began reading this book when the clock stuck midnight and did not put it down until I finished. (Not because it was so engrossing, but because I was not allowed. I thought I might as well get challenge 5 out of the way first!) This book was not what I expected it to be. Based on the front and back covers, I thought it to be a whimsical homage to bibliophiles, but actually it was more of a reflection on how and why reading gets ruined for children – a subject I am, of course, extremely interested in. So it was not an unpleasant surprise, and I would HIGHLY recommend that EVERY English teacher, librarian, and PARENT read this book. One warning: it was written by a French guy, so many of the literary references in the book are from French literature, especially Madame Bovary. I have not read Madame Bovary, so I probably would have gotten more from this text if I had. However, his message is still clear and important: the way we present reading to our kids is crucial to their relationship with books…and many well-meaning teachers and parents aren’t exactly presenting it right. I won’t give it all away…it’s like 150 pages…go read it. 3/5 stars
The Middle Stories by Sheila Heti: This was one of my many books that covered challenge 1, a book with blue on the cover. It is a McSweeney’s collection of short stories by one author, all written in a fairy tale style. I was really excited about this book because it’s McSweeney’s and because of the following blurb from the back cover: “They are the sort of stories you would read to children before tucking them into bed for the night, if you wanted them to wrestle with existential angst before falling asleep.” Also the cover has a mermaid flipping the bird. Sold. The stories were all really short, many of them uncomfortable and disturbing, but I kind-of loved that. I didn’t quite understand the point some of them, but maybe that was the point? I’d like to spend some more time with this book because I definitely was trying to speed through it, and these are the kind of stories you have to chew on a bit. My favorite was the mermaid one. Recommended for those who aren’t easily disturbed (and over the age of 16). 3/5 stars
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: Also a blue book, and the favorite book of one of my friends, so a two-for-one challenge. I obviously knew about this classic, but it escaped my childhood somehow, which is sad. However, as an adult I think I may have understood many of the jokes better. It was very “Alice in Wonderland,” about a boy who escapes into a magical land and meets all sorts of strange beings with punny names and occupations and must save the world and learn not to be such a disenchanted child. I loved every minute of it. I laughed. I got the chills. I laughed some more. It was perfect. Perfect. Nothing more to say. 5/5 stars
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: This book was for challenge 6, a book I really want to read. And I’m so glad I did. Based on everything I had heard about this book, which was nothing but praise, I had high hopes. Hopes were definitely met. I loved the “Romeo & Juliet” motif and the fact that it was set in the 80s. I also loved that while it was a romance, it wasn’t overly lovey-dovey. (Ok, there were a few parts where I wanted to throw up in my mouth a little, but by then I was too in love with the book to care). Another home-run for Rainbow Rowell (not that I was surprised). 4/5 stars
Stay tuned for my “Days 4-7” post!