Monday, January 3, 2022

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Square that says #IMWAYR It's Monday! What are you reading? and includes the information that is in the second paragraph of this post.
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to see more of my reading, visit my Goodreads shelves here

Thoughts for the New Year: Jen Vincent is an encourager and I learn a lot from her. She usually chooses a word for the year (you can read about that here) and I have done it a few times in the past. I pondered many words and finally settled on Reach. I will be reaching for a lot of things--like a new job--and will be reaching out to connect with new people when we move back to California. We haven't lived there for 20 years so it won't be completely like starting over, but I don't see any familiar names at the school where I used to work. I will also be reaching in physical therapy as I recover from my knee injury which my doctor tells me will take quite a few months. There are a lot of changes ahead and much work, but we are also excited for the opportunities that now exist too. And I found a song to go with my word:

Jess Lifshitz (if you're not following her, you'll want to do that especially if you're an educator) posted about her New Year's tradition of choosing a poem here. I looked for one that fit how I'm feeling and landed on one by Zetta Elliott called We Shall Overcome

My reading goals are pretty vague this year with no specific challenges except having put a number in on my Goodreads account. The only other thing is that I want to finally, finally catch up with all of the ARCs and interviews that I have committed to and hopefully I will also stop saying yes so much. The ARCs sound wonderful and I really do want to read them all, but invariably I accept more than I can even begin to review.

Last Week's Reading: 
5 book cover images for the books discussed in the two paragraphs below.

In an attempt to deal with the backlog of ARCs, I read four YA books that I have had for a while. I loved the Robin Hood retellings like The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley and Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon so I looked forward to reading Travelers Along the Way by Amina Mae Safi. As in Kekla Magoon's tale, the main character is a young woman. In this version she is also Muslim and there are characters from a variety of racial and religious backgrounds. We also get to see into the life of Queen Isabella and not just King Richard. I'll review it more thoroughly later, but definitely recommend it. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a truly lovely fantasy and you'll want to watch for it later this year. Up All Night is a collection of short stories that are unrelated, but each take place over the span of one night. While there are a few upbeat stories, I have to say that there were more melancholy, scary, or unsettling stories than I had anticipated. Given the night theme, I suppose it was to be expected, but I missed that huge clue. I enjoyed it for the most part. Finally, Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution by De Nichols is a nonfiction book highlighting protest art. It also encourages young people to get out there and let their thoughts, voices, and wishes be made known through their own art. All of these ARCs will be explored more at a later time over at Rich in Color.

The other book I read with Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World and I basically read it because as we prepare to move, I'm trying to get through unread books on my shelves so I can determine if they are keepers or not. This one really isn't, but it wasn't terrible. It's a memoir by a couple who slowly became book collectors. Not like I collect books, but looking for those of monetary value or those that are rare and "important." They aren't snooty or anything, but it's just not quite my cup of tea. I kept reading though because it was one that was easy to stop and start so I didn't have a problem setting it aside.

The Coming Week: I'm still spending a lot of time with Spanish and Korean and that really impacts my reading, but I still hope to read a few more ARCs. I'm working hard in an attempt to be at a conversational level with Spanish by the time we move in the summer and wI ant to know enough Korean to at least read a picture book aloud even if I don't know the meaning of every single word. May 2022 bring you many wonderful reading experiences!


  1. I love the song and that it's 'your' word, Crystal. I didn't know you were planning a move & wish you the best of wishes for it to go smoothly. Thanks for the book recommendations. I always add to my list with your post! The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is one I marked. Thanks also for the Jess Lifshitz! I love poetry! Thanks for every part!

  2. I love your word of the year, and it seems very fitting in spite of some of the challenges you'll be facing—I wish you good luck with your move and your physical therapy, but I think you have a good attitude about it all, and I imagine that will serve you well! I also love the poem by Zetta Elliott that you shared. All of these books sound excellent, especially The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, and I like your plan to not say "yes" to as many ARCs—I can imagine trying to cram all those in would get a little bit exhausting! Thanks so much for the wonderful post, Crystal, and happy new year!

  3. How wonderful to even find a perfect song to go with your word for the year, Crystal. I don't recall hearing this Gloria Estefan song before, so that was a fun listen! I still get excited about ARCs, but I've noticed, lately, that some of the books I requested aren't approved until THE DAY THEY ARE RELEASED (or sometimes even after). And that is just frustrating to me since I need time to plan them into my reading plans. Aaaanyway, yes, I need to work better on my ARC list and only request or agree to what I can absolutely handle each month. I'm looking forward to learning more about The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea - thanks for the heads-up!

  4. I also really liked Shadows of Sherwood, so I will be checking out Travelers Along the Way at some point. I like the word that you picked and it seems we are all reaching for something (and if we are not, we probably should be). Best of luck with your preparations for the move, just thinking about what that would be like is a little tiring (not just thinking about picking which books are worth moving). Thanks for sharing your thoughts, happy new year.

  5. I love your word REACH - you have lots ahead of you and I believe you will reach it all!

  6. A student who is transferring to another school still has my Shadows of Sherwood, so I hope it comes back. Vague goals can work. I'm still thinking about putting my books in a spreadsheet so I can have nice statistics.

  7. Good luck on your move Crystal. I'm still trying out my word for the year. When the word is right, it makes a profound difference in how my year goes. I'm letting balance sit with me for a bit to see if it's the one. I like the idea of a poem for the year too. I'll probably go off searching for one now instead of reading blog posts.

  8. I love the idea of a poem for the year. But I guess it's kind of similar to when people find quotes to help them focus on their word of the year.