This week the local school had Thursday off for Yom Kippur so, we were able to take Gage’s friend with us to his weekly nature camp. The boys had fun and I was lucky enough to spend 30 minutes on the way home with them talking about girl crushes, lol. Here’s the photo they let me take when we dropped off his friend…
This week we started full day of school and we hired our last instructor (reading and writing tutor in addition to piano and speech) so everything is in place for the next few months at least, yay! In the first week there was only one meltdown with tears and I think I finally have a way to deal with it that should lessen the occurrence (hopefully). Being better organized has helped immensely.
We also went to the drive in for the first time in forever. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Three Rings and Free Guy was the double feature and Gage was thrilled to be out past midnight, lol.
Here was my earlier update and here’s what I’ve read since…
So, we start full days of school this week and I’m still trying to make decisions about curriculum! The rest of my day will be spent doing the research I should have done already. The only decision left to be made is on the language arts curriculum so that I can call our new tutor and get her up to speed. Ohio raised the scholarship amount this year so, he’ll get 6 hours a week with a tutor for language arts, in addition to a weekly piano lesson and speech session. It’s all coming together, but still work to be done.
Here’s what I’ve read this week…
This last week of April reading had been fantastic! Seven books – 1 play, 1 inspirational, 1 thriller, 1 kids fiction, 1 fiction, 1 historical fiction, 1 non-fiction/current affairs. I was all over the genres and it worked 🙂
Listed in the order I liked them best with my Instagram thoughts posted.
Leaving Coy’s Hill is my last book of April and one of my favorites! Lucy Stone isn’t a trailblazer I knew anything about, except to hear her named linked to Susan B Anthony or Elizabeth Stanton. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this one when it comes out next week (May 4).
Lucy, raised by an abolitionist father, became a skilled orator as she paid her own way through Oberlin in in the mid 1800s. Her skills caught the eye of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas and she began touring the northeast for their anti-slavery group. Her experiences led her to start fighting for women’s rights as well.
This is a work of fiction, based on real people and facts. I loved every page and have already done some quick reading on Lucy and her family, so it inspired me to want to know more. I was swept up in the time period and what is was like for women at the time. I’m so glad that I read more about the women and men fighting the good fight for blacks and women when it was dangerous to do so. An immensely readable and inspiring novel.
This was my morning reading for over a month. Some mornings I only had time to read two pages, sometimes more, but my day was better either way. I always found ideas and thoughts to add to my journal.
After 200 interviews for her Sunday show, Oprah decided to compile a book with quotes or parts of interviews broken into 10 areas, like intention, forgiveness, and fulfillment. Some of the speakers that went into my journaling were Father Richard Rogers, Deepak Chopra, Thomas Moore, Devon Franklin, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Elizabeth Gilbert, Geneen Roth, Glennon Doyle, and many others. You can slide through some random pages I flipped through to take a look.
It’s a beautiful, heartfelt book that’s good for the soul AND would make a great Mother’s Day gift 🌷
I saw the 1957 movie, years ago, and was pleasantly surprised that I liked this at least as much. I’d like to see the movie again and do a comparison. The playwright, Rose, wrote the adapted screenplay so it’s probably as true as it can be to the play. My initial thought is that reading it was much easier to digest than the fighting and arguing over each other of the film.
Twelve men walk into a jury room charged with deciding whether a 16 year old boy lives or dies. Initially, only juror 8 (you never learn their names) is the only one who votes not guilty and he’s not even claiming the boy is innocent. Jeers, jokes, and fights ensue. What does it mean to be a juror in the American justice system? Is there justice in the system? Can regular citizens be expected to set aside prejudices and do the right thing (whatever that may be)?
This should be required reading for all and at 74 pages it will only take an hour or two, even less time than it would to watch the movie. A look at prejudice and faith in the ideals of America.
Before there was Nomadland the Oscar winning movie there was Nomadland:Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder. Older Americans, lost in the shuffle of a changing economy, are forced into making choices they never thought they would be forced to make, including getting rid of their biggest expense, their home. They move about the country in whatever kind of mobile home they could afford, finding jobs by companies that seem intent on taking advantage of them.
These people lived sometimes day to day, finding a place to move their vehicle and having enough food to eat. There is a subculture that Bruder covers well.
My greatest anger was at some of these employers who clearly take advantage of people who have no where else to go. Although Amazon stories have been told there are many others using this mostly older demographic as cheap labor.
While some chose this way of life or learned to embrace the perceived freedom, it was still a sad book. The people were resilient, but we have failed them as a country, vilifying instead of making their lives a little easier.
I both read and listened and much preferred reading. I liked the book but felt it could have been a bit shorter.
I read the last Virginia Hamilton book I have checked out of the library, Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon. If you are reading your children fairy tales, please make sure you add a Hamilton book or two to your list. These are so rich in history, which she does a great job of explaining in a paragraph or two at the end of each chapter, and so different that every child should be to exposed to them. Obviously, when they are of fairy tale age, but also at the time that slavery is introduced in their learning. These stories were passed down from slaves and Virginia makes them easier to read and understand.
Loved this 112 page book of 19 stories as much as I have loved all of her others.
So, I read this book in my early 20s and fell in love with Jon and his journey to perfection, or Heaven. I’d never read anything like it. Reading it again in my late 40s, having more than doubled the age when I first read it, I’m less enamored with the tale, but still loved its lightness and spiritual exploration. Definitely a fantastical tale worth an hour of your reading time. Your day will be enriched.
Have you read this classic? What did you think of it?
This is the book that the second Jack Reacher movie was based on and,no surprise, many changes were made. This is the 18th book in the series and the first one with a hint of Reacher showing positive feelings for a happily ever after or kids. He’s also been recommissioned back into the Army.
This is not the first book to try if you haven’t read the others, too many anomalies from the first 17. But if you’ve read the series it was a fun diversion. I’ve grown to really like Dick Hill’s narration of Reacher and enjoy listening as much as reading these books.
It’s been a fantastic reading and watching week. I loved everything!
3 fiction, 3 Picture books (2 fiction, 1 non-fiction), 1 Non-Fiction, 1 Mystery, 1 Movie
So have you read any of these? What did you think?
Riding To Washington by Gwenyth Swain. Riding to Washington is about a young white girl’s bus journey to the March on Washington with her dad. She was too little to understand everything and yet was able to convey that she understood the importance of the moment. The author’s father and grandfather made the trip in 1963 and she always imagined what it would have been like to go with them.
A week into April and I’m having a nice reading month so far. I’ve read 11 books: 4 picture books (all black folklore), 2 kids biographies, 1 thriller, 1 romantic mystery, 1 fiction, 1 poetry, 1 inspirational.
Posted in the order I liked them best. These pics are from my Instagram account, so let’s connect there as well! @stacybuckeye
Since my last book update I’ve finished 5 books. The first three in a romantic mystery series, one fiction, and one kid non-fiction. Obviously, I’m loving the Lucy Valentine series and expect I’ll finish up the last two soon, while I’ve still got my mom’s Kindle.
So much fun! The Valentine family has been able to read auras for generations. They turned this secret ability into a very successful Boston matchmaking service. Lucy must take the lead, but her secret ability has nothing to do with auras.
There’s a missing toddler and a skeleton buried in a shallow grave in the woods and Lucy can see them both. Enter a sexy firefighter, a meddling grandmother, two best friends, a three legged cat, and new hamster and you’ve got the makings of a fun mystery.
I read the second book of the Lucy Valentine series sooner rather than later even if it meant reading on a device – which. I HATE. But, even that couldn’t ruin it. Lucy and her merry group of family, friends, and foes were back and I was happy to spend time with them. Oh, and the sexy firefighter/PI was back too. Certainly can’t forget him!
Lucy now has her own division of her family matchmaking company, finding lost lives. She’s also helping the police on cases if she can using her special ability of being able to shake a person’s hand and locate what they’ve lost. One case from each of these, along with a myriad of other personal issues keep this book hopping. Lucy can accomplish a lot in a day!
There was no let down with this second book. The first few chapters were skimmable because they were full of info from the first book, but maybe only to me since I just read the first book two days ago.
I love all of the characters, and there are plenty, and how much each one is integral to her daily life. I don’t think Lucy would have done so well in Covid lockdown. Maybe that’s why it’s extra fun to read about her now.
The third of the Lucy Valentine series didn’t disappoint. I love the kind-hearted, special powers to save the world, Lucy. Her family, friends, and various cohorts are always a hoot. This time she’s helping the police find a missing man who may have committed suicide and also trying to find a lost love for a client that puts her in the crosshairs of the FBI. Oh, and there’s a Lone Ranger who comes along every few days to shower the city of Boston with thousands in $20 bills.
The sexy boyfriend has a heart condition that keeps the story grounded, but even that storyline pulls at the heartstrings instead of bringing you down.
This came up in a search for another book at the library and I was intrigued enough to check it out. I love the included backstory of how this book project began. Her son was interested in the presidents, so she began researching and drawing their portraits for him. She became frustrated and galvanized after drawing 44 portraits of men. Hence this book.
I loved this book! There’s a quote for each woman and a portrait full of information. There is also a follow up at the end listing all of the women, when they lived, and a powerful moment. This is inspired art and I only wish it had been longer!
The first portrait she did was the one on the cover, Carrie Fisher. Some others included are Yuri Kochiyama, Dian Fossey, Shirley Muldowney, Betsey Johnson, and Abby Wambach. I learned about some new women and spent time on Google finding out more.
I love Kristan Higgins. I’ve read about half of her books and am always entertained with laughs and heart. She has a light touch, wicked sense of humor and great characters. Unfortunately, for the first time, I found it hard to generate any excitement for this one. The only reason I buckled down and finished listening last night was because it was Higgins.
The Frost family is in turmoil. The head of the family has had a stroke, something his wife finds out on the day she plans to divorce him. As he lies in the hospital, she discovers he’s been having an affair. Their oldest, perfect daughter is going through a midlife crisis professionally and personally and their youngest daughter just got down in one knee to propose to her boyfriend of two years. He said no.
I couldn’t have cared less about them, even actively disliking most of them at any given time. I’m hoping this was just a one time thing from this reliable author. And, hey, I’m sure some people loved it 😁. I did love the multi person audio performance.
It was a fantastic reading week! 6 kids picture books (4 fiction, 2 non-fiction), 2 kids non-fiction, 1 non-fiction, 1 historical fiction, 1 fiction, 1 mystery,
I loved the Dictionary for a Better World so much I bought a copy for us to keep. We Should All Be Feminists was a great book AND TED Talk. I loved learning about Hedy Lamarr and I loved catching up with series favorite Mrs. Pollifax. I loved reading about a wintery and it’s soap opera like plots. I’ve loved starting our Ohio history unit with Gage. I’m on a reading roll and I like it!
This is an adaptation from Adiche’s Nigerian TED talk and it breathed new life into the word feminist. When people who are against something try to make the word or anyone who associated with it a slur it always leads to small minded thinking and division.
Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
This was the definition she grew up with and included. And she’s right, we should all be feminists. Everyone has time to read this one or watch the TED Talk on YouTube.
Hedwig Keisler, an Austrian stage actress, caught the eye of a powerful ammunition manufacturer when she was just 19. Marrying him was one way to keep her Jewish family safe since Hitler was starting Jewish eradication in Germany. The marriage was not a good one.
A daring escape led her to Hollywood where she earned a living the only way she knew how and became the legendary Hedy Lamarr. She also invented a frequency-hopping spread spectrum with the help of composer George Antheil. While the Navy didn’t use it for the war, it was used later by the military.
A fascinating woman who has me wanting to know more. Well done!
A fun, quick, soapy read that I devoured in no time. And I drank wine while doing it. 🍇🍷
Georgia shows up at her family’s Sonoma County vineyard in her wedding dress, having abandoned LA in the middle of her dress fitting. In short order she finds out her parents are taking time apart, her brothers are fighting, and her father’s selling the family business. Oh, and she’s not talking to her fiancé who she is marrying in a week. So much drama and I was there for it all.
This is my 11th Mrs. Pollifax (only 3 left!) and, except for the first one, it’s probably my favorite. Emily Pollifax happened into her top secret life as a CIA spy when she was older, widowed, and with two grown children. She lives her life as a quiet garden enthusiast but sometimes gets a call for a mission that needs her aged wisdom.
In this book she’s taxed with getting into China and ferreting out information from an unsuspecting dissident and then getting that info to her partner in crime who remains a mystery. Then the struggle to get out of China with a person of interest under the watchful eye of the police.
Of course trouble ensues and therein lies the fun. Emily takes no prisoners and gains admirers everywhere she goes. She’s a grandma with a plan, hope, and a twinkle in her eye.
As someone who knew nothing about horse racing and the role of slavery at its inception, I learned so much (and so did Razzi). The very first Kentucky Derby in 1875 had 14 black jockeys to just one white. This would reverse itself in the early 1900s.
The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby is the story of Jimmy ‘Wink’ Winkfield. The 17th child of sharecroppers in Kentucky he went on to become one of the premier jockeys, narrowly losing what would have been his 3rd Kentucky Derby win in a row in 1903.
Kids will love the illustrations and descriptions of the races and the older folks will love the extra historical information before and after the story. Loved it.
Ohio is sometimes called the Mother of Presidents because 7 of them were born here. Neil Armstrong and John Glenn too. The Wright brothers flew their plane at Kitty Hawk but made it here. Doris Day, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Halle Berry, and Steven Spielberg are all Buckeyes. Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, and Thomas Edison all born here too.
We’re the 7th largest state by population, but 34th by total area, so we’re not all flat farmland. The 3 C’s (Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati) have much Midwest goodness to share.
I remember doing an Ohio history unit in the 4th grade and look forward to sharing some home state pride with Gage.
Toni Morrison is from Lorain, Ohio so we learned a little bit more about her yesterday and spent some time at the end of our school day reading some of the picture books she’d written with her son Slade. (except for the first, Remember)
Remember: The Journey to School Integration has historical photos and text written by Morrison to tell the story of that time in the south. Swipe through to see a few of the pages. It’s just the right length to share with older elementary kids. The actual photos make it more real for Gage.
Gage’s favorite picture book was a the Tortoise or the Hare, a retelling of the classic fable. My favorite was Please, Louise where she shares the magic of libraries. Morrison’s bio in the back even mentions he high school job as a page in the Lorain Library.
I’m still not home, but I don’t want to get too far behind in recording my thoughts and favorites, however brief this may be.
I read 32 books in February. Picture books 8 (5 non-fiction, 3 fiction), Fiction 4, Plays 3, Thrillers 3, Non-fiction 3, Kids fiction 3, Kids non-fiction 3, Historical romances 2, Memoir 1, Short stories 1, YA 1.
My top 5 books of the month- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Kindred by Octavia Butler, Fences by August Wilson, and The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. So much goodness in all of these!
In March for Women’s History Month I’ll be changing the theme to Women I Have History With Month and reading books by some of my favorite women authors.
To finish up my February recaps of authors of color, here are my last seven.
Kindred is one of those books that was about more than it first appeared to be. Dana found herself transported from 1970s California to 1815 Maryland at any time with no control over when or if it will happen. What is a time travel tale becomes a examination on the making of a slave. Don’t miss it.
A Raisin In the Sun is one of those classics that has passed be by until now. I loved this play and look forward to checking out the movie about the Younger family of South Side Chicago.
Toni Morrison never disappoints and I was drawn into the lives of the Money brother and sister as they navigated post war and post abuse life.
A strange and compelling Nigerian thriller. Love this cover!
A fun read with Gage as we learned more about the legend.
I liked this book about civil rights legend Rosa Parks, but wish there had been more. It felt a little incomplete. I adored the illustrations though.
This was a fun read with Gage. Lots of it went over his head (but I laughed) and much of it was too silly for words (and he laughed) so it had a little something for both of us.
We have just finished week two of our retreat to a Tennessee lake house with still more than a week to go. We were on the edge of the polar vortex mess that crippled much of the country so our time here hasn’t been what I’d hoped. I also fell on the icy road and my head bounced off the ground 🙁 (I’m fine). But, this is why we chose this place…
Even during all of the snow and freezing temps this was the sunset from our deck a few days ago. We are too isolated for this city girl (seriously, the roads were impassable until today) but this view is one I could get used to taking in for quite a while.
I’m still homeschooling and Jason is still working and we’ve got no complaints. Well, except that I haven’t been able to access my Google account and that means I can’t comment on a lot of your blogs when I visit, but know that I am visiting! I have to do this on our iPad which I’m finding to be a bit of a pain.
The books I’ve finished since my last update in the order I liked them, but there really wasn’t a dud in the lot of them.
3 picture books, 2 kids books, 2 non-fiction, 1 thriller, 1 historical romance, 1 play, 1 novel, 1 short story collection, and 1 young adult.
If you somehow missed this beautifully brutal book about 14 year old Esch and her family in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, do yourself a favor and find a copy. Be warned that there is a gruesome dog fighting scene that will likely disturb most.
Another one that took me too long to read. This is a must read for everyone. Justice isn’t blind and there are angels among us fighting the good fight. Powerful book.
Gage and I read this together and I’d love to be able to take him to see the memorial that a middle school created to honor the victims of the Holocaust. There are videos on YouTube if you’re curious.
My first Beverly Jenkins romance but not my last! Loved the post Civil War Wyoming setting and the wildly independent Spring Lee.
A sad but very powerful picture book about kindness.
Slavery from the mouths of slaves. This award winner compiles compelling first hand accounts from slaves before, during, and after the Civil War and provides context.
A great picture book about the life of playwright August Wilson. For the older elementary crowd. He earned a diploma from a library, need I say more?
I loved this picture book about a minister who started with bringing in a few boys from the cold and ended up starting an orphanage and founding a world renowned band. Inspiring.
These are such great books to read together, especially since Gage is more interested in non-fiction. He’s making me way smarter 😁
I’m not a big short story fan, but I really liked this collection of eight stories about the Haitian American experience.
This was a quiet story of generational family relationships.
After loving Fences so much I thought I’d try another from Wilson’s Century Collection. I’m guessing that I’ll be reading the last eight before the year is out. I wish I’d started with the first and read them in order since they each represent a decade of the 1900s, this one being the 1940s contribution.
This was another entry into the stranded island mystery genre with more than a few shades of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Fun thriller.