Tag Archives: Musings

I’m in the Nerdy Book Club!!

read anywayIt’s very exciting for me to have my literary musings in the Nerdy Book Club! If you’re feeling in the mood, do check it out: Make a Little Time to Read.

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March Madness… but not the one you think.

March Reviews

March has been very hectic for me. It is simply an insane month — maybe it’s because the winter refuses to go away (seriously, it snowed on the first day of spring)… or maybe it’s because it’s pre-State Test time (which induces crying, sleeplessness, nausea… and the students’ fare no better than the teachers!) … or perhaps it just feels so much longer compared to February.

In any case, I was only able to squeeze a little reading in:

The Meteorite Chronicles: EarthUnder by Edwin Thompson — a science fiction story about a meteorite hunter who must enlighten the world about what they are doing to our planet and save humanity in the process. I think it’s pretty cool the author’s initials are E.T.

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain — a romantic tale about two strangers. One is mugged and ends up in a coma. The other finds a bag in a trashcan and decides to solve the mystery of this purse, which holds within a red notebook full of personal thoughts, fears, ideas, and random musings. It’s also set in Paris… enough said!

Lastly, The Winter Sea by Di Morrissey — a story of wanderlust and starting over (two of my favorite topics). It’s about a woman who goes off to a sleepy seaside town in Australia to rethink her life, and in the process decides to open up a new business, meet wonderful people, and then receives an inheritance that throws everything off kilter and opens up a whole can of worms about her father’s past. It’s told in alternating perspectives of past and present… and it’s fantastic.

I am now trying to make my way through Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. (More on that later!)

But the above reviews will be in the San Francisco Book Review in April!

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Reading Gives Me Wings

book shelves

Why do we read? As an elementary school teacher the first thing that comes to mind is, “Good readers set a purpose for reading. Do we read to learn new information? Do we read to be persuaded? Or do we read for entertainment?” – But those three little options leave far too much out of the equation for me as a reader. Reading is just very personal for me – and my purpose for reading is quite simple: I read because I need to.

I learned to read when I was about 3 or 4 years old – my mom, who was my kindergarten and first grade teacher, taught me how to read. I read just about anything I could get my hands for years after that: grammar books, encyclopedias, fairytales, comics… anything at all! Once we moved from the Dominican Republic to New York, I discovered the New York Public Library. My mom took my sisters and me there on a regular basis. It was nothing I’d ever experienced before: so many books! I remember reading Ramona The Pest in Spanish in my bilingual class… and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I loved reading anything that sparked my imagination.

I still do. Although I do take some time to read newspaper and magazine articles, I’m truly passionate about fiction, of any kind. Picture books, middle grade books, young adult books, and even some grown up books now and then – I live with my head stuck in a book and I love it! I’ve enjoyed sharing the everyday troubles of Freckleface Strawberry and Windy-Pants Patrick with my little students. I love hearing the gasps of my current students as they make their way through The Lightning Thief or Before We Were Free,  and currently, Wonder. I admit I have been completely transfixed by young adult fiction for a few months now: Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, the Legend Trilogy… I’m all over it! And I’ll even admit to having quite the soft spot for “Richard Castle’s” Nikki Heat mystery series.

But why do I read? I read for the pleasure of diving into a world that is not my own. I love living a different life for a while – whether it’s traveling to the past through historical fiction, or into the future to dystopian worlds, or simply looking at the world through a different set of eyes. My thirst for stories goes beyond escapism – it’s a learning experience. Fiction reminds me to practice empathy – to feel for others, to feel through others… or just to feel. My days are packed to the brim with things to do – just like every other fast-paced New Yorker – but reading slows me down. Reading stretches my mind, paints new pictures in my head, and introduces me to characters I wish were real… characters that become real to me.

I read because I feel empty when I’m not reading. I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not the midst of a story. I find myself searching for a new book, a new author, a new series to follow when I’m done with one. I’ve experienced post-series depression – I didn’t know what to do with myself after Harry Potter… I was homicidal after Divergent… I wait every year for Isabel Allende’s new book. I’m a lover of books – it’s part of who I am and what I do.

Perhaps that’s why I do what I do for a living: I encourage others to read – it’s the most amazing experience and readily available to just about everyone willing to engage in the mental exercise of following an author through the rabbit hole.

I read because it’s fun. I read because it’s liberating. I read… because it gives me wings.

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New Year… Lots of Books to Read!

Gideon and Gutenberg

Winter Break is just fantastic! And I will be making even more of an effort to read, read, read, and READ! Simply because… I genuinely was born with a book list I may never finish — but not for lack of trying.

I have spent some time on my latest book reviews, Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David Barnett, Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie, and Wonderboy by Tom Conyers. Each story could not be more different: one is an exciting steampunk adventure (and I am really loving those!), another is the tale of an arduous task made even more challenging by a megalomaniacal genius, and the last, a coming of age story (that reminded me very much of Bridge to Terabithia) about a boy and his best friend.

These will all make their way into the San Francisco Book Review around February. In the mean time, I am off to do more reading!

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I’ve been a little silent…

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Contrary to what might rightfully now be popular belief, I read grown up books, too — well, sort of. I’ve been a little silent since I had a bit of a deadline for some reviews for the San Francisco Book Review. I’ve been quite busy immersing myself in Resisting the Enemy by Lorraine Campbell, The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich, The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond, and Grail Knight by Angus Donald.

From Robin Hood and his quest for the Holy Grail, to World War II and clandestine missions, to alternate historical worlds in which Hitler may have conquered the Americas, and a little time travel with steam-punk flare to ensure it all makes plenty of sense, these books have been a really fun read. The reviews will be available in January’s edition of the San Francisco Book Review.

I now hope to get to a few other stories I’ve been meaning to delve into… and a little Rick Riordan, too, of course!

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