Thursday, April 28, 2011

Educating Esme

It's kind of ironic that I would decide to read this book just as I'm preparing for retirement.  But, read it, I did, and loved it!

It's a diary of the first year Esme taught fifth grade in an inner city school in Chicago.  She was quirky and exciting and she got her kids to care about education.  She really stimulated their minds by giving them ownership of their own learning and they had fun doing it.

But that doesn't mean she didn't have discipline. The kids were always within her control and showed respect to her and the other students.

Esme was really big on reading to the kids and she got them interested in books that way.

I could go on and on about her unique ways of educating but I'd have to talk about the whole book.  It's so worth reading!

Even though I teach high school and she was an elementary teacher, her philosophy is universal.  Kind of makes me wish I wasn't retiring!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Every Last One

Well, here it is the last night of my last spring vacation.  It's back to school tomorrow for eight more weeks and then I'll be officially retired.  It's bittersweet, of course, since I love so many things about teaching but I'm also getting tired of it all.  And, just think, I'll have more reading time!

I read this book all week and finished it this morning with tears running down my cheeks.  This novel is intense!  It started out so normally but as I read, I could feel the momentum building.   I just knew something bad was going to happen but didn't know what.  And it was worse than I'd imagined.

Mary Beth Latham owns her own landscaping business.  Her husband is a ophthalmologist.  They have three kids: 17-year-old Ruby who is quirky and smart and was my favorite character, and 14-year-old twins: Max, who is moody and troubled, and Alex, who is an athlete.  Their home is filled with lots of laughter, friends, worries, and tragedy.

It's a hard book to write about because the bad thing doesn't happen until half way through.  Anna Quindlen does such a great job of setting the scene and developing the characters that when the tragedy stikes, it feels like it happened to my own family. 

I'm definitely going to read something a bit lighter next!  It is an excellent book and so well written but I need a break from sadness!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Love You More

Spring vacation started yesterday and I've been busy cleaning out my mom's home.  You wouldn't believe the things I found

The calendar says we're almost a month into spring but it snowed last night.  We woke up to a couple inches.

Stayed up late finishing this book.  It's one of those where I just had to find out what was going to happen.

How far would a mother go to protect her child?  That's the question in this novel.  Tessa Leoni is accused of killing her husband and daughter.  D.D. Warren and Bobby Dodge must find the evidence to convict her.  But things aren't adding up and the more they investigate, the more they realize Tessa might need their help.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!

Now, time to head back into the cellar!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Live wire

It was fun catching up with Myron Bolitar and the quirky characters in this series.  Myron is a sports agent who always gets too involved with his clients.  In this book, he gets a visit from a former tennis star who is now pregnant and married.  She asks Myron to investigate an upsetting posting on facebook that said, "Not his."  Now her husband has disappeared and Myron has to find him.

I love a book like this that catches my attention right away and doesn't let go.  A new Harlan Coben is always a treat.

As an added feature, this novel introduces Myron's nephew, Mickey, who will have his own YA novel in September.  I've already pre-ordered it!