creative thinking, random thoughts

Summer Reading 2017 (Yay!)

IMG_0814.JPGThe pile of summer reads is here! I have been curating and choosing what I want to read for the last month or so, and now it is ready! This is just in time since I take vacation next week. Curl up. Lay out. Drink a summer beverage (most likely iced coffee). Read. Repeat.  I am looking forward to my self-education on Futurism. Thank you, Jane McGonigal, for sharing your syllabus online. I’m going to do my own research since I can’t make it to Stanford to take your class this summer! I have bought all the required reading. Can’t wait!


Eat the Words…


I want to take a moment to review a friend’s chapbook of poetry.  I love her work and style, and it always delights me to be able to review her poetry!

Cati Porter is a daring poet and creator of spaces, both physical and digital, in which to collect and showcase poets/poetry.  We met over words in the digital sphere many years ago and forged an electronic kinship due to our (often) parallel journey in life with poetry, children, and (if I may say so) a fascination with sensuality in writing.

In her most recent chapbook, The Body, Like Bread, Porter explores the connections between our mortal, flawed and animal selves and the very human magic of crafting meals.  The rhythm and subject is sensual because working with all forms of food in the kitchen is, at its essence, a sensual process.  Kneading bread is like the body’s need for warmth and touch.  The bread comes alive with the careful play on words.

Each poem is a delightful morsel.  I find I am enchanted by how Cati pays attention to the smallest details: broken yoke, softened butter, sharp knife.  Even though the poet proclaims that Every Poem is Not a Love Poem (4), I claim that each poem within is a love verse to the kitchen and cook.

Grab a copy.  Eat the words.

daily draw, random thoughts

Summer Reading 2015, Part 2 (A Moveable Feast)


The Reading Nook

Have book will travel.  This is the summer of moving. We moved in June (literally the day after the last day of school) from our home of 11 years to a friend’s home for 7 weeks, and next week we will be moving to a new place that we will live in for one year as caretakers while the homeowners are away on sabbatical in an exotic country. It is an outstanding opportunity, and one for which we are grateful.  Our children have been bold adventurers, taking all the vexing living situations (boys sharing one bed, as an example) in stride with not much more than momentary crankiness and the sometimes quietly uttered wish for a European trip or even just a plane ride.

And what have we done with our found time in this first new place?  Well, visit a library of course.  Nothing could steer us off track from the essential library visits during the summer.  The thought of reading material for FREE is something I have never been able to get over.  All the world’s information out there for the borrowing.  I was enchanted as a child, and I still am.  Of all the memories of my (not really great) grandfather, the one that stands out the most is of him sitting in the crook of a couch reading, reading, reading.  A stack of books piled high next to him.  He would read a book a day and power through 7-10 books in a week.  This was excellent modeling.  My mother also had this drive to read, and so I picked it up too (quite happily).   Even though I continue this modeling for my sons, each person’s reading journey is his/her own.  We will see what becomes of our son’s reading habits.  Right now for them it is “Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!” (James Patterson) for Son #1, and Son #2 has just discovered “Goosebumps”, and though it is slightly out of his range, he is quite happy to nibble through what he does understand.  And, yes, we still read aloud to our children.   It is FUN!


As for me, I have a stack of books by my bedside and another stack of books on my Kindle all ready for me to devour, and this my second day of vacation leaves me wondering which book will draw me in. I have previewed Beautiful Ruins and am intrigued though many have said it is not what it presents itself to be.  I have read half of The Wave, a non-fiction exploration of the power of rogue waves and what they mean for extreme surfers, scientists, and us in this day of climate change, but have lost momentum with it.  I know this is a terrible reading habit: reading bits of 5-10 books at once.  Bad form, but I have never been able to kick that habit.  I guess it kind of works for me.

Other books that await my feasting you can see in this image (below), and the two that are calling to me as a main course are Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and Graham Robb’s The Discovery of Middle Earth (about mapping the ‘lost world of the Celts’).  I am looking forward to the rest of our (moving) vacation. We will see what kind of reading nook I will create at this second home.


Enjoy the meal of summer reads.  Next up? Who knows…

daily draw, random thoughts

Summer of Reading (2014)


Here it is folks, the annual “what I am reading” post.  It is a summer of reading to be sure, and I am always excited to figure out what I am most in the mood for.  I am habitual like most of us humans, so I have a pattern to my reading habits.  As soon as the school year comes to a close you can always find me reading the latest Historical (Regency) Romance from a favorite author of mine (Gaelen Foley).  This is my comfort food, and like comfort food, it is predictable and simple.  It is a great way to decompress from all the work-stress that has built up over the school year.  But after that, anything goes.  I’ll read just about anything that moves me.  Missing this year from the collection I have put together (see above) is poetry (!)…If any readers out there have some excellent recommendations, please do share.  YA works are figuring prominently this summer (Wonder, Ninja Librarians, Curses & Smoke).  But my favorite to represent is my friend’s just released memoir, Excavation.  Go out and buy this must-read book.  I warn you, though, it is not for the faint of heart.

If you are interested in a book oracle (of sorts) and are looking for something to read try this:  What Should I Read Next.  It works by you typing in a book you read recently and then it lists others that might be like it.  It isn’t a complete database, but it is pretty good and can give you some ideas.

Enjoy the reading adventure!




creative thinking

Summer Reading List 2013


It’s July already.  I am on a vacation of sorts that includes tutoring a high school freshman as he works through his summer reading.   This summer a lot of what I am reading will be for others.  However, I love reading so no matter.  The first on my list is PURELY for pleasure:

  1. The Black Count by Tom Reiss (as pictured above)
  2. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (finishing this from last summer)
  3. Rockaway by Tara Ison (hooray!)
  4. Learning from Lincoln (bet you can’t tell this is for work)
  5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  6. John Adams by David McCullough (finish from last summer)
  7. The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury (re-read)
  8. My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley (Regency Romance)
  9. How Poetry Saved My Life by Amber Dawn
  10. Assorted poetry to feed my soul
  11. Assorted journal articles for work
  12. Food magazines
  13. ?

My lucky number is 13.  If you read this and have a suggestion for a good summer read, please do comment.  I will read just about any genre and/or style.

daily draw, random thoughts

Summer Reading List

Getty Villa (Summer '09)

It’s that time again!  Sometimes I wonder if I was drawn to a career in education simply due to the fact that summer meant a slower pace and a huge pile of books to read!  Now that I am mostly an administrator, it means that I don’t get the long teacher time off, but I still the space in which to feel like there is time for uninterrupted yummy reading.

The List (in no particular order):

  • Nox (Anne Carson)
  • Traveling with Pomegranates  (Sue Monk Kidd; Ann Kidd)
  • The Alchemist’s Kitchen (Susan Rich)
  • Bellocq’s Ophelia (Natasha Tretheway)
  • Seven Secrets of the Savvy School Leader (Robert Evans)
  • Bullet (Laurell K Hamilton)
  • A New Earth (Eckhart Tolle)
  • The Female Brain (Louann Brizendine, MD)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo (Stieg Larsson)
  • How to Make Money in Stocks (William O’Neill)
  • My Dangerous Duke (Gaelen Foley)
  • The Artist’s Way (Julia Cameron)
  • Fool Moon (Jim Butcher)
  • The Plague of Doves (Louise Erdrich)
  • Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
  • Tarot for Writers (Kenner)
  • Some Girls: My Life in a Harem (Jillian Lauren)
  • Assorted professional development articles (from Educational Leadership, etc)
  • Assorted primary sources for developing new lessons for American History class

Reading to my Son:

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling)

I linked the first few books because they might not be as well known as some of the others (and most definitely are worth a peek!).  As you can see a pretty eclectic mix of books, just the way I like it.  And, of course, I have no idea if I will get through all of them, but I know I will try…can’t wait.   I am very ready to sink my teeth into Nox tonight!

Happy Reading all!