SOL18: By the Book

My Saturday morning routine almost always includes a first glance at The New York Times Book Review. It’s only a first glance because I always note which reviews I want to return to and read more carefully. The second read always begins with “By the Book.” This column, subtitled “Writers on literature and the literary life,” interviews authors about what they’re currently reading, which books they love, and other interesting questions related to their reading. Last week’s column featured beloved children’s book author, Brian Selznick, whose newest book, Baby Monkey, Private Eye (Scholastic, 2018) came out last week.

I always love to know what other people are reading, and I don’t know many teachers or writers who aren’t curious about this also. Last year, one of my March Slices was modeled after By the Book, and, since today is Saturday, I decided today was time for an update.

What books are on your nightstand?

At the moment, I’m alternating between Mary Oliver’s beautiful new collection Devotions and Voices in the Air by Naomi Shihab Nye. I am in awe of both of these poets and sometimes come away from their work wondering why I even bother. More often than not, though, the masterful imagery of these two women inspires me to keep writing.

Next is The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry. A friend gave me this book for my birthday in October and I’m just now getting to it. The jacket copy states this book “masterfully explores questions of science and religion, skepticism and faith, but it is most of all a celebration of love.” The Essex Serpent got great reviews when it was published and was on many “Best of 2017” lists last December. I’m only on page 17, so I’ll keep you posted.

There is always at least one professional book in the stack, and currently it’s Learning and Leading with Habits of Mindby Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick. My colleagues and I have been working this year to embed these habits of mind into our teaching. Costa and Kallick have countless suggestions for incorporating these habits into our days in thoughtful, meaningful ways that will help our students internalize them.

I’m embarrassed to confess I haven’t read this year’s Newbery Medal winning book, Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly yet. As soon as it’s in our library on a Friday afternoon, I’ll bring it home for the weekend. (I never take books until after the kids have left on Friday; if they want the book I want them to have it!)

What books are on your nightstand?

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, Melanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

7 thoughts on “SOL18: By the Book

  1. Oh, I love knowing what people are reading, Cathrine. It sounds like we have the same interest in books. Learning and Leading With Habits of MInd found it’s way into my hands last year when I was teaching third graders and as I taught them the habits, we wrote about them in our writers notebooks along with quick narratives of when we demontrated evidence of a habit. That book is such a gem! I just may have to steal this idea and write about my books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We share love of those two wonderful poets.
    My favorite part of this post is the parenthetical note that you only take out books from the school library on Fridays so you aren’t denying the book to a child. That small principle says so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have in common with you Naomi Shihab Nye’s book is on my nightstand. I think I’ll use this idea for a slice. I forget to share my reading life as well as my writing life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved hearing what you’re reading, Catherine! Just finished Lynda Mulally Hunt’s Fish in a Tree and am not sure what fiction book I’ll move onto next. Also reading Dale Carnegie’s classic book on how to stop worrying (a much-needed self-help classic), as well as Lent’s book on Disciplinary Literacy. Thanks for sharing a slice of your incredibly literate life!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved this glimpse into your reading life and feel inspired as a reader and writer by this post. I am eager to read Naomi Shihab Nye’s newest as well but have lost it somewhere in the many book stacks…. might spend a little time searching today!

    Liked by 1 person

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