Slice of Life 19: By the Book

For the past two years, I’ve done a post modeled on the “By the Book” that runs each week in The New York Times Book Review. 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. The column asks about a dozen questions, but my favorite is always the first: “What books are on your nightstand?”

I always have at least a dozen stacked by my bed and a dozen more by my desk. At the moment Sharon Creech’s new middle grade novel, Saving Winslow is at the top. Creech’s Newbery Award winning Walk Two Moons is one of my favorite books of all time, so I’m really looking forward to reading about “a sickly newborn mini donkey.”

I picked up Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux at the library last week. I’m only on the first chapter, but this book is already full of fascinating information about one of the most influential books in American literature.

A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry by Gregory Orr, who is a professor of English at the University of Virginia, is next. This book is pushing my writing and thinking about poetry in unexpected directions.

There is always at least one book that I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read. This year, it’s Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives by Peter H. Johnston. Johnston’s message, that through our language, we “construct the classroom worlds for our students and ourselves” and that “the worlds we construct offer opportunities and constraints” is a powerful one. If you haven’t read this book, find it and read it as soon as you can.

What books are on your nightstand?

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebKelseyMelanie, 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 “Slice of Life 19: By the Book

  1. Currently reading The Red Pencil for March Book Madness, an unpublished middle grade novel from my daughter’s friend (it’s surprisingly good), and planning to start Just Mercy soon for April’s book club. Other books on the nightstand – The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (a gift from my son who thinks I need to declutter), and Death Coming Up the Hill, requested from the library after I saw it in my notes from Paul Janeczko’s NCTE presentation in 2014.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great format for a post and a wonderful peek into your reading life! I haven’t read “Saving Winslow” but somewhere I read an interview with Creech and a fascinating backstory about how it came to be. It’s worth checking out. Happy reading and writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m definitely trying this format this month too–and maybe today if I don’t discover another slice waiting to be written. I loved Saving Winslow, and the two Peter Johnston books are among the most impactful I’ve read in my teaching career (and Choice Words has been a huge help as a parent too). I will look for the Gregory Orr book–it sounds fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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