October 20, 2020

The Goodreads Reading Challenge Bookblog

I use the Goodreads app to keep track of the books I read.  I started using it in the Spring of 2013.  I really can’t remember where I heard of the app, but I’ve been using it faithfully ever since.  Not only can I keep track of the books I read, but I can also rate the books (up to 5 stars), I can read reviews left by other readers, and I can see what my friends are reading.  That can be a helpful tool when Christmas or birthday shopping!

In 2017, I became aware of the Goodreads Reading Challenge.  That first year, I set a goal to read 35 books.  And I made it!  In the next two years, I upped my goal to 36 books.  After reading 46 books last year, my 2020 goal is 40 books.  Currently, I am at 39 books!  My new goal of 40 books is just around the corner.   

In my last book blog, I shared four books I read between March 16th (the first day of school-from-home) until the first week of June when school ended.  These next three recommendations were read between June and the first week of August.  All three books earned 5 star reviews from me. The authors brought these characters to life so that I, the reader, felt their emotions.  Click on the book cover or author image to go to its Goodreads overview.  Here's the link to my Goodreads profile: Stacey Winter.

Fiction - Inspired by Merphy Napier’s Youtube channel, I borrowed the book A Man Called Ove from my local public library.  This is the second book by Richard Backman that I have read.  The first book was Britt Marie Was Here. While I really liked that first read, I loved A Man Called Ove. The characters made me laugh and cry.  It was difficult to put this book down.

This modern novel centera around Ove, a 59-year-old grumpy widower who has recently been forced into retirement. We meet his various neighbors in his housing community as they interact with him: the young family that just moved in next door, the tech-nerd who lives alone, the modern couple with the tiny dog, and the couple that moved in the same time as Ove and his wife. The chapters alternate between present day and flashbacks to Ove's past that explore what makes this 'Man.'

Young Adult - This summer, I made an effort to read books to help me understand Black culture in America.  One of those books I chose is a Young Adult novel that is part of the Bluford High series, which is written by Black author Karyn Langhorne Folan.  I chose Pretty Ugly (Book #18) because the protagonist is a teenage Black girl attending a majority Black high school, which parallels the school and student issues where I teach.

This story follows Jamee Wills, a Freshman with an older sister who happens to be that 'perfect' student. Not only is she dealing with being compared to her sister, she is struggling in Alegbra class and facing bullies at cheeleading practice. There are themes of both friendship and family.

Literature - When I teach my students about the Harlem Renaissance, one of the authors I highlight is Zora Neale Hurston.  This summer, I finally read her book Their Eyes Were Watching God.  The dialogue is written in the dialect of 1920s Florida.  This can be a challenge at times but is necessary to understand the characters and their culture.  I borrowed this book from my school’s English department and really hope our students get to read it.    

This heartfelt love story follows fiercely independent Janie Crawford who refuses to live in sorrow, fear, or foolish dreams.  The story follows her through threemarriages and the many places she has lived from prosperity to poverty.  All this in her journey of self-discovery.  

*Pictures owned by me except: Goodreads logo via commons.wikimedia.org & Hurston via arts.gov