I don’t know about you, but my weekends in February were all booked.
Literature-ly speaking of course.
Okay. I get it.
But truthfully, February has been a busy month for me both in life and in books. I’ve been reading, or trying to read at least, to escape some of the busyness and blues that hit this time of the year. I am not a winter person at all, and so this freakish Spring-y weather we’ve been having here in the Midwest this last week (70 degrees and sunny?!) has been wonderful to my soul. But as I often do through January/February and sometimes into March, I fill up my time by getting lost in story.
Here’s not only what I’ve been reading this month, but the book I’m diving into this weekend.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Last Fall I discovered the beauty of Kelly Barnhill’s writing , and so I do what any normal book worm does: I bought all of her books.
I’ve been slowly reading my way through her stories, in the order that she wrote them (because I LOVE seeing how an author’s writing grows with each new book), but I’ve been dying to read her newest, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, for months now.
A few weeks ago, it won this year’s Newbery award, which after all the talk around it, I’m not surprised. I super excited to dive into it this weekend!
Here’s the summary because I want to do the story justice: “Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.
One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna’s thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge–with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth’s surface. And the woman with the Tiger’s heart is on the prowl”
Last month, I was in a tiny reading slump so I picked up a few quick reads to get myself back in the reading game.
- The Crossover and Booked by Kwame Alexander are two middle grade verse novels centered around sports and family. The Crossover was the 2015 Newbery Award Winner, and focuses on twin 8th graders Josh and Jorden Bell. They are both ballers on the court and pretty sweet with rhymes too, as some of the poems have a more rap-like rhythm. It’s a story about learning the rules on and off the court and the importance of family. Booked is about 12-year old Nick who learns the power of words while he wrestles with soccer, home, and a bully. It’s a super heartfelt story told in a way that will keep readers gripped and turning the pages. I highly recommend both books for any sports lovers or reluctant readers. Especially boys.
- The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher is the middle grade sequel to The Wig in the Window. Tween sleuths Yang and Young are back with another mystery to solve. This time, it’s centered around their town’s famous Winter Sun Festival. The president of the festival turns up dead on the first day of festivities, and the two girls are convinced it wasn’t an accident–they know he was murdered. Like any good teen sleuth, they decide to go undercover into the Royal Court and get to the bottom of the murder. It’s a funny, well plotted mystery that will keep you guessing until the end!
- The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill was SUCH a fabulous read! It’s a middle grade fantasy about the power of words and connection. When Ned and his twin brother fall into a raging river, only Ned survives. Haunted with the whispers that he’s the wrong boy, Ned finds himself chasing destiny as his mother –the local witch–is captured and he steps in to guard the magic. Across the land, Áine’s dying mother tells her that “the wrong boy will save her life and she will save his.” This story is a spellbinding tale full of magic, danger, and the power of friendship.
- DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community: by Gabriela Pereira
I’ve been back and forth for awhile about going to grad school to pursue my writing but keep coming back to the cons of time, money, and the fact that I know I can write a book without an MFA. In my search, I came across DIY MFA, a guide to create your own MFA program to help you focus on a big writing project. Since I’m not quite ready to pursue school again, I thought this would be the perfect way to help me focus, and so far so good! It’s chalk full of great advice for writers, offering a self-guided approach to an MFA program, and encouraging writers that writing belongs to everyone–not just those with degrees. I’m still working my way through it, but it’s definitely been an encouragement to my writing!
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Honestly, I have no idea why I’ve waited to long to dive into this writing “classic.” I remember hearing about this book when I was in college, studying writing, and then over and over again through the years it’s been back on my radar as a book I NEED to read as encouragement for my writing. Now that I”m jumping in fully–I knew I had to read this, and so far it does not disappoint. It’s a great book to help writers find their voice and passion, but Lamott is also not afraid to tell the truth about the hardness of a writer’s life. The joy is–she reminds readers that we aren’t doing it alone.
2017 Reading Challenge Update
So far this year I’ve finished 7 books. I checked off my verse novels box, and dabbled in fantasy, realism, graphic novels, mystery, and one heist story. My current To Be Read pile is full of fantasy, so I’m on the hunt for other genres to branch out, but fantasy is always the one I continually go back too, especially as I’m diving into the world of my book, and looking for inspiration!
How’s you’re challenge going so far? Have you discovered any new genres yet?