I am a teacher. At this time of the year, I should be going in before my work calendar officially starts, like all my good teacher friends are, and setting up my classroom. I should be shopping in teacher supply stores, and finishing up last-minute summer projects at home. But what am I doing instead? READING, of course! (To be fair, I did accomplish some online teacher stuff shopping this morning. But back to the reading part...)
My college-bound daughter had a dorm-room preview day last weekend, and so the whole family loaded up in the car on Friday for the five-hour trip. Luckily, my neighbor had loaned me John Dunning's The Bookman's Promise, a "Cliff Janeway Book". I needed another "grownup book" in my repertoire for this summer, so I brought it along for the ride. I was unfamiliar with Dunning's work, but I have to say, this was a nice introduction! Janeway is a cop-turned-bookhunter/ bookseller, and in this novel, he makes a promise to an old woman on her deathbed to find the books she believes were stolen from her family. I'm not schooled in the ways of bookhunting (but obviously, I like books!), so the glimpses into the world of rare and antique book markets were interesting. There was a historical section that I ended up skimming through because the pacing was a bit slow for me, but the main storyline moved along nicely and had some unexpected twists and turns. A little romance, a lot of mystery, and some cop drama made for a good read that I finished by the time we got home.
Another Amazon box arrived today, this one containing Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (a fellow Austinite!), Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire (a graphic novel), and the hardback edition of the Academy Award-winning animated short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I can't wait to read Ready Player One along with my teen son, who is really into his video games. It's also a fantasy/scifi book, which is up my alley--finally, a book we can both appreciate! The Fantastic Flying Books... short was just so great when I shared it with my students last year, that I just had to be able to hold it in my hands as well.
I got Underwater Welder on a whim, and read it in one sitting (okay, I was really lying on the couch). It's a belated coming-of-age story about a 33-year-old underwater welder who is expecting his first child with his wife. This major life event, coupled with the upcoming Halloween holiday, is enough to trigger a Twilight Zone-type experience in which he has to deal with ghosts from his past--mainly, his deadbeat alcoholic father. The pictures truly tell the story, with only minimal precise wording to focus on the feelings of the characters. A good "guy read" for late middle school on up--younger readers might not have the background to truly "get" the story and its delivery.
So now there's another book on my growing to-read pile. Hoping that since grad school is now out of the way, I'll get a bit more reading done outside of the classroom this year!