Book #49 was the new one by Nancie Atwell, The Reading Zone. As expected, I liked it very much. Mostly, I got plenty of encouragement to keep doing what I'm already doing, but I also got some new ideas, mostly about how to handle things in the classroom and with parents. Atwell goes to bookstores every weekend, she says, and buys books for her classroom library, with particular kids in mind. She doesn't buy basals, and she apparently has quite a large budget for books. (It helps that she has her own school.) I don't have the luxury of going to bookstores every weekend (don't I wish!), mainly because we don't really have bookstores with English books where I live. I have, however, been able to acquire quite a few books for my classroom library on this trip to the US.
Book #50 was Second Honeymoon, by Joanna Trollope. Nancie Atwell categorizes the books her students read as Challenges, Holidays, or Just Rights. This book was a Holiday for me. Some of Joanna Trollope's books seem that way - just brain candy - and then turn out to have much more to them. I don't think this had any more to it than appeared at first glance, but it was still a fun read. Trollope is very good on vagaries of emotion in all kinds of characters.
Book #51 was The Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian. Here's a book that's more than meets the eye. I don't recommend finishing it, as I did, right before you want to go to sleep. You'll be awake another hour mulling it over in your mind, trying to figure out what clues you missed and what was really going on at different points in the story. Warning - the violence is quite upsetting.
And book #52, ta-da, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! It's a rather unusual experience for me to be reading what everybody is reading! I got my copy on Saturday morning at Wal Mart. There was no hoop-la, just a pallet of books on the floor in the middle of an aisle. They were selling them for $17.99 - did anyone charge full price? Of course, I'm not going to give anything away, but I loved the ending. Rowling wrapped up all the loose ends in a highly satisfying way. In my opinion, each book has been better-written than the one before. This one was mostly fairly grim, but there were some wonderful comic lines as well. I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone else who's read it yet, but I look forward to some good conversations.
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