My motto in life, "When the going gets tough, the tough get reading." And so I read a lot this weekend…
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Hazel is a sixteen-year-old girl who has spent most of her teenage years been battling cancer that started in her thyroid and metastasized to her lungs. At a cancer support group, she meets osteosarcoma survivor, Augustus (Gus) Waters. Although Hazel has determined that she will not allow anyone to be close to her (she likens herself to a human grenade who will explode and cause pain in people's lives), Gus soon convinces her otherwise. A gorgeously written, very realistic (or at least it seems realistic) novel about teenagers living life with laughter and joy and courage in the face of really tough odds. Note to my elementary teacher friends: This is definitely YA- upper middle school and high school.
WONDER is another book that everyone is talking about (and should be). I downloaded it on Netgalley and read it in one sitting, then ran out and bought it today, planning to start it as a fourth grade read aloud on Wednesday. WONDER is the story of ten-year-old August, who was born with serious facial deformities. Because he has had to undergo many surgeries, he has always been home schooled. Now, in the fifth grade, his parents think he is ready to attend school with everyone else. Auggie has mixed feelings, mostly because he has spent his entire life with people staring at him and saying unkind things. Told through the eyes of several different people, including Auggie, his sister Via (short for Olivia), Olivia's boyfriend Justin, Olivia's former best friend Miranda, and Jack, a child who becomes one of Auggie's best friends at school. So much to love about this book- the varying voices of narrators, beautiful writing, but most of all, the messages of kindness and caring and courage. I can't wait to share this with my kids on Wednesday, I think we have a lot to learn from Auggie.
The third book I read this weekend was WHERE YOU LEFT ME, by Jennifer Gardner Trulson. Jennifer Gardner was a former lawyer, the wife of Doug Gardner, and the mom of five-year-old Michael and Julia, age 2, when 9/11 changed her life forever. Doug, an executive at Cantor Fitzgerald, was killed, and Julia had to remake her life without him. Her children, especially her daughter, were very young, and Trulson wanted to preserve their dad's memory, so she started keeping a journal and recording her memories on a hand held tape recorder. WHERE YOU LEFT ME also chronicles the development of her relationship with her second husband, Derek Trulson.
Finally, I'm reading STILL: NOTES ON A MID-FAITH CRISIS by Lauren F. Winner. I read Winner's faith memoir, GIRL MEETS GOD several years ago. A week or two ago, I read that Winner had a new book, STILL: NOTES ON A MID-FAITH CRISIS. The reviewer likened Winner's newest book to that of Anne LaMott, who is one of my favorite writers. Of course I immediately had to download the book. Winner has, in the last few years, gone through a divorce and pretty much journeyed away from God, and then is in the process of rethinking what she believes. I'm only about a third of the way in, but am totally enjoying her honesty and faith journey.
Next week's reading, I hope:
A MONSTER CALLS
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN