Friday, August 30, 2013


Fall is approaching.

That means it's time to start stockpiling books-- hoarding  them like squirrels hiding nuts in the crevices of old trees preparing for cold winter nights.

Actually... I am always gathering books, creating piles of " next-reads",  and looking forward to the future pleasures of shopping in my own store of books. So autumn is the time to continue with that practice with even more intentionality.

Always.. I am reading several books at once-- but then sometimes  I get so engrossed in one that I forsake all others until that one is finished.

This happened with The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by Neil Gaiman, which I recently completed. (See related post, Knowledge of  Children)

And I can see it beginning to happen with Khaled Hosseini's latest gift to fiction lovers, And the Mountains Echoed.  I am finding it harder and harder to leave Hosseini's characters and their complex lives in Afghanistan, harder to leave them stuck in unread pages.

Since it is on my iPad, this is the book I am reading in every spare moment away from home.

While I am completely captivated by And the Mountains Echoed, my eye periodically wanders to Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid, which is waiting in the wings to be read next--to be my next engrossing, time-stopping journey. His bestseller,The Reluctant Fundamentalist, is one of my all time favorite novels.

I tend to be reading from several categories or genres at any given time--reading several selections for a variety of reasons.
My fall reading reflects this typical pattern.

In addition to the above novel, I am in the middle of several other books.

Professional Books

 I Used to Think..and Now I Think..: Twenty Leading Educators Reflect on the Work of School Reform (Harvard Education Letter Impact Series) edited by Richard Elmore.
I am reading this with interest, both agreeing and arguing in my head with the ideas and authors... and ultimately wondering if this book might be an appropriate text for the 2014 Columbus Area Writing Project Summer Institute. We are always on the lookout for texts that will not only foster critical thinking and reflective conversations about our teaching, but also serve as mentor texts for our writing about our work as teachers, and as learners, writers, and readers   (See related post, I Used to Think...But Now I Think...)
Rethinking Classroom Participation: Listening to Silent Voices by Katherine Schultz
This past summer in the 2013 CAWP Summer Institute, we read several chapters from this book .   Schultz challenges us to reconsider the role of silence in our classrooms and in our lives, with young students and adults alike. I am still reading... and still rethinking all of teaching I have ever done in light of her ideas about classroom participation.. I wrote my initial thinking in the related post Silences.

Next-Read in Professional Books

Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading  by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst
The Common Core Standards calls for close reading. What does that mean?  Do I know how to do it? Do I already do it or is it new?  Do I agree with the concept?   I respect Beers. I am  greatly interested in her interpretation and perspective on this new buzz term.


This Art: A Copper Canyon Ars Poetica Anthology (Copper Canyon Press Anthology) edited by Michael Wiegers
I love poetry about poetry, writing about writing--metawriting.  I discovered this treasure when I was researching resources for an idea which inspired my lowest read blog post to date-- perhaps it is the name that is off-putting-- Ars Poetica , or maybe I really am nearly alone in this interest.

Quote Poet Unquote: Contemporary Quotations on Poets and Poetry edited by Dennis O'Driscoll
 I read a few pages from this work daily.  I read when I am stuck or when I am  taking a break in writing or when I just want to remind myself why I write. Each short quote fosters much reflection on the whats and whys and hows of poetry-- and writing.

 Definite Next-Reads in Poetry

Gulls Hold Up the Sky: Poems 1983-2010 by J. Patrick Lewis.
I was excited to discover this volume of poems for adults.  I have been a J. Patrick Lewis fan forever, and own many of the 85 books he has given us. A peek into several poems revealed the classic wit we have come to expect from him. I was privileged to hear him speak at OCTELA 2013, and at that time posted my related reflections.

 I am so excited that  J. Patrick Lewis will be one of  the keynote speakers at the Columbus Area Writing Project Fall Forum.


The Novelist's Lexicon: Writers on the Words That Define Their Work edited by Villa Gillet and LeMonde
This is my kind of book on several levels.  First, it is writing about writing.  Second, it deals with keywords--or boiling things down to the crucial kernel- another personal penchant.  At the international  literary conference hosted by Villa Gillet and Le Monde, seventy prominent novelists were asked to select a word that describes, summarizes or serves as an entrance into their work. Their resulting brief reflective pieces have been collected in dictionary format.  The individual and seemingly unconnected passages interrelate and weave together in surprising ways.

What If?: Short Stories to Spark Diversity Dialogue by Steve L.. Robbins
This unique book provides  personal stories that allow us to begin what Robbins calls "crucial conversations" about how we work together and get along in the work place, our personal lives, and the world.   Each story is followed by suggested reflections and activities. I dip in and out of these short readings, always connecting them to my own personal encounters, always learning something new about myself and the world..

Next-Reads In Nonfiction

Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference by Desmond Tutu
A friend quoted a prayer and several other passages from this book in a recent sermon. What I heard so moved me, that after the service, I asked about the source of the quotes,  then, immediately added this book to my iPad. In this work, Tutu answers the question he is often asked, "Why are you so joyful?" in the face of all you have seen, encountered, and endured.

The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood by Jack Zipes
Next to Cinderella, which is my favorite tale, stands  Little Red Riding Hood.  This book collects 35 versions that challenge our ordinary recollections of this beloved, yet disturbing tale. Included are renderings of the earliest oral tellings and retellings by well-known writers.  Through the tales, Zipes examines our Western culture and the implications of this familiar story.

Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking by Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander

The Language of Life and Death: The Transformation of Experience in Oral Narrative by William Labov

As a fan of Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid,  and as one interested in language and story,  I am anticipating long, deep, and satisfying reads in these two volumes.

What are you reading?
What is on your fall bookshelf?

Today's Deeper Writing Opportunities

What are you reading?  
What is on your next-reads pile?

Reflect on how you select what you read.
How do you hear about new books? 
How do determine which books are for you?

Write a poem, narrative or essay about both your current and potential or future books and reading experiences.

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