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I, too, stopped reading in Middle School.

Status – Finished Book 10, Angela’s ashes & Book 11, Are you there, God? It is me, Margaret 

Back into reading. Since my last post, I finished reading both Book 10 and Book 11. Time to get back into writing.

Once I passed my issue with the punctuation (see post Let’s eat, Grandma), I enjoyed reading Book 10 (Angela’s ashes), quite a bit. I always find it interesting to learn more about a new country, a new culture, a new period of time. I found the main character, likable, charismatic and considerate. I can’t imagine what his mom went through, losing her kids one after another. Another time? Still, a poignant pain. Overall, a touching book, glad I had the opportunity to read it.

Then, I read Book 11 (Are you there, God? It is me, Margaret) in a couple of nights. As a native speaker of French, reading youth literacy makes me feel quite proficient in English reading. Indeed, I recommend to all ESLs out there in need of gaining confidence to reach out to Youth Adult (YA) books. Short chapters, concise sentences, not-too-elaborate-but-still-a-little-elevated vocabulary. However, I am not sure why Book 11 made it to the Amazon list “100 books to read in a lifetime”. I mean, it is an entertaining book, but why this one? To make sure that a book with a teen girl as a main character was part of the Amazon list?  When I was a teenager, I did enjoy books like Huckleberry Finn or Treasure Island, i.e the main character did not have to be a girl to get my interest. Maybe, I am just missing the criteria for a successful YA book. But it reminds me of an informative article I read recently (the link is here). By middle school, most kids stop reading books that aren’t assigned in school. Young children usually enjoy books (board books, picture books, easy reader books). Still, by middle school, most kids stop reading. I did, too. I remember reading book after book in Elementary School. On my own, I would read a chapter or two, right before falling asleep. Until I was 10 or 12. I am wondering if part of the reason I stopped reading was the lack of time for … finding the next book. Once I started a book, I read it pretty quickly. But it could be months between 2 books. And 30 years afterwards, I found it to still be the case, and I believe that is the main reason I started this journey of reading the Amazon list. Look at the list. Go to the library. And read. With my kids aside. French books. English books. Picture books. Chapter books. Let’s read, kiddos. Babar, Lilly and Dinos, here we come.

Gotta go. And read.

Let's read, kiddos !

 

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Let’s eat, Grandma.

Long time no see…

When I started the blog, I knew that I could struggle, and write about what in the world I was thinking when I took off on such journey. Well, that’s pretty much how I feel right now. What came through my mind on February 15? But, since I don’t like giving up, especially in front of the Whole Wide WordPress. Here. I. am. Back on the blogosphere. The list is supposed to be read in a lifetime, anyway. I still have, hopefully a few decades in front of me. Be prepared. Looks like I will be here for a while.

Since my last post, I finished “All the President’s Men”. I must admit I am not sure how to feel about it. Relieved that the truth came out or scared that it may happen again. Or both (and having watched 3 episodes of the House of Cards last night is not going to help me feel more trustful).

Then, I went on vacation. In a house. With NO Wifi. And I did survive. How astonishing. Before going back to the 20th century, though, I went to  the library, to pick up a few books out of the list. Full of hope, and concerned that I may have not checked out enough books. Well, I did not open any of them. Zero. Nada. Rien du tout. Actually, I did just start reading Book 9 , Angela’s ashes, by Frank McCourt, and got stuck in it. I enjoy the story, but, as a non-native speaker of English, found it very difficult to read. As there are lines and lines with no punctuation. Have you heard of “Let’s eat Grandma / Let’s eat, Grandma : punctuation saves lives”?. Well, I am not sure what’s going to happen to my Grandma at this point.

Gotta go. Gotta eat my readers.

 

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Make me feel like watching the movie again

Status – Reading Book 9 – All the President’s Men

All the president’s men. How fascinating.

I watched the movie, when I was a teenager. I was still living in France, and most of what I had in mind about the US came from TV shows. You know, licence plates with  Ewing III or something. The movie added even more to the mystery of the new world. Conspiracy. Investigation. Leading to a President who resigns.

Reading the book was a real challenge initially. All the names. The journalistic style of writing. But once I got passed that, I got hooked. I could read it all in one night, if my sleepy body didn’t have to catch up with my well-rested kids the following day.

A few more chapters. Gotta go, and read.

 

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How Alice made me stop trusting my cat

Status – Reading Book 8 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I looked forward to going to the library and picking up Book 8, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As much as I have heard of the story, I had never read the book.

I have always been intrigued by Alice’s story. And so has been my daughter, 5, actually. I was offered a pop-up book version of Alice and I have been reading it, again and again, to her for the past year or two. She, too, seems to enjoy Alice’s adventures as well. And I think I truly realized how much she remembered the story when we went to DisneyWorld. And believe me, we spent hours in the Wonderland area. As the Mad Tea Party, a spinning tea cup ride, quickly became my daughter’s favorite ride. And yes, to my despair, she was able to spin around, and around, and around 3 or 4 times in a row. “Let’s do it again !” OK, Mommy needs a break, but I am sure Daddy would love to :-) Just thinking of it, I am getting dizzy.

I read the book quite rapidly, and enjoyed myself. Once I finished the book, I decided to, finally, watch the Disney movie. They did pretty well, I believe, recreating the magic of the book into a cartoon. I must admit that the cat, and its smile, was my favorite character. Have to be suspicious from now on with my own cat. And its smile.

So I am glad I read the book. Finally. But can’t stop but thinking: how could a writer come up with such a innovative, crazy, genius, story?

 

 
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Posted by on 05/20/2014 in 100 books

 

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Selected stories from Selected Stories

Status – Reading Book 7 – Munro, Alice – Selected stories

There is a reason I named this the journey through 100 books. Well, when you are on a journey, sometimes, you have to change, adjust your plans, right? Well, that’s what’s happening with Book 7.

With the due date requiring me to bring it back to library coming up way to fast, I decided to be proactive and went on the library website to renew it few days before it expires. I thought, another week should be plenty of time to finish reading book 7. Well, I couldn’t renew. The book was on hold by someone else, meaning I couldn’t keep it any longer. Another bump in the road on my journey. It is like planning on shopping during lunch hour in a small town in France. Bummer, all stores are closed. What would you do? Stay longer in town? Shop later at the airport?

With Book 7, I did what I thought was best:  I selected stories from the Selected story :-)  And fully enjoyed the several stories I read. Love the choice of words, love the meaningfulness of the stories, love the pace of the sentences. And I admit it, it has made feel pretty good to realize that I was able to read quite sophisticated English sentences. Actually, reading and understanding what I was reading :-) I found the story “Dance of the Happy Shades” particularly moving. The story of a piano teacher. Who believes in her students. Letting them all play at her annual party. I always enjoy stories where the least expected people stand out the most. It gives me hope.

I will put aside Book 7 for now, and go back once it is, again, available at the library.

Let’s move on and visit another town. I mean, another book. In Wonderland.

 

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Is there a college degree in Mermaid-ology, anyway ?

Status – Finishing Book 6 – L’engle, Madeleine – A wrinkle in time

Interesting book. Growing up in France, I am quite novice with American Youth  Adult Literature. Discovering Madeleine L’englet was a nice leg on my journey.

And I am using the word “journey” on purpose. To me, reading a book is, has alway been, like going on a trip. Various characters lead me from chapter to chapter, at my pace, allowing me to take a break at the end of a line, pausing from time to time, to truly enjoy the moment. And Book 6 was a good book for that. For instance, at one time, the story reminded me, somehow, of The Twilight Zone. A show that I loved when I was a kid. Just one part, when the children found out the journey they will have to go through to find their father. I couldn’t stop but thinking about this show. So I took a break. Put my book aside. And enjoyed thinking about several episodes I still had in mind, 25+ years afterwards.

Want to here about my favorite one? Can’t help it anyway. The story of a banker, big glasses, can’t do much without them, overly shy, often teased by his peers, always a book in hands. Loved, loved, loved reading. One day, he came out of the bank vault, after his town had been destroyed by a H Bomb. Alone, desperate, he started walking around. By chance, he found a gun. Ready to commit suicide, his eyes got caught up by a sign. LIBRARY. A library ! And all the books he had always dreamed to read. Excited, his spirits way up, he threw away the gun, ran to pick up a first book, tripped, and… broke his so-essential glasses :-) How brilliant.

Fermez la parenthèse. Back to Book 6. A book that I am going to keep in mind, and recommend to my daughter, 5, when she gets older.

Surrounded with all kind of feminine stereotypes, I am always in search of books with girls being the hero – whoever they are, whatever they look like. To be read now. And later. In Book 6, Meg does not have any superpower, she gets scared, doesn’t have a lot of friends, doesn’t feel quite comfortable in her skin. Still, she plays the major role in the story ending. See? Not mandatory to be a princess, to find true love to succeed, right? My daughter told me recently that she was not sure whether she would be a fairy or a mermaid, when she’s grown up. I have let her go through her pinky-sparklingly-princessy phase. But it may be time for her to smoothly land back on planet Earth.

I read her a French book recently “Marre du rose”(Fed up with pink), of Nathalie Hense & Ilya Green , the story of a little girl who’s not into all the average girly stuff. She likes black, spiders. And dinosaurs.Marre du rose At first, my daughter was like “how can you be a girl, and not like pink?”. But then, she got it, and we both enjoyed our discussion afterwards. And obviously, with a mom being a woodcarver, she knows that band saws, chisels and other tools are not only for guys. Already fully enjoys spending time in the workshop with me. Still, I have the duty to keep helping her gain self-confidence.  Book 6 will be a book she should read on her journey to reinforce her I-like-me-for-who-I-am feelings.

 

So glad I am on this 100 books journey. So glad to discover books that my French background would have made quite hard to discover otherwise.

Book 7, here I come !

 

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The war of the words. In my head.

Status – Reading Book 6 – L’engle, Madeleine – A wrinkle in time

When I decided to go on this journey of reading the books from the Amazon list, I thought the hardest part would be to read the book. You know, finding the time, mostly at night, trying not to use the book as a pillow. I didn’t worry much about the writing component that would come along with my journey. Well, here I am. Again. In front of my computer, full of thoughts to share. Searching my words. In English. And here they come ! All these French sophisticated words invading my brain, chasing away the few English words daring to come out. How frustrating. So much to say, so few words in mind.

I know. Writing posts will get easier and easier. Words will come through. Eventually. But right now, like right right now, I am quite frustrated. And I feel like sharing it with you. To let it out.

OK, that’s it. Feels better. Will be back soon. Enjoy book 6, by the way. Love the cover page. More to come. C’est promis.

A Wrinkle In Time

 

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