Books Uncategorized

My Self/Shelf Book Challenge: April

Another month goes by when I have only had time to read two books. But, who does have time to read while having to breastfeed a newborn, color with a kindergartener, explain 2nd grade Math (don’t get me started on Common Core, even though I work in educational publishing, insert hard facepalm), try to control a teenager, and sharpen pencils, crayons and German wooden highlighters? Seriously, I have never sharpened so many things in my whole life. I am doing all this while trying to do some work, of the kind that actually pays, and which in my case requires quite a bit of concentration. But, I don’t need to elaborate further, as we are all in the same boat, the boat of remote learning hell, with Zoom as our particular Cerberus.

Funnily enough, both of the books I have read this month talk about education, in different ways. Both have female protagonists with upbringings that go against the norm in their communities, and both are memoirs, although in different vehicles. And they are both enlightening, and encouraging, about the importance of an education in someone’s life.

They were both windows to worlds radically different from mine, and not only geographically.

The other thing they have in common is that they are the first two books that I have read for the first book club I have ever belonged to. Not having joined one before in the 17 years I have lived here was a feat, considering that I LOVE, dig and breathe books. Or I used to. But book clubs had never attracted me. Having gone through the course load of a PhD in literature, snobbish me wasn’t really comfortable discussing books with people without an academic training. But a few months ago a mom and teacher from my kids’ school asked about putting one together. And for once, I was totally in. Immediately. The moms at my kids’ school are a force. Most of them volunteer, support each other and are happy to give a hand anytime it is needed. I am sure that this is true for most schools, but I just can talk about ours. Most classes have too many room parents. So I was really attracted to the idea of discussing books and drinking wine with them. Little could we have known that soon enough our meetings would have to happen over Zoom. The baby’s birth got in the way of me attending the first meeting, but I just joined the second one last week and seeing those smiling faces holding their glasses and books tight was one of the highlights of my week. It was truly lovely to talk books, children, and virus with them.

Now, before I yell “¡Los buckets!” one more time, here are the books I read this month. Goodreads now says that I am two books behind of schedule. Ooops. May will have to be catch up month, because I don’t particularly like losing challenges.

These buckets.

NOTE: as usual, I encourage you to buy books in independent bookstores, many of which are still open for delivery. My favorite in Chicago is Unabridged Bookstore, but there are many more, and wherever you are, I am fairly sure you will be able to find one.

SECOND NOTE: In many schools this is Teacher Appreciation Week. One of my favorite presents to give them are gift cards for beloved bookstores, or purchasing books for their classes. Keep them in mind, as they are doing an absolutely outstanding job.

Just hover over the image for the text to show up. And, as usual, I will be happy to get book recommendations!

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