Today was an ending and a beginning.
I finished reading The Other Half of Life by Kim Ablon Whitley. Much of my reading material is young adult (i.e. adolescent) literature. It’s the nature of my job teaching middle school language arts. However, I also happen to love literature geared to this age group. I find suggestions for reading from a variety of sources….students, colleagues, reviews. However, I also enjoy just scanning the shelves and shelves of great quality novels in our school’s media center. We have classics; we have contemporary. At some point I may break down and purchase a kindle or download books onto my phone, but at this stage in my life I can’t imagine anything replacing holding a book in my hand, smelling the pages and print, reading the cover and back cover, and flipping through pages to get a feel for the layout and design of the manuscript. This ritual is how I choose a book.
A few weeks ago, I walked through the fiction section of our media center looking for a new book to read. I had just finished The Lottery Rose and was looking for something completely different than its emotional realistic fiction. I saw this one on the shelf and recalled a student mentioning it. I read the back cover and was immediately hooked. This was a novel based loosely on the true story of a ship taking Jews to safe harbor across the ocean and away from Germany and Hitler’s regime in the late 1930s. The main characters were adolescents, also. There were some secrets of the characters that seemed a bit predictable, but still it was a lovely book with suspense. The author had clearly done a great job of researching her facts making the characters, customs, and setting authentic. I also thought the author had done a fair job of helping illustrate the cruelty of the Nazi regime and the indifference of other nations towards the Jewish people of this time period.
Today, I am beginning a new book. This is a book that was given to me by my pastor some time ago. He and I often talk books. Without him, I’m not sure how much reading I would do that wasn’t intended for a 13 year old. He is a great resource to find nonfiction. The book I am beginning (finally, after having the book for several months) is Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. Hatmaker is a blogger, public speaker, author, and pastor’s wife. I’ve read another of her books – 7 – which was inspirational and thought-provoking while also being hilarious. It was awesome! Interrupted talks about what happened in her life which led eventually to 7. Sort of like a prequel. I’m looking forward to it. It’s not a long book and her style of writing feels relaxed and almost conversational while being inspirational, too. She is very authentic. She knows how to balance religion, humor, and seriousness so things don’t feel “preachy”, or flippant, or heavy. Looking forward to this new thing. I’ll let you know how it goes.