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February-March Reading (because I have oh-so-much time to read for pleasure right now)

The type of books wandering around the house (at least they seem to be wandering—I find them everywhere) has changed drastically since I took and passed my tests. I’m still reading through the articles and book chapters assigned to me by Teach For America. I’m enjoying those quite a bit, but they’re not easy or necessarily fun to read.

So, here’s the line-up from the past month and what I’m reading currently:

End-of-February & March Reading:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

5 stars. I haven’t read this series in years and it was delightful to start it up again. And it was a nice way for my brain to celebrate not studying anymore.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

5 stars. Although I had forgotten how very creepy a giant poisonous snake wandering through a castle could sound. When I read this for the first time (when I was like 12), I had to stop part-way through and read some cozy James Herriot cat stories to get my mind off giant snakes.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

5 stars. While I was reading this book, I began to try to pinpoint what it is about J.K. Rowling’s writing style that makes her books so entertaining. I think it’s a couple of things: the books are fast-paced, so I’m drawn to keep reading. The dialogues are well-done. They don’t sound stilted and each character has his or her own voice. And Rowling is just so darn creative in some of the places and things she comes up with to make the wizarding world intriguing and realistic. Kudos to her for her creativity.

Juvenile in Justice – Richard Ross

5 stars. This wasn’t required for Teach For America, but I read it with my future students in mind. This is exactly where I do not want my students to end up: in the U.S. juvenile justice system. I didn’t know much about juvenile prisons before reading this, but I shudder now to think of any child ending up there. I have so much more to say on this topic and this book in general, but that’s maybe for another post.

The Girl on Legare Street – Karen White

3.5 stars. ‘Entertaining’ is probably the best word to describe this book. I don’t think it has any value for my life besides that. This is the second in a series about a woman in her late 30s who has the metabolism of a small rodent and eats donuts all the time while still maintaining a killer figure. She can also see ghosts and tends to get wrapped up in ghost mysteries surrounding old homes in Charleston, South Caroline, with an extremely attractive (and single) local author named Jack. As I say, purely entertainment.

The Strangers on Montagu Street – Karen White

3.5 stars. Obviously I like being entertained enough that I continued with the series. The biggest critique I have of this series (and it’s really quite a significant flaw in my opinion) is that the author tends to overuse the cardinal trait she picks for each character and points that trait out over and over. Like Jacks’ deep and startlingly blue eyes. And Melanie’s cousin’s tendency to wear pink and look like a Barbie doll. Puh-leeeeze. But I still enjoyed the mystery that the author whipped up.

The Mind’s Eye – Oliver Sacks

4 stars. Notice! This is one of the books off of my 2013 reading goal list. So, even though I’m severely behind and not doing a great job of running to catch up on the list, I am making some headway. The author is a neurologist and this was a fascinating selection of case studies about people who dealt with unusual eye ailments. Or rather, brain ailments that affected their eyes in some way. I did think that Dr. Sacks tended to wax clinical a little bit too often. I found myself skipping over some of his hypotheses and explanations about why the brain did this or that. But I’ve read other books by him that I’ve enjoyed much more.

Currently Reading:

Decision-Making and the Will of God – Garry Freisen & Jay Robin Maxs

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling

A Chance to Make History – Wendy Kopps

Expect synopses and my opinions on these and a few others next month! Hopefully a few of the books read in the next month will be from my reading goal list for 2013… Has anyone else read anything good recently? Something I should add to my 2014 reading list, perhaps?

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