August 2009: In Brief, Part 1

Shark Pool Bites Back
– Cricket Magazine rejected the short story I sent out. I had suspected the tone might not be right for their magazine and I was right. Yay me? At least I’ve finished and submitted something. Now I’m back to writing my middle grade novel with my regular tortoise-like speed.

It’s 3AM. Do You Know Where Your Children Are? – My son’s wolf pack of friends were scattered around the world this summer. So instead of having teens on computers all summer it was just our small family. Weirdly, we all seemed really happy with that setup– even my son. We sat at our computers together in the same room and at odd moments we’d chat or play some silly game together.

One night my daughter insisted I needed to "build my muscle strength" by picking her up and carrying her across the room. She’s not quite my height and weight yet, so I managed to waddle across the room with her. Then I put her down, looked up at the clock, and realized it was 3:30 AM in the morning. Heh. I guess we really lived in our own time and space this summer.

Fiction Books Finished:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
, by Jeff Kinney (***) – A seventh grader writes in a journal his mother brought him– he insists it is NOT a diary. Trying to fit in the world of middle school, he is full of edgy plans that always seem to go awry. His journal has just the right balance of edginess, sweetness, and humor to appeal to younger and older elementary schoolers wanting a peak into middle school. The handwritten-like text and the many humorous penciled illustrations will appeal to reluctant readers. (Ages 7-12)

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (****)- reread after I saw the movie.

The Circuit/ Cajas de cartón , by Francisco Jiménez (***) – A young illegal Mexican farm worker picks produce with his family in California during the 1940’s. This set of stories– based on Jimenez’s real childhood– was great for practicing my Spanish. It’s available in Spanish as a book tape, as well as being available in print form in both Spanish and English. It was challenging but not beyond my level. The chapters are relatively short and the topic was interesting and eye-opening.

Non-Fiction Books Finished:
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
, by Malcolm Gladwell (***)- Another entertaining Malcolm Gladwell book– this time on how gut feelings can be helpful, as well as their role in prejudice.

Cook Food, by Lisa Jervis (***) – A short helpful cookbook/manual on environmentally friendly vegetarian cooking for the beginning cook. Her emphasis is mostly on one-meal stews along with a short, but detailed, section on roasting vegetables.

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