October book report

October was a good month for reading. Oh who am I kidding? Every month is a good month for reading! I decided to let my most recent novel do a bit more marinating before I dive back into revisions and have been working on a YA book written in verse. A very fun project, but in an effort to do it well I have been reading a lot of verse books. Which take about a day or two to read depending on the amount of distractions in my life. The few I have read so far have managed to give me all the feels, which hopefully I’ll be able to do with my work as well.

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
My older son read Riding Freedom and Esperanza Rising in school and I read them too – I told him that anything he reads in school I will try to read as well. Loved them both. Echo was on his suggested summer reading list, and I hoped if I started listening to it in the car he would get hooked and want to read it on his own. He didn’t get hooked, but I did. The story follows three different children in three different parts of the world, all around the time of World War II. There is also a fourth story in the beginning that reads like a fairy tale and holds the stories together with a single object: A harmonica. So of course the audio version has harmonica music. Which was a lovely touch and made the book even more enjoyable. I recommend the audio version for that reason and think this a great story for young and old!

Right Here, Right Now edited by Jody Biehl
A few years ago I joined a book club that focuses on local authors. When possible, the author comes to our meeting (or joins us virtually) and it is a wonderful way to not only discuss great books but also gain insight into the writing process. This year started out with an anthology of Buffalo stories, and although I live in the suburbs, I’ve been here most of my life and found it fascinating to read each story and uncover the different perspectives.

Sweet Madness by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie
This book ended up on my TBR list when I applied for Pitch Wars in 2015 because it was written by one of the mentors. And of course because I love all things Lizzie Borden. When I taught high school English, we did a multi-genre project that involved researching a famous person in history and then writing various pieces based on their life. I used Lizzie as a model and wrote one of my favorite poems. Sweet Madness looks at the story from the point of view of the Bordens’ maid, Bridget and explores what may have happened and why. I can definitely appreciate all of the research that must have been involved.

Witches by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is hands down my favorite children’s author. I’ve read many of his books multiple times and never tire of his off-beat humor and in-your-face-but-still-subtle life lessons. My youngest did not laugh quite as loud as his brother when I got to the dog’s droppings part, but he still enjoyed the book very much and it was the perfect thing to read as we prepared for Halloween. Such a good read aloud, as long as you can trill your “r’s”.

Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
Sharon Creech is another favorite (stay tuned for the November book report to learn what I’ve been reading with my older son) so I naturally turned to her when starting to read verse books. Heartbeat is a sweet story about a girl who loves to run and the complicated bits that come with growing up. A wonderful weekend afternoon read.

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
I found this gem online when I did a “writing books in verse” search. It tells the story of a young girl on the prairie sent to help out another family and subsequently abandoned just as winter sets in. She suffers from dyslexia (I assumed, it was not directly stated) and struggles to teach herself to read while figuring out how to get back home. Oh, the feels.

Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
More feels. As I said, these verse books are tearing me apart! I sat on the couch next to hubby and bawled. It’s about a teenage girl who has lost her mother to cancer and has a not so great relationship with stepmom and new baby sister, until they end up in a situation that changes everything. (Sorry, trying to stay vague to avoid spoilers.) The characters are so well fleshed out using sparse and beautiful language. I can only hope to do the same with my piece!

Phew! Always reading, always adding books to the piles (both the virtual one on Goodreads – come find me! and the physical stack on my nightstand). The cooler weather is sure to bring more nights curled up under the blanket, faithful kitty by my side, lost in a good book. Happy Reading!

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