Holy cow I read a lot this month. I don’t know if you noticed, but I didn’t post a Reading Roundup last month–I didn’t read a single book during the month of June…well, no. I read one book but didn’t finish it in time. But this month, I read quite a bit. Granted, I read a lot of very easy 5th-grade level YA books. But, that’s because I’m desperately trying to finish reading all my classroom books before we move in a few weeks so I can pack them all up!
Hooray! I was able to read four books for this month’s Reading Roundup. Yes, two of them were books I read in less than 36 hours each…but still! That just means I really am weeding down my YA bookshelves! And, sadly, there were a few disappointments in this month’s set of books.
Hooray! It’s the last month of the year! I’ve read so many books this year–I’m so happy! Every month, except one, I read at least two books. I’ve been so happy! Although I have gotten a lot of free books in exchange for reviews, I’ve still made a good dent in all the books I’ve previously owned that I never opened! This month was no exception for the reading roundup! I read 4 books and completed a year long devotional book!
I’m also looking to relaunch Reading Roundup as a monthly linkup. If you’d like to cohost with me for 2017, please let me know either in the comments or via email!
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Bud is a 10 year-old African-American orphan living in Flint, Michigan during the Great Depression. After some horrible foster care experiences, he decides to set out to find his who he thinks is his father, based on clues his mother left him. He wants to find where he truly belongs and fits in.
This is a later elementary school read: 4th-6th grade, I’d say. So, I read it pretty quickly. It was a very entertaining historical fiction novel. I thought it was well written, and I really liked the character of Bud, although, sometimes he did seem a little too grown-up for just 10 years old. He had certain “rules” to make life easier for him, and I liked those. I also loved the different characters that showed up in the novel. The ending, however, was a little glossed over, I thought, after such a big build up. But, I’d definitely recommend it.
Bendon Junior Classic Abridged Version of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I’ve mentioned before that I bought a ton of these Bendon Junior Classic abridged versions from the Target $1 spot. They are absolutely perfect to have in a junior high English classroom–it gets children reading all the literary classics at their own reading level!
Surprisingly, I’ve never read Anne of Green Gables, nor have I seen any movie adaptation. However, after reading this book, I want to do both, now!
Anne is a young, imaginative, talkative red-headed orphan taken in my Matthew and Marilla on their farm, Green Gables, in the Prince Edward Island city of Avonlea. The book follows Anne as she gets into mischief, learns from it, and grows up. I love the character of Anne–she’s definitely a version of me when I was a kid: unsatisfied with red hair, talkative, always imagining, and wanting to do my best in school. Reading it actually made me think of Little House on the Prairie: it covers a lot of years, but some major points in time during growing up.
I really do appreciate these Bendon Junior Classics. They keep some very popular/famous/important dialogue and narration, but other than that, it is adapted and summarized for a younger audience. The font is bigger, as is suited for a 4-6th grade reading level, there is a picture every other page, and the writing is easier to read and understand. They also keep a list of characters in the front to help students remember who is who.
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Asheritah Ciuciu
I actually won this book in a giveaway last Christmas, but didn’t get it until after the holidays. I’ve been looking forward all year to opening it up! This book has daily devotions focusing on a name of Christ. It describes and explains the name in historic, spiritual, and present-day context, along with a challenge, prayer, and scriptures for further study. The names are organized into four sections: hope, preparation, joy, and love. These are the four weeks of advent. I decided not to do it day at a time, but to read it straight…it took me about a week. Instead of doing my regular morning scripture study, I would read a few pages/devotions out of this book instead. I loved learning and focusing on the different names, and therefore the different aspects and personality traits of our Savior. It is a great book to read not only during Advent, but anytime during the year.
Daily Guideposts 2016: A Spirit-Led Devotional
A friend of mine actually gave this book to me at the beginning of the year, thinking I would enjoy it. She was right. It was the perfect supplement to my daily scripture reading. There is a devotion for each day, written by different authors. Each day focuses on a scripture, has a story or lesson that goes along with the scripture, a short prayer, and more scripture references that connect. I was able to find some new favorite verses while reading these devotions. Some of the authors even did series throughout the year. One of my favorites was “What the Saints Have Taught Me.” I loved learning more about Christian Saints and their examples and how this author tried to apply it to her life. This year was their 40th anniversary. They do one every year, so if you are interested, definitely grab one for next year.
Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life by Jeff Wilser
*I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*
All throughout his Junior and Senior year (2013-2015), my brother became obsessed with American History, especially Alexander Hamilton. He loved Hamilton before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway “Hamilton” premiered…my brother had been on his LDS mission for half a year by then. So, knowing how much Hamilton influenced my brother, but also knowing how popular he has been since the Broadway, I decided I needed to learn a little more about him.
Of course, I knew a little bit about him–all history teachers should! But, it was really limited–he was a younger Founding Father, born in the Caribbean, worked his way up, was loved by Washington, created the National Bank and was very economically minded, and then had a duel with and was killed by Aaron Burr. That was really it. So I was really excited to read this book.
It isn’t like a typical biography–it’s set up pretty much chronologically, but it’s also organized by different lessons that could be learned from Hamilton’s life…kind of like Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography or the way that Gretchin Rubin set up her Happiness Project. It contains a ton of maxims that Hamilton himself tried to live by and what we could learn from that and how to apply it to our present day lives.
The book begins with his birth and ends with his death, so I was able to learn about his entire life. And boy, Hamilton, to me, is now right up there with Franklin (my favorite Founding Father). Hamilton was always trying to improve and better himself–he was a lifelong learner. I mean, for crying out loud, he carried a book and notepad with him to battle during the Revolution!!! He definitely was a Renaissance Man, trying to learn everything and be an expert in all aspects of life. He was also very stubborn with his ideology and would’ve ever back down from what he believed was right, even if everyone else was against him. No wonder my brother loves him so much!
Wilser wrote it very well. He doesn’t claim to be a historian, and it’s not stuffy writing at all. Wilser has been fascinated by Hamilton, but definitely writes lightly, adding humor to it. It’s very easy to read and very nicely organized. I’d actually like to read the other books that Wilser has written!
If you like Hamilton in any aspect for any reason, I’d definitely, definitely, definitely add this book to your must read list! And…one of you can get lucky! I have two copies! One, I’m keeping to give to my brother next Christmas (2017) when he returns from his LDS 2 year proselytizing mission, and the other copy I’m giving away!
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What books did you read this month?