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review 2019-03-03 19:27
Review: Sing, Unburied, Sing
Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel - Jesmyn Ward

Often while I was reading Sing, Unburied, Sing, I had to hush my inner critic. Yes, Jesmyn Ward weaves some wonderful scenes and vivid sentences, but she really isn’t doing anything new. Yes, that climax is gut-wrenchingly affective, but it really isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before. It’s almost too easy to dismiss Sing, Unburied, Sing as just another book about a tormented family surviving racial injustice in the South, a setting that tends to invite ghosts (of which there are plenty here.) It’s easy to say that the narrative is nothing original and that the conclusion was powerful, but trite. Yes, I can just say, Jesmyn Ward isn’t doing anything new—she’s just carrying on the various traditions of Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Alice Walker, John Steinbeck… Or I can say, “Damn, Jesmyn Ward is carrying on the tradition of Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison…John Steinbeck, and she’s doing a fabulous job of it!”

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review 2019-02-04 01:03
Rocking in My School Shoes
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes - Eric Litwin,James Dean

Pete the Cat is too cool! Pete the Cat books are great for young readers because they are simple to read and have songs to accompany them. Students will love watching the Rocking in My School Shoes cartoon and singing along to the music. Students could also create their own school shoes, this will encourage students to express their creativity and integrate art into the lesson.

https://youtu.be/PtjJWgIlkok Pete the Cat Cartoon.

 

Lexile AD430L

 

 

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review 2019-01-18 15:33
Beautifully written and expertly narrated
Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens, author, Cassandra Campbell, narrator

The book takes place in North Carolina, and it covers the life of Katherine Danielle Clark, born on October 10, 1945, from her childhood to her death. The story is told tenderly, over more than five decades, through the memories of Kya, as she is called, and it is read expertly by the narrator, who interprets the different characters with perfect pitch.

The book begins in 1969, with a mystery. A body is discovered in the swamp. It is the body of the local hero, the upper class, Chase Andrews. Was his death an accident or was it murder? An investigation is begun. The novel then goes to 1952, and continues to switch back and forth from the past to the present as Kya grows up and tells her story, until she and the murder exist in the same place and time, in 1969, the year the body is found.

So we meet Kya, almost 7, in 1952 as she watches her mom walk down the road, never to return. Soon after, most of her siblings are driven away also, by their father’s brutality; he is a violent drunk. One sibling, Jody, was the last to leave her, and she always remembered him and the advice he had often given. When her father left, too, and never returned, seven year old Kya was completely on her own. She did not let anyone know that her family was gone because she was afraid of going into foster care. With the limited knowledge she had gleaned from watching her mother, she taught herself to cook. She took her father’s boat and shopped in town by bartering with Jumpin’, the man who ran the store where they had bought supplies. She brought him things, like mussels and smoked fish, and he gave her grits and gasoline in exchange. His wife Mabel taught her how to garden and she grew her own vegetables. Jumpin’ became like a parent, always watching out for her well being, warning her of danger. Jumpin’ lived in Colored Town with Mabel who took it upon herself to gather hand-me-downs for Kya, from their community. The people were happy to give her the things they no longer needed, unlike the whites in town who shunned her.

After the truant officer took her to school, one day, promising her a good hot meal, she vowed never to return because the children bullied her. So she never had an education.  One day, while she was out in the boat, exploring, she got lost. An old friend of her brother’s, Tate, saw her all alone, and he guided her home. They became friends, although he was older than she. When he discovered she was illiterate, he taught her to read and do simple arithmetic. Her world opened up. He brought her books and encouraged her to study them. She soon educated herself. She loved the natural sciences and read every book she could get her hands on. Soon she was cataloguing the things she discovered in nature, using her own artistic and writing skills. She grew to trust and love Tate, but when he too was gone, she lost her faith in people.

As time went by, she developed into a young woman and she caught the eye of Chase Andrews, a local boy who was handsome and rich. At first, because she had been abandoned by everyone else, she avoided him, but he made promises to her, even though he knew he couldn’t keep them, because their worlds were too different. She was naïve, and soon, she was persuaded to trust him. When he betrayed her too, she withdrew into her own world even further. She was a simple soul who only wanted to love and be loved, but she kept failing to achieve that.

Kya’s life story is heartbreaking and breathtaking all at once. She spent her life running and hiding, protecting herself from the outside world. They did not understand her or want her in their midst and she feared them. The marsh became her mother, her world, when she had no place else to turn and felt completely alone and lonely. Through her scientific studies, she learned about the dominance of hierarchies in the natural world and she translated it into her knowledge of man. She observed behavior and the need that dominance inspired, and she witnessed inequality in the natural world and actually experienced it in her own.

The novel has something for everyone. It is very intense as injustice, arrogance, class warfare and racism raise their heads. It is a love story, a mystery filled with intrigue, and a legal drama with nail-biting court scenes. Each of the themes in the book is handled perfectly and culminates in satisfying conclusions. Toward the end, the tension builds on every page as Kya, accused of murdering her former boyfriend, awaits the verdict. The ending has unexpected twists and turns. While at times the story line stretches credulity, as we watch Kya come of age, it also begins to seem quite possible that someone so bright could accomplish all she did. We want to believe in her.

 

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review 2019-01-03 18:06
Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens
WOW! Just WOW! This is a great book. Murder, abandoned child, growing up alone, nature, young love, sex, ecology, love, poetry, betrayal, education, redemption, forgiveness, treachery -- it is all here.
Well written with strong characters and even stronger biology, Owens debut novel is clearly a winner.
The North Carolina coastal region and the animals, birds, flowers, grasses, etc. are as much a character as the human in this book. Kya, Chase, Jumpin’, Mabel and Tate are the main humans in this beautiful elegy to nature and the human spirit.
Saying too much more will spoil the “mystery” in the book, so just know that is a book that should not be missed.
Book groups will find much to discuss and ponder. Biologists and sportsmen/women will appreciate the accuracy of the science.
5 of 5 stars

 

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text 2019-01-02 22:30
December 2018-That's A Wrap!
The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky: A Novella of Cosmic Horror - John Hornor Jacobs
Scapegoat - Adam Howe,James R. Newman
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume Three - Charles Beaumont,J.B. Priestley,James Purdy
Becoming - Michelle Obama
Winter's Bone - Daniel Woodrell
In the Night Wood - Dale Bailey
Mourning Jewelry - Stephanie M. Wytovich
Husk - J. Kent Messum
Saga Volume 9 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan
Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

I read 13 books in December!

 

Audiobooks

 

BECOMING written and narrated by Michelle Obama 5*

WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell 4*

MOURNING JEWELRY by Stephanie Wytovich 4.5

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens 5*

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY by John Hornor Jacobs 4.5*

SCAPEGOAT by Adam Howe and James Newman 4*

IN THE NIGHT WOOD by Dale Bailey 4*

HUSK by J. Kent Messum 4.5*

THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES, V.3 edited by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle

 

Total: 5

 

Random Reads

 

THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW by Richard Laymon 2.5*

 

Total: 1

 

Graphic Novels

 

SAGA, VOLUME 9- by Brian Vaughan 5* YOU BROKE MY HEART!

SANDMAN: OVERTURE by Neil Gaiman 5*

KILL OR BE KILLED, V. 1 by Ed Brubaker 4*

 

Total: 3

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

 

(I failed but had fun trying!)

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

9. Hex by Thomas Heuvelt

10. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

 

Running Total: 157

Total Goal: 150

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