Hello, March! The weather is still cold and gross (despite our lack of decent snow this winter, booooooooo), and it’s going to stay that way for a few months, but with the turn of this calendar page, spring and summer and sun and warmer weather feel as though they’re within reach. Brighter days are coming, in more ways than one, and I’m so excited! Long summer days of reading on the porch are in sight!
We’ve got some great things cooking up here locally, and I’ll get more into that below, but excitement levels are at fever pitch here and will remain so for several months. Reading has gone really, really well around here lately; I’m blasting through the 2023 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge and having so much fun doing so. While I’m nowhere near being done yet, I likely won’t finish completely until we’re on summer break. One of the prompts is to read the longest book on your TBR, and my longest book is something like 700-800 pages, so I’m saving that for when I have fewer things on my plate. ANYHOODLE…
Let’s get this recap started, shall we?
Books I Read in February 2023
1. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
2. Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult by Michelle Dowd (review to come)
3. Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
4. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (no review)
5. Unorthodox Love by Heidi Shertok (review to come)
6. Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
7. Uncultured by Daniella Mestyanek Young
8. Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
9. Lovingly Abused by Heather Grace Heath
10. Horrible Histories: France by Terry Deary (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
11. Disaster Strikes!: The Most Dangerous Space Missions of All Time by Jeffrey Kluger (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
12. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (review to come)
13. Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella (review to come)
14. Muhammad Najem, War Reporter by Muhammad Najem, Nora Neus, and Julie Robine (no review)
15. Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie (review to come)
16. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (review to come)
17. Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu (no review)
18. How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson (review to come)
19. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin (review to come)
20. Black Boy by Richard Wright (no review)
That’s a pretty good month of reading! Been doing my best to read mostly from my Pop Sugar Reading Challenges, but I do let a few others slip in here and there, variety being the spice of life and all. Really great month for reading out loud to my daughter! I don’t add everything I read to her; most of what we read for school doesn’t make the list, but I do add the books we read at bedtime and the longer chapter books we read for school (rule of thumb: if it’s something I would read on my own, I add it. I didn’t add, for example, the Magic Tree House books she and I read for her language arts curriculum this month). Five major read-alouds this month; that’s awesome!
Nine fiction; eleven nonfiction; three graphic novels/nonfiction. Eight of these books were read for the 2023 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge. Four came from my TBR.
Reading Challenge Updates
Looks like I’m at 22 books so far for the 2023 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge! Not quite halfway done, but I’m making excellent progress and reading a lot of really great books along the way. Here’s what my sheet looks like right now:
Moving right along!
State of the Goodreads TBR
So, with the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, I’m not making quite as much progress on my TBR as I would like, but that’s okay. It’s a worthy tradeoff. Last month, my TBR stood at 125 books; as of right now, I’m at…123 books. Slow progress is still progress!
Books I Acquired in February 2023
I don’t think I got any books for me this month. I did pick up a few for my daughter from a thrift store, including two combination social studies textbook/workbooks for fourth and fifth grade that I’m excited about using, a graphic novel called Becoming Brianna by Terri Libenson that looked like something she’d enjoy (I’ll probably end up reading this at some point), and wonder of wonders, The Little Gymnast by Sheila Haigh, which I was OBSESSED with as a kid! I can’t wait to read this out loud to her. We also grabbed two Magic Tree House books from a Little Free Library.
Bookish Things I Did in February 2023
Current Podcast Love
Still listening to the same things as last month:
Leaving Eden and Digging Up the Duggars while I exercise or craft;
The First Degree when I’m falling asleep.
I have so many more bookmarked, but just not enough time!
Stephanie’s Read Harder Challenge
I finished with Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which was interesting from a historical perspective, but not all that wonderful as a book (dated, still horrific racial attitudes even from the ‘good guys,’ oozing with Christian propaganda at every turn which, as a Jew, is just kind of tiresome to read), and I moved on to Black Boy by Richard Wright. I finished that yesterday, and next I’ll hit up a book of short stories by Flannery O’Connor that has been staring accusingly at me from the basement shelves for far too long.
Real Life Stuff
THE BIG MOVE!!!!
Not for me, nor this blog. I’m staying put in all my various homes. But…
So, when we first moved to this town, there was a lot going on regarding our library. The building was old, out of date, and in need of massive repairs. It also needed an entirely new HVAC system (plenty of times, the library would have to close during the summer because the AC broke down and it would be something like 85 degrees in there. I always felt *so* bad for the librarians and workers on the days they were still open and it was just SO stuffy in there). The library offered seminars and tours, telling and showing our community what needed to be fixed/redone, WHY, and how much it would cost the village, and then showed them why an entirely new building was actually the more financially responsible choice for the long term. And then it was put on the ballot during an election, and it passed!
And then things stalled.
People argued. The park district (on whose land the current library sits) threw a fit. Social media boiled with people bickering about how, since THEY didn’t use the library, obviously NO ONE used the library, so why did THEY have to pay for a new one? (Even before the pandemic, our library would often get uncomfortably crowded. Obnoxiously so.) Plans for a new library site happened and fell through; contracts were made, then broken. It was all so much drama that didn’t need to happen, but finally, FINALLY a building site was procured, the abandoned grocery store that had once stood at that site (and had begun to crumble, and had long been an eyesore for the town – so you KNOW some people threw a fit about it being demolished!) was torn down, and construction began (and you KNOW those same people threw whiny toddler fits about the completion date changing, because God knows construction delays have never, ever happened before in the history of construction and this must be some sort of government conspiracy to make us all pay more in taxes and not, say, a global pandemic affecting the availability of materials, and aren’t you glad Bob is here on social media to tell you all the truth??? Can you HEAR my eyerolls???)
And now, finally, construction is nearly completed! The old library’s last day of operation is March 8th, and moving to the new building, which is just around the corner and down two or three blocks from the old, is set to start March 13th. The library will cease physical operations during the move, and barring any delays, will reopen April 22-23rd. During that time, they’ll still offer ebooks, and due dates will be suspended (so you KNOW we have a massive stack of schoolbooks checked out!), so we have to hang on to everything we have checked out, just like we did when the pandemic started.
The good thing is that first off, our library cards work at other local libraries – some because I registered our cards there, and others because our library is a member of their system, so they automatically offer reciprocal borrowing privileges. And since I knew this was coming, I arranged our homeschool year so that basically all we need now are books that come from other libraries near us! So this will cause us absolutely zero stress or sweat; we’ll happily read what we have and make use of other libraries until our brand-spanking–new library building opens up just a few days before my daughter’s birthday. What a great birthday gift, eh?
So THAT’S why we’re all so excited around here! When the time comes, I’ll take a picture in the new library and start using that for my monthly roundup posts. The one I’ve been using has served me well, but it’s time to move on.
That’s the big news around here. We’ve had a few get-togethers with family recently; we’re relaxing our precautions a *little* bit, but still keeping our circle small. My daughter had a sleepover with a friend, and she ended up with a runny nose afterwards, which she’s utterly furious about, so…sleepovers may be put on the back burner for a while; I don’t think she’s fully ready to handle them yet. But that’s fine. More sleep for us!
That’s about all I’ve got right now. Wish our library workers luck for a safe and delay-free move, and stay safe and healthy, my friends. : )