Tag Archives: lists

Things I’m Currently Reading: June Edition and Update


A few months ago I alluded to a situation at work that I couldn’t discuss. The fact is, I’ve been too stressed about it to blog much since it first arose. It’s resolved now, and probably for the best. I’m not staying at The School next year- my position was redesigned and someone else was hired. I don’t have any definite plans yet, but you, dear readers, will know as soon as I do. The good news is that I’m paid through the summer, so I have some space to figure out what’s next.

And oh, I’ve had plenty of space to read.

I’m going to cheat a little and list only what I can remember from the last few months. I hope to be back on track for July… To compensate for the gloomy tone of this post I will include interesting pictures (mostly of myself) on the side. Would it be a real post without them anyway?

Daily spiritual reading-

  1. The Bible
  2. Elder Leonid of Optina, Fr. Clement Sederholm

    my nephew and i look off towards a bright future

    my nephew and i look off towards a bright future

Pleasure reading-

  1. A heck of a lot of the Hamish Macbeth series
  2. Many of the Isabel Dalhousie series
  3. Everyday Saints and Other Stories, Archimandrite Tikhon
  4. Look Me In the Eye, John Elder Robison

Work- (personal work, really)

  1. As It Is In Heaven, Arlene Hutton
  2. Wonder, RJ Palacio

    found on the floor

    super secret seventh grade code for notes

Books that have been on hold, but want to finish-

  1. The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (but I WILL finish it)
  2. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

    gift from a graduating student

    needy hippo loves you!

  3. Beauty for Ashes, Stephen R. Lloyd-Moffett

Just finished-

  1. Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway (rerereread)
  2. Summerland, Elin Hilderbrand
  3. The Elite, Keira Cass
  4. Columbine, Dave Cullen
  5. Just One Day, Gayle Forman
  6. Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins
  7. The Starter Wife, Gigi Levangie Grazer (this was a HORRIBLE book)

Stopped because I couldn’t take it anymore-

1. n/a

Next up-

  1. The Book of Revelation, Matt Dorff (looks so cool!)

Happy reading, folks!


2012’s best…


My favorite books I read in 2012, in no particular order. Six reviews in sixty words or less!

Not one of them.

Not one of them.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose– A young group of Christians created a series of pamphlets calling for opposition to the Nazi regime in Munich in 1942-1943. A gripping, incredible tale of citizens standing up for what’s right in the face of almost certain death. One of the members was canonized as a saint in 2012.

The Kingkiller Chronicle (I and II)– SFF at its best. Young gypsy-musician-wizard Kvothe goes out into the world to make a name for himself and stop ultimate evil from destroying the kingdom. Told almost entirely in flashbacks.

A Prayer for Owen Meaney– Classic John Irving tale of faith, family, and self-sacrifice. The title character is one of the most memorable I’ve read in ages (and not just because he speaks in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME). A beautiful story full of characters who seem to breathe.

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy– Theology nerd fun for those wondering what, exactly, the difference is between Orthodoxy and other major religions and why dogma matters.

On the Incarnation– Classic must read that spells out many things you’ve tried to say when defending your faith but couldn’t quite. CS Lewis’ introduction in this edition is excellent.

Divergent– It wouldn’t be a “best of” without a YA novel! Divergent introduces us to a new kind of dystopia, with people divided by their primary method of keeping peace. If you think it sounds like a recipe for disaster, then you’re right. Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games with a compelling protagonist named Tris (whose hot boy friend doesn’t hurt the book’s case one bit).

I would like to note that I only read one of these books on Kindle. Interesting. Once more, happy 2013!

2012 Totals


This blog was, at least in part, an attempt to track what I read. I’ve always been curious about how much I read in a month/year.

Total number of posts: 74 (or approximately 7 per month, 1.5 per week).


New Year’s Eve Wedding

Total number of books read by month:

December/January- 7ish?

February- 10

March- 7

April- 5

May- 6

June- 11

July- 7

August- 6

September- 2 (I call no way!)

October- 7

November/December- 14


I don’t want to get obsessive about this, but I’m pretty sure I can do better next year. I’d like to read more and do fewer rereads. We all know how much I love my horrible teen novels though, so we’ll see how that goes.

I posted a total of 80 blog posts in 2012. That’s around 7 per month, or slightly over 1 per week. Again, I can do better. I would like to make it a goal to post twice a week in 2013. If I keep up the poem of the week, this is definitely achievable!

Happy 2013, everyone. I hope it was, and continues to be, merry and bright.

Five Books Made into Plays


It’s been a while since I’ve done a Five Things list, but what better way to celebrate the beginning of rehearsals for my fall production?

he’s waaaaaatchiiiiiing…

(Yes, I know the pictures are still backwards. I’m working on it, alright?)

Below you’ll find five of my favorite book to play adaptations- with just a little cheating.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird– At the age of twelve, I almost played Scout in this production. However, my mother decided that Watertown was too far to drive for rehearsals, so it didn’t happen. True story. This play is one of my few regrets- but the script is still awesome!

2. 1984– Oh hey, that’s the play I’m directing now! I enjoy the stage version because a) it’s high school friendly and  b) it’s still really creepy. With this production I hope to get the kids thinking about the technology they use in everyday life and educate them about communist Russia/China/Romania. The character of Julia is quite different, a few characters have been combined, but it’s largely the dystopian novel you know and love.

3. Jekyll and Hyde– The songs all sound the same, but they’re all pretty! A fairly appropriate tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic.

4. A Christmas Carol– This story has been adapted so many times, in so many ways, Dickinson might as well have written it for the stage. We’re going to work on one version in my English class in December. I’ve read at least four different scripts and seen five different film versions. The most memorable version I’ve seen on stage had Marley’s ghost appear through the floor in a shower of sparks, carrying a giant paper mache head. Scared me to death when I was eight. The version I’ve posted is the one we put on back when I worked at McCarter Theater.

5. After Mrs. Rochester– A wonderful adaptation of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea. Both the book and the play are meant to be a fresh look at Jane Eyre with a more sympathetic eye to Bertha Rochester. Coincidentally, Wide Sargasso Sea is on my 30 before 3o list. It’s a great play for scene study, and I hope to tell you how close it is to the book soon (or at least before I turn 30…).

That’s all for today, folks. Happy cross-reading!

You can all breathe easy.


My very own, brand new, just in time for me to go to China kindle has arrived!





<–It looks like that.






In other news, I have my reading list for my seventh grade English classes this fall. The four major books we’ll be reading are:

1) A Christmas Carol (play version- not sure which one)

2) The Endless Steppe, by Esther Rudomin Hautzig

3) The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare (who wrote The Witch of Blackbird Pond- one of my favorite tween books)

4) Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt

plus  a bunch of short stories and poems of the week. We’re going to do National Novel Writing Month. Perhaps I’ll even jump in.

Oh, and S prazdnikom to everyone celebrating Ss. Peter and Paul today! Cheeseburgers will ensue.

Six on Saturday


1. I was in Minnesota this past week, introducing Bill Cosby at a conference, in front of four thousand people. Of the many random things I’ve done in my life, this is one of the randomest. (Most random?) I think it was a success. Even if it wasn’t, they cared way more about Cosby than me, so I fulfilled the chief requirements of speaking audibly and not passing out onstage.


3. This meant, of course, that I needed to stop and buy a new book. So I did.  Tragic, huh? (FYI- I usually post images of the edition I’m reading, but Amazon didn’t have one.) While buying at an awesome bookstore, the lovely book seller told me that this was one of his favorites. While searching, I realized just how many books they didn’t have that I’m looking for…

4. Including The Pillars of the Earth, The Wise Man’s Fear, and Outlander. I’m on a fantasy kick (or at least want to be). I also hoped to find A Clockwork Orange, which I was about 30% through when Kindle kicked the bucket. I’m still on my quest to find a used/cheap copy of the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of The Brothers Karamazov.  I searched Minneapolis high and low, but the Midwest proved as barren as the greater Boston area.

5. My 30 before 30 list contains few SFF books, but it’s been zipping along. If you check the updated page, you’ll see that I’ve already finished Wuthering Heights and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I’m in the middle of a few others. In fact, I may be zipping along a little too fast. I do have to stretch this out until 2016. Suggestions for slowing down (book recommendations!) welcome.

6. I need plays to read that would be appropriate for high school or middle school productions. Your thoughts?

Happy Saturday, y’all.

Five Bookstores nowhere near Boston


Summer o’ Travel, 2012 edition. I’m off to Minnesota next week, Florida and Houston later this summer, maaaaybe Chicago, an undisclosed location for a three day weekend with my dear friend Jenny (AustinNewOrleansSanFran?) and best of all Beijing for three weeks in July/August! I haven’t been back since 2004. It’s The School’s first ever Chinese summer camp, and yours truly gets to chaperone. I’ll also be teaching an English/American culture class once a day, for which I’ll be paid. Best of all, the students traveling are the same ones I taught last year. We’ll get to review all our delicious food words and I can pester them with more stories about my high school days. Does it get better? Nope.

In honor of my upcoming travels, another Five Bookstores post. Some near, some far. Enjoy!

1. The Drama Book Shop, New York:

perfect for theater geeks like me

I discovered this haven for theater geeks at the height of my theater geekiness- my semester at the Eugene O’Neill in 2006. It’s small, cramped, and full of all the obscure Ionesco and Beckett a girl could ever want. There’s minimal theatrical paraphernalia as well- I’ve always wanted the $50 bust of Shakespeare they have for sale. Mostly though, it’s two unassuming floors of play goodness divided by genre waiting for you to purchase and put into action.


2. Shakespeare & Co., Paris:

Shakespeare & Co. was at the top of my Paris list when I visited in Summer 2010. I can’t remember if I heard of it before I saw Before Sunset, but the name alone makes it a priority. I’ve also harbored a long term secret desire to be a “tumbleweed”- one of the young writers the owner lets sleep in the beds scattered through the store in exchange for working there. Not unlike the movie, I arrived from Notre Dame (just down the street!) in the middle of a huge poetry reading. I shoved past the crowd and got happily lost in the wall to wall shelves. Not five minutes after arrival, I was grabbed by an Iranian news team doing a story on the bookstore.  At least, I think they were Iranian. So somewhere out there I was on tv! It’s a mostly English bookstore, which was a welcome break on my epic trip through Russia and France on my way home from Hong Kong.  On my way out, I discovered a stack of poetry written by a Wellesley professor. Rarely have I had such a positive experience in a bookstore I’ve only visited once.

3. Flow Organic Bookshop, Hong Kong:

Speaking of Hong Kong, this is one of the only bookstores where you can sample the good stuff.  In the other (chain) English bookstores, books are tucked into shrinkwrap, thus ensuring that no one will enjoy them without paying the proper amount. What makes Flow organic is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it’s the lack of plastic. Perhaps it’s the creepy, growly Buddhist chant the owners are fond of playing. Perhaps it’s that it’s one of the few disorderly places on the tidy Hong Kong Central outside escalators. Perhaps it’s the stacks and stacks of books piled on the floor (OverFlow?). No matter. Flow was and is one my absolute favorite places in Hong Kong, one of the few where I felt completely at home. Bring in your old novels to exchange for store credit, or just pay the very reasonable prices up front. Oh, and elbows in- you wouldn’t want to cause an avalanche.

4. Labyrinth Books, Princeton, NJ:

Labyrinth joins this list for primarily nostalgic reasons. I’d hoped to find a picture of it as I remember it best- huge windows, glowing welcomingly with somewhat sparse displays. Labyrinth is a curious mix of textbooks and real people books. It plays to the University and to the townies, the used crowd and the new. My well loved complete poetry of Yeats was found here, as was my brand new Franny and Zooey. The textbook element has a plus- the religion section is HUGE. I started (and quickly stopped) reading The Philokalia here. It’s a cold store, the tile giving it an almost institutional quality ending in a surprisingly mellow kids’ section at the book. In the end it feels unwelcoming because it’s all just a little too neat and clean. Even Barnes and Noble has a sort of haphazard element that allows you sprawl, read, and occasionally buy. However, it’s what we’ve got in Princeton and the selection alone makes it a place to try.

5. The Bookstore in the Grove, Miami:

I visited Miami for the first time last summer for a wedding. In need of a card for our gift, my mother and I wandered into the delightfully quirky Bookstore in the Grove, about twenty minutes from our hotel. I am happy to report they not only have beautiful congratulatory cards, they also have author readings, a small cafe, excellent sandwiches, and a verrrrrrry nice selection. The low-ceilinged air conditioned comfort of the place made me quite reluctant to exit into the oppressive Miami heat (ha!). A sweet refuge in the middle of touristy Coconut Grove, and not too far from the water. I could have easily whiled away an entire afternoon here but settled for an hour of bookish fun. I was particularly fond of the tall, thin, shallow, thematically arranged bookshelves scattered throughout. And look at that entrance!

There you have it. More 5 bookstores to come, possibly after my summer travels. Where are your favorites?