You may have noticed that I didn’t post a November Reading Roundup. In part that’s because I was traveling home for Thanksgiving and then back to Boston the last week of November. the other reason I missed the November Reading Roundup is because we are in the thick of finals season and I have had a ridiculous number of projects due and have been mostly distracted by working on those instead.
This isn’t a replacement for the reading roundup, but as things are settling down, my free time is opening up, and I have a lot of time on my horizon to read. I have a big reading list for Winter Break, especially since I don’t start classes for the spring semester until February 1st. So, I thought I’d give you a sampling of some of the items on my winter break reading list with you! With 22 library holds checked out at the moment, this list has a strong representation of library books.
The top book on my list right now, because it’s the one I’m currently reading, is the fifth book in the Song of Ice and Fires by George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons. I’ve been on this book for just under a week and have read about 1/3 of it. I’ve really enjoyed it, but I’m excited to finish it and move on to something else since I’ve been reading the Song of Ice and Fire series since mid-October. The next book on my list (and the only one mentioned here that isn’t from the Boston Public Library) is The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow. I picked this book up at Trident Booksellers early in October thinking it would make a good Halloween read, but I’m looking forward to getting into it soon!
This is one of those things that I won’t read straight through, but that I’ll be picking up off and on over break and hopefully reading for a little bit of at a time every day. I’ve not watched “The Queen’s Gambit” yet, so my need to get better at chess doesn’t stem from that, but after playing with my boyfriend (and losing always) and playing with some 8-year-old twins I babysat a few times (and losing 85% of the time), I realized I need to up my chess skils, so I have a few chess strategy books checked out for that reason. Hopefully next time I play my boyfriend I’ll be much more of a challenging competitor.
Children’s Literature history
Inspired by some conversations in my picturebook course this fall, one afternoon on a whim, I ended up placing a hold on most of the books in the Boston Public Library’s collection that were written by Leonard Marcus, a noted children’s literature scholar. I have books on myself shelf right now such as Golden Legacy (a book about Little Golden Books), a biography of Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown, and a history of children’s literature and publishing called Minders of Make Belief (chapters of which were readings for my history of children’s literature publishing course this past spring). Not by Leonard Marcus, but also of interest is a biography of well-known illustrator Garth Williams.
Historical Children’s Literature
On the other side of children’s literature history, I move to historical children’s literature for my course on Realism that I’ll be taking this spring at Simmons. Realism has a significant pre-semester reading load of historical children’s and young adult literature. A few of the books on the list I’ve read for other classes (such as Forever by Judy Blume) and others I’ve read on my own (such as The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton) but regardless I’ve got lots of material that I’ll hopefully start steadily making my way through.
This is actually one of the categories that I’m most excited about when it comes to reading this winter break! I’ve got several good non-fiction books lined up. I’ve had Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman on hold from the library since September and it finally came in! I’ve also got Sex with Presidents: The Ins and Outs of Love and Lust in the White House by Eleanor Herman on my shelf because with a title like that, how could I not add it to my list? Mill Town by Kerri Arsenault is one I’ve had on hold since I read a review of it earlier this semester. It’s about the paper mill towns of Mexico and Rumford, Maine, both of which I’ve been through due to their proximity to the summer camp I worked at. Finally, perhaps the books I’m most excited for is World of Wonders a collection of essays about nature by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. I’ve been a fan of her work since I met her my senior year at K-State and this book has been named a best book of 2020 by Barnes and Noble, and maybe I’ll get it finished before 2020 is over.
Finally, I’ve got a pretty big amount of fiction on my list ranging from children’s and young adult fiction to adult fiction. A few highlights from the library include Gregory Maguire’s new book, A Wild Winter Swan, M. T. Anderson’s graphic novel The Daughters of Ys, and We are not Free, a National Book Award finalist by Traci Chee. Beyond library books, I’ve also got a ton of unread books that I can pull from my shelf at any time, but those are the lowest priority for me at the moment.