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Today is it. The end of my summer. Kids don’t come back to school until the 8th, but teachers officially start back tomorrow. (Though, I’ve already worked many, many hours.) Much more than usual, I’m nervous about school this fall. We’re fully online and it’s going to be much more rigorous for students and teachers than it was last spring. I’ll have three 70 minute math classes, plus a half hour homeroom. Everyday. That’s a lot of screen time for kids and teachers. Plus, there will be a lot of other virtual meetings, so I fear I’m going to come to hate computers! I’ve ordered a new pair of glasses with the blue light blocking feature, so hopefully that will help a little. Have you tried them?
Books will need to be my balm after a long day of communicating through a box and the 16 I shared in last week’s Fall Preview 2020 will be at the top of my TBR list for sure. Take a peek if you missed it last week or if you didn’t see my August 2020 Book Reviews.
One last thing. On Wednesday, I’m sharing my thoughts on The Night Swim by Megan Goldin in a discussion post you won’t want to miss. And now, onto this week’s books!
Hosted by Kathryn at Book Date
Last Week’s Reads
- It might be a while before I get three books read in a week again, but I did it last week. I finished listening to The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg first, and liked it okay. The memoir of a woman who begins to realize she might be queer after 10 years of marriage sort of waxed and waned for me, enjoying some parts more than others.
- I really wanted to love Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi and I did like it, but it’s certainly not a five star read for me. Parts were emotional, and I even got a little teary a couple times, but I also got bogged down in the science and religion that play key roles in this story.
- Similarly, I was VERY excited to read Fredrik Backman’s new book, Anxious People. It had all the marks of what I’ve come to expect from Backman: great storytelling, a quirky cast of characters, and a unique setting. And yet, I never felt fully invested in the story. Again, I enjoyed it, but for me it was no Beartown! (my review)
- I struggled with audiobooks this week, sampling several before I landed on A Star is Bored by Byron Lane. Lane was the personal assistant to Carrie Fisher and this is his insiders story of a man who gets hired as the personal assistant to a rather difficult star he’s always been a fan of. Again, I’m liking it well enough. (This seems to be a theme with me lately!)
- I just started Monogamy by Sue Miller, having only read the first three chapters. So far, I’m really liking this story of a marriage, its many great parts, and its flaws. From the synopsis, I know the husband will die and his wife will then discover that he’d been having an affair. A sort of usual trope, but I feel like Miller is going to handle it well.
Likely to Read Next
- I might listen to one (or both) of these books. Publishing on Tuesday is The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, the story of a daughter trying to learn more about her mother after she dies. I almost always enjoy books with a dual timeline and also like stories of immigrants. This has both!
- My nonfiction reading has been low this year and I plan on working on that this fall. A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett will be a great one to start with. This is the story of a Black woman who while still in law school took on the case of first-first drug offender who had received a life sentence. “As she studied this case, a system came into focus: one where widespread racial injustice forms the core of America’s addiction to incarceration.”
Best of luck with the school year, Susie! I definitely think it’s going to be challenging for both students and teachers.
You’ve got that right. I’m not sure I even want to be doing it. Hopefully, a few weeks will change my mind on that.
Mann! I really wanted to love Anxious People and Transcendent Kingdom. I’ll still read them of course, but we’ll see if it’s 5 star like I thought they could be. Hoping A Star is Bored picks up for you! I read it and didn’t listen to it, so I’m not sure how the audio is. I just started When No One is Watching and it’s gooood.
Have a great week!! Hoping it goes even better than you expect!
So happy I won that copy. I need a good thriller!
I read The Fixed Stars. I liked it enough, but for me her first book/memoir was my favorite.
The Last Story of Mina Lee sounds intriguing.
Good luck with school!! I didn’t realize that you teach math. I assumed you are an English teacher due to your love of books. 🙂
Lots of people are surprised I teach math. I think teaching English would take a little of the joy of reading away from me.
Kathy Martin says
I hope your new school year goes well. Teachers started back last Monday here with kids to start next week I think. Come see my week here. Happy reading!
Beth F says
Good luck with school. I liked Fixed Stars more than you did.
Yes, I just grew a little weary of The Fixed Stars.
That does sound like a lot of screen time. Back in the spring I had to make a schedule for myself because I would go from work computer time straight to my personal computer time without much of a break since I no longer had to drive home. I started taking an hour walk each day after lunch and it helped immensely.
In the Spring I was also able to take a break in the early afternoon for a walk, but they have us on a pretty tight schedule this fall. There won’t be any long breaks until after 3:30. I’ll miss those mid-day walks.
Funny, I disliked Beartown and loved Anxious People – this is why readers sharing with readers is always so fascinating.
Kathryn Trask says
I nearly picked up Anxious People yesterday at the shop but maybe should put in a request for the library! All the best for the new school year of teaching, that is a lot of intensive time.
Many others have loved Anxious People and I liked it well enough, just not as much as some of his previous books.
Wow, that sounds like a lot of screen time indeed. I’m glad you’ll be able to unwind with books. A Knock at Midnight sounds like a fsacinating read. #IMWAYR
Laurie C says
I’ve only read A Man Called Ove by Backman, but Anxious People appeals to me more than Beartown, just on the face of it. Probably just because any kind of sports theme, however slight, doesn’t appeal to me, though. Good luck with back to school! I work in a public library and we were nervous about reopening in a limited way to the public. So far (just over two weeks in for us) it hasn’t been bad, but it’s really not the same thing as being in school with the same group of kids in a classroom all day long.
Anxious People is much closer to Ove than it is to Beartown, so you might really enjoy it. I’m still waiting for my local library to be a little more open. So far, I’ve been able to return the books I’ve had for six months and put others on hold for curbside pickup. I just haven’t actually been notified on any of those books yet.
Les in OR says
I have The Fixed Stars ready to listen to, but I’m going to wait until after I read A Homemade Life, which I’ve had on my shelves for years! I also have the new Backman book and am looking forward to listening to that, as well. Oh! And I also have Monogamy. I like Sue Miller, but it’s been a while since I’ve read anything by her.
Good luck with school!
Wow! Our reading is really in synch these days.
Good luck with School …. I know it seems challenging with all that screen time! Summer went by too quickly / maybe b/c of my quarantines & travel etc. I’m glad for your report on these books …. I want to read the Yaa Gyasi and Sue Miller books! I’m not really a Backman fan. But Mina Lee looks good.
We live across the street from a school here in Canada and they have reopened in person. I was surprised by that but all the kids seem so excited walking there. I hope they can stay well. take care.
It will be interesting to see what the next couple months holds for all of us. My nephews entire fraternity is on a 14-day lockdown because six members tested positive for COVID. Those six are staying elsewhere, but everyone else has to quarantine. I’m guessing this could happen over and over.