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Review: The Unteachables

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I read pretty much all genres, all age levels — but I am discerning. Like the child I once was, who would have picked up this book in a heartbeat, I read what I consider quality writing and illustrations. So I know what I like — and I truly enjoyed  Gordon Korman 's  The Unteachables . It is a delightful and worthy read, even for those close(r) to (early) retirement.  Zachary Kermit can see early retirement from his desk at Greenwich Middle School. While his classroom changes every year, his goal does not. Early retirement has been his goal for decades, as he was moved from classroom to classroom, subject to subject, after a crushing disappointment in his early years of teaching. And what a teacher he was! Fierce, engaging, supportive, and driven. Nothing like the silent, coffee-swilling shell of an educator sitting at the front of the class in Room 117. School Superintendent Dr. Thaddeus, worried about budgets, sees Mr. Kermit's family's longevity and cringes: the school d

My 12 Favorite — and Two Least Favorite — Books of 2020

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In the Reading Year 2020, I read nearly every genre in every medium. I read all over the calendar, today's newest fiction and books from days gone by; I'm never sure what will truly captivate me on the page. I read text in print and ebooks, and I listen to books on my daily run. (I am an equal opportunity consumer.) 2020 was not a typical year of reading for me, at least at first. The pandemic coupled with short staffing at work made reading difficult — but never impossible. I need to read as much as I need air and sunshine (but not nearly as much as I need sleep, apparently). Halfway through the year, I recaptured my reading momentum, and I didn't look back. I read 95 books in just about every genre. Some of the books were modest in length — some were graphic novels, and a few were picture books — but the biography of Queen Elizabeth topped the scale at 721 pages, so I was no slacker. According to Goodreads, I averaged 245 pages per book.  I had a very rewarding reading ye

A Year in Reading: A Brief Overview of 2020

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As the Plague Year wraps up, many of us are looking at our reading lists and shaking our heads. We either didn't read enough, read too much, or read books that typically would not have found their way to our TBR. I started out in the first group, wandered oh so briefly into the second group, then settled comfortably in the third group. Not all of the books I picked up made it on to my reading list — if I finished less than half, it didn't count.  The "Don't Mention It List" is short, and just a tad surprising. First of all, I got about 40 pages into the latest Stephanie Plum novel and discovered her antics were just plain annoying. Maybe it was that this was a direct sequel, picking up where the last one left off, or that I didn't need to read about how Morelli was out so Ranger could be, er, in. At any rate, after 27 novels, I am breaking up with Stephanie Plum. I will miss Lula. I may miss Grandma Mazur (but only a little). I will miss Connie's no-nonsen

Summer Reading 2020: A Review

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Reading in 2020 started out a little rocky, but picked up by summertime — and summer reading was saved! Okay, a little dramatic, but summer reading is a joy I look forward to every year. In 2012, I launched a summer reading program for adults, encouraging them to read as much as they liked, and rewarding program participants who read the most with a free book. Well, local libraries caught up with adult readers, so my program is no longer needed — but I still encourage summer reading for everyone, especially adults. In 2020, that may have been a little harder to achieve. Many readers confessed to having less time or initiative to read due to mental or emotional fatigue, fear, overworking, job searches, or other various reasons.  Myself, I had a windfall in the shape of a new co-worker who saved my vegetarian bacon, so to speak, and my mind. I was able to relax and pick up books for pleasure and relaxation again, finally. I read a wide variety of books, from cookbooks (yes, cookbooks!) t