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I started a #bookstagram because I simply love books and have been looking for more bookish people to talk to. Since joining my #TBR has gotten a little out of control. ?⠀

I’m a mom to a two year old and I live in Southern California with my partner, two dogs, bearded dragon, and one fish. We also harvest Monarch Butterflies to help regrow their population. I’ve been teaching fourth grade for five years, going on six.


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There are so many reasons why I loved this book that I don’t have space to talk about here. But wow, Clint Smith is the teacher I wish I had in high school. Here he does what any good teacher should do: present the facts, observe your audience, be an attentive listener (!!!), ask probing questions, and always always always be your authentic self. I love that this was a nonfiction book that almost read like a memoir. It is also so clear that Smith is a poet. His ability to create such evocative imagery made it feel like you were standing there with him at every site he visited. It made the learning so powerful. Can we make every history textbook read like this please??? Of course I was also enraged because so much history I had been taught was so watered down. And I don’t understand how anyone could be satisfied with half versions of the truth or just straight up lies.

It also really made me reflect on CA history and how the Spanish Missions reckon, or don’t really, with their treatment of the Indigenous people of CA. I take students on field trips to the CA Missions and not one says anything about the Indigenous tribes that thrived in those areas before the colonizers invaded their lands. If they do, it’s very subtle and mentions nothing of the way they were forced to convert to Christianity and work for the mission or suffer the consequences. This book is definitely inspiring me for some future lessons and end of unit ideas…

This is a powerful book, and definitely in my top reads of the year, and arguably my life. There is so much I don’t know. There is so much more I want to learn. Thank you Clint Smith for writing this masterpiece and sharing such a personal part of yourself with us. You are the teacher I strive to be.

#Bookstagram #NonFitcionReads #BestBooksOfTheYear #HistoryBooks #AlwaysReading #AmericanHistory #NonFictionBooks #BestBooksof2021 #HowtheWordisPassed #clintsmith

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev had such a convincing introduction I went to google to see if it was based on a true story. Ha! I did enjoy how immersive this book felt, because it really did feel like this is something that could’ve happened. I love how the core of the story unraveled as well. I was continuously wondering where it was going and once we got to the climax I was buckled in. I won’t say too much about that here, because I think it’s best for you to experience it yourself. The seventies rock and roll vibe of the book was also welcome. It sort of felt like reading historical fiction, a genre I love.

While I really enjoyed this read, I did struggle with the interview format. I feel like if you are planning on reading this, the audiobook version is probably the way to go. I can see a cast of voice actors really bringing this to life in a way that maybe didn’t translate as well when reading the physical book, at least for me. There were also some secondary characters I just did not care for, not because they were villains (although maybe they were), but I just found them kind of boring so I skimmed over their parts. Perhaps a voice actor would’ve done them justice in a way my brain could not.

I think this would make a really cool movie or limited series. If I was a more talented bookstagrammer I can see this also making a really cool aesthetic reel. So someone please make that. Thank you. Hehe. Read the synopsis below (taken from goodreads)

Synopsis: An electrifying novel about the meteoric rise of an iconic interracial rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets unearthed when they try to reunite decades later for one last tour.

[ID: The novel THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL AND NEV resting on a glass table. There is a small cactus and other plants surrounding it]

#LibraryGlareDontCare #Bookstagram #TheFinalRevivalofOpalandNev #Fiction #BookswithRocknRoll #LibraryBook #Novels #BookReview #plantsandbooks

“All of this is about mercy. I’m talking about what it is to be from a place that promises to love you while holding a gun to your neck. I’m talking about what it feels like to have the gun lowered, briefly, by the hands of some unseen grace. Sometimes, it is a protest that stretches long into the night, or sometimes it is a reading where a room hears familiar words and cries along with you as you read them out loud. But sometimes, it is a perfect album that arrives just in time to build a small community around you. To briefly hold a hand over your eyes and make a new and welcoming darkness of the world outside, even when it is on fire.”

GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN: NOTES TO A TRIBE CALLED QUEST was just perfect. It was a book I didn’t want to finish. I balanced reading it and listening to it at the same time. I usually listen to audiobooks on my way to work. As soon as I pull into the parking lot I turn off my car no matter where I happen to stop, knowing it will just pick back up again once I am on the way home. I always try to get to work early to prep for the kids, always in a rush to my classroom, but chapter 10, titled Family Business, had me waiting in my car for ten extra minutes because I just had to finish. It was the perfect way to start my day. I walked out of my car with a smile and a tear.

There is something so intimate about the way Hanif Abdurraqib writes. There is a warmth to this book that I could feel down to my toes. I immediately messaged an old buddy from high school to read this book, because I remember driving in that old blue car, that you had to put in neutral when you went down hills, listening to a Tribe Called Quest as we passed El Segundo on the 1. Bopping our heads to “Left My Wallet in El Segundo” and laughing at the absurdity of such a song, about a place we knew so well.

There is nothing more to say here except this book is truly exactly what it says it is, “a love letter to a group, a sound, and an era.”

[ID: The book Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib resting on the vinyl Midnight Marauders] #atribecalledquest #nonfiction #booksaboutmusic #bookstagram

“Meditating your own victimhood is just part of being a woman. Using it or denying it, hating it, or loving it, and all of these at once. Being a victim is boring for everyone involved. It is boring to me to present myself through experiences that are instrumentalised constantly as narrative devices in soap operas and tabloids. Is this why I am so ashamed of talking about certain events or of finding them interesting? This is part of the horror of being hurt generically. Your experiences are so common that they become impossible to speak about in an interesting way.”

ACTS OF DESPERATION by Megan Nolan is about an unnamed narrator that falls madly in love (is it love or obsession? Can those sometimes feel the same?)with a man named Ciaran. Reading this was a jarring experience. I reflected on past relationships I have been a part of that forced me to forget who I was in service to my partner. Moments I’m not proud of, but they shaped me in profound ways. Sometimes I wanted to look away or found myself being judgmental towards her but I caught myself because I knew some of those moments felt more familiar than I would’ve liked to admit. As @didionmademedoit said this read was visceral. I loved it. I also have to agree with @thatgoodgoodbook . This will be compared to Rooney, but I think this one goes much deeper. It’s darker and to me rings more true.

But lots of content warnings for this one. There are mentions of self harm and rape. So please go into this carefully if those topics are triggering for you.

[ID: The novel Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan laying flat on a white fence]

#Bookstagram #LibraryGlareDontCare #BookReview #FictionBooks #MessyFemaleProtagonists #literaryfiction

Do you have comfort reads or a comfort genre? I love science fiction. When I was a kid my dad would always take us to the bookstore. I remember it being one of the few places where my sister and I could just go in and have free reign. Of course we always went straight to the kids section but when we were ready to leave we would look for my dad. Without fail he would be perusing the science fiction and fantasy section. We always made fun of him, thinking he was so nerdy. But lo and behold I would fall into his footsteps. As kids, books were the only thing my dad would buy us no questions asked. He’s definitely the reason I’m the reader I am today. I’ve expanded my genres but sci fi will always be one I fall back on if I’m in a slump or just need to relax.

Pictured are the three books A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (gifted by the incomparable @nerdtasticnoms ) Record of a Spaceborn Few, and Nemesis Games.

A Big Ship was wild fun. Boots Ellseworth is a fantastic hero and I love the character arc of her and Nilah. I love a rag tag crew and this one hit all the right marks. I’ll definitely be checking out book 2 because I’ll be too sad it’s over.

In Becky Chambers we trust. I loved Record of a Spaceborn Few. Completely character driven. Only she can write these space stories that feel so intimate and warm. I’m not ready to read the last book in this series.

Nemesi Games is book 5 in the expanse series. It’s not something I recommend to everyone but it’s dear to me. With any series this long (and books this long) some parts do drag but I love Holden and crew too much and I’m too curious to see where it’s all going.

#ScienceFiction #TheTruthIsOutThere #ComfortReads #Bookstagram #TheExpanse #beckychambers

DRAGON HOOPS by Gene Luen Yang is a graphic novel I really enjoyed. I usually read graphic novels when I’m trying to get out of a slump or when I just need to sort of let the pictures do the heavy lifting for me because I’m tired. Yang’s graphic novel did not disappoint.

At the time of writing, he was a high school teacher and he was trying to find inspiration for something else to write about, after having written AMERICAN BORN CHINESE (one I need to get around to reading as well.) Looking for inspiration he finds it in the basketball coach and his team. He travels with them and gets to know the coach and the players. I love basketball as a sport, and watch it regularly so I had immediate buy in, but I do feel like most people would enjoy this journey through high school sports. I love sports stories because I feel like athletes give them so much of themselves in dedication to the game. Some of the most tender hearted and inspirational stories come out of sports. This one is no different. I also liked Yang’s personal reflections in this story. At one point he is trying to get more backstory from two of the top players on the team, but they are reluctant to share that part of themselves. Eventually he has to back off, and I like that he realizes this because it is none of his business and he understands that it is only one part of who they are, not the whole.

Definitely check this out if you like graphic novels or sports stories. I enjoyed it a lot.

[ID: The graphic novel Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang resting on a glass table with green leaves from a potting plant over it]

#DragonHoops #GraphicNovels #LosAngelesReader #ReadMoreGraphicNovels #BasketballBook #SportsBooks #GeneLuenYang #Bookstagram

Celebrate Indigenous Americans (and all Indigenous peoples across the world) today and every day. Pictured on a desk are the books We Are Still Here, We are Grateful, Ancestor Approved, Sisters of the Neversea, Fry Bread, Indian No More, Water Protectors, Healer of the Water Monster, and The Barren Grounds. Also this post is performative. And if I do not follow it up by explicitly educating the kids or advocating for land back then it is all hot air. I hope the middle grade teachers who follow me here will consider getting some of these from your local library or buying them if you are able. If you’re an LA teacher I also recommend watching City Of Ghosts on Netflix. There is an episode dedicated to the Tongva people and it is beautiful. Thanks @hyazzolino for showing it to me. #middlegradebooks #iteachfourth #mglit #booksforkids #booksformiddlegrade ...

I read this book back in July and I’ve been trying to wrap my head around a reflection but honestly I just can’t. Brain soup strikes again. Sometimes a book is just f**king good. And there isn’t really a whole lot else to say. This is definitely one of my favorite science fiction reads of all time. I liked that it was a shorter sci fi novel so it was easy to fall into. This book accomplished what Dark Matter could not. I enjoyed the tone of this one more. It wasn’t cheesy. (Nothing against cheesy but it is what it is) Some sci fi is heavy on the world building (understandably) so sometimes it can take time to get settled. This one hits the ground running. The main character is complicated and the villain is one of the best I’ve read in long time. Definitely made me think of Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos. But on a more intense scale…@ibingebooks let me know a second book is coming out and I can’t wait.

I guess I did have a lot to say...but yeah, I loved this one. Highly recommend for sci fi fans and those dabbling in the genre.

[ID: The book The Space Between Worlds being held by Viv with some white flowers and bushes in the background.]

#TheSpaceBetweenWorlds #ReadScienceFiction #AlwaysReading #Bookstagram #DystopianBooks #ApocalypticBooks #libraryglaredontcare

September wrap up. Blood In the Water is a clear standout. I enjoyed all my September reads a lot. Leaned heavily on the sci fi to get me through it. A genre that will always soothe my soul. Pictures on the layout over a garden photo are the books Blood In the Water, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, Prairie Lotus, The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, A Record of a Spaceborn Few, and Beautiful World, Where are You? #bookstagram #losangelesreaders #bloodinthewater #abigshipattheedgeoftheuniverse #howtoavoidaclimatedisaster #prairielotus #recordofaspacebornfew #beautifulworldwhereareyou #alwaysreading ...


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