Sunday Salon (07.05.09)

Good morning Sunday Saloners! I have to admit it's been a slow reading week. Life sort of stepped up to the forefront. And although it was a very good and productive week, by the time I found peace and comfort on the couch, my brain hurt and my eyes blurred at the pages. Luckily, and saved specifically for moments like these, I have saved DVR shows to catch up on.

Socratic Seminars

I did have an amazing week of learning though, and with that, there was plenty of reading going a on, just not in the traditional book, short story, poetry collection. I attended a five day workshop for school and signed up for the strand specifically geared toward using socratic seminars in the classrooms. For those unfamiliar with the Socratic Seminar process (also known as touchstones or socratic circle), the goal is to essentially teach the students to think. The success is in the process, not in the right or wrong answer. As a group, we read a text, bring forth a couple of higher level questions and encourage dialogue (rather than debate) in the circle to seek out a deeper understanding of the text. Our group of educators became quite intimate, and I have to admit, part of me was saddened at our parting. Many were from other states, so the likelihood of coming across one and another in the educational world is nil. (And even though e-mails were exchanged, we all know how we have the best of intentions in the beginning, but then the school year begins and everything is thrown out the window!) One of the things that I noticed immediately about Socratic Seminars is how closely they follow the tenets of group therapy. In fact, on our last session, our debriefing, I mentioned that to the group. It was like having Yaslom whisper in my ear the process of change. We seek answers from each other and the teacher's role (much like the therapist) is as facilitator. The guidance is there, but the heirarchy is hidden. Needless to say, I'm totally stoked about implementing what I've learned in the classroom this year. I'm already collecting small pieces that would be great for the seminars.


Even though I have actually been "on vacation" from my students, with all of the academic trainings I've attended, or summer work at the school, I haven't really felt as though I've gotten away. So, I'm super excited about this coming week - VACATION! Whoot. We're going to spend about a week in the mountains, and taking in all of the touristy sites in the surrounding cities.

This coming school year I'm teaching Halfway to the Sky. I read it last summer and fell in love with it but could not fit it into the curriculum. This year, I have my geography and math teacher on board to do a cross curriculum study. Anyways, the story is about Dani, a young girl who just lost her brother to muscular dystrophy. On top of that, her parents decide to split up. Dani runs away; but unlike other teens, she runs away to the Appalachian Trial. Her mom tracks her down on her second night and they end up spending two months on the trail, learning about nature, life, and most importantly, each other. How does that tie in? Well, I'll be around the area of the Trail. So, although I don't plan to spend more than a couple of hours on parts of it, I am going to take some snapshots to use for a power point for the students so they can see what part of it looks like.

I have to admit it's going to be an interesting week. I think it's going to be the longest that I've been away from the computer. If you're reading this, we've already begun our road trip. I have at least one planned post for the week (a review that I've been meaning to share) but just know that I am going to miss everyone so much! Also, I've already been trying to determine how to handle my google.reader. Egads! I know I shouldn't stress out too much, I mean, this is suppose to be vacation time, but some of my best book suggestions come from you guys and I just don't want to miss a thing. LOL. Alternatively, it will be a nice break. I'll be able to bring my books and read them without balancing out internet time. The weather will be cooler and less muggy, so I might be able to spend more time outside than I have been doing (which will be awesome, as my favorite place to read is in a rocking chair outside, it's just a rarity.)


June was, as many of you noticed with my reviews, Graphic Novel month for me. I managed to read THIRTEEN graphic novels. I'm lucky to have such a good library system. :))

Okay, so June specifically, I read 18 books, with a total of 4,107 pages. The books:

Skim by Mariko Tamaki/ Jullian Tamaki
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Vampire Loves by Joann Sfar
Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan **
Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
The Notebook Girls by Baskin, Newman, Cohen, Tombs **
Roadstrips edited by Pete Friedrich
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien
Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell
In the Small by Michael Hauge
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelluci & Jim Rugg
Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim & Jesse Hamn
Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
The Eternals by Neil Gaiman & John Romita
The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard by Eddie Campbell & Dan Best
Quirkology by Richard Wiseman, PHD **
American Gods by Neil Gaiman **

** ~ still need to give reviews for.

MidYear Stats

Total Pages: 15, 918
Fiction: 17
Non Fiction: 9
Young Adult: 19
Graphic Novels: 20
New Authors: 48
Male Authors: 29
Female Authors: 29

Best of the Best so far. . .

[Oh gosh, there really have been so many this year. I mean really, I've had an awesome year so far!]

But let's see, if I have to narrow it down:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan


  1. Your reading has been awesome.

    I am always shocked when I meet teachers and they tell me the amount of work the put in during the summer. When I was younger I just thought that you guys just sat back and relaxed, all summer long.

  2. Fabulous reading month - 18 books! I hope you have a really good week in the mountains.

  3. Excellent month! I'm looking forward to your reviews for Nick and Norah and for American Gods.

    The Zen Leaf

  4. I love travelling to a place I've been to via books. :) Halfway to the Sky sounds awesome; I love mother-daughter bonding books.

  5. You can't get away from teaching, can you? It's always on the edge of your mind, right? I love that!

    Enjoy your vacation!

  6. I was a bit surprised to see that you listed Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist as one of the best books you've read so far this year. The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking that I would like it better as a movie. I haven't had a chance to see the movie to test that idea.

  7. The Little Reading Nook - I know this sounds cheesy, but I really feel lucky to have found a career that I love so much it doesn't feel like work.

    Scrap girl - Thanks :)) I'm back, fully rested, and filled with a suitcase of books. LOL.

    Amanda - :))

    Eva - Me too (mother/daughter books). I'm a sucker.

    Debnance - I love that about my job too! Thanks. :)

    Dani - Really? Gosh, I couldn't get enough of it. How funny. In fact, I had to immediately get naomi & ely's.


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