Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Upcoming Buddy Read: The Book of Unknown Americans!

I did something exciting!*

*Exciting given the very limited amount of exciting things available to me at the moment. Don’t actually get too excited.

Last time I bought a bunch of books, I challenged myself to try to pick a few out that I thought my friend Elise would also enjoy. (Hi Elise!) I sent her a few options, and she picked one that caught her attention. I bought us both copies and eagerly awaited hers to get to her, two states away. And now we’ll be able to read it together!

This might seem like a little thing, but it’s something I’m super looking forward to. Since we live hours away from each other, we don’t get to see each other much. We have other ways to keep in touch and have over the years since we met in college (even when I was across the world in Korea!). Now, though, we’ll have another little way to connect.

Our reading habits overlap some genres, but we also branch out into different directions. While my head is firmly in the clouds of fantasy and magic, Elise has introduced me to some really thoughtful and beautifully written books that she fell in love with. Because of this, it was a fun challenge right from the start to find something that she and I would both enjoy. A little piece of proof like “hey, I know what you like, I gotchu!” (100% platonic though 😂).

She now has her copy, and mine is up next after I finish a library book I’ve been waiting for. Isn’t it always right when you have something else to read that those books come through? *eye roll* I’m excited to chat about the book with her, and have high hopes for the book itself! Looks for a follow up post on our thoughts after we both finish it up. 😁

The Chosen Book

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery–the piece of the American Dream on which they’ve pinned all their hopes–will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she’s sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

Posted in Chatty

Book club… on hold

Enter the virus

Well. Remember like two months ago when I said I was going to start a book club at work? Uh… considering everyone is now laid off or working from home for at least a month, those plans are pretty firmly on hold.

To be fair, I definitely procrastinated starting this up. Bureaucracy is a quick way to kill enthusiasm (as most teachers know), and it certainly stifled me for a while too. But then people started asking when they’d get the sign up email, and telling me how excited they were, and so on… and I just felt bad for not doing it for these people who had been so thrilled by the idea.

And, the week that responses were to come in with signups, I got a great turnout, and then we had mass firings and tons of cutbacks and everyone went to work from home for an indeterminate amount of time and group gatherings were made illegal and social distancing has become standard. The gathering of people to share food and laugh together is officially on hold.

The backup plan

My NEW plan, for the time being anyway, is to set up a bookclub space online so we can at least start getting to know each other and chatting about whatever we are currently reading. I’m thinking of using Goodreads, primarily just because I’m reasonably familiar with it, but I know their groups forums aren’t very user friendly. Personally I kind of hate them. I’m looking for other ideas — chat-centered ones like discord or slack, and other book-focused sites as well. Any suggestions, y’all?

I’ll see how many people are interested and what platforms they already use, then go from there. But wow, yeah, did this ever time out badly. 😂 If you’re in a bookclub, what are you all doing for the moment? Is it an online-only focus, or do you typically meet in person?

Posted in Chatty

I’m starting a book club at work!

Well, that (kinda) worked out!

Made the recommendation to our HR department on their annual survey for “things to do” and they went for it! However… they’re only providing snacks (books are still on us) and giving the group time in the schedule for our large meeting area. I’d really been hoping to do more, and make it a collaboration with a non-profit bookshop run by at-risk youth, but I can still try to do that part on my own, I suppose!

So essentially, *I’m* starting a book club, and it will happen to be with people I work with. 😁 I have zero experience with this, as I’m usually too flighty in my reading to commit to a book for a book club. I’m also not always interested in the choices book clubs tend to pick, but I guess if I can give some direction for what books will be voted on to read, that solves my issue? We’ll have to see! Definitely throw me some ideas for books you think would work well! The focus is on books set in countries outside the United States or primarily about another culture (for example, immigrants to the US but with details about their home country and lifestyle).


Have any of you ever started a book club before, at work or otherwise? I’m trying to work out the best way to phrase the sign up invitations, so any advice is appreciated! What would get you to join? I’ll be updating as this project progresses — and hopefully none of the updates are that no one signed up and it failed completely! 😬