#AMonthofFaves Underrated Books aka A Jaclyn Moriarty Appreciation Post

Today’s prompt is underrated books, and both of my books are by the same author, so you know that means you should (a) read both immediately and then (b) check out more of her books.

And by her, I mean Jaclyn Moriarty, of course.

I have talked up her Colors of Madeleine trilogy (read it!) and Feeling Sorry for Celia (read it!), but she published two (two!) books in the past year (okay, fine, one was last October, but I read it in December, so close enough), and they are both woefully underrated.

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It’s Monday! Books!

Whew, I am all caught up on S3 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and it got a little dark there, but OMG, I am in love with the fact that Bow’s dad’s name is LANCE, and it is the greatest gift TV has bestowed on me these past few weeks.

Well that and the twins from Sunnyside. They are amazing. Watch Sunnyside on Hulu, y’all! It’s a trip. Because the twiiiiiiiins.

I read some books:

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My New Normal

1. I didn’t post an update last week because I told myself I hadn’t really done anything, which was insane because my friend and I were seatfillers at the Creative Emmys. I mean, that is literally a thing I did, and I was all Kanye shrug about it. I don’t even understand HOW when I sat directly behind Amy Sherman-Palladino (she offered to scrunch down in her seat so her hat wouldn’t block my view), Phylicia Rashad basically walked right by me (okay, okay, she was like three rows away, but OH MY GOD, I almost passed out from the proximity), and Sterling K. Brown came by to say hello to someone in our section. Just, you know, stopped by for a chat.

Also, ASP and her husband brought their Emmys back to their seats, and those things are beautiful and massive and can definitely be used as weapons. So, you know, that is also a thing that I can now say: I saw an Emmy up close and personal. Also, a Wayans brother. (It was Shawn.)

2. I posted a couple of things:

3. My friend and I also went to a taping of Kelly Clarkson’s show, which was quite delightful. I mean, it’s Kelly. She is adorable. It was a lot of fun, though it was FUH-REEZING in the studio. In fact, the set photographer was wearing an actual winter coat, and I may have, very classily, put on my leggings under my dress as soon as we got in the studio.

My friend was all, “Seriously, you couldn’t do that all those times you went to the bathroom?”

To which I could only reply, “It wasn’t cold then!”

So anyway, if you want to see me in the audience of Kelly’s show, it’s the episode with Mike Colter that will be airing this Tuesday, Oct. 1. It’s syndicated! Or you can watch it here.

4. I also went to see a stage production August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, which I was not familiar with at all. It was awesome. I really need to read more of his stuff. More plays in 2020, perhaps?

5. And, of course, I read some books:

EducatedEducated by Tara Westover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very well-written memoir and super engaging. I listened to the audio (my first Julia Whelan, which is surprising because she is pretty prolific, and fantastic), and was immediately hooked.

This is also VERY triggering, which I was not prepared for. I was just so not prepared. But I did feel compelled to finish the whole thing, which just goes back to how engaging the story is. So, there’s also that.

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The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, #1)The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had, surprisingly, never read this book before so was shocked that Bess, George, and Ned weren’t in it. What madness is this???

I liked that, though! I mean, it’s a little slow to start, but Nancy is truly On Her Own, so that is really appealing. I mean, my girl legit saves herself from every single scrape she is in while finessing an entire community including the dad of the girls who hate her, so queens gonna queen, basically.

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13 Movies, 2 TV shows, and a Book

I read exactly one book in August, which brings my summer break reading total to five. So, there you go.

What I did do, apparently, was spend my time watching TV (I’m all caught up on Netflix with Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience; I also caught up on the last six or so episodes of Jane the Virgin–I’ll miss the show, but I’m glad it ended when it did, on the showrunner’s terms) and I have seen a ton of movies.

But first, the book:

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The past month, in brief

Whew, this past semester has been a bear. Also, it ended last Monday, I turned in my grades that Tuesday, and then the summer semester started that Wednesday. Basically, I was a mess for the past month because not only was I dealing with end of semester stuff, but I also went to a conference and a training and also a friend’s birthday out of town. Yes, that means I make poor choices (just the timing of the travel, not the events [and especially not the birthday trip]), but it also means I will make better choices in the future. Let us hope.

Along with the semester ending and a new semester beginning, I did read some books:

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Five Random Things

1. This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and I want to give a shout out to all my colleagues and teacher friends past and present. They inspire me every day and help me in so many ways. I was going to try to list just how they do that, but I realize that it would just be too much to catalog because it’s just that much and that often. I am just truly grateful to have so many awesome people in my life.

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The Teacher Becomes the Student Who Be Clubbin’: January Wrap-Up

1. I went to a club with my friend last week because it was 90s’ night. First of all, the start time for the event was 10 p.m. AT NIGHT. And yes, I said that like the old person that I am.

Her: Did you nap?

Me: Of course! I have to take a nap just to make it to bedtime.

Anyway, we had fun, but the music was not great. We found at when we got there that it was a mix of 90s/00s, and at the end of the night, we both thought of songs that should have been played.

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Patti LaBelle and Step Aerobics

Today is the last day of class before the end of NaNoWriMo, and my students are very studiously working on their drafts, so I figured now is as good a time as any to update.

1. First, let me just say that watching my creative writing students write during NaNo has been such a delight. They come in and get right to it. Headphones on, laptops or notebooks open, and away they go. I have put a prompt up on the board every day (some requested it), but I have no idea if they’re using them–I just know that they’re intensely focused on writing. It is a joy to behold.

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All I can think of is Bob Barker in Happy Gilmore

`I was going to try to write a separate IMWAYR (It’s Monday! What are you reading?) and Slice of Life Tuesday post, but then I realized I haven’t worked on my NaNoWriMo project in a week and also the thought of opening the editor to post again wore me out, so I’m just back to my once a week post instead. It’s probably better for everyone this way.

At any rate, for the past few days, I kept considering canceling my Thanksgiving Day plans so that I could sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself, so I should have known I was about to have/in the middle of a flare up. It has been pretty bad in that it’s not more terrible than usual but in that I had some symptoms I hadn’t had before, which left me feeling pretty awful last night–bad enough that I went to the doctor today. Turns out it’s probably gastritis. So I am treating that (or will be once my prescription is filled), and, if it doesn’t clear up within a week, I get to make an appointment with the gastroenterologist. 

While I was dealing with all of that today, I also got tickets to a taping of The Price Is Right in December, so, you know, that’s one way to turn your day around.

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This has been a week

First, I had an IBS episode, which was not as bad as you might think except it was terrible because I was an emotional, weepy mess. If you know me at all, you know I don’t tend toward the emotional OR the weepy, so I thought I was probably dying (this is not really an understatement as I always feel like I am effectively losing my mind if I cry for more than, like, five minutes especially if there’s no evident cause). Anyway, it turns out my instincts about living to regret the croissant and many cookies I ate last Friday were right on and also the emotional response can be explained by science.

Then, Dana Johnson came to visit our school as part of its writer in residence program. (This is a good thing, btw. She was amazing, and when I asked my students the most important thing they learned this week, quite a few of them said “Just try even if you think you’ll fail,” which was a thing she mentioned in her talk. So! Yay for that!) Right, so that’s good, but her visit also led to me having a slight existential crisis because she’s in charge of the PhD in writing at her institution and while I absolutely am not interested in finishing the PhD in literature, the idea of a PhD in creative writing still excites me. Is it possible? Maybe. But do I want to devote the time to it? Who knows?

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