Not In Jersey Not In Jersey

Friday, August 26, 2016

What I’ve Been Reading #133

Library

For her summer reading for 6th grade, Gabbie read Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. As she’s been doing with books she enjoys, she asked me to read it when she was finished. This story is about a girl named Sal who takes a trip across the United States with her grandparents, following in the footsteps of her mother, who had recently left the family. While on the trip, Sal tells her grandparents the story of her friend Phoebe, whose mother had also recently disappeared.

“Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud of her country roots and the ‘Indian-ness in her blood,’ travels from Ohio to Idaho with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a ‘potential lunatic,’ and whose mother disappeared. As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold--the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.”

Sal’s grandparents have a lovely relationship with each other, and watching them allows Sal to learn about love, while she simultaneously learns to deal with grief. I imagine that Gabbie’s class will have many discussions regarding the lessons given in this book – one of which is that you don’t know a person until you “walk two moons in their moccasins.”


For my book club, the next book we are discussing is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. At first, I wasn’t sure that a somewhat lighter read would raise much of a book club discussion, but while I was reading, I realized I was very wrong.

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?). Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.”

Each of the characters in the book has something happening other than what is on the surface, and each of them is complex and thought provoking. Throughout the book, interspersed with the story which leads up to a very eventful school trivia night, are snippets of interviews with moms and dads from the school that is the center of the story. While the children deal with bullying and friendships, the parents form alliances and friendships of their own. What we know is that something awful happens at the trivia night, but until the book reaches that event, we don’t know exactly what occurred and can only guess from the story being told. As the story unraveled, I found myself gasping and greatly transfixed by what occurred. I can’t wait to discuss the book with my book club!

What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rhode Island–Block Island

I did a lot of traveling this summer. A few days after we got back from Wisconsin, I hopped a plane to NJ and met up with a good friend for a girls’ trip to Block Island. I first heard of Block Island about 15 years ago when a band I loved was playing there. I was unable to attend the concert, but I’ve wanted to visit Block Island ever since. And now I finally got to! We spent our first night in NJ and in the morning we took the train to CT, where we caught the ferry to the Block. The water was rough that day and I was lucky I had my anti-seasick pills!

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We stayed in a cute little inn called the Sea Breeze.

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We rented bicycles from the inn, as bikes are a major way people get around on the island. I don’t know when the last time I biked was before this, and I was a little nervous! I think I did pretty well for someone my age though! My friend is in much better shape than I am (she is training for a marathon right now!) and she was very patient with me too. We took our bikes to the lighthouse on the southern point of the island. I introduced her to geocaching, and I took pictures!

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We checked out the beach for a little while. The water was freezing!

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On the opposite side from the beach is a large pond where boats come in and the water there was much warmer!

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We tried to visit another beach but it was a bit farther off the road than we thought it would be, and by then I was tiring out from all the biking!

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We explored a lot of the east side of the island while we were there, but we never made it all the way to the north point, where there is another lighthouse. If I ever go back, I want to get there too!

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Did I mention the beach was beautiful??

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Our weekend was lovely! Have you ever been to Block Island?