Monday, July 29, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After

It's been awhile but today I'm back with Marvelous Middle Grade Monday . . .

One of my book secrets: I love it when I'm late to a series, especially when I'm so late the series is complete! In fact, this is how I read the Harry Potters. By the time I began reading them, Book 7 was already out, and I read Books 1-7 in about two weeks.

The same is true of today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday picks. Only these aren't exactly a series. From what I understand, the author, Kirby Larson, didn't plan on writing the second book--at first. It was only when she received so many questions about, "What happened to Hattie later?" that she decided to write the second.

Hattie Big Sky is a Newbery Honor from 2007, which I'd heard of, of course, but never read. And then I started hearing about Hattie Ever After, which released earlier this year. So I grabbed both from my local library and started reading. And you should too, if you haven't already.

They fit that "could be middle grade or YA" category, but Hattie is sixteen when the stories begin, obviously more YA in age, so my library houses both books in the YA section. But truly, any reader of any age will adore Hattie--both the character of Hattie and Hattie's stories. And what's also to love is that Hattie's brave -- it's what I find most endearing about her. Someone who heads off to Montana in 1918 to prove up on her uncle's homestead and then moves to San Francisco in the early 1920s to be a journalist in a time when women didn't "work" is someone to admire.

For more middle grade recommendations follow the links on Shannon Messenger's blog.
Happy middle grade reading! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Resuming the Regular

Beginning a post like this is difficult. Because sometimes, even for a writer, the words just aren't there. At least the right words don't seem to be. But words are what I have, no matter how inadequate mine feel right now.

My last post told about my beloved mother-in-law's Grade 4 brain aneurysm. The day after I posted that entry, three weeks ago now, she died. The bleeding in her brain was too severe. The damage too complete. And after an eleven day fight, her body gave out too.

As you all know, because none of us is immune from tragedy, time moves along. Even after a tragedy. Those days where regular things must be attended to. The laundry must be washed. Meals must be prepared. Jobs must be returned to. Kids activities resume. Even bathrooms must be cleaned. But there's comfort in the regular, and after all the irregular, the regular is a good place to be.

But at the same time, when you're doing all your regular stuff, like walking your dog, you see people zoom by in their cars, unaware of your tragedy. Unaware of your pain. Unaware of your life shift. And you think, "How does regular life simply keep going?" But it does. And I know those people zooming by in their cars have their own tragedies, their own pain, their own ways that life has shifted. Things that I am unaware of.

So that's where I find myself right now. Resuming the regular . . . but the regular feels both comforting and discomforting all at once.