Sometimes one week morphs into the next and I am scarcely aware of it. Here it is Monday again and time for #IMWAYR. Thank you so much Jen at Mentor Texts and Kellee and Rickie at Unleashing Readers for hosting this weekly event. Last week went to hell in a handbasket and I didn't have time to read everyone's posts. I'll try to do better this week.
This I know is true.
There is a lot of undignified business involved in getting old.
My mother ended up in the hospital a week ago Sunday. It's been a hell of a week that ended a hell of a month. Mom's cancer has metastasized to many different parts of her body with an ensuing increase in pain. About a month ago, she was prescribed opiates to deal with this. Opiates can leave even the most high functioning individuals goofy, but for those, like my mother, who have had a traumatic brain injury, they can be completely debilitating. Confusion, hallucinations, and inability to monitor her basic needs have been part of the nightmare. On top of this, she was being over medicated. We are actually thankful that Mom ended up in the hospital. I took a few days off work this week to find opportunities to talk face to face with her doctor and the social worker there. The good news is that they are attempting to get her pain medication sorted out, are aware of how confused she is, and won't be releasing her until they are certain that she will be returning to a place where she is safe, comfortable, and well looked after. I wish this meant I could relax, but it only means that our biggest worry is appeased.
Our family lost our father in an instant. We are losing our mother in increments. I'm not sure which is worse.
I needed reading to be a refuge for me this week. I was listening to An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir but I couldn't handle the brutality of it. It would probably be a challenging read for me anytime, but I had begun to dread returning to it because it was exacerbating my already over stressed state. I finally abandoned it and started listening to The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall. But honestly, what I've craved most this week was sitting in front of the TV screen watching mysteries and knitting. I've been carrying The Pirate Code by Heidi Schulz around with me, but because my mother is aware enough to want to interact with me when I visit her everyday, it has mostly remained in my bag.
The more I read of the Penderwicks, the more I love them. They truly are classic modern family stories. After talking to some fans at school, I discovered that most of them were introduced to the Penderwicks by a parent reading it to them. Then they became fans in their own right and have continued to read the books. I'm going to have to work on parents to get them to read these to their children.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.
There is so much I love about this book. It's a coming of age tale that focuses on ordinary teens living their lives against a backdrop of supernatural events. It's a sly poke at all the chosen one narratives. I laughed out loud many times. Each chapter begins with a short summary of what is going on in the lives of the "indie kids" who are involved in battles with immortals in an effort to save the world. Meanwhile, Mikey and his friends and family are just hoping it won't interfere in their lives too much. The real battle for them is mental illness. Mikey has OCD and his sister has an eating disorder. However, there is nothing really angst ridden about this. In fact, the ending leaves readers with hope that each of them will be able to deal with their problem. Mostly I am in awe of the sweetness of this story. The relationships between the friends and the siblings is filled with love and respect and kindness: kind of like it is for the most part in the real world.
I was a bit nervous about tackling this one because the last Patrick Ness novel I read was The Knife of Never Letting Go, which traumatized me. This title makes me determined to find time to read A Monster Calls.
I know I read more picture books than I recorded in Goodreads, but I honestly can't remember the titles... I went shopping for books this week and picked up a few. I can't help but notice that half of the picture books deal with loss.
This is a lovely story of a boy who befriends an alien. Everything is wonderful until he realizes that something is wrong with his alien. It takes the boy a while to figure out what is making his new friend so unhappy. I love this delightful message about having the courage to say goodbye and let go even when you don't want to.
This is the perfect book to read to children who are facing the loss of someone important to them. I love Parr's comments at the end of the book where he says.
"Of all my books, this was the hardest to write - because it's never easy to say goodbye."
This book gave me shivers as I read it. Sylvie, a cat, wakes her owner, a young child, while the world is still dark. She drags the child outside where everything is in shadow, yet "the dark is soft and comfortable." The flowers are devoid of color. Animals of all sorts murmur and whisper, "It's coming" and "It's almost here." This is a beautiful build up for what ensues. The only color in most of the book is in the cat's green eyes. This makes the ending even more spectacular.
I read this one at the bookstore. A penguin searches for a friend he met who loves to dance. It was ok, but it just didn't scream pick me! pick me! And so I left it behind.
Oh this book is just so so much fun. A very cranky bear who loves to eat eggs, ends up with a batch of freshly hatched goslings that imprint on him. I love how this cranky bear slowly but surely undergoes a transformation.
I'm trying to get into Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kim Baker but it's not really working for me. I'll give it a bit more energy before I decide to abandon it though. I'm continuing to work on Heidi Schulz’s The Pirate Code. I've just started listening to Stella by Starlight.
I think I'll rummage through these stacks of books to see what strikes my fancy.