GMS Book Fair

Graham Middle School’s annual book fair is coming Friday, Nov. 9 – Nov. 16th

Here’s an opportunity to do some holiday shopping and stock up for the school year’s reading requirements.

The Scholastic bookfair raises money for Graham’s library. Fun events are planned including:

Reading Challenge – Last year, our community bought a total of 26 million words (632 books). Asst. Principal Mr. Chesley is challenging the Graham students to a reading word challenge. There will also be a pizza party for the highest homeroom sales, Breakfast with Books, Booktalks on GMSTV and more.

You can find out more at the Scholastic website.

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The Passage trilogy, part two: The Twelve

Two years ago, I started reading Justin Cronin’s first novel, ‘The Passage’, but didn’t finish it right away. (It’s 900+ pages and I had to take back the library book). But it stuck with me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I bought a copy and finished it. I was so glad I did. He has written a post-apocalyptic vision that is frightening, but very compelling. He won numerous awards and accolades for the book, which was a best seller.

Now, he’s finally releasing book two of the Passage trilogy. Called “The Twelve,” this installment is a less-daunting length (592 pages). It takes place in the present day and also 100 years in the future. Cronin says that while ‘The Passage” was inspired by his 8 year old daughter’s challenge to write the story of “a girl who saves the world” as well as an experience his family had fleeing Houston in front of Hurricane Rita, he says that the second book was inspired by all the strong women in his life. This makes it even more interesting, in my opinion.

Justin Cronin will be speaking at the Books, Inc. at Opera Plaza, San Francisco, tomorrow night, Nov. 7 at 7pm. He will also be at Kepler’s in Menlo Park, on Thursday, Nov. 8th at 7:30pm.

Something other than elections

Rather than sitting and chewing my nails waiting for election results, I’ve been looking for a new book to read, a new event to talk about. I discovered that one of my favorite authors, Jane Smiley, is coming to town tomorrow to talk about her new middle grade novel, “Pie in the Sky.”

Pie in the Sky

Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winner for her book, “A Thousand Acres” was published in 1991; she has written more than a dozen novels, a short story collection and several works of non-fiction. What I didn’t know is that she’s been writing a series of children’s novels about horses for the last several years.

When I was a young girl, I was obsessed with horses. The walls of my room were covered in horse pictures, rather than photos of rock stars or movie stars. I went to summer camp just so I could ride, even getting a job in the camp kitchen so that I could stay longer. I would have loved these books as a girl. I look forward to reading them now.
Jane will be at Books, Inc. in Palo Alto tomorrow night, November 7 at 6:30 pm to talk about her newest book “Pie in the Sky.”

“Abby Lovitt doesn’t realize how unprepared she is when she takes her beloved horse, True Blue, to a clinic led by the most famous equestrian anyone knows. The biggest surprise, though, is that Sophia, the girl who never makes a mistake, suddenly makes so many that she stops riding. Who will ride her horse? Abby’s dad seems to think it will be Abby. Pie in the Sky is the most expensive horse Abby has ever ridden. But he is proud and irritable, and he takes Abby’s attention away from the continuing mystery that is True Blue.

And then there’s high school—Abby finds new friends, but also new challenges, and a larger world that sometimes seems strange and intimidating. She begins to wonder if there is another way to look at horses, people, and life itself.

Accompanied by the beautiful imagery of 1960s Northern California, Abby’s charming mix of innocence and wisdom guide us through Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley’s latest middle-grade horse novel.”

Nanowhat?

In just two hours and three minutes, give or take, NaNoWriMo will have started here in Mountain View. What is NanoWriMo?   Glad you asked.

It stands for National Novel Writing Month. November, to most everyone else.

NaNoWriMo    www.nanowrimo.org

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. If you do, you win. What do you win? Bragging rights. A little logo to put on your blog. A new addiction. That’s all.

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for years. It’s been going on since 1999 and I thought about participating for several years before I did, for the first time, in 2010. I won that year, finishing the first draft of a novel.

I tried working on the second draft, which was a complete rewrite, in 2011 and got about half way, before family obligations and a few plot issues got in the way and I stopped.

I told myself that I didn’t have time to participate this year. But the draw is too strong. I think I’m going to try and fit it in to my already full schedule. This year I want to write a crazy novel that has lots of action, lots of odd things happening, lots of fun. I’m going to be a seat-of-the-pants writer and have fun with it. I’ll keep you posted about how that goes.

For anyone else who needs to work with a deadline, or wants to have lots of people keeping track of their ability to put words on the page, or who likes to hang out in coffee shops and Denny’s with other writers, or is just plain crazy, join us. Maybe you’ll get hooked, too.