the book stack: where it’s been

If I’m gutsy-honest, the kind of honest that is see-through and stark and you wonder if people are still going to like you when you’re done being honest, then I’d say this:

I’m not reading the way people think I read.
This makes me feel like I’m not a worthy reader.
{Deep breath.}
There it is. I’m not the same reader as I was a year ago. A year ago I was reading 3-5 young adult books every week. A year ago I read a middle grade novel each week. A year ago I was absorbed in books about fiction writing. A year ago my kids and I were reading mass amounts of picture books daily. 
I supposed it shouldn’t be a surprise since so much of life has changed in the last six months with the adoption of our fourth child. Yet there’s a letting go of the way things were and an accepting of the way things are. And this is true not only for the mom-me, but for the reader-me too.
I’m still reading, just not the same things I was reading. Yet, I’m operating in the same circles as before and I feel fake. I feel like I’m not keeping up my end of the reading-deal. 
And if I’m still being gutsy-honest, this makes me feel like: 
I’m not a good enough reader, which makes me not a good writer or a good teacher or a good blogger.
Now I know there will be people on the other side of the screen shaking their heads because they see the messed-up logic in this thought process. And I know it too, in my head. But when I’m joining a conversation with readers like the kind of reader I used to be, it is easy to feel in my heart that I’m not worthy any more. It’s easy to believe I don’t have much to bring to the table.
What I’m realizing is I do have something to bring to the table. Although my reading life is full of adoption resources, books about adjustment and bonding and parenting children who have a history with out me, and it is overflowing with books about faith and miracles and stories of overcoming the hard by grace, and my reading this year has taken me through 68% of the bible, and even though my children are transitioning into more independent reading, I still am reading some about writing and some fiction and some picture books.
So perhaps my answer to the question:
is a little slimmer than before, but I still have an answer involving something from picture books to YA. And although when I join the conversation of what others are reading, I may have to be more selective about what goes in my book stack because I’m a different reader than before, it doesn’t mean I’m a worthless reader and it doesn’t mean I’m a fake writer and it doesn’t mean I’m a lousy teacher.
It simply means I’ve changed.
And that’s okay.
And now for the real purpose of the meme: Something I’m reading — 
Mr. Flux by Kyo Maclear + Matte Stephens (Kids Can Press, April 2013) was a book I needed to read this week. I love it when the timing of the book is undeniably perfect and you get a story perfectly in sync with your life. 
In the Author’s Note at the end of the book, we find the story is loosely based on a man named George Maciunas who was a Fluxus artist. Fluxus is a fancy word for change. The book is about a man who brings change to a community who prides itself in staying the same. 
I resonated with Mr. Flux and he reminded me change is good and those who are agents of change must protect themselves from cynicism and stagnation. Add in the whimsical illustrations and muted colors and I’m inspired to return to school and foster big change through small and seemingly insignificant changes.
This is a book I look forward to sharing with other instructional coaches as well as with teachers as we think about nudging our craft of teaching to constantly evolve and grow.

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6 Comments »

  1. It would be boring if we did the exact same things our whole life. When my children were small, I certainly didn't read as much as I do now! I read more in thewinterthan in the fall. It's good to mix things up, even when it's not quite your plan! And there are some teachers who don't read at all, so you're ahead of the game!

  2. I'm often changing what I do too, Ruth. Don't be too hard on yourself. Sometimes it would be fun to hear what others are reading besides for children, & I'm happy to hear some about that too. Love hearing about Mr. Flux-even the name is terrific!

  3. Life has a way of showing us what we need – even when we believe otherwise. I think it is perfectly fine to not be reading as much as others – you always have something to contribute. I'm off to find Mr. Flux – looks like a book I must have.

  4. I will have to check out Mr. Flux. I've been feeling a little off since I have been reading so much nonfiction this summer, titles that are helping me professionally and personally, but not my typical summer reads, but the just right reads for me now.

  5. I can so identify with this post, Ruth. Although I love the It's Monday! What Are You Reading? posts, I've never joined the discussion because I don't read nearly enough books to participate. Perhaps I should start the group…It's a new month! What did you finish last month?
    Your post sent me back into The Center of Everything (my latest read) to find Ruby's thinking about 'supposed to'. “She will wonder whether she had done what she was supposed to do…But most of the time, she will think that there really isn't a supposed to at all. That all she can do is her best at any particular moment.”

  6. Thanks for sharing a book I've never heard of and now want to read! Also, after I adopted my two boys (at ages 6 and 8) in May 2011, I barely read for about 3 months. And ever since then, my reading life is also very full of resources about parenting traumatized children. (My favorites so far: Katherine Leslie, Dave Ziegler, Daniel Hughes, Kim Golding.) I love what you say about that need to let go of the way things were and accept the way things are.