Goodbye November.

In previous years I wrote a mini series about books I was thankful for. This year you won’t find that. Just like you won’t find many reviews this year.

I am thankful for one book this year, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I milked this book for months, starting in January well into March maybe longer. Listening to the audio as I washed dishes, frustrated if Lazlo was actually ever going to start an adventure or just keep longing for one. I squeezed in 10-15 minutes of reading as Lazlo traveled to the mysterious land he had dreamed about. Then I stopped.

I stopped reading, just as many other educators stopped things that brought them joy, as we all drove headfirst into the new era of the digital classroom. 

I often thought back to Lazlo, vexed by his tale. 

In the trenches of zooming 6+ hours a day, I found time to savor the ending of Strange the Dreamer, not once but twice. Laini Taylor painted a beautiful story that broke my heart. 

People have found ways to calm their mind in many different ways during this pandemic. For me it has been yoga, books, tea and sleep. There have been weeks of this year where none of those things happened. Days when I sat in disbelief or sadness. But when I did make time for myself Lazlo, the strange dreamer, was there waiting to pull me back from the reading slump I fell into. 

Like Sarai, I found refuge in Lazlo’s whimsical dreams. I have a deep endearment for his character and the book as a whole, All thanks to weeks of lockdown, stay at home orders, quarantines, and whatever else has kept me around my house this year. As I read the last lines of Strange the Dreamer I groaned delightedly. How could Laini Taylor do this to me? Do this to Lazlo??? 

I replayed the last few lines in my head for weeks. 

“He nodded to Minya, and the space where his legend was gathering up words grew larger. Because this story was not over yet.”

In meetings, during pauses in my lessons, mid conversation with friends and coworkers I kept thinking, “What the hell was going to happen to Lazlo and Sarai??”

On Friday, November 20th 2020, I finally caught my breath from the insanity 2020 has unleashed upon the educational world. I sat down, curled up with Muse of Nightmares and read until the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t care about the technical issues, the zoom recordings, which websites were down, or the zillion other worries on my daily checklist. The never ending to do list finally hushed as I ventured back into the complexities of Weep.

I have read a few other book this year. 28 to be exactly. These were pre-COVID experiences. Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares have gotten me through this crazy year. I have read a few other books since Strange the Dreamer, but nothing can compare right now.

Laini Taylor thank you. Thank you for an escape, an adventure, a fantasy that was the most fulfilling read I have experienced this year.

Are you thankful for any books this year?


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