November 28, 2010

In My Mailbox (29)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded, or picked up from the library.


From the bookstore (for a total of $3!)


Nothing in the mail or from the library  for me this week. I'm finishing up a few library books this week and then I'm sure I'll pick up some more! 


Happy reading everyone!

November 24, 2010

Wednesday Web Wanderings (30)

This is a collection of interesting book- and library-related things I've come across online this week. Check 'em out!


Fun Video Find: 


Happy reading & happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2010

It's Monday: What Are You Reading? (26)



What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey where bloggers gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.


It's been a few weeks since I participated in this meme. Mondays have been crazy for me lately! I wake up at 6 am, babysit my boyfriend's cousins until they get on the bus, go to a workout class (or take a nap!), shower, drive an hour to work, work a full day, drive an hour home, and then do a few hours of homework before going to bed around midnight and getting up at 6 am the next morning. Somewhere in there I manage to eat and walk my dog too. (How do people who have children work and go to grad school? Hats off to you - I don't think I could do it!) Thankfully I don't have this schedule every day. Mondays are just extra tough! Luckily this week my professors are scaling back a bit on the homework in honor of Thanksgiving and I have a little time to relax in the evening. :) 


Over the past couple of weeks....


I finished: 


Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (audiobook)
Along for the Ride


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


Good Girls Don't Get Fat by Robyn Silverman (eBook)
Good Girls Don't Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It

I am currently reading: 

Math Doesn't Suck by Danica McKellar
Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (audiobook)
Keeping the Moon

Glass by Ellen Hopkins
Glass

Next up: 

Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
Chains Forge (Seeds of America)

I also set aside a few books temporarily, and I intend to finish those over winter break.

November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (28)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded, or picked up from the library.




In the mail: 
 - Kick by Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman (ARC - HarperTeen - releases February 2011)


From the bookstore: 
- Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


Free eBook from Barnes & Noble (not pictured): 
- Skinny Cocktails by Jaclyn Wilson Foley and Ray Foley


From the library: 
- Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Amelia's War by Ann Rinaldi


Historical fiction week is coming up after Thanksgiving in my Materials for Youth class. I haven't decided what I'm reading yet, but I picked up a few choices from the library!


What's in your mailbox? 

November 20, 2010

Review - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Recently my Materials for Youth class had contemporary/realistic YA fiction week. We only had to read one book, but I was so excited about the theme that I read two! Here are my thoughts on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: 


According to Horn Book magazine, "The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally--and hilariously and triumphantly--bent in this novel about coming of age on the rez" (R.S., 2007, p. 563-564). Considering the author's experiences with film, poetry, and comedy, I'm not surprised that he was able to skillfully blend these elements into an excellent story. 

The dramatic monologue reveals itself in Junior's diary entries. He is brutally honest and candid, holding nothing back when it comes to describing his feelings about different situations or characters. It almost felt to me as if I were sitting down with Junior and listening to him tell me his life story. 

Junior often describes things in his life in a poetic way. For example, he says, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats" (p. 6). These metaphors evoke deep emotion and really get across the message of how important Junior's cartoons are to him. It's how he copes with all of the terrible things that have happened in his life. 

Another way that Junior copes with tragedy is through humor. He's especially good at throwing out one-liners. I laughed out loud when Junior stood up to Mrs Jeremy by saying, "The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not" (p. 177). 

This is a story that both teens and adults should read. I think it sends a great message to teens that no matter how high the odds are stacked against you, you should never give up on your dreams. Junior was determined to get a good education, despite the enormous obstacles he faced. Adults can learn an important lesson from Junior's story as well. While most of the adults in Junior's life were poor role models, Mr. P. and Coach believed in Junior and encouraged him. After Coach says, "You can do it," Junior reacts by saying, "Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from an adult?" (p. 189). Adults should not forget the impact they can have on teens just by believing in them. Junior even draws a picture imagining who his parents would have been if somebody paid attention to their dreams (p. 12). 

Alexie, S. (2010). Official Sherman Alexie Biography.  Falls Apart. Retrieved from http://www.fallsapart.com/biography.html 

S., R. (2007). The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indiana. Horn Book Magazine, 83(5), 563-564. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. 




November 19, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Author Visit #5

This week my library welcomed another local author as part of our NaNoWriMo series. Susan Crandall, author of women's fiction and suspense, spoke to our patrons about common writing mistakes and how to avoid them. She gave them many practical tips and answered a ton of questions for the aspiring authors in the audience. Everyone I know who has read Susan Crandall raves about how great her books are, and I look forward to reading them!



Happy reading! (And writing if you're doing NaNoWriMo this year!)

November 17, 2010

Wednesday Web Wanderings (29)

This is a collection of interesting book- and library-related things I've come across online this week. Check 'em out!
A photo from my trip to Shakespeare and Co. in Paris :) 
Happy reading!

November 16, 2010

Review - Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (audiobook)

Last week was contemporary/realistic YA fiction week in my Materials for Youth class - my favorite week so far! For my first book of the week, I chose a Sarah Dessen novel because people are always raving about how great her books are. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and I certainly wasn't disappointed! 


Seventeen-year-old Auden has been an insomniac ever since her parents began fighting. Her sleep problems have continued even after their divorce. Auden is highly-motivated, a trait she gets from her scholarly parents. The summer before she leaves for college, Auden goes to a small beach-resort town to stay with her father, her new stepmother, and a newborn baby who just won't stop crying. Auden's father and stepmother fight a lot, but she tries to stay out of it most of the time. Auden intends to spend much of the summer preparing for her college courses, but her plans quickly change when she befriends a group of carefree local teens who bring her out of her shell. One boy in particular, Eli, shares her nocturnal habits, and together they embark on a quest to help Auden experience everything she's missed out on by being so focused on achievement. Eli has been grieving the loss of a friend, but finds that he can open up to Auden. For awhile, everything seems to be going great, but when her father and stepmother's fighting worsens, Auden's memories of her parents' divorce resurface and really shake her up. 


Along for the Ride was my first Sarah Dessen novel, and I'll definitely be reading more of her work! The characters felt very real, and I identified with Auden because she reminded me of myself as a teen. (Plus, Eli is exactly the type of guy I would have had a crush on in high school. Swoon!) I think a lot of readers can probably relate to the relationship between Auden and her parents, too. At the beginning of the novel, Auden's parents seem to be more concerned with her academic development than her emotional development. She missed out on a social life in high school because she was so busy studying. I loved watching Auden grow over the course of the summer as she learned more about herself and opened up to new possibilities. The audiobook narrator captured Auden's voice well. It took a long time to listen to (the unabridged version has 11 CDs), but I kept listening because it was such a great story and I cared about the characters. 






P.S. The book cover is adorable, but I don't think the models match the descriptions of Eli and Auden very well. Does anyone else get bothered by this on book covers, or is it just me being too picky? :)

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