What Are You Reading?

This last week was absolutely insane when it came to me trying to decide what to read. I think I have hit the treacherous point in my to-read list… There are just so many books on the list at this point that I am having a really hard time picking and choosing what I want. I tried going in order, but that just made me unhappy because there were so many other choices. Now I’m going out of order and I am still unhappy… my life is chaos. I think I may need to do some literary Spring cleaning.

Anyways, this last week I tried to keep with my theme of trying to mix it up a bit and I decided to read a play. For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, I’m sure you are aware of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. For those of you who aren’t, I’m going to break this down for you a bit.

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If you’re not a Harry Potter fan and you are unaware of the story line here is a quick rundown: baby Harry Potter is sent to live with his aunt and uncle after his parents are brutally murdered. Harry lives through many years of neglect until he comes of age and is informed that he is actually a wizard. Like many of the young witches and wizards out there, Harry is sent to a 7 year long wizarding program at Hogwarts. Throughout those 7 years, Harry learns about the wizarding world, his powers, himself, and he goes on many adventures in hope of defeating the wizard who killed his parents. There, simple as that. I fell in love with the Harry Potter series at a young age, I read the books and I own all the movies.

When I first heard about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them I was a bit skeptical because I didn’t know if another tale based in this wizarding world would live up to Harry Potter’s tale. I put it off and I even went against my own rule and I saw the movie before I even picked up the book. I thought the film was great, so the book had to be better, right? I really like how it’s actually based years and years before Harry was even born. There is no issues with the stories crossing and there isn’t any comparison between the two protagonists. Newt creates his own story. I also really like how we get a deeper look into the wonderful creatures that also live in J.K. Rowling’s magical world. She put a lot of time into these creatures and they actually get a chance to shine as we get to know them better.

I’m not finished with this piece yet, but I really look forward to wrapping it up. Since this is written in the format of a play, there is a lot of other factors to take in. So far, I am really enjoying it!

 

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Social Media and Literature

We live in a world that is slowly being dominated by technology and social media. To many, the only way to get connected is through some online source. You need to tell somebody something? Send them an IM. You want people to come to your party? Create an online invitation. Shopping? Grab your computer. Looking for something new to read? You can find new books just about anywhere online.

While older generations may be struggling to keep up with all the online chaos, the younger generations have the cyber world down and sitting patiently in their back pocket. With that being said, young adults can do just about anything their heart desires with technology.

If you’re like me, and you love to become submerged in the magical world of literature, then social media and technology may be a tool of great use to you. Many would argue that technology is something distracts a reader from their books. This is one of the more stone aged misconceptions that kind of make me nuts. Technology does not distract from the literary world, but I would argue that it opens up doors to the literary world that we did not have access to before.

For example, with the use of social media, readers have access to book reviews from bloggers on WordPress and microbloggers on Twitter. They can find books based on their interests through media sources such as Pinterest and Good Reads. And when they finally pick a book out of the wide variety of choices, they can download them with one simple click. And for those technologically advanced readers who still prefer to read out of a book, ordering those books are so much easier than going out and searching through book stores.

Personally, when it comes to books, my favorite online source for finding a new read is Pinterest. My Pinterest is already set up with my interests and things I could be interested in. When it comes to books, it pulls from a number of genres and I always find something that looks interesting.

Not Hating The Hate U Give

hydehomeworkI know this picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post. If you’re like me, and you have a serious case of the Mondays, you may enjoy looking at some cute things to brighten up the mood a bit. So I present to you, my cat, Hyde, who decided to come help me with my homework.

Anyways, as many of you know, I have been reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for some time now. My book club, Reading Between the Wines, decided this would be a good choice and this is the third book we have completed as a group. It’s hard to think of anything bad to say about this novel. Though it was lengthier than most of the books I have been reading for this course, it is by far one of the better books I have picked up.

Let’s dig into the plot a bit… Our main protagonist, Starr, who is a young, minority woman living in two contrasting worlds. She is constantly torn between a poverty stricken, mostly black neighborhood, and the more privileged Garden Heights, where she lives and attends school. Early on in the novel, Starr attends a party that is out of her safety and comfort zone. As if the tension wasn’t enough, the party gets shot up. Starr manages to escape with one of her friends, Khalil. When they are making their getaway, Khalil is pulled over and what seems like a simple stop quickly turns into something that will change Starr’s life. Khalil is shot and killed by the police officer that stops them. The rest of the novel is basically about Starr coping with the incident while trying to lead two separate lives. There are issues involving identity, activism, and friendship. The development of Starr throughout the novel is amazing, it’s interesting to see how she grows into herself as you turn the pages.

I think this novel was a good choice because it covers some real world issues with gun violence and race that are really relevant to the things going on around us today. The only thing I can say is, since I am not submerged in this type of lifestyle, I found the novel decently hard to relate to. It’s always very eye opening to read novels such as this because, while I know situations like this do happen, I’ve never seen nor experienced them first hand.

I hear that they are turning this book into a movie here soon! I definitely think it’ll be good, but I also think it’ll be interesting to see how others will react to it considering the controversial topic!

Anyways, I hope you all have a good Monday!

Another Round of Book Love

As we continue to flip through the pages of Book Love, I learn more and more about reading with my future students. Most of us in this Adolescent Literature course are future teachers. At this point, we are used to working in the classroom, but what happens when the classroom is our own? As I was looking through my classmates blogs for this week I came across a blog that really kind of stuck with me. In this post, my fellow YA Literature blogger, @alexmmarker, reflects on his anxieties when it comes time for him to teach his own class. With me being in the same situation I don’t know if I could relate to anything more. I’ll post a link to Alex’s blog at the bottom of this post.

“It was only with this chapter of Book Love that I finally felt like I had an answer. In the essentials listed, the one that impacted me so much was “Remember how important you are.” In all of the trying to plan for curriculum, account for classroom management, and the various other technical elements involved in preparing for teaching, I had forgotten why I wanted to teach in the first place. The personal interaction you have with your students is what makes you a good teacher more than anything. If my students see that I care about the subject of English, it will give them a reason to not just dismiss it as another boring class.”

-alexmmarker

Though I do have many anxieties of my own when it comes to finally teaching, I don’t think I could have picked a better career for myself. I’m very passionate about what I want to be doing and I am determined to get there. I think these worries are good for the soul. Even though it may seem overly and unnecessarily stressful right now, I believe that it’ll help me be a better teacher in the long run by learning how to grow away from these worries and building my confidence. Classes such as this Adolescent Literature course and reading books such as Book Love are all preparation. You learn so much. This is the time to grow, and those are just a couple of the guides. One day, hopefully I’ll get to serve as a guide to my own students.

Something that I have really grown to appreciate about Book Love is the consistency. The entire book is pretty self explanatory based on it’s title but the entire text contains information that’ll not only help you appreciate reading more, but will also appreciate your students as readers.

The Importance of You – @alexmmarker

The Fault in my Midterm Break

From what I have seen, midterm break has always been a 50/50 things with students. Some will continue working and reading, while others will go home and do absolutely nothing. They wont fall behind in their work, but the wont exactly step up to the plate and get more work done than necessary. Honestly, I’m not too sure where I fall in that 50/50 mix. I say this because when I went home, I did read, some, but I definitely can’t say I did the best that I could. In the end, I was surrounded by family, which is something that I don’t get often living away from them. I didn’t want to focus on much else. Anyways, how was your guy’s break? Did you do anything fun? Did you go above and beyond or was your mind floating around elsewhere during the break?

So over break, on top of working on the book club readings, I read John Green’s The Fault in our Stars. I was helping my little sister, who is eighteen years old, clean out her room. I found the book just sitting on her shelf and I went into full book nerd mode. I probably overwhelmed the poor girl because I bombarded her with questions. All she really told me is that the book is sad and that if I’m really so curious I should just read it on my own. So I took her advice and I borrowed the book from her for the week.

The reason I was so curious about this book is because I have heard so many different things about it. I heard the movie was good, but it was so sad. I heard the book was good, but that it was so sad. It just blows my mind that something so sad could get so many positive reviews. From what I’ve seen, it’s the when you become attached to the characters and you find hope in the story, even if it’s sad, you’re going to love it. I think that’s exactly what happened here. I had become attached to Hazel and Augustus; I became attached to their love story and the humor and the light in all of it that it no longer was about cancer. They were just two kids trying to fall in love and figure out their futures. Like most of us. The overall story is sad in itself, but it’s when *SPOILER ALERT* Augustus dies, that my heart becomes broken. I was sitting there worried about how I was going to cope with the situation, I didn’t even think about poor Hazel at that moment. Ugh so many feels.

Anyways, that was my midterm break. I hope yours was better!

Diversity pt. 2

I feel like with this weeks post, I’m just going to be repeating my thoughts from last week. My ideas on diversity have not changed and I think the idea of diversity should be respected.

When I think of diversity in reading I think about what the readers are reading, not what the reader looks like or where they come from. I see a reader picking up many different books, of different genres with different genres and appreciating all of them for what they have to bring to the table. I think of a diverse reader as a reader with an open mind and a passion for reading. I like to consider myself a diverse reader because I like to keep that open mind when I go into a new book and I really like to keep my options open.

But like I said above, when I think of diversity in reading I think about what the readers are reading, not what the reader looks like or where they come from. This applies to many things in itself too. There are books written about diversity and issues with diversity and there are authors out there who dedicate themselves to the topic of diversity. Take Toni Morrison for example.

In the end, isn’t all free reading diverse? As humans, we are all naturally different and our choices will be different. Some may be picky and other may be more open. As long as we are out there reading and taking advantage of the literature around us, I don’t see the issue.

This week I took my own shot at a diverse reading. Instead of reading something of my choice and in my comfort zone, I went to my roommate and read a piece of YA literature of her choosing. The book was definitely not something I would pick, but I enjoyed it overall and I wouldn’t have been able to have the experience if I had not had that open on a mind going into it.

I think many people miss out on a lot because they close their mind off to the world and it’s opportunities. It is undeniable that the human race is a diverse species. Yeah, I know were all human, but none of us are the same. We come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. We have different ideas and we all see the world in a different way. The same goes for what we read. Literature is as diverse as the human race. Without an open mind we close ourselves off to the world and the other humans that we share it with.