Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Really Shouldn't...

But I don't think I can resist!

Ticket to Anywhere is hosting a North and South readalong, and while I tried to convince myself that I REALLY should be reading Bleak House (side note: considering pursuing the audio, as all I ever do with the book itself is stare at it, tell myself I should read it, and read something else), I could not resist the beauty that is the button. I will AT LEAST be watching the BBC miniseries again.

If you haven't read or watched North and South, I strongly encourage you to do so now!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sophie and Robin, Sitting in a Tree

I learned about what my mother doesn't know, by Sonya Sones, over at the fabulous Angieville. Both what my mother doesn't know and its sequel, what my girlfriend doesn't know, are novels written in verse. I haven't read many novels written in verse form, but the style was the perfect way for Sophie (narrator of what my mother doesn't know) and Robin (narrator of what my girlfriend doesn't know) to tell their story.

In what my mother doesn't know, Sophie tells her story of being almost fifteen, liking boys, and trying to figure out how to live when "my mind / and my body / and my heart / just don't seem to be able to agree / on anything" (which is a pretty insightful, succinct description of what it's like to be a teenager). Sophie is neither popular nor unpopular, and the story opens with her dating her first boyfriend and trying to figure out how much she really likes him. Despite really liking Dylan, her first boyfriend, she finds herself thinking about other boys, too.

She eventually breaks up with Dylan, and as she gets ready for the Halloween dance at school, she just knows something good will happen to her that night. As she watches a mockingbird outside her window, she thinks about who she might meet at the dance:
And as I watch him,
I'm feeling a lot like him,
like a feathery creature
balancing on a wire,
trying on lots of different voices
to see which one works best

and every now and then,
doing a little twirl
out on the dance floor,
hoping the boy bird of my dreams
will fly by and notice me,
flutter down beside me
and ask me to dance.

Something good does happen at the dance, but she is most disturbed by the fact that she keeps thinking about Murphy (Robin), an unattractive, utterly unpopular boy who is the butt of all the jokes, collective and otherwise, at her school. Still, Sophie can't escape her attraction to Murphy, and they eventually find themselves pursuing a relationship. what my mother doesn't know ends with Sophie having to decide if she will tell her friends about her relationship with Robin (and accept certain outcastdom) or pretend nothing happened and break up with Robin to save face.

what my girlfriend doesn't know picks up where what my mother doesn't know ends and details Robin's worries about how Sophie is suffering on account of him, trying to figure out who he is and protect Sophie at the same time, and dealing with the constant onslaught of his hormones. I should probably confess right now that Robin is just the kind of boy that I wanted to date in high school: he is sweet, sensitive, smart, and truly loves Sophie in the best sense of the word.

There was never a doubt in my mind that Sophie and Robin did truly love each other, and these books would give someone who doesn't think teenage love was real love a run for their money. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these books present very real depictions of what true love is: there is romance, but Sophie and Robin also sacrifice for each other, put each other first, and truly see the good and the bad and everything in between. Sophie and Robin are not perfect by any means, and they make some mistakes that are fairly common when hormones are in abundance and common sense isn't, but these mistakes only make Sones's characters more real and her portrayal of their relationship more believable.

Robin explains that he loves many things about Sophie, but one of my favorite sections from both of the books comes near the beginning of what my girlfriend doesn't know:
Sophie's eyes
are smiling into mine.

And it's amazing, really,
because all she has to do is look at me

and my lump of a nose
straightens out,

the muscles on my arms
start to sprout,

the circles fade
under my eyes,

my ears shrink down
to a normal person's size...

If only everyone else
could see

what Sophie sees
when she looks at me.

Both Robin and Sophie are fifteen in the novels, but they seemed much older, much more mature than that, especially Robin. These books deal very honestly with the things that would be at the forefront of a fifteen-year-old's mind: who you like, who likes you, school, homework, parents, how to get someone to like you, sex, and how to just make it through your day with as little trauma as possible. I appreciated Sones' approach to all these issues; they felt very real, and both Sophie and Robin practically jumped off the page.

I really, really loved these books, but I can understand why parents might not want their fifteen-year-olds reading these books. I don't know that I would want my hypothetical fifteen-year-old reading these books, at least not at fifteen, and definitely not without us talking about them as they read. The reason? There is quite a bit of discussion about sexuality and when the time is right to have sex. Both topics need to be discussed openly, honestly, and without embarassment between teenagers, parents, and other trusted advocates in their lives, and when I eventually have teenagers, I will make sure that we have those discussions. There is very little in terms of whether it is right or wrong for a fifteen-year-old to be contemplating sex, which is very fitting since it is two fifteen-year-olds telling their own stories; Sophie does tell Robin no when she's not ready, and Robin respects her and doesn't make her feel bad about not wanting to have sex, but to be completely honest, the unspoken assumption that fifteen-year-olds would be having sex niggled at me a bit.

I am not naive enough to think that fifteen-year-olds aren't having sex, and I don't think that Young Adult literature should simply be a soap box that older, "wiser" people use to preach at teenagers. Literature (in any form) needs, on some level, to meet readers where they are at, and sometimes that place isn't always ideal. What I do know is how I feel about whether teenagers should be having sex, and that really was the only thing that made me hesitate before expressing unabashed love for these books. While there are so many things about these books that I would love for my students to experience and enjoy, I know that I, as their teacher, couldn't encourage them to seek these books out. If students are mature enough to choose the books on their own, I would gladly dialogue with them about the books, and I am most definitely NOT advocating removing these books from libraries or bookstores. What I am advocating is weighing exactly what I am recommending to my students and staying true to my integrity as a person and a teacher.

Bottom line: as a reader, I loved these books; as a teacher, I wouldn't necessarily recommend these books to my students, but I would gladly talk about them with my students. Wow. The last part of this review was a lot harder to write than I thought it would be, and I still don't know if I expressed myself very well. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Listening to Music in the Car Wash*

I bought my battered copy of Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen, over two years ago at the wonderful McKay's, a used bookstore in my old home city. I had heard about it somewhere and figured it was worth the dollar listed as its price. I was trying to broaden my Young Adult library and figured Just Listen was as good a place to start as any.

This book could so easily have been one big cliche, but because of Dessen's skill as a writer and her sensitivity to her subject, her characters, and her audience, she pulls off, very successfully, what could have ended up as one big melodramatic mess. The book starts with Annabel trying to brace herself for her first day of eleventh grade. Dessen quickly flashes back to the fateful day that Annabel met Sophie. Sophie was new to town and was desperate to get Kristen, Annabel's older, cooler sister, to notice her at the pool. And the rest, as they say, is history, and Sophie and Annabel become best friends.

The book quickly fast forwards back to Annabel in the present, and it becomes clear just as quickly that something dreadful has happened to Annabel; whatever it is (and you don't find out until near the end of the novel) has fractured Annabel's friendship with Sophie and made her a social outcast. It was fairly obvious to me what kind of thing had happened to Annabel, but having my suspicions didn't ruin the book for me; if anything, it made me sympathize with and root for Annabel even more.

Due to her status as a social stigma, Annabel develops an unexpected friendship with Owen, a boy who recently returned to her high school after punching out a fellow student and being arrested the previous year. Surprisingly, Dessen gives Owen a refreshing (and amusing) wisdom, hard won from Anger Management, and the book becomes an examination of honesty, truth, friendship, and genuine love.

The title phrase, "just listen," takes on several significant meanings over the course of the novel: Annabel needs her mom to listen to her; Kristen needs her parents to listen to her so they can help Whitney (Annabel's and Kristen's other sister); Owen wants Annabel to listen to the music he gives her (there is even a burned CD titled "Just Listen"); most importantly, however, Annabel must learn how to listen to herself, and what she learns when she is finally able to do this is pretty powerful stuff.

I don't want to give away the ending, but I appreciated how Dessen dealt with some very pertinent issues facing teenagers today. I loved the characters that she created in Annabel and Owen, and I know many of my students who would benefit from reading this tribute to self-confidence, honesty, and what it really means to let other people help you.

*You have to read the book to find out what this means!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And Ode to Jane Eyre, or I discuss Jane

Before I dive into my discussion of Jane, by April Lindner, I need to explain my almost life-long (and going strong) relationship with Jane Eyre. I first encountered Jane Eyre as a comic book (this was before, I'm sure, the term graphic novel was coined!), and I remembered being fascinated by the orphaned Jane and how she wanted (I thought) to be a teacher. My brother and I were obsessed with orphans (our favorite make-believe game to play was entitled "Orphanage", heavily influenced by my reading of historical fiction and complete with evil orphanage owner and an escape across the sea), and even then I dreamed of being a teacher (for some reason my brother was less than thrilled when I wanted to play school, probably because I assigned homework that I expected him to complete...). Not much else (surprisingly) stuck, however, so when the novel was assigned in my sophomore English class, I came to it knowing very little about the story.

To put it bluntly, I fell in love. Aside from Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre was the first assigned book that I loved in high school. I loved the novel for so many reasons, and it was one of those reads that was just perfectly timed and pitched for where I was as a fifteen-year-old high school student. The thing that I loved most about the novel was that Jane was loved, truly loved, for WHO SHE WAS, not for WHAT SHE LOOKED LIKE. As a teenager who put herself firmly in the brains camp (not the beauty camp), I daydreamed about a boy falling deeply, madly in love with me once he got to know me(do you see why Jane Eyre resonated so strongly with me?). I loved that Rochester loved Jane and chose her for who she was. I also loved that Jane did the right thing (left Rochester after finding out about Bertha), even though it was hard, even though she didn't want to, but she still won in the end: she and Rochester ended up together in forever, eternal bliss. Again, there is an obvious connection to my life: I had (and still have) a strong sense of right and wrong, and I have always been a rule follower. High school, however, at least on the social front, is not always kind to the rule follower who stands up for what is right and isn't afraid to call out those whose wrongdoing is affecting others.

In a nutshell, Jane was my hero.

All that being said, I have high expectations when it comes to any sort of adaptation of Bronte's (like Simon, I have NO idea how to add the two little dot thingies, and I don't even know what the dot thingies are fail...) wonderful novel. The first film adaptation I saw, the one with William Hurt as Mr. Rochester, did NOT impress me because Jane was altogether too pretty. I liked the adaptation with Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds, and I found the version with Timothy Dalton as Mr. Rochester ridiculous (newsflash: Jane and Rochester were NOT fashion models, so why did this adaptation cast ridiculously attractive people in the roles?). Then I discovered the most recent adaptation by the BBC and Masterpiece Theater. It is brilliant and passionate and everything that the book was.

Again, I'm pretty harsh on adaptations of Jane Eyre, but when I found out about Jane, I was really excited. Jane is translated into a college freshman who, due to circumstances outside her control, must find immediate employment, and Mr. Rochester becomes Nico Rathburn, hot rock 'n roll star who is making a comeback after a meteoric (and not entirely innocent) rise to fame followed by a spectacular, drug-induced downfall. The premise is very believable, and there were moments that really pulled me in.

Overall, however, the book didn't really deliver for me. It wasn't Jane Eyre for me, and it left me wanting more. It definitely had its moments, and I think it would definitely point readers to the original (I know it made me want to read Jane Eyre again!), but it really paled in comparions to the original. While the novel was (for the most part) well written, I was disappointed that Lindner didn't create a successful voice and vocabulary for Nico when she had been so successful in creating such a vivid, engaging Jane. There were moments when I was reading Nico's dialogue that literally jolted me because it was so close to the original dialogue in Jane Eyre. I appreciated that Lindner turned to the novel when she needed inspiration, but there were several times when what Nico said just didn't fit into the context that she had given him.

I'm glad that I read this novel. It was fun to see a modern twist on one of my favorite stories, and I look forward to reading Jane Eyre again and pointing some of my students to Jane and (hopefully!) to Jane Eyre.

P.S. I sort of collect editions of Jane Eyre. This is the next one I hope to acquire:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reading With Teenagers

I have to warn you: I will be doing a LOT of gushing in this post. If you are anti-gush, consider yourself warned, and flee now for your own good!

I finished what my girlfriend doesn't know, and while I found it sweet and hilarious, I think that I liked what my mother doesn't know better. They are both excellent, and it may just boil down to the fact that I liked the one narrated by Sophie better because I'm a girl ;).

I forgot to mention in my first Teen Read post that I loved my first Sarah Dessen novel: I picked up Just Listen last week because I was kind of at a loss as to what to read, and I pretty much devoured it. I hope to review it tomorrw, but I will keep the gushing (I hope) to a minimum when I do.

I gave my sophomores time to read in class today. One of the students has already finished two books, so I sent him off to the library to choose another one. I had to SERIOUSLY restrain myself from jumping out of my chair and GUSHING when he came back from the library with The Hunger Games. I'm so excited for him that I can hardly stand it!

Finally, my sophomores are required to give a book talk about their independent read, and I have been sort of agonizing over which book I should use to give a sample book talk. Right now I'm trying to decide between The Hunger Games, Jane, and Shiver. If you would like to weigh in, please do!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Teen Read Week!

One of the things that I am loving about the block scheduling at my new job is that there is actually time to assign and encourage independent reading. My sophomores are working on their first independent read, and you can imagine the joy I've experienced every time they've asked, "can we read today?" Music to an English teacher's ears!

In formulating the structure and assignment for another class's independent reading assignment, I was chatting with one of the school's librarians, and she mentioned that the ALA puts out a list of top ten picks for reluctant readers. I visited the website and, in addition to discovering a bunch of AWESOME Young Adult novels, learned that this week is Teen Read Week.

In honor of this fact, I have decided to read only Young Adult books for the next week. I kind of started this celebration early (and without meaning to) because I finished Jane, by April Lindner, and what my mother doesn't know, by Sonya Sones (reviews of both coming this week). I'm looking forward to finishing what my girlfriend doesn't know, by Sonya Sones, reading Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles, and rereading the fabulous Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater.

Won't you join me in encouraging the teens in your life to enjoy some books this week? And if you plan on reading Young Adult books this week, please let me know!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bleak House Week 2, or I am Very Far Behind

As you may know, I have decided to cut myself some slack when it comes to Bleak House, and I no longer feel like a delinquent because JoAnn has assured me that she too will be taking her time with Bleak House. So, without further ado, my thoughts on chapters 8-13:

I should probably warn you that some of this is fuzzy in my mind because I read chapter 8 before I moved. I then proceeded to not read Bleak House for another month, which is distressingly familiar territory for me as I have attempted and failed to read Bleak House twice before. Anyways...

We get more story with the Deadlocks, Mr. Jarndyce, and Mr. Guppy, and we are introduced to the rather odd but altogether delightful Mr. Boythorn. I found the Badgers hilarious, and Mr. Snagsby is quite the character as well. We also find out about Nemo, the mysterious law writer.

I have been discovering that it really is a TERRIBLE idea to see the movie adaptation of a Dickens novel before reading the novel (I blame my lack of motivation on this fact), but in some ways it has been fun to see how characters who become hugely important later are introduced. Case in point: the "dark young man", the surgeon present when the doctor, examines Nemo's body was a very pleasant surprise, and I am looking forward to seeing more of him.

On the downside, however, we have Richard. I like how Dickens connects everything together, but in this case, I am already so sad about Richard (and was before I even started reading the novel) that seeing Dickens put the pieces together for his inevitable end is sort of like helplessly watching a train with no breaks hurtling towards a bridge (aka: it's no fun!). I found these quotes about Richard particularly insightful and affecting:
"With a bouyancy and hopefulness and a gaiety that hardly ever flagged, Richard had a carelessness in his character that quite perplexed me -- principally because he mistook it, in such a very odd way, for prudence." (138)

"I believe Richard's was as frank and generous a nature as there possibly can be. He was ardent and brave, and, in the midst of all his wild restlessness, was so gentle, that I knew him like a brother in a few weeks." (139)

Like I've said before, I know what happens to Richard, and I nearly cried when he proclaimed that he would never make Ada unhappy. Oh Richard, if you only knew!

I will keep plugging away at Bleak House, and I know that it will really grab me eventually. I will admit, however, that reading Bleak House is REALLY making me want to revisit Little Dorrit. Perhaps that will be my treat for finishing the big BH.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

I know I just posted my answers to the End of Event Meme, but I just had to gush a little bit about all the wonderful blogs that I found as a result of this readathon. Many of these wonderful people were my cheerleaders (thanks, guys!), and I wanted to return a little bit of the love. Because of the readathon, I found:
Col Reads
Bonjour, Cass!
Book Clutter
In Laurie's Mind
The Introverted Reader
A Good Stopping Point
I am really looking forward to reading more of these blogs!

I also found a great challenge because of the readathon. I'm really excited about it because I would be meeting the criteria even if I didn't sign up for the challenge because the only requirement of the challenge is to read! So, drumroll please, I give you the books that I want to read for the Fall Into Reading Challenge:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Bleak House

I want to read the Harry Potter books again before the next movie comes out, and I want to finish Bleak House before the year is out. There you have it! If you would like to join in, be sure to follow the link!

Readathon Update #6 and End of Event Meme

It seems that the theme of my blog the last few weeks has been "the best laid plans of mice of men," and like a good rule-follower, I continued the theme during my second readathon experience.

I went home to spend some quality time with Harry Potter and some tacos (tacos...yum...), and as soon as I ate my tacos, I fell asleep on the couch. I am not a random napper (in fact, unless I'm really sick, I rarely nap at all), so I'm not sure what happened. I slept for almost an hour and had some really bizarre dreams, but it refreshed me to read a little longer (and ensure that the bizarre dreams didn't make a reappearance).

Here are the facts:
Books finished: 0 (2 total)
Pages read: 143 (412 total)**I am very proud of myself that 77 of these pages
were from Bleak House**
Time read: 2 hours (8.5 total)

Apparently I didn't keep track of my actual time during my last readathon, but I am fairly positive that I at least doubled the amount of time that I spent reading during this readathon. I am eagerly looking forward to the April readathon, and perhaps the third time will be a charm and I will manage at least 12 hours reading!

Here are my answers to the meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
The 10 p.m.-11 p.m. because that's when I took an impromptu snooze.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
The Maltese Falcon is definitely a nail biter and makes you want to keep reading. And you don't even have to be a mystery reader to like it!
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I loved that the cheerleading teams were named after literary elements!
5. How many books did you read?
I read four; I finished two.
6. What were the names of the books you read?
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuko Ishiguro, The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett, Bleak House, by Charles Dickens, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J. K. Rowling
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
8. Which did you enjoy least?
Bleak House (let me clarify: it's not a bad book, but it IS a challenging read)
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I wasn't a cheerleader, but I LOVED the literary cheers!
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will be there, and I might even sign up to be a cheerleader or host a mini-challenge!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Readathon Update #5

I have been dawdling around on the internet for the last hour or so, and I think the time has come to pack up and head home. Since there is no internet at la casa, I will be doing one massive update post in the morning.

Happy reading to all!

The facts:
Nothing has really changed since my last post (I know, shame on me!).

Harry Potter, here I come!

Readathon Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
Bleak House and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
2. How many books have you read so far?
I've been reading out of four, and I finished two that I started before the
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I think I'm done with
Bleak House for the night.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
I usually plan for the week and grade on Saturday, so I had to switch days. I'll
plan and grade tomorrow. I also went to bed pathetically early last night.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Not so much interruptions, but not having internet at home yet has been something
of a hastle.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How slowly time moved while I was reading Bleak House and how quickly
time moved during reading breaks!
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Nope. Love it!
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do
this again next year?
I will definitely get to the library in advance. I didn't really have a lot of
books on hand, which is why I'm focusing on two massive books and have fewer
9. Are you getting tired yet?
Not really
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is
working well for you that others may not have discovered?
Not really. I love the poetic, book-related cheers that Team Simile has been

Readathon Update #4

I'm back!

I just finished The Maltese Falcon, and HOLY COW!!!!! I had to take some long, deep cleansing breaths as I read the end. I'm still sorting out my thoughts, and I grin every time I think about how my students will react to reading the last four chapters of the book. I'm predicting some great class discussion, which is always a good thing.

I'm going to browse at the bookstore before I head back to reading. I think I hit my Bleak House brick wall, so I will be reading Harry Potter and various other things for the rest of the night. Hope everyone is doing well!

The facts:
Books finished: 1 (2 total)
Pages read: 41 (269 total)
Hours read: 1 (6.5 total)

Readathon Update #3

It hasn't quite been two hours, but Bleak House is making me feel a bit antsy, especially since the next chapter is forty pages long. I'm one of those weirdos that likes to read in chapter increments, and I can tell you definitively that forty consecutive pages of Dickens is not going to happen right now!

I did find this lovely quote in my last chunk of Bleak House. I would expect the weather to be like this in October in the Midwest, but it is definite 82 degrees right now! Here's the quote:

"The clear cold sunshine glances into the brittle woods, and approvingly
beholds the sharp wind scattering the leaves and drying the moss. It glides
over the park after the moving shadows of the clouds, and chases them, and
never catches them, all day. It looks in at the windows, and touches the
ancestral portraits with bars and patches of brightness, never contemplated by
the painters" (181-182)

I accidentally left Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the car, so I think I am going to finisth The Maltese Falcon while I take a break from Bleak House.

Here are the facts:
Books finished: 0 (1 total)
Pages read: 33 (228 total)
Hours read: 1.5 hours (5.5 hours total)

Readathon Update #2

I took a break from Bleak House so I could eat lunch. And yes, my decision to switch to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was partly influenced by the fact that Harry Potter was easier to read with one hand. So over a Schlotsky's turkey sandwich and some of the best baked chips around, I immersed myself in Dudley's diet, Weasley's Wizarding Weazes, and the Quidditch World Cup.

One of the reason that I loved the Harry Potter series the first time I read it (and one of the reasons that I keep returning to it) is because of all the little details that Rowling presents almost in passing that become REALLY IMPORTANT in later books. During lunch, for instance, I was reading about when Weasleys & Co arrive at the Quidditch World Cup; Mr. Weasley is telling Harry and Hermione who all the Ministry workers are as they walk past the campsite, and he mentions two men who are Unspeakables. We, along with Harry and Hermione, aske, "what does that mean?" Well, it means the work in the Department of Mysteries. And then the scene moves along its merry way.


Okay, on to the stats:
Books finished: 0, but I'm working with massive tomes
Number of pages read: 94 (195 total)
Time spent reading: 1 hour (4 hours total)

Readathon Update #1

I just spent the last two hours reading Bleak House, and I made it through fifty pages. I also checked how far behind I am on Amanda's blog: everyone will be on page 816 and posting about that section on Wednesday; I am on page 181 *hangs head in shame* So it looks like regardless of how much I read in Bleak House today, I will still be ridiculously behind.

On a brighter note, I got to the part where we meet the "dark young man" who turns out to be a compassionate surgeon (which, in Dickens' time, was basically a doctor). I already know what happens to this particular character, and I was quite happy to see him enter the story.

Here are my stats so far:
Books finished: 1
Total pages read: 101
Total time spent reading: 3 hours

Cheers to all!

The Read From My Shelves Read Away From Home Readathon

Hello, all you fellow readathoners. I have decided I am mended enough to participate in the readathon, and I just keep telling myself that I really should take it easy today to be sure that my recovery sticks. In other words, I am making as many excuses as I need to in order to read all day today.

I started out my morning by finishing Never Let Me Go. The book was as compulsive as I thought it would be, but I can't quite put finger on WHY I couldn't put it down. I then moved on to a little bit of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I am now sitting in Starbucks getting ready to dive into Bleak House, which I haven't picked up since the end of August (bad read along participant!).

Before I get back to my reading, here are my goals for today:
1. Read as much as possible.
2. Read a good chunk of Bleak House so that I am only embarassingly behind
instead of distressingly behind.
3. Read enough of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire today so that I can
finish it tomorrow and start the audio version of Harry Potter and the Order
of the Phoenix
on Monday (side note: the audio versions of the Harry Potter
books are AMAZING. If you have never listened to Jim Dale read one of these
books, you are missing out).

The only goal I am committed to sticking to strictly is goal number one. Getting more caught up on Bleak House would be nice, but I know I probably can't read that and only that for the next twelve hours. And I have to ration Harry Potter or else I will read that and nothing else.

I would show you a spiffy picture of the rest of my books that I will be dipping in and out of today, but my camera is somewhere in the confused and unorganized things that still haven't been sorted out after my move. I still don't have internet at home, so I will be drinking a lot of coffee today so I can use various establishment's free wi-fi.

But really, what goes better with a book than coffee? In my opinion, not much!

Monday, October 4, 2010

"My Head Feels Fuzzy"

I have been thinking about this line from You've Got Mail (possibly one of the BEST movies ever!) a lot over the last week because I can completely empathize with Kathleen Kelly (but I didn't get daisies from a dashing stranger). There have been multiple students hacking up their lungs all over my classroom over the last few weeks, so I'm not terribly surprised that I got sick. I would, however, have liked to avoid missing three full days of work my first month at the school.

Oh, well. "The best laid plans" part two, I suppose.

Anyways, on to the point. I am supposedly participating in the 24-Hour-Readathon on Saturday (and greatly looking forward to it), but my recent stint with illness may demand a less-involved readathon than I would like. I would like to catch up (some, at least!) on Bleak House, which I will probably finish NEXT October at the rate I'm going, but it may turn into grading catch-up, license acquiring, and other miscellaneous things day. And I don't have internet at home (STILL!).

Needless to say, the life lesson is that it does no one any good to be essentially knocked out for three days straight, but on the book front, I'm still loving The Hunger Games trilogy (I'm in Mockingjay), and I discovered that Never Let Me Go will probably be a completely compulsive read as well once I fully give myself over to it. Sadly, my poor, fuzzy head couldn't handle it last week.