What I've Read

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

This a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is books dealing with tough subjects including but not limited to suicide, depression, eating disorders, drug use, etc. 

In other words, books that make my face do this.

I remember reading this when I was in high school and I loved it. Chbosky captures teen-hood perfectly. At least, teen-hood as I knew it. You've seen me post about Perks before. I've read it more than any other book except the Harry Potter series.  It also has great music. If you never have, READ THIS BOOK.

Topics include: depression, suicide, drug-use, homosexuality, homophobia

While this is technically a short story, I’m including it. It is also, for all intents and purposes, a public service announcement about women’s health issues, but I digress. The protagonist deals with post-partum depression using methods men came up with in the 1920s, including sitting in bed, not lifting a finger, etc. Eventually, this drives her insane. While it is a humorous account, Wallpaper really speaks to issues women dealt with at the time. 

Topics: women’s health, depression, mania

This is a play about two women who run a school. A little girl gets in trouble at the school and makes up a story about the women being lesbians and how all of their lives are ruined after that.  There is also a great film starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. 

Topics: the power of lies, truth, identity

This is a book we often teach in high school because the students care so greatly about the character. It is about a girl who experiences something just before her first year of high school and then sinks into a depression in which she loses all her friends and disconnects with her family. 

Topics: Depression, anxiety, sexuality, bullying, rape

Contrary to the poorly-made Lifetime movie, the novel that inspired it is highly unsettling and brilliant. Two students who are in love decide to kill themselves. One survives, the other does not, and he gets blamed for her death. The tricky thing? The parents are friends. The students had been friends their whole lives. 

Topics touched on are: suicide, depression, rape

A man loves a woman for five years and builds his whole life around the hope that they’ll be together. She loves her cheating, old-money having husband,, but decides to have a fling anyway. 

Topics: adultery, murder, alcoholism

This true to life account from Wiesel about concentration camps during WWII will break your heart. There is so much truth and so much pain packed into a tiny story.  

Topics: war, death, racism

This is about middle-school age book about a girl going on a road trip with her family. She tells the story of her friend Phoebe who, in turn, tells the reader about our protagonist and all she’s been through. 

Topics: death, divorce

It is about a girl who loses her family during WWII and gains another. So much death and pain and growth. LOVE this book.

Topics: war, death, racism

Personally, I don’t think we have enough books written by Native American authors about their real life experiences. In this novel, the protagonist deals with wanting a future in an environment that expects him to fail. 

Topics: bullying, alcoholism, bulimia, gang violence

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the literary equivalent of a well-sewn quilt. It's worn in, familiar, comforting, and surprising all at the same time. It's so great going back to this series, back to the beginning, and getting to know them all again. It is quite different once you know how it ends.

Harry and his comrades astound me, each and every time. J.K. Rowling created a world I love to escape to, over and over again.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was an enjoyable read and a necessary step in the story, not unlike City of Ashes, but it is not a life-changer. For the most part, I think most of the tension is broken. I felt like a great deal of the plot was predictable, especially when Jace's mark is torn. I have to admit, I really like Clary. I've liked Clary since City of Bones. She's brave and impulsive and sometimes selfish, but she is human. Unlike characters who always do the right thing, she went against everything she knew to save Jace's life, much like many real life people do when choosing to take their loved one off life support. She knew that the person she loved was still in there and therefore couldn't let him die, but then she turns around and stabs him through the chest with the archangel's sword! It's so ridiculous that it works. I'm expecting the next one to be epic.

Lastly, I would like to add:


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Crushes

This is a meme I got from Dana Huff to list one's top ten...anything! This week, I'm kicking it off with my top ten literary crushes (and the fictional men against whom I measure all others). If you've not read these series, note, there will be *SPOILERS*. 

In no particular order:

Syndey Carton from A Tale of Two Cities
Self sacrifice and perpetual melancholy?  
*le sigh*


Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility

Steadfast. Constant. Strong. 
Selfless and considerate. 
Brave and hard-working.  
And Alan Rickman plays him in the film. *swoon*

Ron Weasley from Harry Potter- The funny, desperately loyal ginger in the Harry Potter trio has always had an appeal to me because he is just so RON. When I was a little girl, I adored Ron. I thought he was ridiculously lovable and down-to-earth. I didn't fall in love with Ron until Order of the Phoenix, however. Luna often set herself up to be picked on. Her naturally whimsical nature made it so. Ron only respected her, taking no opportunities to tease or mock, instead having her back in the battle at the Ministry.
Henry DeTamble from The Time Traveler's Wife
      Oh Henry. Bookish, sly, awkward Henry. His love for Clare and his daughter, his tender heart and quick wit, even within the confines of his disease set him apart as a highly flawed yet highly attractive character. I mostly love his relationship with Clare. Their love is all- encompassing and passionate, but they each still have their own lives. 
Henry V from Henry V- He dominates France like a hero, give credit to God, then proceeds to awkwardly woo the princess of France to make her fall in love with him. He gives her a choice instead of forcing her. LOVE that!
Remus Lupin from Harry Potter-I've got to say, it was difficult keeping the list this short when I theoretically could have filled it up with the dashing men of the Potter-verse. Remus was my first crush, Ron was my first love. Remus was so steadfast and understanding, that adult who remembers what its like being a kid in a dangerous environment. He always said the right things and he was always honest. He was smart and kind and self-sacrificing. He also loved a butt-kicking woman, too.

Theodore Lawrence from Little Women- Teddy! Oh how I adored Teddy when I was a little girl. I still see a great deal of appeal in him now, in fact. He loved Jo so fervently and for so long, then he was so heartbroken. He wanted to be a hero, when Jo needed an equal. He is so brave for entering into that house full of women, and loving each of them as his own family. I especially love how he treats Meg when she goes about pretending to live above her means, telling her she is delightful just as she is. 

Gideon and Sophie Art from Katie's Book Blog
Gideon Lightwood from The Infernal Devices- While he is definitely not the starring male lead of the trilogy, he is certainly the most constant. I loved him from the start. Even during the first training session, he sees Sophie. He truly sees her, when nobody else saw her as much other than a good friend or maid. He saw her bravery, her courage, and her hope. He has a strong belief in justice at all costs which I love, and he has an unending hope in what is right. Plus, he's one heck of a big brother to irritating little Gabriel. And let us not forget the incident with the scones... lol :)

Finnick Odair- Catching Fire Mockingjay- He's so...sexy. There really is no other word for it. Instead of playing the role of victim, Finnick, calm, confident, brave, deliciously good-looking Finnick, suffered the struggles of surviving the games only to fall in love with with fellow survivor, the emotionally fragile Anne. Anne, who Finnick describes as having "snuck up" on him when he was thinking of other things and who carried on bravely after his death, suffered severe emotional trauma during the games. Finnick believes in Katniss. He survives Snow's horrendous pimping. He is willing to sacrifice himself for Mags or Peeta or Katniss. He even let Katniss go first when they invade the Capitol, and then loses his life. Poor, sweet, brave Finnick...

And last, but not least: 
Guthrie from Bloomability- 
He introduces Dinnie to all sorts of fun and adventure when she's thrust into her new and diverse environment at a boarding school in Switzerland. I read this when I was in the fifth grade and I thought he was absolutely precious and so much fun. 
He was a great contrast to Dinnie's passivity. Alas, no photos for him :(

So who are some of YOUR great literary infatuations, 
past and present? 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Liebster Award

Earlier today, my friend Gabi nominated me for the coveted Liebster Award! Yay!

First of all, I would like to thank the Academy, my mom, all the little people who got me here today, my as-yet-un-hired-personal-assistant,


Oh wait. Wrong speech. Saving that one for another time...

This is a Liebster. The rules are different:

Rules for a Liebster Award:

In order to accept this super awesome award, there are Things That Must Be Done.
1. Thank the person that nominated you.


2. Display the Liebster Heart on your blog. 
3. Nominate 3 to 5 more different bloggers 
4. Post 11 things about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
6. Answer the 11 questions you've been asked in your nomination.

Here are my 11 Questions:

1) If you could choose any book universe to live in, what would it be? 
Um, trick question? Harry freakin' Potter.

2) If you could guest star in any TV show, which one would you choose? 

3) What do you keep in the trunk of your car? 
Currently? Drill team uniforms from the dry cleaner, jumper cables, about 5,000 pairs of shoes, a Yoda mask, and a first aid kit. Only the essentials :)

4) What is your favorite quote?
"It is our choices that determine what we truly are...far more than our abilities."- Albus Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

5) Would you ever hug a complete stranger?
Would and have.
6) If you could visit a different decade or era, when would you go? Why then? Would you stay?
The 1940s (although the 20s are a close second). I would go there because I think that is when America was at its best. They had swing dancing, for goodness' sakes! I would totally rock those polka dots and red lipstick, too. Oh, and the men in uniform...

I'm not sure if I would stay or not. I love where I am in time, knowing what I know and having knowledge easily at my fingertips. However, the romantic in me would probably overpower the practical side and I would stay.
7) What's your favorite OTP and from which fandom?
Shamy from The Big Bang Theory :-)
8) If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books and what three people would you want with you?
Books: The Bible, Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea

People: Zachary Levi, Ryan Gosling, and Gerard Butler

9) How would you like to be remembered?
As somebody who loved people, and dedicated her life to making others' better.

10) What's the best and/or worst pick up line you've ever heard? (Did it work?)

Best: "Do you have a whip?"-It didn't work, but it should've.

Worst: "Miss, would you marry me? Imma be 18 in a few months..." -Didn't work, by the way.

11) What would your last words be before departing this world?
I love you.

11 Things About me:
  1. I listen to *NSync on a daily basis.
  2. On Foursquare I'm currently the mayor of my local Wal-Mart.
  3. I love Jesus.
  4. I am addicted to sitcoms.
  5. I want to visit Ireland more than any other place on Earth.
  6. When I was a kid, I had a crush on Jack Frost.
  7. I speak quite freely (which sometimes gets me in trouble).
  8. I don't like chocolate. I know, I break girl-code.
  9. I love to go shooting.
  10. I LOVE my job. Teaching is my greatest passion!
  11. My dogs' names are Spanky (giant German Shepherd mix) and Penny (tiny Pomeranian). Spanky is a baby and is terrified of Penny.

And NOW: 11 Questions for My Nominees
  1. What is the first book you ever fell in love with?
  2. Do you prefer Diamonds or Pearls?
  3. If you could travel anywhere to live, where would it be and why?
  4. What is your fantasy (as in, it doesn't exist in this world) career?
  5. What scares you?
  6. How many books do you own? *Estimates accepted*
  7. Who is your favorite Greek God/Goddess?
  8. How often do you hang out outside?
  9. With whom do you feel safest?
  10. Who is your guilty pleasure musician/band?
  11. Describe your feelings about public education.

And the nominees are:

People I've never met, but whose writing brings me joy:

As I tell my students...proceed.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Divergent

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my.

This novel is like quicksand. Once you start to sink into it, you're done! The story was fast-paced and oddly realistic. I love the flawed characters. The kids still act like real teenagers, and Tris is truly brave. And she knows it!

This Dystopian is a great reflection on society and values, but it is also a terrifying world to imagine living in. One of my favorite books. Ever.

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