I highly recommend this one. I'm not sure how much to reveal. I went into it cold, with only a stamp of approval from Judy Sheridan which was good enoI highly recommend this one. I'm not sure how much to reveal. I went into it cold, with only a stamp of approval from Judy Sheridan which was good enough for me. Now I wish I owned this amazing book. The chronology of the tale was a bit all over the place but it didn't suffer for it, as far as I was concerned. I loved it all. The tears are still wet on my cheeks. ...more
Our book club read A Thousand Acres because Jane Smiley was coming to town. It was fun to hear her read at the UND Writers Conference even though herOur book club read A Thousand Acres because Jane Smiley was coming to town. It was fun to hear her read at the UND Writers Conference even though her focus was on other books that featured animals more prominently. There is no doubt that she's an excellent writer. However, the subject matter in A Thousand Acres prevented me from giving it more than 2 stars. I really didn't like this book. I've read it before and seen the movie. Still, I reread it because I know that sometimes I see things differently the second time around and I wanted it to be fresh for discussion.
I was a little nervous reading it because my own father just died recently and in the past few months my siblings and I have been working with the executors of the estate to make sense of what this means in terms of his farm. All emotional, stressful stuff. I think this book is a tragedy through and through and had little redeeming features for me. The father in this book is nothing like my dad and yet all the old farm men are versions of my dad. I could connect to the story in many ways, but the horror of the abuse and the legacy it left on each of the girls was just too much for me to read.
I'm sure that others might enjoy this book far more than I did. It's well done, but bleak. ...more
Just finished reading this again with students in block one of the 2011-2012 year. Good stuff. I enjoyed our discussions and I hope students got sometJust finished reading this again with students in block one of the 2011-2012 year. Good stuff. I enjoyed our discussions and I hope students got something out of it too. ...more
This is a book we did as an all-school reading selection a few years ago. I recently reread it to my reading class and while I feel like some parts ofThis is a book we did as an all-school reading selection a few years ago. I recently reread it to my reading class and while I feel like some parts of it are pretty implausible, I still think it has a positive message of consequences, forgiveness, and redemption. I would recommend it to young readers....more
I think I read this for the first time in 4th or 5th grade and have probably read it at least three other times (including this one)since then. Our boI think I read this for the first time in 4th or 5th grade and have probably read it at least three other times (including this one)since then. Our book club read it because one member was going to Prince Edward Island and there were some of us who'd never read this childhood classic. As a child, in particular I really related to Anne and as an adult I see that I either shaped myself to this imaginative little girl's model or perhaps Anne and I were just kindred spirits. I was surprised by a number of ideas and words I'd glossed over before. Set in the late 1800's, Anne of Green Gables depicts a different world not only by custom and fashion of the times but also of locale, for as L.M. Montgomery crafts it, there is no world quite like Prince Edward Island. Though this might seem a "girl book" on all accounts, it is still a tender story of love and the imagination of a child. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and maybe the Emily books too....more
Before I'd even finished my library copy of this book I'd ordered my own. As a reading teacher I am always trying to find ways to ignite a love of reaBefore I'd even finished my library copy of this book I'd ordered my own. As a reading teacher I am always trying to find ways to ignite a love of reading in the hearts of the students I teach. Donalyn Miller describes her practice of requiring her 6th graders to read 40 books a year in her classroom. In her book Miller describes her classroom library, how she came to this approach to teaching reading, how it impacts state tests, how she shapes her teaching around the independent books, how she encourages a wide range of genre, how she provides 30 minutes every day in her 90 minute block to be devoted to silent sustained reading.
Due to my teaching situation I could never completely replicate what she does but I guess I aim to try. At least to try to adopt the bits that will work and to try to figure out a way to make some magic happen. I am working on an elective class that embraces these principles and also trying to figure out how to incorporate more of the reading choice into my other English courses -- grades 9-12.
This book was highly inspirational to me. Now I need to start exploring her blog....more
I would recommend this book to aspiring writers and to folks who'd like some insight into what goes on behind the scenes. King's book is both memoir aI would recommend this book to aspiring writers and to folks who'd like some insight into what goes on behind the scenes. King's book is both memoir and helpful handbook for getting started. Some of his great ideas Include the following: reading and writing must be married to each other and in order to write one must read strip adverbs from one's writing create dialogue that moves the story along or reveals information about a character avoid the passive voice find an ideal reader for whom one writes strip away 10% (to kill one's darlings) from the original draft in a revision set a writing schedule and stick to it write with a closed door initially--don't ask for feedback too quickly-- and THEN let a draft simmer before coming back to it let the story and characters guide you as a writer rather than trying too hard to plot a novel consider getting an agent, but do your research first
Ahhh, good old Oeddie. I would say that in 14 years of teaching I've read this play aloud hundreds of times. I've nearly got bits of it memorized. ForAhhh, good old Oeddie. I would say that in 14 years of teaching I've read this play aloud hundreds of times. I've nearly got bits of it memorized. For some reason the unusual play format and the poetic choral odes freak students out so I find myself reading the parts. At one time, our tutor Tara and I contemplated filming ourselves enacting it in front of city hall because it seemed like the right architecture, but we just never got down to business. Instead I crafted a few paper doll popsicle stick puppets and when I do end up reading it aloud with kids I do all the voices and use the puppets as a means of demonstrating when characters arrive in the scene and depart. It's pretty funny for me, actually. I love the look of dismay when the 18 year olds see me getting it all set up! Many of the kids are familiar with the story because they usually read Antigone in grade 10. And once we get going they discover it's easier to read than Shakespeare simply because of the Greek being translated into a modern English. The allusions are heavy in this play but most textbook versions have good footnotes and meaning can be grasped regardless. If you've not read any Sophocles, this one is good fun. It has a lovely gross out factor at the end and it explores fate, fidelity, friendship, folly, hmmmm... leadership, relationship to the gods, the search for truth, and pride. (Just couldn't keep up the alliteration!)...more
I've read Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream countless times because I use it in my classroom. This summer we read it aloud using our school's leI've read Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream countless times because I use it in my classroom. This summer we read it aloud using our school's lecture bowl stage and walked through the roles butchering the play much like Bottom, Quince, Flute and so forth perform Pyramus and Thisbe. What fun! If you've never read this play... get thee to the library and find a copy!...more
This is the story of one man pitted against society. A society in which books are forbidden, front porches are obsolete, billboards are extended in leThis is the story of one man pitted against society. A society in which books are forbidden, front porches are obsolete, billboards are extended in length because drivers drive at top speed. Everything happens at top speed. Reflection, conversation, long walks are taboo. The way I see it, Bradbury combines the messages of George Orwell's 1984 with Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and this book is what emerges.
Montag is a fireman. Firemen are an extension of the police, the keepers of the peace. The police arrest dissenters, folks who've been turned in by neighbors, friends. Then Montag and the rest of his crew arrive to torch the place. Instead of water, their hoses are full of gasoline. They burn the contents of the homes, eliminating contraband. Cleaning up.
Things are fine for Montag, at least on the surface, until one day he meets a young girl named Clarisse who walks home with him, who asks him questions, who wonders things out loud, who asks him if he's happy. When she turns toward her house, he realizes he is not.
He sees his wife, overdosed on sleeping pills, ear buds whirring away in her ears filling her mind with so much noise and information there isn't room for independent thought. He calls the portable MDs who come to pump her stomach and he's sick at what they've become. When he tries to talk to his wife the next day she's only interested in the TV Parlor where her programs are projected on 3 walls, all she needs is a fourth wall and things will be complete.
Montag's dissatisfaction mounts until he cannot go back and his ordered world unravels from there.
The book is filled with Bradbury's future technology... crafted by him in the 1960s --some of which are very real things today. The book is full of philosophical exploration on the worth of books and the way that people interact with them. I can't really begin to fully explain or explore this issue in this small space. I can only say, READ this book. It should remind you of why we must never stop reading. Never stop questioning. Never stop trying to make a difference in our worlds....more
I read this book when it first came out and enjoyed it, though not as much as my pal Marci did. I like the voice and the style of the book, the way thI read this book when it first came out and enjoyed it, though not as much as my pal Marci did. I like the voice and the style of the book, the way the story has three strands to it. I've heard Kate DiCamillo speak a couple times and she's absolutely fabulous so I'm always eager to pick up her work. I reread Despereaux for two reasons. One: I was at Marci's and I ended up being part of "storytime" with her kids and even got a guest reader role for a few chapters. That was enough to suck me in to the story and push me to grab a copy from our school library. Two: I wanted to see the movie and needed a refresher.
At this point, I've managed to pick up my own copy for the shelves and still haven't seen the film. I do enjoy DiCamillo's work and would always recommend her. If you can ever see her speak at a conference or a bookstore or wherever she might roam, do not miss it! She's wonderful--dry-deadpan-wit-wonderful!...more
We read this book for our school book club and there were mixed reviews. A couple kids didn't care for it. I believe that is mainly based on the wholeWe read this book for our school book club and there were mixed reviews. A couple kids didn't care for it. I believe that is mainly based on the whole idea that it is a "futuristic" type world and they prefer the teen novels set in the here and now focusing on problems to which they can easily relate. I, however, felt that The Hunger Games did relate very well to the here and now when one thinks of the way our society values reality TV and celebrity. Still, others didn't care for the abrupt ending, yet there were at least four who fought for my copy of the sequel as soon as book club was done. Our library now has a copy too and so I would suspect many of them will read on to find out what happens next. The book resolves to some extent but it leaves sooooo many unanswered questions that it does seem to be jarring.
In The Hunger Games, Katniss is a young girl who lives with her mother and younger sister in profound poverty in an area called The Seam on the edge of District 12, the mining district. We are able to determine that they live in what would have once been the Appalachians in the former U.S. but is now a country called Panem comprised of 12 districts. The 13th district was destroyed during an earlier rebellion, one before Katniss's lifetime. What has happened in Katniss's young memory is the death of her father in the mines and her need to feed her family by hunting in the woods on the other side of the fence that surrounds their district. She does this regularly with her friend Gale and life is manageable, until the day of "The Reaping" rolls around.
Each year a sort of lottery is held for kids between the ages of 12-18 and names are drawn. A boy and a girl from each district are selected to compete in televised Hunger Games, a bit like the 12 tributes sent to Crete to battle the minotaur in the labyrinth. It's the government's way of never letting its people forget just who is in charge. The capitol is a very lavish, extravagant place full of superficial people--people who have never known want. And the government rules with an iron fist and rebellion or crimes are swiftly dealt with--usually by death.
At the age of 12, Katniss's name went in the drawing. At the age of 13 her name went in twice, at 14, three times and so forth. Yet, there is a provision for the impoverished. They may put their names in additional times during a year in order to get extra food and supplies, thus for the poorest children, the odds are even greater when it comes to being selected. This year's Reaping is different for Katniss, only in that her younger, more delicate sister, Prim, is eligible for selection now that she's 12. It is truly this day of The Reaping that sends the book spiraling on a terrifying adventure that barely permits the reader to draw breath. I'd highly recommend this one. It was interesting, entertaining, thought provoking, and I couldn't put it down....more