30 Day Book Challenge: Day 29 – A Book that is Most Like My Life

It’s been a bit since I’ve worked on this challenge because these last two days have stumped me!

I finally landed on The Devil Wears Prada. 

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I’ve always struggled to find a healthy balance between school, work, fun, family, and friends. It’s not easy, people!

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Like Andy, I have gotten caught up in work I thought was important. I’ve killed myself over trying to do little things that I thought would help my ambitions, often forgetting what really matters. I prided myself on my ability to sacrifice and work hard. It did help me for a time. Eventually, the stress and practice of putting myself last got to me. It’s not good! I had this somewhat prestigious job on campus that I quit this summer because I realized I was sacrificing my principles, one of which includes doing something that I feel is worthwhile and fun. If it sounds childish to you, I would encourage you to think about how long you’ll be alive. It’s a long time to be miserable. And for what?

Andy is still successful in the later books, but she is mature enough to know where to draw the line, even when it’s not easy, even when you’re giving up a LOT of great clothes.

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 28 – Favorite Title

Studies show that people only have seven seconds to make a first impression.

I think it takes maybe two seconds for a book to make a first impression. The first things a reader notices about a book are its cover and title. Those two pieces can hold a TON of information and function to draw readers.

That’s why titles have to be memorable!

For that reason, I chose Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

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Goodreads Summary:
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

I LOVED this book! I hope I get a chance to teach it in my classroom. It’s wonderfully written with a balance of humor and heart and honesty.

Some teachable topics for this book:

-Identity, especially for minorities

-Graphic novels

-Banned books

-American history

-Discrimination and prejudice

I think it also appeals to those reluctant readers because the novel is accessible and relatable. It brings home a serious, thought-provoking message without sounding preachy. There are also PICTURES! Like this one!

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I hate the assumption that pictures in books are meant for children. There is an ever-growing audience for graphic novels that are renowned for their literary content. The pictures in this book add to the story and make it more diary-like.

Finally, this book with an amazing title has recently been banned in New York which, as many readers can attest, makes a book even more interesting!

30 Book Challenge: Day 27 – The Most Surprising Plot Twist or Ending

The hard part about this post is that I can’t tell you WHY this book has the best plot twist AND ending. So here are a bunch of GIFs that summed up my reactions to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Read my review of the book here!

When I got halfway through the book:

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When I finished the book:

 

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As I stated in my review, I can be a pretty cynical, know-it-all reader so when I book surprises me, I’m basically astounded. Gone Girl did it and kept on doing it the entire huge book. Read it. It’s so worth it!

Disturbing Statistics on Reading

I was in the middle of spending a large portion of my life on Pinterest the other day (follow me here), I came across this infographic about reading. Allow me to address each statistic.

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1. I think once people graduate high school they think: YES! NO MORE HOMEWORK!!! Unless they continue onto higher education, this is exactly the case. Who is there to make them read? Even during higher education, there’s no incentive to actually read books when there are saviors like SparkNotes around. Unless you’re an English major like myself, why would you read a book? My significant other is actually proud of the lack of books he has read in his life. How do we prevent this? As a teacher, it is my job to inspire lifelong learning which includes lifelong reading. We need to adapt the curriculum so that our students see reading as fun instead of punishment. I say this as a kid who HATED reading in school because of the assigned material. It was like torture. Why would I willingly torture myself?! I think a great way to help students overcome this struggle is to introduce them to books OUTSIDE of the classroom. Let them free read or pick from a variety of books.

2. Post-college you are forreal home free. You’re “done” with reading for class or any other reason. Eventually you get caught up in life and grown-up business and forget that there is an entire book-verse out there waiting to be read! A great thing my public library does to engage adult readers is a One Book One Community event each year. They select a book for the entire community to read, and the author comes and talks and autographs books. They also host social gatherings to discuss the books. Reading as an adult can be fun! I swear! Pick a book with friends. It doesn’t have to be Dickens. It can be anything. And you can have adult beverages and yummy snacks. It’s a win-win.

3. Why are we not reading books to completion? There can be a lot of reasons. Sometimes a book isn’t interesting, and you just have to move on. Sometimes books are just super long. I love reading, but let’s face it: some books are INCREDIBLY LONG! It can be daunting. If you have problems finishing books, try reading a series of smaller novels. You get to read the same amount of pages and get that Finished Book Feeling. E-readers can be another solution. I’m an e-reader convert because they’re SO convenient. Read them on the bus. Read them on the treadmill. Wherever!

4. I personally can’t understand not walking into a bookstore. The smell. The books. It’s heavenly. BUT the book industry is changing. I remember frequenting a Borders within the last five years, and those don’t even exist anymore! Bookstores are becoming increasingly rare in this day and age (said in an old lady voice). People have e-readers and buy their books online. There just isn’t a market for bookstores to stay open anymore. Hopefully, they never become extinct because there is nothing like perusing a bookstore in real life.

5. I can see that families aren’t buying or reading books anymore. One, books are expensive! I would love to fill my bookshelves with books, but I’m a poor college student. If I can’t buy them, and they’re practically my drug, I can’t imagine people with limited interest spending money on them. With tense economic situations dominating many households, it’s no wonder that books have taken a backseat.

6. I couldn’t agree more. I can honestly say that I have learned about others through reading. It teaches empathy and gives new perspective on lives a reader may never encounter. It’s important that we teach young readers to read so they can become empathetic, educated adults. We must create LIFELONG LEARNERS!

7. This is a pretty incredible statistic. I think that potential readers often shy away from reading because it appears as an obstacle. You have to read SO many pages, and it takes SO much time. If we spend a FRACTION of the time we spend messing around online or watching TV reading, we could be international experts. Sounds very James Bond. If that’s not enough to get you reading, I don’t know what is!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 26 – A Book That Changed My Opinion About Something

Being a reader means that you must be willing to have an open mind. I value open-mindedness because *spoiler alert* I don’t know everything, despite how I act most days. To appreciate other people’s stories, we have to allow new ideas to occupy our minds, at least for a little while. There are so many perspectives in the universe. A good book will open your eyes to a perspective you’ve never imagined.

For this entry, I time travel back to my high school days when I read Night by Elie Wiesel, which is now considered to be a classic. So much of what Wiesel wrote appealed to me, even at the age of 16, which we all know is the age when you are the smartest. The pain, compassion, and philosophy behind this novel are raw and inspiring.

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Summary:

A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family…the death of his innocence…and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne FrankNight awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.

Here are a few quotes from the novel that changed my mind on a few things:

“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.”

“[Moishe] explained to me, with great emphasis, that every question possessed a power that was lost in the answer….
And why do you pray, Moishe?’ I asked him.
I pray to the God within me for the strength to ask Him the real questions.”

“And I, the for­mer mys­tic, was think­ing: Yes, man is stronger, greater than God. When Adam and Eve de­ceived You, You chased them from par­adise. When You were dis­pleased by Noah’s generation, You brought down the Flood. When Sodom lost Your fa­vour, You caused the heav­ens to rain down fire and damna­tion. But look at these men whom You have be­trayed, al­low­ing them to be tortured, slaugh­tered, gassed, and burned, what do they do? They pray be­fore You! They praise Your name!”