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!

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!”

 

 

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 25 – A Character I Can Relate to the Most

I’m on the home stretch of this challenge! Only five more days! I thought this would get easier with time, but basically every other question stumps me. For this one, I kept thinking about which character I most wanted to be LIKE. There are plenty of qualities that I wish I could borrow from my favorite book characters.

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I could go on for days about how much I love The Hunger Games, and I think it’s because I identify so much with Katniss Everdeen. By no means am I an expert archer or survivalist, but I’m good at making tough decisions. I have had to take care of my younger sibling a lot, and I would do anything for him. Katniss and I operate on the same wavelength. We think logically, but our emotions can sometimes hinder us. We believe in fighting for others’ rights, even if it isn’t easy. Most of all, we value people above everything.

 

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 24 – A Book that I Wish More People Would’ve Read

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I love this book because I’m fascinated with Girl Culture, what it means to be a girl, and how our society is changing girlhood. Being a young girl today is SO much different than being a girl a few decades ago. You have to be sexy, innocent, girly, smart, stupid, everything and nothing and adfshfasd;fjaslkv;jbera;g

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The worst part is that we’re so indoctrinated to our culture’s beliefs on how girls should look and act that we, even the most passionately feminist among us, don’t even realize what we’re doing sometimes! This book gives great insight into the problems facing young girls and how our cultural practices can either help or hurt them. Since the beginning of time, women have been subject to double standards, objectification, and a whole multitude of other crappy stuff!

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In my opinion, the best place to act against misogyny is to build strong girls. (Which just so happens to be my sorority’s philanthropic mission!) We have to build girls a strong foundation so that they can deal with all the bull they’re going to encounter in the world. Then they’ll be better able to put a stop to it!

A Goodreads summary of Orenstein’s book:

The acclaimed author of the groundbreaking bestseller Schoolgirls reveals the dark side of pink and pretty: the rise of the girlie-girl, she warns, is not that innocent.
Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source, the source of female empowerment. And commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.

But, realistically, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-size wedding gown or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway, especially given girls’ successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualization, or prime them for it? Could today’s little princess become tomorrow’s sexting teen? And what if she does? Would that make her in charge of her sexuality, or an unwitting captive to it?

Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. She dissected the science, created an online avatar, and parsed the original fairy tales. The stakes turn out to be higher than she – or we – ever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable; yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents can effectively counterbalance its influence in their daughters’ lives.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter is a must-read for anyone who cares about girls, and for parents helping their daughters navigate the rocky road to adulthood.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23- A Book I’ve Wanted to Read for a Long Time but Still Haven’t

As younger readers, we complain about having to read the classics, but (especially if you’re an English major) you thank your stars that someone forced you to read them! The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliette, Moby Dick- they’re classics for a reason. They mean something in our culture, and we’re still talking about them years after their publication. To get a lot of cultural references, you have to know about these books, even if it’s just a Wiki-based knowledge.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is one of those books that EVERYONE knows and talks about.

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It’s a favorite coming of age tale. I have an English professor that gives it to each member of his family when they become a teenager. It’s a staple in classic and YA literature. People have posters of the cover and talk about how Holden Caufield is SO them!

And… I’ve never read it.

It wasn’t taught in my school! I just really want to read it because I need to know what all of the fuss is about. But it’s sat on my TBR shelf forever and ever. Maybe I’d really love it and want to teach it in the classroom. It’s clearly a novel that appeals to teenagers.

HOWEVER! I think now is an opportune time for me to start the novel because a movie about Salinger is coming out, and I’d like to have some primary knowledge of his work before I see it. Apparently, they’ve found FIVE new manuscripts that will be published posthumously. Isn’t it awesome when classic lit gets a moment in pop culture fan fare?

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I just have to find time to fit it into my schedule with the other billions of things I have to read for classes…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 22 – Favorite Villain from a Book

The thing about evil is that it doesn’t always come in a large box labeled: EVIL. A person who is evil doesn’t always look like a devil or constantly do things that are clearly wrong. No, the thing about evil is that it has a way of disguising itself. It can be cloaked with good intentions, smiles, and pink.

I think Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter is an awesome villain because she’s not a Voldemort- type evil. She operates under the guise of trying to improve Hogwarts. She smiles and likes kittens and pink. This is what we have to watch out for people! Satan didn’t stroll into the Garden of Evil forcing people to sin. He disguised himself and persuaded Eve by making her believe she was doing the right thing.

Also, as a future teacher, I find Umbridge even more deplorable because she represents everything that is awful about the American education system. She’s a government employee appointed to come into the school and standardize things. She wants to turn it into a learning factory. She doesn’t care about the welfare of students. She micromanages the teachers, inhibiting their ability to do their jobs. She implements tons of rules and takes away the magic (haha) from the classroom while denying the students true learning opportunities or the chance to discuss real- world issues (like VOLDEMORT!).

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The only good thing about Umbridge, is that she inspired this character in A Very Potter Sequel

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 20 – Favorite Romance Book

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There’s no love quite like unrequited love. The longing. The stolen glances. The sexual tension. What’s not to love?

Here’s the dish on my favorite romance novel:

They parted in disgrace…But desire would bring them back together.

Years ago, in one explosive instant, childhood rivalry turned into wild passion for Jeremy, handsome young Duke of Rawlings, and Maggie Herbert, the object of his affections. Unfortunately, the ensuing scandal found them banished to separate corners of the world.

Now fate has joined Jeremy and Maggie again– for a long-overdue dance of desire as uncompromising as the lovers themselves. Jeremy, a decorated soldier, is determined to claim Maggie at last. And Maggie, engaged to be married to another man, finds her secret fantasies of Jeremy spinning out of control. All that stands between them and the steamy passion the years can no longer chain is the past– and a present steeped in jealousy, intrigue, and danger…

Ok- I love the characters so much because they’re hilarious and passionate. I love stories about love that endures, especially with fire and passion. To be honest, the love scenes are descriptive enough to get the point across while being tasteful.

Also, this book is by Patricia Cabot AKA Meg Cabot! Read about my love for her here!

I have read and re-read this book book to the point that the pages are distressed. It’s no longer in print, but I found an edition online and got Meg Cabot to autograph it when I met her! Needless to say, this was my method of brown nosing her, and it totally worked.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19 – Favorite Book Turned Movie

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Sometimes when the stars align, hell freezes over, and we all hold our collective breath at the same time- a book to movie adaptation is just as good as the book. Obviously, this is a rare occurrence, but it IS possible.

Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those rare occurrences.

The story of teenage Charlie’s adventures were perfectly translated onto the silver screen this past year. I was so nervous for how they would make the movie because the characters and the narration fit together in the novel’s world so perfectly that I didn’t think any adaptation could do it justice. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the movie! I was disappointed that they didn’t play up the whole Charlie being abused thing and they skimmed over some of the other more serious issues, but overall I was pleased. I think it captured the book’s feeling and the character’s heart and quirkiness. The casting was perfect. I also think that it helped that Chbosky, the author, helped adapt the book to a screenplay. I honestly think this should be standard for book to movie translations.