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 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 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 21 – Favourite Book from my Childhood

I’m cheating with this entry, but this is my blog so I’ll make the rules!

Back in the days of elementary school yore, when Scholastic book fairs were like school holidays,

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and they sent these things home with us so we could beg our parents to order us things (and it was hard for them to say no because they’d basically be telling you not to read),

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I was obsessed with The Bailey School Kids series. And it was a great series to fall in love with because there were over EIGHTY books!

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Basically, the books have a Scooby-Doo-like formula. The kids became suspicious of a figure in their lives like a lifeguard, teacher, or other adult because, let’s face it, adults are super strange and mysterious and always seem to have secrets.  They suspect that an adult is a mythical creature like a vampire, skeleton, witch, etc. Then they collect a bunch of reasons why they believe that, for example, their camp counselor is a werewolf.  This may seem a little outlandish, but if you think back to when you were in elementary school, you probably believed a host of crazy things like thinking your teacher lived at school or thinking little elves operated traffic lights (No? Just me?)

These books were brilliant because they capitalized on childhood suspicion and imagination. Plus, the reader never knows if the kids are right in their accusations! Sure, it’s unlikely that the librarian is a wizard.

But you never know…
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Here are some of my favorites:
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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.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 14 – Favorite Author(s) from my Childhood

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I loved all of the E.B. White books, but Trumpet of the Swan was my favorite because I thought swans were really cool and majestic when I was a kid.

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I used to read these Sweet Pickles books by  Ruth Lerner PerleJacquelyn Reinach, and Richard Hefter all the time at my grandparent’s house. I’d never seen them outside of their bookshelves so I didn’t even know they were a fad until I saw a Buzzfeed list which featured them. It was something so vague from my past that I thought I dreamt it! They’re just full of all sorts of ridiculous stories starring these animals so it’s a good time.

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Ramona Quimby was like the pre-Junie B. Jones. I thought Ramona was a HOOT when I read these books in elementary school. Beverly Cleary wrote such great stories about family and growing up. Also, her sister’s name is Beatrice, but everyone calls her Beezus which I still think is really cool.

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Eric Carle books are a childhood staple! I still look through these books at the bookstore and marvel at how beautiful the artwork is.

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Little Critter was the cutest little animal, even though I could never figure out what he was. Critter was good enough for me. I read and re-read the stories all the time. Plus, on each page, you had to find the hidden frog, spider, and mouse, and that’s a great distraction for a child who has read the story a thousand times.

Friday Five: Worst Things That Happen While Reading

  1. When people who don’t get bookworm etiquette always try to interrupt you while you’re reading, especially when you get to the good parts. I hate this because I always lose my place and have to get back into the book…just before they talk to me again…
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  2. When your favorite character dies. I mean, it’s just cruel! (Looking at you, George R. R. Martin. You too, J.K. Rowling)
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  3. When you can’t stop crying, laughing, screaming, making faces, etc. while you read in public, and people think you’re psychotic.
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  4. When no one else has read the book you’ve just finished, but it left you with so many feels that you HAVE to discuss it with someone or you’ll EXPLODE, but no one you know has read it.
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  5. When you’re at the end of the book or series or the next installment in the series is what feels like an eternity away from being released. 
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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 9- A Book I Thought I Wouldn’t Like But Ended Up Loving

 

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Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

I had never read anything David Sedaris had written until he visited my hometown Barnes and Noble. He was a charming speaker. He signed a copy of his book that I had never read, and I was content to leave it on my bookshelf. I knew he was famous and a big deal so it was worth it to me.

This is a picture of my autographed book. He drew a drunk rabbit which is obviously the best thing ever. (He also offered the young people at his signing either shampoo or condoms as a reward for being young readers. I took the shampoo because my dad was there.)

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I’d always loved biographies and autobiographies, but I was never interested in autobiographical memoirs because I’d always had this idea of the genre just being someone reminiscing over anecdotes from their life that they found amusing. Everyone thinks their funny stories are the funniest.

Then I started listening to his audio books during my hour-long commute to my summer job, which made it wayyyy less awful. I listened to Sedaris read his memoirs and found myself laughing out loud to myself and remembering the stories long after. Sedaris writes with great humor and heart that it felt like I was talking to an old friend and laughing with him about memories we shared. This book was my favorite out of his. Plus, I love the cover art on all of his books.

Have you read his other books or essays?