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.

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!

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 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 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 17 – Favorite Quote from a Book

This beautiful quote comes from The Book Thief. Read my review of it here!

This quote touches me because, as someone who loves to read and write, I appreciate how important words are. I want to say the right things and write in a way that affects people. Words are everything. I get them stuck in my head. They change me, build me, break me. Yet, the most important moments can be so powerful that language cannot touch them. But we never stop trying. Language is our key to understanding the world and leaving something behind. To me, words are the be all and end all.

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 16 – My Favorite Genre

Young Adult Literature

I’m an English major so I read a wide variety of works. I’ve been introduced to so many genres in the past few that I didn’t even know existed! It’s good to read things from every genre, but I keep going back to YA.

Why I love YA:

It’s interesting that YA, compared to other literary genres, is relatively new in the world of words. It is believed to have grown in the 1920s and really started flourishing in the 1970s and 1980s when it became clear that there was a serious demographic gap between juvenile lit and adult lit.

I, like many other YA readers, don’t consider myself a “young adult” in the strictest term, although the age limits are loose and constantly fluctuating throughout generations, but I still enjoy reading the genre. I think it’s because being a young adult is such a defining period in our lives. You start to grow up and figure out who you are. This is super difficult! We all remember the struggle. And at any age, we can all relate to feeling like we don’t have everything figured out. (Do we ever feel like we do?)

YA appeals to me because we can always be reminded how much we can change and how the world can be a scary and beautiful place. No matter how old I get, I will sometimes feel like I don’t fit in. I’ll deal with serious issues. I’ll remember what it felt like having a crush or falling in love. I’ll know what it’s like to have that one best friend or inspiring teacher or that girl you hate. I’ll relate to being frustrated with my parents or my hair.

Maybe we never really grow up, or maybe we’re always growing up. Either way, young adult literature is there to help with stories and characters and words.

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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.