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.

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 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.

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?

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 8- Most Overrated Book

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This is an unpopular opinion, but I HATE NICHOLAS SPARKS. I hate what he says in interviews. I hate his books. I hate his writing. I hate those cheesy movies they make out of those books. I hate seeing people reading them in public. I hate seeing or hearing his name or his books anywhere.

With that said, the most overrated book is The Notebook. SO MANY people say it’s their favorite book or favorite movie. Seriously? I gave both a try. I did. I tried it. There are so many other, better things to be reading: better authors, better characters, better love stories. Sid and Nancy have a better love story. Maybe if the writing talent was there, it could have been something, but I find it to be a thorn in my book-loving side.

And, yeah, I used the movie version of the book cover just to add insult to injury.

*End Rant*

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 4- The Worst Film Adaptation of a Book

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I ABHOR what filmmakers did with the Series of Unfortunate Events books when they made the series into a movie. I understand that, when translating a book into a movie, some artistic license must be taken, but the movie left a poor taste in my mouth.  There are 13 books in the series so they had to compact three of them into one movie. This made the pacing rushed and left almost no time for story telling and ambience. I loved the series as a child for its weird characters and whimsical narration, not to mention the mystery and suspense. The books are wonderful, but the movie tried so hard to live up to the books that it fell flat with too many A-list actors, a terrible screenplay, and not grasping what made the books so enchanting to readers.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day One- A Book I’d Like to Live In

The hard part about choosing a book for this challenge is that so many of the books that I love are set in a world with a lot of problems or danger. (Hence, why they make good books.) I stared at my bookshelves (a process I’m sure I’ll repeat throughout this challenge) and landed on a little known book.

The Stargazer by Michele Jaffe takes place during the Italian Renaissance. I have loved it since high school because of its elements of danger, mystery, sensuality, nobility, and romance. I’d love to dress in elaborate silk gowns while chasing after suspects with Jaffe’s characters. I’m all about historical romances.

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Michele Jaffe has written several other books in this series as well as crime fiction and YA lit that are all great reads.