Friday, September 30, 2011

Banned Book Week...a teachers' perspective


Over the summer one of my former students posted a newspaper article on my facebook page. It detailed three books that were being banned in a high school near by and she asked if I would write about it. I couldn't and still can't as I have not read the three books (Speak, Twenty Boy Summer and Slaughter-house Five), but I can write about what I feel banning a book at the high school level can mean and I can do that on a personal level.

Every year I give a choice fiction assignment in my honors class, with this assignment I give a list, but I also give a warning, please see below:



Last year I had two parents complain about the assignment because I gave a list of books that they felt were OK for their children to read as their teacher had approved the book in a list. After looking over the books, they didn't understand how I could let their kids read such filth. Now, both of these complaints happened at the end of the unit, after all projects had been assessed and it was May...in essence, shy of exempting the students from the work, there was nothing I could do.
My principal asked me: Would you allow your child to read [he read a part from the book that I'm leaving out only because I don't want people who I know telling the parent that I'm talking about the book]?

My answer: I read that book in high school, I'm not sure now that my mother knows I read it and I'm not sure that she cares I've always been allowed to make my own choices, which is amazing considering how devout my mother is, but there you go.
I didn't want to get rid of the project, the students grades or the ability to let the kids choose what they wanted to read. My principal wanted to make sure that parents understood that books might be questionable. I wanted to make sure that parents could be held accountable for guidelines and papers I give their children to take home.

After another debacle, which occurred during the summer (because it wasn't me, I won't go into detail), we've created the following for the whole department to use:



We'll see if it works...

I'm all for letting my students' parents determine what they read. However, I definitely don't want to be that person...ever...reading creates free thought and I mean all kind of reading, especially the unbridled kind. I remember when I was in high school one of my friends only read romance novels, I mean dirty, making me blush just thinking about it, romance novels and we would tease her about this fact. One day my teacher (and, this was in the world's smallest town in the early 90s) said, "Don't knock what she reads, they're dense, complex, historical and she's reading!"

Over the years, we've had to have alternate assignments for The Crucible (John Proctor says, "God is dead!", of course people don't read the whole play to see why he's saying it or to think about how it's actually promoting the idea of the true Christian, not the hypcritical Christians of Salem), Of Mice and Men (too much cussing, and new for this year, because it is derogatory towards those who are mentally-challenged) and many others. I don't mind having alternate assignments, what you do in your home and how you want to raise your kids is truly not any of my business and, I can find an alternate for pretty much all of the books, short stories et cetera that we read in class. I do mind removing a book from the curriculum or the shelf just because of the mores of a few.

Once we start banning books and censoring their product where does it stop? Whose voice gets to be the loudest? What ideals get to be the strongest?

A List (25 Banned book that I love)
I'm not going to tell you why they're banned...read them just because they're good, not because they're salacious.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
3. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
4. Forever by Judy Blume
5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
7. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
8. Beloved by Toni Morrison
9. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
11. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
12. The Giver by Lois Lowry
13. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
14. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
15. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
16.  Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
17. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
18. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
19. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
20. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
21. The Drowning of Stephan Jones by Bette Greene
22. Maurice by E. M. Forster
23. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
24. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
25. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Some great blogpost
Lesson 24: Books Are Made for Reading & Hiding Girlie Mags in Class
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read
I Read Banned Books
Why Banned Books Week Matters
Banned Books in the United States
Still Beating That Old Dead Horse About Censorship

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (Loud)

         From Booking Through Thursday:

1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to? Does it bring back memories of your childhood? Your children’s childhood?
2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?
3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?


             As a teachers of high school students I think it's for the birds. My students are so used to being read to that at times they don't have the proper skills to read and comprehend quietly to themselves. However, in the classroom reading aloud does have its time and place...when we read "The Death of the Hired Man", we listen to it as it has dialogue that is hard to follow if you don't hear it first. As a parent of an almost two year old I wouldn't have it any other way and love reading aloud to her...even if it's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (which is pretty long for a toddler to sit and listen to) and enjoy when she parrots some of the words or reads certain pages to her baby doll. She wouldn't be able to do this if I didn't read aloud to her.
          Reading aloud does bring back memories of my childhood...of my mother standing in the hall, so we could hear her as she read aloud to us from The Bible or some book meant to teach kids about morals or Laura Ingalls Wilder.
          I dislike audio books, I'm not really an auditory learner and one sure way to make sure I run off the road or fall asleep is to start an audio. If I have to listen to something I'm usually taking notes or asking questions if I know I have to understand it, that takes all the fun out of pleasure reading...although if David Duchovny wanted to read me something I'm sure I'd be OK with that as his voice is just dreamy.

What's your learning style? Find out here.
Here are 3 learning styles.




Feel free to share your answers below, on the original post (above), on FB or on your own blog!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 02

Several months ago I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about


Series


I think we may have talked about this before...maybe...


Book



My review for this gem is here...


Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book
Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss

Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Word of the Week Innocous and Weekly 100 Words



Here are my 100 words from Wither by Lauren DeStefano p14:

     "'This is in the orange grove. My father owned acres of them. Here in Florida."'Florida. My heart sinks. I'm in Florida, on the bottom of the East Coast, more miles from home than I can count. I miss my ivy-silhouetted house. I miss the distant commuter trains. How will I ever find my way back to them? 'They're lovely,' I say of the oranges. Because it's true, they are lovely. Things seem to thrive in this place. I would never have suspected that the vibrant girl standing beside her horse in the grove could be dying now. 'Aren't they?'"
This meme is hosted by Ruthi at Ruthi Reads!  The object is simple:  share exactly 100 words from the book you are currently reading, and no spoilers!  Be sure to include your book's title, author, and page number in your post.  Head over to Ruthi's site and add your link to your book!  Happy Reading!

Monday, September 26, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #40 Wither

I wasn't going to read Wither, as the cover makes me want to...I don't know punch puppies, drown kittens, vomit uncontrollably? Can you tell I hate these new-fangled covers that have some sort of waif model on the cover posed in some sort of Tyra Banks type manner? And, yet, against my will, I am drawn to its colors and symbolism...

Anyway, I wasn't going to read it and then I saw this review for it on Goodreads (by a reviewer whose opinion I value and whose reviews I follow) just trash the dickens right out of it. It made me curious. Isn't it funny how a bad review can do that? But, I still wasn't going to pay to read it...I waited...hoping one of my students would have it and let me borrow it, hoping one of my friends would buy it and let me borrow it and then there it was on the bookshelf at my aunts house when we went to visit her in the summer begging me to read it. I read it in a day, it's not really that hard of a read.

Frankly, I like the story. The only thing that makes it dystopic, however, is the premise. The rest is mostly a love quadrangle.

Frankly, I like the setting. It happens to be a gothic castle full of mysterious secrets and an orange grove in its meandering garden and, by contrast, a city taken over by disease-riddled, I can only imagine, zombie-like teens and pre-teens and those who prey upon them.

Frankly, I like the main characters. Rhine (isn't that a lovely name that you know 85 million teenage girls will now want to name their first born?) is strong when she needs to be, feminine when she needs to be and knows what she wants which is out of her life of sister-wifedom and back with her brother defending their home. I like her husband, a man/boy struggling not to be the pawn of his father, and the boy she truly loves (at least I think she does), the servant, Gabriel. I, even, like the other two sister-wives, even if one is a little spoiled child who enjoys that she is pregnant at 13 and the other is a bit sad (we find out for good reason) and mopey.

I've recommended it to a couple of students who I know like their dystopia on the light, romantic side and I've mentioned it in passing to a couple of my SF YA friends in the hopes that we could then chat about the many reasons this book and its author bugs me because I can't put my finger on it, except to say maybe there's too much to try to entice the reader to buy into the concept and not enough once your hooked. It's kind of like Taken (that movie with Liam Neeson), meets the Uglies series, meets Frankenstein (the book and the Kenneth Branagh movie), meets I Am Legend, meets the most beautiful sweeping romance ever...say Gone with the Wind.

Will I read the second one? I'm not sure, it's got another one of those covers and a setting that seems to be all the rage now...the carnival/circus. Maybe, I'll just have to keep my eyes on the look-out to see if anyone will let me borrow it.

3 Stars
Photobucket
Side note: my review for this book bounces between 3 and 4...I'm torn...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scheduled Reads for the rest of 2011


Although I may be ahead of schedule in my 50 book challenge, I still have much more reading to get my other challenges completed, I thought I'd record them here so I would remember.

September
Maisie Dobbs (British Challenge; Historical Challenge)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (British Challenge)
October
Finish Vanity Fair (British Challenge; Historical Reading)
The Scarecrow of Oz (Gilmore Girls)
Dr. No (British Challenge)
Sherlock Holmes-A Study in Scarlet (British Challenge)

November
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Nordic Challenge)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Nordic Challenge)

December
The Moonstone (British Challenge)
Ironweed (Gilmore Girls)
Valley of the Dolls (Gilmore Girls)
Candide (Gilmore Girls)


Through-out the rest of the year
These will be easy to do as I can read them during school and have just been waiting until I assign them.


5 essays (Essay Reading Challenge)
"Why We Crave Horror Movies"-Stephen King and others
2 Short Stories (Gilmore Girls)
1. "Snows of Killimanjaro" Ernest Hemingway
2. "The Trial" Franz Kafka


Horns by Joe Hill OCT 
(Geek Girls on Goodreads...I downloaded it on the Nook so we'll see if I like it enough to finish reading, I'm a little leery of the premise)

Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley NOV
(Chunksters on Goodreads...co-discussion leader so gotta keep that one on the table)

Stiff:The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach OCT
(Gilmore Girls on Goodreads...read it before, will love to read it again with a group)


Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell by the end of the semester
(borrowed from senior lit teachers to see if I like his writing...)



It feels good to have everything lined up and in order! Now, off to do some paper grading before the tiny person wakes up!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Sampling #1


Click on the image to be taken to the whole post


Friday, September 23, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you Kasi Lou at Thoughts from Me! for awarding me with The Versatile Blogger Award. I enjoy reading Kasi Lou's blog, I also enjoy reading her reviews on Good Reads, they are fair, honest and entertaining. 




There are rules to this award...
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself on the post.
3. Pass the award to fifteen bloggers that you think deserve it.
4. Lastly, contact all of the bloggers that you've picked for the award.

Here are seven things about me...

  1. I miss taking naps...really! I used to come home for teaching and nap. I'd wake up on Saturday just to nap. I've spent the last 2-ish years tired...so friggin' tired.
  2. I love Disney movies, ALL of them. I love the old ones even more than the new ones...Haley Mills is the bomb-diggity!
  3. I miss reading comic books. I haven't had time to read them in awhile. I was looking through the graphic novels at Barnes and Noble (graphic novel is just a fancy word for lots of comic books in one package), I really want that latest Wonder Woman one.
  4. I love teaching, but can't do it forever...really...
  5. I spent about a year not reading and only just back into the swing of things this year.
  6. I enjoy a good cup of tea.
  7. When the kiddo is older we are going to take her on a trip to England.
So, I have to pass this award on to 15 people...Here's my list of winners! (Gar! I'll definitely choose 15 winners, but will, um...not be notifying them--that's really time-consuming! I applaud all people who follow blog award rules to the letter...you are my heroes!)

  1. A Hasty Life
  2. Art for Little Hands
  3. Brenda Youngerman
  4. Dead End Follies
  5. Deborah Lawrenson
  6. Domestically Divine Divas
  7. Fantasy Casting
  8. Geek Girls Book Club
  9. Jill Scribbles
  10. Kill Me If I Stop
  11. Letters to Dixon
  12. Rooted in Atascocita
  13. She Blogged by Night
  14. The Lemonista
  15. Your Move, Dickens
Even if I don't tell them that I've chosen them as winners...please read them...they are just lovely!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (In Public)

         From Booking Through Thursday:
Do you carry books with you when you’re out and about in the world?
And, do you ever try to hide the covers?

             Unfortunately, I carry more than one book with me...right now I have my Nook and about three others and two kiddo books, plus the books I carry around for school, plus papers I need to grade. It's a hard life being an avid reader...hardy har har.
          I'd never hide the cover of a book I was reading! Of course, books like the one below just don't get read in public, or in front of people!

[Source]



Feel free to share your answers below, on the original post (above), on FB or on your own blog!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 01

Several months ago I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Always up for a challenge, I'm doing both!

A Series I Wished Had Gone On Longer
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

From Goodreads:
Amber is the one real world, casting infinite reflections of itself -- Shadow worlds, that can be manipulated by those of royal Amberite blood. But the royal family is torn apart by jealousies and suspicion; the disappearance of the Patriach Oberon has intensified the internal conflict by leaving the throne apparently up for grabs. In a hospital on the Shadow Earth, a young man is recovering from a freak car accident; amnesia has robbed him of all his memory, even the fact that he is Corwin, Crown Prince of Amber, rightful heir to the throne -- and he is in deadly peril ...The five books, Nine Princes in Amber, The Guns of Avalon, Sign of the Unicorn, The Hand of Oberon and The Courts of Chaos, together make up The Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny's finest work of fantasy and an undisputed classic of the genre.

My uncle found the original Corwin books in a shed on my grandfather's land. They had been purchased by my other uncles (SF nerds that they are) and SF nerd that he knows I am, after he read them he let me borrow them. By then he'd moved on to the Merlin books, I was not content with just have the books to borrow, and was lucky enough to find my own copies to own and possess and spent many a year at used bookstores looking for the others...and then I found The Great Book of Amber, so I own all the Merlin paperbacks, the two Corwin hardcovers and this book. Although the whole series ends satisfactorially I would still like to read more about Merlin and Cor, I miss them. Zelazny died of cancer at such a young age (58) that I know he would have written more. I feel a reread coming on!

A Book Series I Wish Would Just End
that FRIGGIN' Gabaldon series

From Goodreads
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


I wish this book series would end for purely selfish reason...I want to start reading it. I have those of you who are so obsessed with this series wait in line forever to by the latest one, I will not be that person. I hate waiting, and, although my friends say that each book is over 700 pages, I know I will love this series and I know I will read them all in a matter of months and then be just like the other Gabaldon addicts...waiting...

Instead, I will be like my friend Michelle, she is just NOW starting The Harry Potter series, she knows very little about it and was waiting for all the books and for the hype to die down.

Ms. Diana Gabaldon...I know you love your characters and don't want to stop writing about them, but for the love of Pete this was series was supposed to end like two books ago.

But, don't you worry...Gar! I'll just wait some more!!!

And, she seems like such a nice lady
And, so begins a new 30 Day challenge...
Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book
Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss

Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Word of the Week: Lament and Weekly 100 Words

Here are my 100 words from Sunday at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet prologue:

     "Michael was running as fast as he could, racing down thickly congested streets toward New York Hospital — Jane was dying there — when suddenly a scene from the past came back to him, a dizzying rush of overpowering memories that nearly knocked him out of his sneakers. He remembered sitting with Jane in the Astor Court at the St. Regis Hotel, the two of them there under circumstances too improbable to imagine. He remembered everything perfectly — Jane's hot fudge and coffee ice cream sundae, what they had talked about — as if it had happened yesterday. All of it almost impossible to...."
This meme is hosted by Ruthi at Ruthi Reads!  The object is simple:  share exactly 100 words from the book you are currently reading, and no spoilers!  Be sure to include your book's title, author, and page number in your post.  Head over to Ruthi's site and add your link to your book!  Happy Reading!

Monday, September 19, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #39 Sunday at Tiffany's

OK, so I know I've talked about romance novels enough that you may think that I don't like them. That's not entirely true. I believe a romance novel has a time and a place. I am also willing to read or watch anything romance-y if I am in the mood and I understand that there are different types of romance novels and I understand what a good book in each genre is...even more importantly I understand when I love a book that really isn't the best of its genre. Case in point:  Sunday at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet...I might premise the rest of this by saying that I am also the girl who will watch most Hallmark movies, getting misty-eyed (and sometimes crying) at the appropriate places...I am, in short, a sap...a sap for a good story (who cares what the package looks like).

Sunday at Tiffany's is a book whose premise is a little thin...really, what if your imaginary friend comes to life at an appropriate age and, although you aren't supposed to, you remember him and he's hot, although when you were like seven you thought of him as more of a father, and you love him, and he helps you become the strong woman that you should've always been to begin with, he helps connect you to your mother and dump your trashy boyfriend, and, while he helps you he becomes more human...which may or may not be a good thing. I love the premise. I love the romance. I love the ease of reading of this book (I'm pretty sure I read it in an hour...while watching the kiddo and the television). I am glad it's a movie that I can buy on DVD if I desire. It will look wonderful sitting next to "Tully", "Enchanted" and "The Notebook".

I'm glad that there are books like this is the world, books that I can go back to and read when feeling down to feel better, to feel happier...to sigh with the knowledge that schmoopy romance can exist. Books don't need to be perfectly written or deeply plotted to be uplifting, sometimes lighter really does mean better.

One thing I don't get...how is this book written by two people?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last Week in a Nutshell #3


One] Last week was my friends' birthday. Another friend of ours hosted a party for her and, with Lila as the floor show how could anyone there not have a good time? We watched "Bolt", watched Lila carry around two dumb bells that each weighed 10 lbs. (she's less than two years old, so that's like 1/3 of her body weight), we watched her 'colorings', ate chocolate ganache covered chocolate cake and my friend opened up tons of lovely presents...wine, Stove Top (her favorite), books and lots and lots and lots of Mountain Dew...and, she says she's trying to quit!

Two] I don't need to tell all of you that this is Lila's first obsessive movie...I think it's a little strange, but shouldn't have expected anything less as Chris loves (I mean loves!) this movie and many years ago we scoured the country side looking for it (only to have it burn in a fire) and then Wal-Mart started carrying it. I'm afraid that since this movie encompasses elements of Christmas and Halloween I'll be watching it way past its expiration date. However, it was soooo cute last evening when Jack was singing his lament and she was singing most of the words and doing some of the actions. I'm pretty sure her daddy was beaming...his eyes may have even been a little misty.



Three] My mother loves, loves, loves Johnny Mathis. I think that he, along with a handful of Westerns, is what she took with her from her childhood. It seemed that everytime he was in Branson she was somewhere else, doing something else, but not this year! My sister that she lives with and I have conspired to bring her here to watch Johnny Mathis in concert at The Mansion in November. This has got to be the first concert my mother's been to since Johnny Rivers (what's with the Johnnys, Mother?) was at Dog Patch USA. Woot!

Four] Audrey's Spot for Recipe Tips and Hints is a pretty delicious (every pun intended!) blog where she talks about food and recipes. She makes tasty treats that you can actually serve to your family and probably already have most of the ingredients for in your pantry. She is brave enough to post pictures, that she claims are sub par, of the food she makes and tells you who in her family liked what foods and why. She talks about what recipes work and don't work for her, she post lots of non-dairy ones like this Spinach Broccoli Casserole and she is kind enough to post lovely comments to my blog!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two of The Best American Essays in 2008

[BN]
As I bought this book on the cheap at a Border's...I'm sure I'll be writing about more of them at a later date, but for now...these two...

Notable Quotables by Louis Menand
p148
I read this essay in response to an article I saw about 10 most famous political misquotes. Sarah Palin never said, "I can see Russia from My House" and Al Gore never said, "I invented the internet". More important than the misquote is how it gets into our collective conscience and digs in so deep that the misquote lives a more prosperous life than the person who supposedly said it. As the author of this essay notes, "The Patrick Henry who lives in our heads and hearts is the man who said 'Give me liberty, or give me death!'. ...a Patrick Henry without a death wish, is just not someone we know or care about. His having been said to have said what he never said is a condition of his being 'Patrick Henry'." I had a good time reading all about how there are even great people in the world who go to great lengths sleuthing to find the truth behind the misquote. After all, "the experience of sublimity is subjective and associational. For some reason, a string is plucked and it never stops vibrating." No wonder my students think and tell their parents comments I made that never came out of my mouth. It's much more interesting than the truth of the matter.

Solipsism by Ander Monson
p155
This is the essay right after Notable Quotables.
How can you not want to read an essay that takes you through the rabbit hole and starts like this?

Yeah, you gotta turn the book sideways to read it.

In searching for this essay online I came across a wonderful response (it's a delightful read that still has me thinking and wishing my students thought outside the box like that when they write...or, is that's what is expected after reading this essay?) kind of dogging the fact that Mr. Monson didn't use hypertext for all of the asides, all I could think was that I didn't really miss the hypertext from this lovely and clever essay until it was pointed out to me. I love the idea of using text to enhance our reading experience...I do it often when I write and yet, I don't/can't allow my students to do the same...there's something ironic there, I think. While reading I was also reminded of a time in one of my education classes when I was asked to write about my writing process. We all turned in papers in perfect MLA talking about our writing processes, devoid of all the flavor of the process. She told us to try again. I ended up writing my 'process' in italics and dashes and movie quotes and pictures and, I remember vividly, orange kool-aid stains...that was...is (as I'm writing this in front of the TV), cup in hand, (huh, same cup 13 years later, no lie! it's orange and was bought in a set by my friend at a garage sale before we were afraid that garage sale plastic contained reminants of meth, it comes in a set of four) how I write. Is Dr. Margaret Weaver a solpsist?   I think so.

I also found this and, realized that
I, myself, may have a googling problem...
and, that I may also think too much!

Oh, and Lila with the cup...doing something I'm not sure I like...



Friday, September 16, 2011

This is Halloween...This is Halloween...

...well, at least at my house anyway, where we have watched



at least once a day since Monday...I'm not sure I'll last until Halloween. She really likes the songs and Jack Skellington (it's funny to hear an almost two year old pronounce that) and Sally. Frankly, I do too!

And, she just said, "I want some more monsters."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh, the joys of high school...

What I would be doing if it were Thursday 1992...

Homework and a little 90210..."Hello, Brandon!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Day in 20 Steps...or, Why I Post So Friggin' Late!

Starting next week, I'm going back to a 30-day challenge on Wednesday. Not, having something set to write about in the middle of the week, really does make blogging every day hard...but, for now I'd like to share with you a typical day in the life of Stephanie Hasty, teacher/mother/wife/friend extraordinaire, and for a fun challenge I'm going to do it in 20 steps!

1. Get woken up in the middle of the night, as we have put the tiny tot in her toddler bed and she escapes (I hear this stops...eventually), but for now as if by some CRAZY internal alarm...she wakes up around 2am demanding a drink and saying, "I need to watch Dora". Not cool.
2. Wake-up officially at 6.30ish...check FB, check Goodreads respond if there's time or something pressing...check school email as I don't want to be bombarded by something new on that front as I walk in the building.
3. Shower.
4. Pick out clothes for the kidlet (as Chris does not like to pick out clothes for her).
5. Do the other mundane task that are required before one can leave the house.
6. Drive to school...forgetting that I didn't brush my teeth. This happens often, so often in fact, I have a toothbrush and toothpaste at the school...
7. Brush teeth before school starts and look at the list of task I have created for myself...these are usually grading task, or communication task.
This is my planner...I'd be lost without it...
it's pretty and I got it at BN.
8. Realize that these tasks have nothing to do with what is really going on during the day and make a note to complete the list at a later date...this is how I just now scheduled an orthodonist appointment for this month, although they wanted me to in late July.
9. Teach.
10. Get off track...sometimes on purpose, sometimes due to stress, sometimes it goes unnoticed until too late.
11. Want to nap during conference, instead grade papers, address concerns that I didn't expect to happen when school started. Today's prize winner...the children were out of the building selling ads for the paper, a business in town called to talk to me about how one of them was dressed. We then had to find said student and have a chat. I did this when there were literally 100 other task I should have been doing.
12. Remember a meeting that totally escaped my mind.
13. Remember to write sub plans for a day that  I forgot I was going to be gone, as it was not a day I scheduled, but a day that was scheduled for me for PD purposes.
14. Stay at school too late, be the last parent to pick up my kid...again.
15. Think about writing a blog post.
16. Come home and remember that we needed milk, go back out.
17. Get gas...maybe...depending on whether I brought only money for milk.
18. Want to nap, but the kiddo is really happy to see me so we play outside, have a snack, watch Elmo
19. Dinner...tonight it's beans and weenies...I am a master chef.
20. Fall asleep in the front of the television...book/test I'm grading/kid in hand.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Word of the Week: Hoosegow and Weekly 100 Words


Here are my 100 words from Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins p6:

     "...arched, ears flattened, stands the ugliest tomcat in the world. 'Buttercup,' I say. Thousands of people are dead, but he has survived and even looks well fed. On what? He can get in and out of the house through a window we always left ajar in the pantry. He must have been eating field mice. I refuse to consider the alternative. I squat down and extend a hand. “Come here, boy.”
     Not likely. He’s angry at his abandonment. Besides, I’m not offering food, and my ability to provide scraps has always been my main redeeming quality to him."
This meme is hosted by Ruthi at Ruthi Reads!  The object is simple:  share exactly 100 words from the book you are currently reading, and no spoilers!  Be sure to include your book's title, author, and page number in your post.  Head over to Ruthi's site and add your link to your book!  Happy Reading!

Monday, September 12, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #38 Mockingjay

I stumbled upon this series totally by accident. Er...sorta. I was planning on reading the series...really, just closer to the movie after THE REST OF THE WORLD had read them and I could read them alone...sorta.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
How I fell into this one: I had asked my friend Kay, via Facebook, if I could borrow her copies while visiting her in Colorado. The day we were to leave, she commented that she had the books on her Kindle and wondered why I didn't borrow it earlier in the week. I said that I didn't know and borrowed the Kindle immediately, as I had to read two books in less than 24 hrs. not counting, sleeping, packing and watching the child time. Just incase you were wondering, I did it.

Reaction:
Just incase you don't know the plot, here it is from Goodreads:
Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.
Likes
*May contain spoilers* I'm sayin this just incase you've been in a cave for the last few years and have no idea what's going on in the world. This is one of those books that doesn't end perfectly, one of those books that feel like everyone dies and yet, it is real and beautiful and propels the plot along.
As Sherman said, "War is hell" and Collins does not let you forget that. In this book there are no winner, just survivors and people who learn to cope with the losses. Finally...Katniss gets a BACKBONE!!!
Dislikes
*Again there may be spoilers* Some of my favorite characters die and there's this scene with genetically altered lizard snake creatures that is just disturbing. I'm not sure how I feel about Gale.





5 Stars
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What I thought about the series as a whole?!
I am in love with this series and look forward to talking about it with my students.

5 Stars
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Time to be Overcome 9.11.11


"Overcome"
Live

even now the world is bleedin' but feelin' just fine all numb
in our castle where we're always free to choose never free enough
to find i wish somethin' would break cuz we're runnin' out of time

and i am overcome i am overcome holy water in my lungs i am overcome

these women in the street pullin' out their hair my master's
in the yard givin' light to the unaware this plastic little place
is just a step amongst the stairs

and i am overcome i am overcome baby holy water in my lungs i am overcome

so drive me out out to that open field turn the ignition off
and spin around your help is here but i'm parked in this open space
blockin' the gates of love

i am overcome i am overcome holy water in my lungs i am overcome

beautiful drowning this beautiful drowning this holy water
this holy water is in my lungs

and i am overcome i am overcome i am overcome i am overcome

________________________________________________________________________

Ten years ago on this day I was running late for school, this was not unusual. Because I was running late I did not have time to turn on the TV to watch the news liked I liked to do in the morning. I drove like hell the 5 minutes to the high school and was taking off my cardigan as I ran in the back doors, hoping to slip by everyone unnoticed. The halls were quiet.

"Stephanie, they think a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center", somebody says...all I know is that the person was male.

My friend and I go into my room and turn on the TV, we watch the newscasters frantic to understand what is going on..."Are you sure it was a plane? How does an accident like this happen?," I ask having missed the inital report and not wanting to wait. "Maybe it was an explosion?"

And, as we're talking...those of us who didn't have a class had gathered in my room around the TV waiting for the newscasters to tell us more...I am reminded of The Challenger explosion and tell my colleagues as much, talking about what happened in school when that happened. I talk about how we were all afraid, but we didn't know where to channel that fear. I didn't know that then the newscasters were also at a loss for words and frantically searching for answers, I was only 10. At 25, looking at the television and talking with my friends, I could tell that all the reporters were just as lost as we were and were guessing just as we were and were watching The World Trade Center just as we were, trying to make heads or tails of the situation that they were presenting to us.

"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh," one of my friends said and we all turned to look at the news. And, as if in slow motion we watched as the second plane, by then we knew it couldn't be anything else, flew into the second tower.

We are breathless. We are crying and the school (I can only assume every classroom had the news on) was in panic. Many were worried that Whiteman Airforce Base was next as it had Stealth Bombers and Missouri also has a nuclear reactor. We have students who parents were in lockdown at Fort Leonard Wood and one teacher was frantically trying to get ahold of her husband, as she wasn't going to be allowed on post anytime soon. She thought for sure that we were at war.

The terroist attack on the World Trade Center is the second disaster I have seen live on the news and it is the second disaster that binds me with millions of other people in my nation as we collectively mourn the lives of those who we know are lost, as we mourn lost innocence. I can tell you were I was and what I was doing during both. Later my mom tells me this is how she feels about the assasination of JFK and MLK and I think Oh my gosh my mother has been around for so much and I think I'm not sure that I can do this another time. My heart is hurting.

During that year I will see several students graduate to fight in Operation: Iraqi Freedom, I will listen as we, as a nation, try to make sense of how these attacks (there were two more one on the Pentagon and one thwarted heading to the White House) happened in a nation with such a strong military force and government. As a nation we are shaken, I am shaken as I learn to differeniate between a nation and its criminals and as I learn to teach others to try to do the same. One teacher is reprimanded for playing the Dixie Chicks in her class, a school trip we were going to take to Boston in November is canceled and I revamp my War Fiction Unit to incorporate what is happening as we go to war in March of 2002 .

Later that year, when I think my heart is fine, my friend and I will take a recent graduate to New York City, we'll see Audra McDonald and Hugh Jackman at Carnegie. We'll also go visit the site of The World Trade Center still in devastation with sidewalks torn up and fences surrounding where the buildings use to be. It's eerily quiet and I can hear the other tourists around us sniffling and patting their eyes with tissues and the backs of their hands holding back tears. We're hugging strangers, as we look through the barracade at the humongous hole in the ground. It smells like wet cement and soil. We read signs and notes dedicated to those lost and to those fighting for the cause overseas.

We are overcome.

U2 will bring a crowd to tears when they dedicate "Walk On" to 9/11 during their Elevation Tour, they will do it again during the Superbowl when we are watching their 9/11 Tribute using "Where the Streets Have No Name".

They are so classy, spirtual and patriotic.



Two years ago my aunt, niece, sister and I go to New York, it's late at night when we walk to the construction site of the Memorial to be, my aunt is overcome by the site, as we walk around looking for it. I have to look up on my phone what it looks like now and tell them that we have passed it several times. We settle on a bench overlooking the water. I'm amazed at New York City's ability to heal. We are a nation that perseveres, we are a nation that stands strong.

Saddam Hussein is dead, Osama Bin Ladin is dead, Libya is all but crushed, our war on 'terror' is still raging on. I am sad thinking about the roles that my former students have played in this battle, I am sad for the former student that has been lost in this battle, I am sad for my friends who have fought and who have been changed because of our nations need to insure that the world is free of terror.

I think about the work that has been done, I think about the work still yet to do, I think about the lives that must be dedicated to make sure that freedom stands for everyone. I am divided about my role, I am divided about our agenda in this affair. I am also proud of my nation and I am proud to be an American.

I am overcome.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Six Word Saturday #21

My life in six words
Grading, watching a little Rob Lowe


Since I've read his autobiography, I've had Rob Lowe on the brain all week...just thought I'd watch one of his movies that I haven't seen...ever...oh, and maybe grade some papers, gar!



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. The full list and linky can be found here. And, here's where I found it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm a word collage...

So, I haven't played with Wordle in awhile and thought I'd make one that represents me at the moment!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (Disaster!) Flashback...September 2010

         From Booking Through Thursday:
You’ve just dropped your favorite, out-of-print book into a bathtub, ruining it completely … What do you do now?
          I enjoy reading in the tub...so, if it dropped I would not panic (panicking just keeps it in the water longer...not good!), I would get the book out of the tub as fast as I could. Hopefully, it would only be partly wet and not submersed and then I'd open it up to let the pages drip out as much as possible, while this was happening I'd look up on the interwebs how to save a book...I'd find this...

[Source]

      Books and papers that have gotten wet by fire, flood, broken pipe or what-have-you can be recovered. Recovered by the homeowner, without extensive training, and without expensive tools (such as the large-scale freeze-drying unit I've set up). It is time-intensive, and therefore not for the patience-challenged, nor a good idea if you have a whole lot of stuff, but if you've got one or two wet books, and the time to spare, you can get results just about as good as I can.
     The most important thing, upon which everything else hinges, is get the book frozen A.S.A.P.! Once the book dries out, the wrinkles and warping are set, and there's nothing anybody can do about it. But freeze it, and all damage stops. And the book can stay frozen, in stasis, until you're ready to handle it.
     Wrap the book in a U of wax or freezer paper, or in a plastic bag. It's best to freeze it at -15F or lower, so if you can get access to a commercial freezer space, it would be a good idea. If that's not available, a home freezer will do in a pinch, but the results won't be quite as good. If possible, freeze the book spine down, and supported so it won't lean or fall over. If you have to lay it on its side, make sure that the book is fully and flatly supported. If you have anything under it smaller than the book, the book can and will mold itself around that object.

OK. You'll need a home freezer (once frozen commercially, the books can be stored in a home freezer without a problem), and a hair dryer.




The recovery process is fairly simple:
  1. Start with the cover. Open the cover (gently pry loose the inside page, if it's sticking). Run the air stream from the hair dryer (I'd recommend top settings on both heat and fan) over the cover, back and forth, top to bottom, and inside and out. When it feels dry and warm to the touch (not hot!) go on to the inside page. Same procedure. Smooth the page with your hand as you work. Work page to page this way.
  2. When the next page starts to feel wet to your fingers, stop. Stick in a piece of paper as a bookmark, and put the book back in the freezer. Take out the next book (if there's more than one) and start on it. Leave the first book in the freezer for at least a day.
  3. Covers may soak up more moisture than the pages, so you may have to do the cover several times. Just keep the book frozen, and work only so long as it's frozen, quitting when it starts to thaw.


...I'd follow it to the letter...I'd sigh with relief.

Not that I know any of this from experience...or anything...


Feel free to share your answers below, on the original post (above), on FB or on your own blog!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm in grading pergatory...but there's no reason why you have to be there with me!

I'm reading Rob Lowe's autobiography (Hey, don't judge! It's friggin' awesome!). While I grade feel free to...

Look at this...

I don't feel comfortable telling you what my
12 year-old brain thought of this picture!
Or, read this...Chapter One can be found at Oprah and, my friend Amanda tells me that his family was on the show and the interview was fantastic! Darn you Oprah, darn you!!!

Or, listen to this...Vanity Fair has Mr. Lowe reading an excerpt from said book...here.

And, did you see this cover?...talk about aging well...


Well, off to grade some more...you ENJOY yourself!!!


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