Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Craziest One of All?

If you guessed Levana from the Lunar Chronicles, you guessed right! Homegirl is CRAY. Like, certifiably so. And we get to find out just how much in Fairest: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Before I get into the (non-spoilery) review, I just want to say I wish all of my students would read this because it has one of the best examples of tragic irony I have read in a long, long time. I mean, seriously. It is super great. In that horrible tragedy way. You know what I mean.

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I Got 99 Problems, but a Book Ain’t One

Or Top Ten Five Book Problems I have. Which is today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic.

And, yes, I know a million people have probably already made the “99 Problems” joke, but IT FITS.

These are legit problems I am having right now, btw.

1. My (public) library won’t let me do an interlibrary loan for the first edition (1972) of The Dragon’s Wife by Walter Dean Myers.

Because they have the later edition (1995) in circulation! However, I want to see the original illustrations. I know this means I just have to go through my job’s library, but still. Why won’t the public library let me be great?

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Recommendation Wednesday: Two Picture Books

As part of my passion project, I’ve recently finished (and loved) two of Walter Dean Myers’ early picture books: Where Does the Day Go? (illustrated by Leo Carty) and Fly, Jimmy, Fly! (illustrated by Moneta Barnett).

index

cover image from Amazon

Where Does the Day Go? is delightful. A group of kids are in the park with one of the children’s father, and they have a pretty serious conversation about what happens to the day when it turns into night. Each kid has a theory, but each theory leaves the group with questions. So they take turns telling their theories and trying to answer the questions.

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Favorite and Least Favorite Romantic Tropes

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances in Books. So I have decided to split my list up into Likes, Dislikes, and Could Go Either Way.

The thing is, though, that this is just what I like in romances, in general. Because most of my answers are based on TV/movies.

 

Likes aka Things I Dig in Romances

1. Fake dating. This may be my favorite. I don’t care why the dating is fake. Trying to save face in front of an ex? Trying to date your estranged half-brother’s best friend to get under his skin? Trying to write a magazine article about getting dumped? Trying to win a bet?

Fake dating is THE BEST. Because there’s always that moment when it stops being fake and starts being more, and one or both of the characters don’t realize it and also the audience can sometimes try to guess what the moment is that it stops being fake. So, basically, it’s glorious.

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The Walter Dean Myers Passion Project

I have always claimed Walter Dean Myers as one of my favorite authors (and he has written one of my favorite books). Even still, I have not even made much of a dent in his oeuvre. Did you know he’s written over 100 books? And that a bunch of them are picture books? I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HE WROTE PICTURE BOOKS. Or speculative fiction! So you can see how there are gaps in my knowledge.

Also, if you didn’t know, Walter Dean Myers is kind of a big deal in children’s fiction. He’s won or been nominated for a gazillion awards. More importantly, he was a huge advocate for diverse representation in literature and for literacy. He was so much of an advocate, in fact, that he was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and the We Need Diverse Books campaign has created/named an award in his honor.

“We all know we should eat right and we should exercise, but reading is treated as if it’s this wonderful adjunct. ‘Reading takes you to faraway places,’ ” Myers said. “We’re still thinking in terms of enticing kids to read with a sports book or a book about war. We’re suggesting that they’re missing something if they don’t read but, actually, we’re condemning kids to a lesser life. If you had a sick patient, you would not try to entice them to take their medicine. You would tell them, ‘Take this or you’re going to die.’ We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.”– Walter Dean Myers, quoted in Publishers Weekly

So I love him, basically.

The plan, then, is to read as many of his books as I can, in order. I’ll be using the bibliography on his website as my guide, and I’ll mark my finish date for each book .

The “in order” is aspirational, honestly. I’ll be depending on interlibrary loan (ILL) for most of his books since my library doesn’t have a lot of them, which means I’ll read them as I can get them. Also, a couple of his books have been republished (like The Dragon Takes a Wife), so I may just be reading the version I can get my hands on, though I will try to read both so I can see the differences between them.

Not to mention, I have already read some of his books, obviously. I’ll probably reread those books for this project so I can look at them in the context of his larger body of work.

While I will blog about my progress with the challenge, I’m not sure I’ll review every single book. Just putting that out there up front.

I’ve created a page here with a list of all of his books, including the publication date. I’ll note there once I’ve finished a book and link to any reviews.

This is exciting! I’m excited! Also, there is no deadline on this challenge. I’ll finish when I finish, and I’ll feel really good about it, and it’ll be great.

January 2015 Reading Roundup

Hey, so I finished 12 books this month! Much better than last January when I only read two. I also made some progress towards my reading challenge goals.

Books read
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (YA)
Cress by Marissa Meyer, narrated by Rebecca Soler (YA, audio)
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (YA)
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona (YA, graphic novel)
Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas (YA)
Saga #1 by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (adult, graphic novel)
Skim by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (YA, graphic novel)
Where Does the Day Go? by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Leo Carty (picture book)
The  Candymakers by Wendy Mass (MG)
Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne (YA)
The Dragon Takes a Wife by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Fiona French (picture book)
The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszweski (MG)
Fly, Jimmy, Fly! by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Moneta Barnett (picture book)

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TV Talk: What I’m Watching

So, I love books THE MOST, but TV is my second favorite. It’s been a while since I’ve been super excited about the TV I watch–mostly because I’ve been busy, but also because there weren’t a lot of shows that were must watch for me. However, I do have a smattering of shows that I have on rotation, so here they are (in order of season pass priority) with a little about how I feel about them.

True story: I used to actually organize my season pass list in order of importance, but now I just add stuff and reorganize if anything overlaps.

Also, writing this list helped me realize why I’m always behind on TV. Apparently, I have thirteen shows in rotation, and I’m still looking to add more. Good grief.

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Top Ten Books about Friendship

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is FREEBIE, which means anything goes. And where did I decide to go? Friendship, one of my favorite topics.

However, before I go any further, I must thank my friend Jasmine for the post idea. Thanks, Jasmine!

Links go to my reviews!

1. Holes by Louis Sachar — You know what lifts a curse that’s affected two families for several generations? Friendship.

2. Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates — Matt gets accused of being a school terrorist, and Ursula is the only one who knows deep in her heart he didn’t do it. And, lo, a friendship is born.

3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein — “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

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Winter 2015 Mini Bloggiesta

BloggiestaI didn’t plan to participate in this weekend’s mini bloggiesta, yet here I am doing little things around my blog. So, this is me, making it official.

My to-do list:

1. Make my front page easier to scroll by adding “read more” links to the posts on the front page. (This one was inspired by my students. We did our blogging lesson, and a couple of them said how hard it is to navigate blogs with really long posts on the front page and that it’d be better/more attractive if it was only a preview.) √

2. Change 2014 to 2015 in my copyright widget. √

3. Change my theme. √

4. Schedule 2-3 posts. √

5. I have actually already read through skimmed some of the mini challenges, so I may go back and pay more attention to them–especially the meme and creative book reviews posts. √

Good luck to everyone on finishing your to-do lists this weekend!

UPDATE:

I finished everything on my list, including finding a theme that I’m happy with for now and scheduling two posts. New semester = new students blogging every week, and I plan to blog along with my students, so I’m glad to get a head start on that.

I’m already thinking about tasks I can accomplish for the next, week-long, Bloggiesta. Hmmm.

2014 End of Year Book Survey Part II

See my answers to Part I here. Questions still from The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Bloggish/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

The most recent book blog I’ve discovered is Thoughts and Afterthoughts, and I am finding all the posts delightful. Joey has a great style. I don’t actually keep track of WHEN I find blogs to follow, so that’s why the most recent blog will always win.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

Ugh, I’m not super in love with any of my book reviews this year. I think they’re all fine, but nothing stands out as a favorite. Skipping this one.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

5 Strategies for Reducing Student Email! Spring semester is about to start, so I’m really thinking about how to be as clear as possible in my writing so students can get their questions answered by the materials I provide.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I really had a lot of fun with A Month of Favorites. I found some new blogs to follow and actually posted some good content. Apparently, having predetermined topics to write about helps a lot because I can plan ahead.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Marissa Meyer did a talk at our local library and part of the swag she gave away was some awesome postcards. Since my friend’s daughter is a fan, I got one signed for her, and mailed it to her. The effusive thanks I received for that surprise gesture really warmed my heart.

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