Friday, December 31, 2010

Winners: 400 Followers Giveaway!

I have now read three (ish)(almost finished with Nightshade) of the four books that I claimed to have not read in 2010. After starting this giveaway, I was struck by a thought: what if I read all of these books before I gave them away? And then I'd know the awesomeness that I was handing out to four lucky readers...And so I (almost) did that. Paranormalcy is waiting patiently on my bedside table.

I've also decided that each of these readers can choose between the four books that are up for grabs. Maybe one of these titles landed under your Christmas tree or was gifted to you in some other fashion. Or, maybe you just couldn't wait. I'm not going to hold you to your original choice, so feel free to be fickle.

The choices, again, are:

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer 
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

And, the winners are:

Ammy Belle of My Book Fort
Nomes of Inkcrush

Ladies, I will email you tomorrow. Feel free to email me first with your choice of book and your mailing address if you see this post before I can email. I am late, late, late for an important date right now and just don't have the time. My email is mrsderaps @ hotmail . com. 

For the other 162 of you who did not win a prize in today's drawing, please note that there will be several others in the upcoming weeks. I am participating in two Blog Hop Giveaways in January and my first blogiversary is in January. Very special, indeed. Hope you'll join me in celebrating!

Now, off to a New Year's party. Enjoy and be safe, all!

Audiobook Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

I have to admit that when I first started listening to the audiobook version of Emma Donoghue's Room, I was disturbed by the voice of the main character, Jack. He's a five year-old, so the adult reading for his voice was just not working for me. I soldiered on, though, and have come to love the voice of Jack.

I can't believe I actually listened to this book given the plot description. It's about a woman in her mid-twenties who was kidnapped seven years prior to the start of the story. The man who kidnapped her, dubbed "Old Nick" by Jack, has kept her in a locked outbuilding "room" for the past seven years. In this room, she has birthed two children, who were a result of the repeated rape she experienced most every night. One child was stillborn, but Jack lived. And now he's five.

This story would be so very different if it were told from the perspective of Jack's mother. But it's not. So, the reader (or listener in this case) sees the tiny world of Room through Jack's eyes--innocent and naive as any five year-old's. His language and phrasing and the way that he makes sense of the world are both amusing and frustrating. Like his mother, I sometimes lost patience with Jack and wanted him to understand more than he did. Or could.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot in this review, but I will say that this book is so very disturbing--not in a leering, gross sort of way, but in a way where I'm admiring Emma Donoghue for having the presence of mind and the strength to write it in the first place. In my listening, I definitely wondered about the women (and children) who have been assumed dead and then found years later, hidden in backyards and basements. Some of these women have had children while in captivity. I am sure that at least one or two of these stories inspired or shares similarities with Room.

At times, I felt a bit voyeuristic just listening to this story. I didn't want to intrude on the privacy of a woman who has endured more abuse in her lifetime than a person should ever be expected to endure. I also didn't want to shame Jack for not knowing the ways of the world. Because he's just a child. And then I was able to just relax and listen, delighting Jack's observations of our crazy world that he sees only through a television set. He is at once adorable and annoying and innocent and active. A true five year-old!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who's interested in (and has the stomach for) this type of story. I enjoyed listening to it, but sometimes wished that I could just read it at my own pace. The audiobook version is well-done, with several readers contributing voices. And that Jack. He's with me for good, I'm afraid!

The Holiday Break Reading Challenge: Create-A-Cover

Today's challenge for The Holiday Break Reading Challenge is one of my favorites. I love to make fake book covers! It actually helps me to think of all the book possibilities there are...Now, if I could only write one! That would be cool.

Here's the cover I came up with after following the instructions laid out by Ms. Karin the Librarian:

Souri and her family emigrated to the United States from Iran when she was just ten years old. She loves her friends and her life in America, but is thrown into an unforeseen battle between the two cultures when she decides to wear the traditional headscarf, the hijab. 


Though most of her American friends and her family are supportive, her school is not. They have a policy against wearing any type of head covering in class. To protest this policy, Souri takes a vow of silence and will not speak until the school amends their policy. 


Through this period of silence, Souri has an opportunity to think, observe, and reflect on what truly matters to her. Ultimately, she finds that keeping silent can leads to a discovery of something that she didn't know she had--a voice.

*   *   *

What do you think? My description reminds me of Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah, but I think it veers into a more political/ protest-y direction with the whole keeping silent thing. I actually had a student who was originally from Iran a bunch of years ago, and know that she struggled to keep the two cultures (home and school) in check. She's all graduated college and doing wonderfully now, but I think of the talks she and I had about the conflicting values of home and school often. Anyway, I think I'd read this book...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Out With A Bang Readathon: End Day Two


Again, I am not actually going to stop reading right now, but I am going to move the whole production to the bedroom. I am on vacation, and love reading into the wee hours of the morning. So much fun!

I made some more progress today than I thought I would. I knew that I would be *disrupted* by plans to see and movie and have dinner with friends. Lucky for me (kinda), the nearest shopping/ dining/ movie locale is about an hour and fifteen minutes from my home. So, I had plenty of time to listen to my audiobook while driving to and fro.

Here's what I accomplished today:

Listened to audiobook of Room for approx. 5 hours (1 hour left!)

Read a little over 100 pages (LOVE it!!)
Read to page 80 with husband (he's so cute!)

Purchased:

 What did you read today? Any recommendations?



The Persnickity Snark FIVE Challenge: FIVE Great Miracles that Got Me to Read YA Lit


I've decided to join the Persnickety Snark in her FIVE Challenge. Basically, there she has established a list of categories for each day leading up to the new year. Here are the lists that she has planned:

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 28 - 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 is too hard)

Today's topic from the Persnickety Snark is "5 great miracles that occurred to get me reading more" of a certain genre. I read all sorts of genres of YA because my whole purpose in reading YA (besides the fact that I love it) is to bring it to my students. So, I read whatever I think the teen boys and girls, aged 13 to 19 that I teach, will love. And that's a whole lot.

What is more interesting to me is how I came to love reading YA at all. When I discovered YA, I was an English major who loved modern, multicultural, and world lit. But, there were a few "miracles" that occurred in my life that changed my focus from reading heady adult books exclusively to reading books for teens. Here they are:

1. Taking a great course on YA lit for my undergrad program. Can you imagine getting to read YA for class? I had to read 15 books, all self-selected. Everyone did. So, each week we gave a "book talk" and got to hear about what everyone had read the previous week. It was awesome to be submerged in all sorts of new titles and authors. (This was about 11 or 12 years ago, though, so many of our current faves weren't published yet).

2. Reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This is the one book that made me realize just how important reading actual YA with teens is. I read it before I was a teacher and knew that students needed to read quality books like this one. I have taught this book for several years now, and it still moves the teens in my classroom. It is real and honest and well-written and important.

3. Seeing the excitement of students who grow to love reading. I teach teens who are labeled "at-risk," which basically means that they may drop out of high school. Many students come to me as freshmen having never read a book all the way through. My job, as I see it, is to find the book that will make them readers. Maybe not all-the-time readers, but at least have had that one book that they couldn't put down. That feeling is good enough to last a lifetime.

4. Starting the Chick Lit Book Club at our high school. More than five years ago, a library aide approached me with the idea of starting a book club for teen girls. We're now in our fifth year, have about 20 girls and 7 adult women, and read one book per month. It's amazing. This club has brought together teen girls from a variety of "cliques" in our school and it's considered cool to be part of this club. It's pretty awesome.

5. This blog! This forum is a real help to me. I participate in discussions with all sorts of readers from all over the world. I hear about books before they come out and am better able to decide which books are going to appeal to my teen readers. I started this blog on a bit of a whim last year, after my classroom blog got too crowded with YA stuff. Now, it's a huge part of my life.

Thanks for reading and participating in this blog. You have no idea how great this is for my teaching and for my students. It's great to show them that there are readers all over the globe who come together to chat about books. That's the "miracle" of the blogosphere and YA lit!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Out With A Bang Readathon: End Day One

I'm not really and truly done reading for the first day of the Out With a Bang Read-A-Thon, but I am going to change locations and read in bed for the rest of the night. I am so very excited about what I've accomplished today. Tomorrow won't be as productive, as I have some shopping plans with friends, but I'm happy about what I read today.

I've already finished one book, start to finish!

And, I read about 100 pages from this book:
and I listened to this book for about 4 hours (6.5 left to go):
I've loved all of these books, though I am getting more and more disturbed by Room. That's why I decided to break up my listening to Room with Anna and the French Kiss. And it worked!

How did you do?

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

J'aime le livre!  From what I remember of my high school French, I think I'm saying that I loved this book! From the very start, Anna and the French Kiss was a fun escape from the doldrums this cold, yucky afternoon. It brought a freshness and a sunshine to my day that would definitely not have otherwise come. I loved it.

A little bit of the plot. Anna is forced to move to Paris by her fame-seeking father. He's the author of several books-turned-to-movies and wants his daughter to go to school with the children of the international set. At first, Anna absolutely hates this plan and rebels against it mightily, but she finally gives in after she starts school in Paris and makes some new friends.

And one of those friends is a handsome American-English-Frenchman named Etienne St. Clair. And he's handsome. And smart. And funny. And he has a girlfriend of more than a year. So, he's off limits to Anna as a boyfriend, but not as a best friend. They quickly find that they have everything in common, including a similar wit.

The problem? As soon as Anna's able to, she goes back to Atlanta for her holiday break. She quickly realizes that life back home went on without her. Her best friend has changed, and her high school crush might not have the attention span for an across-seas romance. Even her family acts differently toward her.

It's as though Anna is facing the separation and the adjustment that happens when teens go to college, but she's still in high school. She's having to redefine her relationships and what it means to be "home."

Again, I loved this book. It was a lighthearted, but funny and smart read. I enjoyed the banter-filled dialogue of the characters and the relationship between Anna and Etienne. It was fun to romp around Paris from the comfort of my living room. I did manage to eat a few macarons whilst reading today, which I am happy to have read about in this book. They are a favorite dessert of mine!

Remember: I am giving away a copy of this book in a giveaway that ends tomorrow night. There's still time to enter if you haven't already!

The Persnickity Snark FIVE Challenge: FIVE Great YA Bloggers


I've decided to join the Persnickety Snark in her FIVE Challenge. Basically, there she has established a list of categories for each day leading up to the new year. Here are the lists that she has planned:

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 28 - 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 is too hard)

Today's post for the Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge is to name five of my favorite bloggers. This is easy because about a couple dozen awesome blogs come to mind, but difficult to choose the ones I'll name here. Just know that I read dozens and dozens of blogs daily and love what you all are doing.

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:


Love this blog! I really warmed up to it this summer when Lenore hosted the Dystopian Reading Challenge. I read tons of books and learned so much about the genre through her many reviews, updates, and author events. It was an awesome time and I can't wait for her next Dystopian celebration. 
Eating YA Books is probably the blog that I read most often. I always check in to see what Jan has to say, because I've found that I really and truly agree with much of what she writes. She is a school librarian and is committed to reading the latest YA so that she can entice unsuspecting young readers to become lifelong readers. She's an inspiration!


 Vampires and Tofu. Enough said! I love this blog for its title and it's content. It's edgy and fun and I read whatever Angelique writes. She reads a huge variety of YA and adult books and I do too, so my reading needs are totally met on her blog. It's fun and funky and I can't get enough of it. 

My Girl Friday is a great blog to read no matter which day of the week you visit! She has great taste in books and often has extra little posts about non-bookish topics. I just enjoy her taste and her writing. I definitely read whatever she posts, whenever she posts it!


And, last but not least, I love reading whatever Misty at the Book Rat blog has to say. This is how much I love her blog--I have an intense fear of rats, mice, and any other such vermin, yet I still visit her blog and read all the time. Intense fear. Screaming. But, I've learned to scroll quickly past the little Book rat face in her blog's header to get to the good stuff--what she has to say about books.
She's funny and has great vlogs and reads a wide variety of books. Love it.

So, check out these blogs if you get a chance. I love them and bet you will, too!

The Out With A Bang Readathon: Start Reading!


I've just woken up (rather late), checked my google reader, stacked my books, made coffee, and I'm ready. I have the following reads lined up for today's Read-A-Thon session:

Not YA, I know. But interesting nonetheless. I'm reading it for a book club that I belong to. Our meeting isn't until mid-January, but I started this book last night and am hooked. I actually had weird DNA dreams/ nightmares all night long.

Speaking of nightmares, this book starts out so very scarily. My husband and I are reading this (aloud) together, so I won't make a ton of progress, but we're good for 25-30 pages per evening. It's great so far.


And, I'm listening to this book on audio. So far, I'm a tad creeped out by the reader. I'm definitely not loving it. But, I'm only about 20 minutes into the book, and I'll definitely keep listening whenever I need to get up from another book and move. I think I would've liked to have read this on my own without the weird adult-pretending-to-be-child voice. Oh well.

I may or may not read something entirely different from these books. I am crazy like that. 
Happy readings, all!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Persnickity Snark FIVE Challenge: FIVE Great Author Moments

Today's assignment from the Persnickety Snark asks bloggers to think about the great author moments they've had in 2010. I haven't actually met any authors because I live in the middle of nowhere, but I have had a lot of great author interactions over email and through my blog. So, rather than talk about in-the-flesh moments, I'm going to pay tribute to those authors who have contributed to this blog or my classroom in some way.

Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me A Secret


Kersten Hamilton, author of Tyger, Tyger


Mindi Scott, author of Freefall


Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Jumpstart the World (amongst other books)


Swati Avasthi, author of Split


All of these ladies contributed greatly to this book blog. I loved interacting with them and learning more about the people behind these awesome books. My recommendation of their books to my students are much more honest and well-rounded after having had conversations with these women.

Thanks, ladies. You are a huge inspiration to me and my students. And, you're always welcome here!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

In the futuristic city of Lovecraft, a necrovirus threatens to ruin civilizations. Below the city and on its outskirts, hordes of ruined people rot in their own insanity--and threaten to infect the sane. Unfortunately for Aoife Grayson, madness runs in her family. So far, both her mother and brother have gone from being perfectly normal to completely insane after turning sixteen.

Aoife (pronounced "ee-fah") is deeply worried that she will become just like her mother and brother. She is a charity case at school, and is being watched for signs of madness. But, when she receives a magical letter from her brother asking for her urgent help, she cannot refuse him. As much as she'd just like to walk down the road and go to help her brother out in the open, this world does not work like that. Her brother is far away and any visit that Aoife makes will have to be secretive and underground. There ensues a journey of epic proportions--with her best friend Cal along for the trip and the hired help of a charismatic adventurer named Dean.

Dean easily steals the show. He reminded me a little (not looks wise, but in personality) of a young, swashbuckling Johnny Depp. Cal is fairly useless and maybe even a little dangerous to have on this trip, and I genuinely felt for Aoife throughout. She was in a tough position and needed to make choices that no teen should have to make. But, she was a tough cookie to begin with. One of the only girls at the School of Machines, she's no dummy. She has been brainwashed by the Proctors who govern over her and the rest of society, but she isn't afraid to step out of line to help her family.

Also, the writing in this book is filled with awesomely disturbing imagery. Action scenes are intense and so are the depictions of those infected with the necrovirus. Uck. It was not difficult to picture any of the scenes in this book. The government (called the Proctors) in this book are savage and cruel, but I loved the author's inventiveness when it came to their use of mechanical birds for surveillance.

If you are loving the abundance of dystopian reads as much as I am, you will want to find a copy of this book when it releases in February. And, this book is the first in a planned series, so there's more to come. Good thing, because I want to know more!

**Review Copy Provided by Book It Forward ARC Tours**

The Holiday Break Reading Challenge: Book Title Sentence

Check out the Holiday Break Reading Challenge page to see all of the awesome book title sentences created by participants! Here are the instructions from Ms. Karin the Librarian
Today's activity requires you to create a sentence out of the books you have on your shelves. The main words for the sentence must come from the book titles, but you can add a small word or two in order to help it make sense if you need to. Just put your added words in [brackets]. You can use as many book titles as you want, but use at least 3. Here is my book title sentence:

A little hard to read, so I'll write it out. I added a couple of words.

Bloodthirsty accomplice hidden [in] dark water [for] the long weekend.

I had a couple of cute ones going, but I always go for the dark and dramatic in the end!

The Persnickity Snark FIVE Challenge: FIVE Great YA Movie Deals


I've decided to join the Persnickety Snark in her FIVE Challenge. Basically, there she has established a list of categories for each day leading up to the new year. Here are the lists that she has planned:

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 28 - 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 is too hard)
It sounds like 2011is going to be a great year for YA in theaters. Or, that is if the movies that are slated to come out in 2011 are well-made and actually come out on time. Here are FIVE of my most anticipated YA books to movies for 2011:

But of course. This is (hopefully) going to be my all-time favorite movie ever. Maybe I'm setting myself up for a huge disappointment? It just can't be helped!
While reading this book, I had the sense that it was pretty much made for movie production. Rather than turn me off from this book, I actually am finding myself looking forward to seeing this played out on the big screen. I have a number of students who have read (and loved) this book. I bet it'll be a huge hit. 
It's about time. This is a modern YA classic and definitely deserves a film. Middle schoolers (and middle school teachers) everywhere will rejoice! 

I could never understand why this book wasn't made into a movie during the Lord of the Rings frenzy.  I think it's my favorite and I love to teach it. It'll be nice to be able to show an actual film rather than the corny cartoon version the next time I teach this novel. 

I haven't actually read this book yet, but I have it and plan to read it before the movie comes out. I think that the Beauty and the Beast generation must be in their teens now and will love to see an edgier version of this classic tale. It'll be cool--I just know it!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Persnickity Snark FIVE Challenge: FIVE Hopes for YA in 2011


I've decided to join the Persnickety Snark in her FIVE Challenge. Basically, there she has established a list of categories for each day leading up to the new year. Here are the lists that she has planned:

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 28 - 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 is too hard)

Here are my FIVE hopes for YA in 2011:

1. That all of these dystopian novels continue the craze for this genre. I can't get enough and I hope people don't get sick of it too soon!

2. That some of my favorite authors like John Green and Markus Zusak announce new books. I miss them!

3. That strong female lead characters become the rule and not the exception.

4. That lots of realistic books are written for teen girls so that I can continue to choose great titles for the Chick Lit Book Club. We need to talk about real issues that real girls face all of the time!

5. That more and more teens read more and more books! I love this growing trend of larger YA sections in bookstores and kids reading thousands of pages per quarter in my classroom. (Yes, I keep track!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Holiday Break Reading Challenge: Christmas Activity

Phew. I'm finally done with eating, presents, and family. What an awesome Christmas! Now, I'm sitting in the spare room at my parents' house and have a little time before I zonk out to catch up on the Holiday Break Reading Challenge assignment for today. It's pretty simple and fun. Here are the instructions:

1. Since today is the 25th, turn to page 25 in the book you are reading right now.


2. Count down the page to line 25 and tell us what the sentence says. If there is a partial sentence or word in that line you can leave it out. If you don't have 25 lines on your page just choose the 7th line (2+5=7).


3. Be sure to post a picture of your book along with your sentence and link it below using Mr. Linky.


I am reading XVI by Julia Karr right now. It's pretty awesome so far, and I'm well past page 25. I wish that the 25th line were more exciting, but it's not. It doesn't even make sense really, so I'm going to cheat and do the sentence before it. Yup, I'm a cheater. I'm okay with it.

"Plus, you'll be out there in space, and who knows if there are any guys there?"

This is much better! It's a great book and it's coming out in early January. Dystopia fans--I don't think that you'll be disappointed, but I haven't read the whole book yet. And, finally, a picture of this awesome book. Love the cover! Off to read...

The Persnickity Snark FIVE Challenge: Most Anticipated Reads for 2011

Merry Christmas all! I am not actually writing this on Christmas Day, in case you were wondering. It's a couple of weeks before Christmas and I am preparing my blog for a few days without. I'm sure that the rest of you are doing the same. Even so, I hope that you are all having the bestest of days!


I've decided to join the Persnickety Snark in her FIVE Challenge. Basically, there she has established a list of categories for each day leading up to the new year. Here are the lists that she has planned:

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 28 - 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 is too hard)

Here are my FIVE selections for Most Anticipated Reads of 2011:
 

 Some paranormal, a few dystopias, a couple of series books. There are SO many reads that I can't wait for 2011 to bring. Now you know what I'll be using my bookstore giftcards to pre-order!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Persnickity Snark FIVE Challenge: The Great Re-Reads of 2010


I've decided to join the Persnickety Snark in her FIVE Challenge. Basically, there she has established a list of categories for each day leading up to the new year. Here are the lists that she has planned:

December 21 - 5 Great Debuts
December 22 - 5 Great Covers
December 23 - 5 Great Series
December 24 - 5 Great Re-Reads (books you've LOVED so much you went back for more)
December 25 - 5 Most Anticipated (2011 titles)
December 26 - 5 Hopes for YA in 2011
December 27 - 5 Great YA Movie Deals
December 28 - 5 Great Author (in the flesh) Moments
December 29 - 5 Great YA Bloggers
December 30 - 5 Great Miracles that Occurred to Get Me Reading More (choose your genre)
December 31 - 5 Best Titles for 2010 (which I double because 5 is too hard)

Here are my FIVE selections for Great Re-Reads (Books I read and then decided to teach/ use in the Chick Lit Book Club) 2010:

I now teach both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, so I get to re-read these titles every year!


I re-read this book in 2010, listened to it on audio (brilliant!) and wrote a grant to get copies to teach. I'm teaching it right now to my seniors. They're loving it!

I will be teaching this amazing World Lit selection to my sophomores this coming year. Great selection to help us understand what life is like for impoverished children around the globe. 

This read was a huge hit for our first Chick Lit Book Club meeting of the year.  The girls were outraged that forced marriages go unpunished in our society. Lots of great discussion!

We read this book for our November selection for the Chick Lit Book Club.  The discussion, the questions, the insights that came out as a result of reading this book were some of the most powerful that I've listened to in my five years of running this club. Great for mature YAs who want to discuss bullying, identity, and violence in our society. 

*    *    * 

 These are some of my favorite re-reads of 2010. I don't re-read a whole lot of books when I love them--I usually just find a way to teach them or include them in the Chick Lit Book Club. That way, I get to re-read and share them with my students and the cute little Chick-ens of our book club. When I love a book, I want others to love it too. What better way to be excited about teaching and learning than getting to be passionate about great reads?!

If you're interesting in linking your top FIVE lists, visit the Persnickety Snark!

The Holiday Break Reading Challenge: Books Involving Christmas

Before I start this next assignment in The Holiday Reading Challenge (from Karin the Librarian), I'll admit that I have not read a lot of books that revolve around Christmas. I love love love Christmas, but I don't always love reading about it. This is a situation I'm trying to remedy. This year, I signed up for the Holiday Reading Challenge at All About {n} and read three Christmas books. That's a good start, I think!

But, my all-time favorite Christmas book is one that I've read about a dozen times and have seen performed live three times. You're probably thinking that it's A Christmas Carol. Quite the opposite, really. It's David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice.


Yes, the cover is tilted. And so are the stories. It's really super-duper, laugh-out-loud funny. When I've watched it performed live at my favorite local theater, The Portland Stage Company, I literally laugh so hard that I cry. And it's not a pretty cry.  The door to the stage always warns that this play is for "Mature Elves Only," and they mean it.

Here's the promotional poster for this play:


If you're at all a David Sedaris fan, you should read this book! You won't be sorry!

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