It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Deadline

DeadlineChris Crutcher’s novel Deadline really spoke to me this last week. It’s about a boy named Ben, who is diagnosed with a rare blood disease. Rather than seeking treatment, he decides to take this as his opportunity to live life to the fullest and do the things he had always wanted to do. He makes it a point to keep his disease secret for as long as he could.

This novel really explores death on multiple different levels. And it hit me hard this week as I look back on my own experiences with teenage death, because it was just two years ago today that my childhood best friend/neighbor died due to a fatal collision on the road (which made me ball my eye balls out throughout the entire novel). Deadlines are real. And that’s what Chris Cruthcher explores. No one really knows when our deadlines are, but Crutcher writes in away that makes us want to leave an impact on the people we’ll leave behind after our time is up. I would recommend this book, especially to young adults.

Speak

speakThe famous young adult novelist Laurie Halse Anderson did not disappoint me in her novel Speak. She took on the challenge of writing about the difficult topic of rape. Melinda, the main character, is raped by Andy Evans, but it takes her a long time before she can finally admit it to herself what happened. She goes through the worst pains, until towards the end of the novel when she finally speaks and comes to terms with what happened.

I think this is a rather important novel for young adults to read and I definitely want to recommend it for you to read, too. This is a topic that is easily swept under the rug because no one really wants to talk about it. It’s a novel that we can read to understand the victim, and understand rape culture. I found myself crying in a couple of different places, (again, I’m an extremely emotional person) but it’s just real stuff. It really talks about the human condition in a way we sometimes don’t talk about it.

What does social media really have to offer?

Your Mom probably yelled (yells) at you all the time for not putting your phone down. Your father probably barely knows how to run a phone. Just me? Please tell me I’m not alone.

When you really stop and think about what your accomplishing on social media, what do you come up with? Are you just on their out of habit? Scrolling through because your at the dentist office waiting for your name to be called? Do you pull your phone out and scroll to avoid eye contact while walking down the street (please stop being that person)?

Maybe it’s all just a habit. But I’d like to think that I’m not just wasting my time scrolling, rather, that I’m using my time wisely and really getting something out of social media.

So, let’s take a look at what social media really has to offer and how we can use it more effectively to find book recommendations. But wait, does social media really have anything to offer book lovers? UM YES. And I’m probably not wrong, actually.

MY TOP THREE FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA SITES THAT I FIND MYSELF SCROLLING THROUGH:

Blogging.

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Photo CC- By Pexels

 

Okay, let’s start with the obvious. So I’m currently doing this thing called blogging. I’m writing and thinking critically about social media. I’m using my language to offer insights that my readers may or may not be enjoying. But hey, occasionally, I’d like to think I have something good to say.

I’m rambling. Sorry.

My point about blogging is that there’s an ENTIRE blogging world out there of people talking about BOOKS. Yes, you read that correctly, B-O-O-K-S. Blogging is one of the greatest ways, next to actually giving a book a review on GoodReads, for expressing your opinions about a book you’ve recently read. The great thing about blogging is that it’s an open field and you can go wherever you desire. When you explore, you’ll find that you can follow your favorite authors, publishers, friends, etc… and you can read what they’re recommending (or not recommending) you to read! That’s pretty cool.

Pinterest.

pinterest

Friends, if you don’t have a Pinterest account, please for the love of books… get one. There’s three great things that I love about Pinterest and books together.

  1. You can follow your friends, teachers, other book lovers, etc… and see what they’re reading/pinning to their boards to read!
  2. You can type in the search engine a very specific topic of interest you’d like to explore… and it pops up with some trending ideas for you! There are so many categories that you can click on and get great reading results. And the best part I think, is that you don’t have to skim through google search results (because that takes too much time).
  3. The best thing ever is that Pinterest gets to know you. They recognize your interests once you start pinning and will begin to make recommendations on its own!

Twitter.

twitter

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I used to not be a fan of Twitter. Luckily, once I got the hang of navigating myself through hashtags and the different profiles I found a liking to it. The best thing about Twitter is the fact that we get hashtags! My favorites are #IMWAYR (It’s Monday! What Are You Reading), #WhatToRead, and #AmReading. These are all great to scroll through to find people discussing books. Often you’ll see people recommending (or not) books they’ve recently read! Another plus side is that you get the opportunity to follow your favorite authors!

 

All I’m saying is that if you’re going to spend your time scrolling… at least make it worthwhile. There’s a lot of information out there and a lot of different social media sites. Finding the right ones that work for you may take some trial and error, but it’s WORTH IT.

Get out there and take a chance to explore the internet. See what it actually has to offer you. Happy reading!

-A.

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

With a couple of days of cancelled classes, a nice long weekend for me, AND the warm weather, I got so much reading done! Words can’t express how happy sunshine and books make me me! Anyone else? Side note: today is ALSO the first day of Spring.. so that makes me even happier.

Challenger Deep

Neal Shusterman has a fan in me. I’ve read a few of his novels and loved them, so I figured another one wouldn’t disappoint me. Challenger Deep is a novel that received the National Book Award in 2016. And since then has continuously been read by young adults, and people like me!

ChallengerDeep-final-cover-hi-rez.jpgChallenger Deep goes above and beyond any expectations I had. I’ve never read a book where the main character suffers from Mental illness… which is sad and highly problematic in its own way. But that’s besides the point because in this novel we get to live in Caden’s (main character) mind. We get to suffer with the illness that he suffers with. Shusterman does a great job at portraying reality and Caden’s reality with his illness. And because of this we experience the emotions that go through Caden’s head when he is taken far away into his hallucinations. Overall, I think it’s a great read for anyone interested in experiencing a novel with mental illness. Rather than sugar coating the symptoms of mental illness, they’re made real.

The Serpent King

The other book that I read this week is The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. He received the Morris Award on this book, and I do believe that it was well deserved! This is the story about three different teenagers about to graduate high school. I mean really different… who all occupy living space in the same small town. They fight for what they believe in no matter what every one else is telling them. They fight to make a better future for themselves. The teenagers don’t let family or religion or any outsiders get them down when they’re minds are made up.

Serpent KingI would say this is an interesting read! I really loved the way Zentner was able to write about three very different people creating a friendship. We get an entire year to be with them as they go about their daily struggles of having issues of faith, messed up fathers, and bullying encounters. I couldn’t help but care for Travis, Lydia, and Dill. They stood for a lot of teenagers that struggle today in small towns. Coming from a small town, I know the small town standards that often times pressure kids into conforming to its ways instead of letting them live the way they desire with their own thoughts. I’d recommend this book for sure!

Paper Towns

So this is the story about a boy who thinks he loves a girl and tries to make things work. He spends one night with her and thinks she’s the greatest, but notices that she has only left him with clues. Quentin, goes on an adventure to find this girl, Margo, and maybe even find himself along the way.

Paper TownsJohn Green has never disappointed me before. BUT this novel wasn’t for me! I really didn’t enjoy the story of Paper Towns, but that’s probably because I’m not a fan of mystery. That’s something that has always separated my sister and me from our reading habits – she loves mystery and I don’t.

I struggled with this book not for its mystery alone, but also for its characters. They weren’t connecting with me, or something was off. Margo seemed a bit too much involved with herself to even notice Quentin. But this didn’t stop Quentin’s obsession to find her. Which this whole deal just annoyed me. No one does this in real life (that i’m aware).

Maybe there’s a teen out there that loves this book. However, I don’t think it’s realistic and I just couldn’t find myself enjoying anything after the first half of it, which really disappointed me. Maybe it really is great, it just didn’t compare to the other two novels I read this week.

Sorry to end on a bitter note, but happy reading!

-A.

Reading Aloud

Ten years ago, I never would have thought that in my college career I would miss being read to. It’s a rare case now a days to be read to and I always found it to be the most enjoyable.

When I was a little girl my grandmother, mother, and father all read me stories. Even though they were often the same ones (The Three Little Pigs and Rumplestiltskin) I enjoyed the fact that these people in my life took the time to read to me. It helped me fall asleep, but it also left me engaged in story-telling.

I can still hear my second grade teacher’s Junie B. Jones voice during our reading time. We’d all gather together on the rug and just listen to her.

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Photo CC-By Pexels

In high school my English teacher read to me as well. She read just about every story/novel we’d read aloud. I always though it was because she just liked doing it, but now I’m thinking she maybe was on the right track with something.

It’s clear that reading aloud has its advantages. In a recent article I read the author talks about the fact that reading aloud also helps students engage more with the text as well as comprehend much more:

“Students hear word pronunciations and inflections that they might miss in their own reading, and in listening to them, they create mental images.”

Because I wasn’t always the fastest reader in the class, I felt at ease whenever my teachers would read to us. It left time for me to really enjoy the stories without feeling like I needed to rush through. It’s true that students comprehend much more through reading aloud because collectively they stop and discuss certain areas/themes of the text as they go along.

I wish I could have this reading time in my college literature classes today. Granted there’s not enough time, but I just miss being able to stop and discuss topics with my teachers and classmates. One way I incorporate reading aloud in my life now that we don’t have that time in the classroom is through audiobooks. A lot of the novels that I read are really long and I can easily fall off track, but I like to listen to the audiobook because it’s like someone is with you reading.

If you’ve never really been introduced to audiobooks they’re so handy if you enjoy being read to! It’s easy to click play and follow along the page. Often times there are multiple different audio books so you can choose voices that you like! Audiobooks have been a life saver in my college career! GoodReads has a great list of audiobook recommendations!

Lastly, don’t be discouraged if you like being read too. It’s honesty more popular than you think. We’re all still just kids at heart wanting to be read to! So read to your kids, friends, neighbors, and family members! Read aloud every day!

Happy Reading!

-A.

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

So Spring Break came and went. Unfortunately it went by way too fast. And unfortunately i didn’t get as much reading done as I would have liked to. For some reason time just swept right under me (Daylight Savings doesn’t help either). I liked one book, disliked the other… Let me explain. I’ll start with the bad first.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

MissPeregrineCoverThe entire plot revolves around an island where there’s abandoned orphanage. Jacob finds that there really are “peculiar children” and really goes out of his way to fulfill his adventure. There are several different characters that we come across… all with interesting facts about themselves. There’s honestly a lot going on with this novel, and I’m not sure I’ll be reading the others in the series.

This book really has a fascinating plot and I took interest in the ideals of it. I enjoyed the relationship between Jacob and his grandfather in the beginning of the story, except, the beginning took me forever to get in to. I would have put it down before the second half if it weren’t a book club read because it was boring me. Also, this book does have really interesting graphics. Some are kind of disturbing and creepy, but for the most part caught my attention.

The fact that I’m not into fantasy maybe could be why I didn’t like this book, but I gave it a fair chance which is really what being an active reader is all about. I gave it a chance to prove me wrong. I just couldn’t connect with the characters. It was an interesting idea don’t get me wrong, and if you’re into fantasy this might be for you. However, if you’re like me, I’d say just leave this one on the shelf and save it for another reader. Then again, I would also say to try it because I think it’s important to give every book a fair chance. So I mean, whatever you feel like is best to fill in your reading time!

Salt to the Sea

SaltSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys was not what I was expecting! I’ve read a few books now on World War II and this one seems to be on the top of my list for sure! It’s all about the untold tragedies and unkept promises that are lived out during the times of war. It’s about the adventure, the worry, the strangeness of being together with strangers all running away from the same fate. Better yet, it’s about teens that are trying to survive. I couldn’t imagine going through what they did. Readers get four different perspectives throughout the story, which makes all of the characters in this novel seem to be real, true, and interesting.

The realness of this novel kept me interested and it’s fast-paced keeping readers motivated with every page flip. I definitely won’t be apologizing for reading this novel, and won’t be apologizing for saying that YOU NEED TO READ IT. The historical fiction that is featured in this novel will not be forgotten any time soon.

 

 

Rich in Diversity

How are you diversifying your reading materials? What challenges do you do to ensure that you aren’t constantly reading the same genres with similar themes?

Believe it or not, there’s a lot that we can do to make sure that we are really expanding our reading possibilities and pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones. It’s important to continue to make progress in diverse reading materials for multiple reasons. One, it lets publishing companies realize that the diverse reads are important and should be published. Two, it allows ourselves to grow as readers. Three, it makes us more aware of different cultures acting as a bridge builder.

Reading a variety of different novels, stories, and poems really helps me grow as an individual. Since the beginning of this semester I’ve really been pushing myself to pick up different books… and boy am I sure happy about doing that. There are so many great published books that I never even thought about reading, but now I just can’t stop pushing myself to look for more diversity.

Except, sometimes it’s difficult for me to find a diverse read that I want to read. There are a lot to choose from, but not near as many as there should be. Before this semester I never really took initiative on my own to find diverse reads, but now i’m learning how important it is to branch out!

My plan is to make my book shelves as rich in diversity as the rainbow is in colors. I want to be able to connect with all different types of reads. Plus, I’ve found that when I try new things… I actually like them. If I don’t like them, at least I can say I gave it a shot. And I recommend all of my fellow readers to do the same. Give diverse reading materials a chance. What do you have to lose?

In order for my plan to be successful, I have to keep challenging myself to find more diverse reads, by different authors. On several occasions I find an author that I love and stick with him or her, but I really want to challenge myself to not always do that. Additionally, I want to continue reading books that have been nominated/awarded diverse rewards. There are several different Bingo card challenges on the internet that I can always do. Another book challenge I am looking at doing is reading 60 books in a year all by different authors. This will really ensure that i’m branching out searching independent publishers and the big publishers.

Any other suggestions I should try let me know!! Otherwise… happy reading!

-A.