Welcome to my bookshelf

I am a voracious reader who is constantly found with her nose in a good (although sometimes not so good) book. I felt the need to share my experiences and suggestions, so here it is. Recommendations and comments are most definitely desired.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Teeny Boppers

Currently Reading: The Queen of Cool

Pg 15: "I don't want to make the effort.  Just give me the end result, I say."

One of my side projects has been helping the school library read through the "questionable" books that were sent to the campus library to be part of the collection.  She is used to filtering for middle school students and so I have been giving some insight on what is appropriate for high school aged students.  Firstly, I have a personal issue with the whole banning of books.  All ideas should be out there for everyone to experience and either embrace or reject.  Of course at the same time, I totally understand how a school needs to be conscious not only of its student readers, but of the parents of those students as well.  The conservative folks in the area will most likely have issue with everything but the Bible!!  That being said, I am enjoying reading some more of the books that my students may potentially read and am glad to help get some stuff out on the shelves.  I thought the quote was oh too appropriate for many reasons.  Not only is it something I hear each an everyday from the lovely little kiddos coming into my classroom, but it is something I myself am struggling with a bit these days.

What is the effort required, you ask?  Well it is almost November and that means I need to start writing!  I have something of an idea ready and am now looking into the building blocks about how to get a competent, compelling story started.  Ironically enough, I am looking into a young adult novel.  This is something I can relate to more that most of the adult literature I read in that much of my emotional and physical experiences are very adolescent still even at the ripe old age of 28.  (Twenty-eight!  I still can't really believe it!)  I want to be a writer, but am now finding the task of actually writing to be quite daunting.  Even now, as I read back through this post, I find it littered with grammatical errors and run on sentences.  I suppose the task now will be to let go of some of my controlling, perfectionist tendencies and just put pen to paper.  Wish me luck and expect more writing related thoughts to come this month.  (I will of course still be reading, just putting a different spin on what I post about my reading.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh the Weather!!

Currently Reading: Miss Timmin's School for Girls

I'll bet you have no idea where I took this...
It is oh so interesting how so many of the underlying and fundamental causes of events are shrouded in mystery.  You cannot for the life of you see through the fog blown in by outside factors such as personal opinions and evasion tactics.  When you get right down to it, most of life is really viewed through a haze of misinformation and so seldom are we actually faced with the cold hard truth of a matter.  This story takes place (obviously) at a private school for girls.  Not so obvious from the title is that this school is in India not all that far from Bombay.  One of the most fun things about being a reader is that you are able to see the inner workings of a place that many of the characters do not get to experience.  At the same time though, the author works his or her hardest in order to give you many other things to munch on so that you are not simply reading off the nuts and bolts of the plot line.  I am less than half way through this one and really cannot comment too much on the story except to say that at this point, I am intrigued.

My brain has been preoccupied lately with a few things.  First, as previously mentioned in another post, the whole work/who am I issue.  Second, the wonderful ideas I was immersed in last night at the TDWCC dinner (speaking of obscuring via fogginess, see Mr. Perry).  And third, what I plan on talking about for the rest of the post, my own novel.  My little brother's little lady brought to my attention the fact that November is National Novel Writing Month and I am all signed up to participate.  Of course that means having a plot lined up before the first and I am having some struggles with that.  I just want to start typing whatever comes to mind, thus the appeal of a blog, but know I need to do some planning before hand.  How can I blur the edges a bit?  What things am I going to use to hind the framework of my story.  (Eek!  That means I have a story to begin with!)  So that being said, be forewarned that many of the upcoming posts will be connected to the activity of writing (or being blocked from writing) and I would appreciate any tips and any support from all, what is it now, 9??, of my followers!  Thanks in advance!

And I promise, if nothing else, I will update you on the conclusion and my thoughts as I further delve into the lives and times at Miss Timmin's School for Girls.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Which Witch??

Currently Reading: Beginners

Part of this book is a coming of age story, while there is an underlying tale relating the Salem witch trials.  That is the part that is intriguing me the most.  The trials were such a terrible occurrence which occurred not from not any actual wrong doing, but rather a fear of those who are different from the norm.  This is something that we see all too often in the world these day.  I especially see it here in Texas.  We are constantly putting out new rules and legislation that harm or put more restrictions on those who are different.  We don't like anyone from another place.  We don't like anyone who isn't upper middle class.  We don't like poor people or minorities.  And people with other sexual preferences, well, they hardly count now do they?  They are evil doers!!  It is so sad that fear is the emotion that drives so many of the decision makers now a days.  Why not start embracing those differences and learning from each other?  It is something that just makes such simple sense.  Of course that could be why it is virtually unseen in public policy here.  Things that make sense are taboo.  We each can do our own part by speaking up for those who are different as well as reaching out to these groups and admiring the unique qualities that they bring to our communities.  Why do we want to promote the same when clearly it hasn't been working too well lately?  Wasn't America founded by outcasts?  I feel like we are regressing as a people and it makes me sad.

This book features a couple who move to a very insulated town.  They are so far outside the norm that few even attempt to approach them.  The young lady who actually does, is so intrigued that she falls under their spell and becomes an outcast herself.  I am wondering now how things will turn out for poor Ginger.  Will see come back to the fold or totally shuck off her roots and try something new?  Sure it is something that her parents and friends fear, but is it really such a bad thing?

Oh and one more note.  I also recently read Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen, the author of Water for Elephants.  Another wonderful tale of life affected by a love for animals.  It is interesting that I like these books so much since I am not the biggest fan of animals myself.  Maybe I just like those who like animals.  Hmmm...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rat Race

Currently Reading: A Wedding in December

Yes another Anita Shreve book.  I really do read other stuff, but so much of it lately has been too embarrassing to post and I am trying to appear all literary here!  This is another of Shreve's heart-wrenching, reflective tales dealing with decisions, the consequences of those decisions, and of course, decisions that you missed out on in the past.  She clearly has her theme down pat.  Much like James Patterson or Jane Green, except good this time.

Something that has been on my mind lately is jobs or really, careers and occupations.  Sure we all need to work for a living, but are you simply carrying out a job or are you doing something as part of a career?  It is something worth considering.  When I worked at Tom Thumb, it was merely a job.  Now that I am teaching, it is supposed to be a career.  I am now at a new school with a different clientele and unfortunately am finding myself reconsidering my career choice.  I may not have the heart needed to teach kids who actually need good teachers.  Much self-reflection has occurred and most certainly will be continued as the year progresses.

What makes all of this hard is that I keep reading all these books about people with those ideal careers such as authors or owners of bed and breakfasts or the like.  As in people who have some freedom in their actions and tasks each day.  I find myself longing for such freedoms.  I feel very tied down by the bell schedule.  Why can't we just have Socratic seminars each day?  Of course I know the answer to that, just don't like it.  I think my dream occupation would be a writer.  Not necessarily a literary author, but writing of any sort.  I love making worksheets and writing tests for school.  I also like doing all this blogging and even informal essay type things would be right up my alley.  (I now giggle since I am going bowling tomorrow.  Oh what a punster I am!!)  Writing of any sort calls to me.  So how can I take advantage of this longing?  How can I use my passion to fund my needs?  It is something I plan on considering for I oh so long to write and be in charge of my time.  I guess the key will be to find something worth writing about that others will find worth reading about.  Finding readers.  From my list of followers, it seems to be something I need to work on a bit.

One final though for pondering.  Do authors write about writers because it is what they know?  It seems like the best authors have at least one book about a fellow author.  Maybe it's an unwritten rule or something.  I know about teaching so does that mean I should write about a teacher?  What about all those vampire books out there these days?  Should we all start being more wary of bats?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Currently Reading: Calling Mr. King

Pg 166: "When you come down to it, all of us, in whatever line of business, have to work with or report to some bastard."

Such truer words have never been spoken.  This has come to light more and more as I advance through my career as an educator and really just being a participant in life in general.  Whether that ultimately ends up being a higher power or simply your mom, we are all "beneath" someone, having to explain our decisions and actions.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could do and say whatever we wanted regardless of the consequences.  Alas, no man is an island.  The wonderful thing about living in America is that we have a bit more freedom in speech and deed than many others and how important it is for us to exercise this right.  I just got back from a little trip to Minnesota where I was able to engage in many stimulating conversations (thanks MJ!) where I could voice my thoughts and opinions as well as hear those of others.  Too bad we spent most of the time lamenting issues and planning ways to circumvent the man, but how wonderful that there are others out there that are willing to give my "two cents" a fair hearing.

This quote is funny because the gentleman who speaks these words is a hitman.  He too has to answer to someone!  Calling Mr. King is all his life as a hired killer and the ways he has to balance career with his own personal interests, mainly architecture.  Humorous and stimulating all in one slim volume.  Very good reading.  I was able to learn a bit about wondrous buildings throughout the world and see some of the inner workings of the hitman trade (fictional of course).  Recommended, but request it quick since I was wait listed for this one!

Now of course, apologies are in order for the neglect I have given to you all and my lapse in blogging.  The school year has been a whirlwind of activity and I am only now, after eight weeks, catching my breath.  I would say that I promise to be better in the future, but with high schoolers, the future is never static and who knows what tomorrow will bring.  The one constant in my life is books and I hope to have many more gems to share soon.  The positives include good people, steady employment, and of course, the public library (unless these Republicans get their way).  Where would we be without these amazing public services?  Not all of us can have our own libraries in the den.  (Not to mention having a den to put them in!!)  So let's keep speaking out in support of public works because at the end of the day, they are for the public which most certainly includes the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich.  Speaking of whom, we will miss you Mr. Jobs.  I am, as I type, utilizing the amazing technology and ideas you brought to the masses.  You will be remembered for always.