Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Back to Work Edition!

What's Up Wednesday is a meme started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to bring reading and writing bloggers together once a week. Go to Jaime's blog to add your link and check out posts from other writers!

What I'm Reading

I'm still beta-ing, but mostly right now I'm reading the textbook I'll be using this year in my American History class!  It's consuming pretty much all of my time but I'm also getting really into it. 


What I'm Writing

Little did I know how much time this textbook project would take my goal for this week is to write every day, even if it's just a hundred words or so.  As school approaches, I have to give priority to my teaching jobs, so just keeping the writing habit alive is challenge enough.  

What Else I've Been Up To

This weekend was the first one in a long time that Mr. S and I were just at home, with no travel plans and no big family plans.  As fun as travel and family are, it was nice to just have two days to ourselves.  We drove around listening to podcasts for part of it: our long-time favorite Pop Culture Happy Hour, and the recently-popular-on-Tumblr Welcome to Nightvale
What Inspires Me Right Now  
Taking a day off!  Yesterday, I woke up a giant ball of stress.  Work stuff is already piling up, and my road test is a week from Friday.  I had a driving lesson around noon, so I spent the whole morning messing around online and worrying.  The lesson went ok-not-great (it had been a while, so I had gotten used to our car, not the car I do lessons in--which will also be the car I take my road test in--and it took some time to get it back) and when I came home, I decided: I was calling a "sick day."  I made myself some soup and tea, and curled up on the couch to watch Little Women.  Mission: Chill Out went nicely, and I'm feeling energized and excited about working again.
I apologize in advance as well as retroactive to last week for not posting, commenting, or responding to comments as much as I normally do--I may try to keep up with WuW check-ins, but until school is clicking along, I'm going to be online a lot less than usual.  I'm hoping things get back to normal by the end of September!

What's up with you?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Love: Taking a Break Edition

One book this week!  Oh my goodness--school is coming up SO FAST!  There are not enough hours in the day.  I'm gonna call a hiatus on reading and reviewing for a little while, but here's a great one I read this week!

 PinnedPinned by Sharon G. Flake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this one up after reading a review and praise for the cover at Bookshelves of Doom. For serious, though, the cover: not one but TWO characters depicted with FACES and everything, both African-American teenagers, one a girl, one in a wheelchair. For that reason alone, I plunked down the ol' Visa. (It's called voting with your dollars, folks: if you have the money to buy books, you gotta buy the books you ask for when the publishers put them out. A non-white-washed, non-hidden-disability, non-chopped-off-head-girl cover? Yes. More please!)

But when Pinned finally made its way to the top of my TBR, I was happy to see that the story inside was just as great. Autumn and Adonis are not characters I've really seen before--in books. I've seen Autumn in my classroom, FOR SURE--I thought of two of my former students in particular reading this, and it really made me miss them and hope they're doing ok. Autumn is a stellar baker, a hard-working and gifted wrestler, a student who really struggles with reading and math (but has a ton of integrity in the classroom), and a gregarious, chatty girl. Her best friend Peaches--whose high grades are a reflection of her mother's pressure, who finds a way to shine at any price, who just wants to live in Paris and have a glamorous life, who knows how to put her best foot forward and rock a speech or presentation to state officials--is another character who felt more like a person than a story. Even Jaxxon, a relatively minor character who is in some classes with Autumn, clearly had his own thing going on, and his brief confrontation with a teacher put me right back in the moments when my students shouted at me: they always had a reason, and it's clear he does too. I adored these kids. In fact, all the supporting characters in the book clearly had other things happening in their lives that the POV characters--and therefore, readers--aren't privy to. The one character I had trouble connecting with was Adonis--and I think that was intentional. Adonis isn't interested in connecting; he is so disciplined that other people's failures confuse him, and he is still making sense of a traumatic incident that rattled his ironclad self-image. So while I didn't connect to him, I was fascinated by him, and by this story about a pair of students who seemed unlikely to ever find themselves on the same page. I can't wait to share this with students when the school year starts.

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