Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotations From Books

Has it really been three years since the last time I did a fave quotations post? Ah, well, here we go.

Top Ten Tuesday (2)
hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

ASAGAI: For a woman it should be enough.
BENEATHA: I know—because that’s what it says in all the novels that men write.

2. Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List by Janette Rallison

It’s been a week and a half since Brendan broke up with me, but I try not to think about him. He only crosses my mind when I see Lauren and him walking around the hallways holding hands, or when they eat lunch in the cafeteria sitting so close together you’d think they were Siamese twins, or when I cry myself to sleep every night. But besides all of that, I’m doing really well.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Quotations From Books”

Picking Favorites: The “I Should Be Packing” Edition

It’s a step up from “I should be grading,” so I’ll take it. (Also, as a content warning, the Terry Crews and Johnny Iuzzini stories both discuss sexual assault.)

Links

Terry Crews understands that he is in a unique position to speed up that progress. So, instead of internalizing his abuse and spreading it to others with toxic actions of his own, he is taking the steps necessary to break the chain before our eyes. — What About Your Friends? Why Hollywood’s Abandonment Of Terry Crews Is Unacceptable

Continue reading “Picking Favorites: The “I Should Be Packing” Edition”

It’s Monday & I just got back from the premiere of #PsychtheMovie

1. It is so good, y’all. So so good. I can’t wait for everyone to see it on Thursday. It’s super funny and just a delight (of course). Also, Maggie Lawson is a badass and I freaking love Juliet. (I feel a Juliet appreciation post coming on.) In conclusion, the movie did not disappoint at all.

The premiere event was fun. I got a trivia question right (“Who gave the Blueberry its name?”) so won some swag. And it was just so awesome to sit in a room full of fans who were all excited about seeing those two goofballs on screen.

2. While I was waiting in line, I finished a book:

Turtles All the Way DownTurtles All the Way Down by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this. As the mother of a child who has anxiety, a lot of the stuff Aza said sounded very familiar. I will also say that I got a real sense of Aza’s OCD and just how trapped by her thoughts she was. That was very well done. I also appreciated that this was a lot less precious than some of John Green’s more recent novels and that the love interest was actually a pretty down to earth kid.

Continue reading “It’s Monday & I just got back from the premiere of #PsychtheMovie”

#AMonthofFaves: 2017 Favorites

Imma just go ahead and copy and paste my opening from last year to this post: It’s time for A Month of Faves, one of my favorite blogging events! I don’t know about you, but I neeeeeeed some cheer and joy in my life right now. I’m so so happy that Tanya, Andi, and Tamara are hosting this again. SO MUCH YAY.

Month of Faves

As most readers of my blog know, I made a huge life change this year and moved from Florida to California. This was a year of big changes for many other reasons as well, one of which was my daughter’s high school graduation.

So here are my favorite things that happened this year (that I can remember; I’m sure I’ll think of more after I hit publish. Or wake up tomorrow):

1. I got a new job and moved to California where I have always wanted to live.

2. My daughter graduated from high school.

3. I am ibuprofen-free.

4. I scored AP exams.

5. I got to go to Jasmine’s for Thanksgiving, finally. (We had been trying to coordinate this for years!)

6. I learned to actually and truly ask for help.


Here are a few of my favorite things that I own/have that are new to me:

1. My new apartment is pretty baller. And it has a fireplace, which means I can actually hang stockings over a fireplace for the first time in my life.

2. My friend Maggie sent me a bike, and it is magnificent. The guys at the bike shop (where I took it to get put together) said that everybody who came in was eyeballing it and kept trying to buy it. Also, it’s a Schwinn, which means that every time I look at it, I think of the exchange from Girls Just Want to Have Fun between Drew and Natalie:

Drew: Nice car. I drive exotic wheels myself.
Natalie: What is it? A Schwinn ten-speed?

She’s being snotty, which is her way, but that was one of my favorite movies growing up so it’s nice to have the reminder.


As I mentioned earlier, I learned to ask for help this year, and I received it from so many people, and I am so so so thankful. I appreciate everyone who was so gracious and giving and kind. My move would not have been possible without them. I also got to connect with so many people in Gainesville before I moved, and that was wonderful.

Also, I have to give a shout-out to two women who really made my year so much better:  my friends Holly and Amber. I really just cannot express how much they both touched my life this past year.

While I am naming names, I also want to thank my girl TNT for texting me almost every day and keeping me connected, especially those days I felt super lonely because I didn’t really know anybody out here yet.

Which means I also have to say how grateful I am for the new friends I have made here or the online friends I finally got to connect with in person (yay internet friends who are now RL friends).

So a lot in the world is terrible right now but so much in my everyday life is not. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Yeah, so last week got away from me…

Which is why, after saying I was back to my regular blogging schedule I…didn’t post anything last week. And this post is a day late. Oops? NO EXCUSE, amirite? Especially since my students had their second blog posts due then. Oh well. I’m here now and that’s all that matters. (Also, to be fair, I did post twice that other week.)

So, a lot has happened since my last post:

1. I actually finished two books!

A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale #1)A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, the darkest timeline is SUPER dark, which I wasn’t really prepared for.

The best part of this book is the development of the relationships of the characters we know in the movie, especially connecting Cassiem (the first thief Jafar takes to the Cave of Wonders) to Aladdin (even if it does completely blow the canon from the third movie. And yes that is an actual thought I had. I know the straight-to-video sequels suck, but are they not Disney canon? Ahem. I digress.)

All in all, a fairly fast read. I would recommend it to any fan of the movie just because it’s a Disney sanctioned AU fanfic, and it’s an interesting take on the story.

View all my reviews

Continue reading “Yeah, so last week got away from me…”

It’s Monday & I am DONE with this semester!

That’s right. All grades are in, and this long and exhausting semester is over.

It's handled.
It’s handled. (Source: GIPHY)

(Fun fact: When looking for the name of the character featured in that gif, I discovered that ABC is doing a Magnum P.I. spinoff/reboot. Interesting. Could this fill the Psych void in my heart?)

This is so exciting! I get to read books and decorate for Christmas and clean my house and unpack from my move this summer!

Also, this post will be all over the place.

Continue reading “It’s Monday & I am DONE with this semester!”

It’s Monday! What are you reading? (1/11/16)

So last week, I totally skipped on using the format I discovered I like for these posts. TRYING TO DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME.

Original now hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Original now hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

 

Last week, I finished:

Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (Roger Rabbit, #1)Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, this book has a cool premise and an intriguing set up. The mystery is pretty well done with lots of great clues and red herrings.

The writing is so bad, though, and the world building is not as great as it could be. For example, I really didn’t know how the word bubbles worked until about 3/4 through the book. That should have been clear from the beginning. So stuff like that took away from my enjoyment.

View all my reviews

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to LeadHillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead by Michelle Markel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hillary Clinton is a badass. Whether you like her politics or not, some facts cannot be denied. Also, this is a great, age-appropriate primer to class, race, and other justice issues.

The illustrations in this book are FANTASTIC. They are gorgeous and so well-detailed and amazing. Really, they made this book. I need to seek out more of Pham’s work because I also enjoyed her art in Grace for President.

View all my reviews

 

I actually reviewed Grace for President on the blog. You can read that review here.

 

I also abandoned two books: Come Hell or Highball and Yes, Chef. I’m going to revisit Yes, Chef in print because I am interested in Samuelsson’s story, but the audio wasn’t really grabbing me.

Last week, I posted:

[wrap-up-posts week=”1″ year=”2016″ listtype=”ul”]

Okay, and I left this out last time, so the week before that I posted:

[wrap-up-posts week=”52″ year=”2015″ listtype=”ul”]

You can see why I had to include it this time! All those posts!

As of today I’m reading:


I am making my way through The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. I wasn’t sure about this one at first because the opening is a little hard to get through. However, once the narrative got going, I was invested. Also, I assigned my creative writing students to read Wildwood last semester, and I knew more was coming for Lola than what was in the first section. (I’m on her part now, so yay for that.)

Also, the book has a candidate for my favorite quote of year (already!) because I know I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

The next day at breakfast, he asked his mother: Am I ugly?
She sighed. Well, hijo, you certainly don’t take after me.
Dominican parents! You got to love them!

I am a little in love with the narrative style, I have to say. It’s one I want to imitate more in my own writing.

 

As for Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, I just downloaded it last night for my commute tomorrow, so we’ll see how I feel about it after I actually start it. I’m looking forward to it, though. It’s been checked out forEVER, and this is the first time I’ve been able to get my hands on it.

Fave Quotes (So Far) from Books Read in 2015

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
1. From Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

I’m really trying not to hate people for being pretty.

 

2. From The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Life is meant to be an artist date.

 

3. From The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Weeping is not bad. It clears out the heart so there is room in it for growth.

 

4. From The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore

“Modesty. Respect. Humility.” This was Ms. Broadcheck’s mantra for Lucas. They’d been working on it all year, but he didn’t seem to get it. Once he told her that he just didn’t feel comfortable lying, even if it made people feel better.

 

5. From As If!: The Oral History of Clueless… by Jen Chaney

Donald Faison: That was my go-to when I wanted to be with a girl. I’d say, “Come over and let’s watch Clueless.” Absolutely. Clueless was the ultimate wingman. They love the movie. They didn’t give a shit about me being in the movie, they just loved the movie, period. I didn’t start getting girlfriends until Clueless came out. It worked well for me. It’s true. It’s because I kept it real. That’s exactly right. Because I was keepin’ it real.

 

6. From Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

The thing about Mum is, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just, no adults do. They’re totally ignorant, but they’re in control. It’s nuts.

 

7. From Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

A life of loneliness is an awful punishment for one bad decision.

 

8. From Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

I’m very open to all faiths, except yoga, as you know.

 

9. From Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I’m just so tired of this. Of him being everything.

 

10. From The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
She had waited all these years for a place of her own, and here it was, in an elegant building where rich people lived. But she wanted a lake view.

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

In an effort to engage more with other bloggers and to talk a little bit more about the books I read, I have decided to start participating in this weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journeys. There’s also a children’s lit one for people who focus on books from those categories hosted by Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers. I’m seeing a lot of cross-posting in my future, basically.

This past week, I finished:

  • The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry (middle grade, audiobook)
  • I Love You, I Hate You, Get Lost by Ellen Conford (YA, short stories)
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (adult non-fiction, self-help)
  • Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger (adult non-fiction)

 

As of today, I’m reading:

As If!: The Oral History of Clueless… by Jen Chaney — Yes, still. Here’s a fun quote from it since I have no idea when I’ll finish.

Donald Faison: That was my go-to when I wanted to be with a girl. I’d say, “Come over and let’s watch Clueless.” Absolutely. Clueless was the ultimate wingman. They love the movie. They didn’t give a shit about me being in the movie, they just loved the movie, period. I didn’t start getting girlfriends until Clueless came out. It worked well for me. It’s true. It’s because I kept it real. That’s exactly right. Because I was keepin’ it real.

 

Bless him.

 

Till You Hear from Me by Pearl Cleage

 

Till You Hear From Me by Pearl Cleage — I’m listening to this one on audiobook and one of the narrators is Bahni Turpin who I really enjoy. The plot is a little slow (I’m 1/3 of the way through and the two major players haven’t met yet), but I’m interested to see what happens. The male main character, Wes, is despicable so I’m really intrigued by that. So far, I can’t tell if this will end the way this type of narrative typically does (the two main characters fall in love) or if a whole lot of crazy is going to go down instead. I really feel like it’ll be the latter, so we’ll see.

 

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri — I *just* started this one today, and I am intrigued so far. The opening was definitely action packed, and I can see reluctant readers being totally sucked into it. A horse right in the middle of Philly! Intriguing.

Next week, I’ll add in some info about reading challenges and such, but I think this is a good first post for the meme, yes? Yes.

Banned Books 101

Banned Books 2015 Poster
Banned Books 2015 Poster

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is kind of a cheat for me since I have taught a version of this class in the past. So I’m going to basically share my syllabus with you–with a slightly updated reading list.

How I framed the class:

This course aims to take a critical look at children’s and young adult literature that is frequently challenged and banned in public schools and libraries. While we will discuss issues of censorship throughout the semester, our primary concern will be with understanding these books first and foremost as works of literature. As such, we will consider the choices that authors make in composing these works, focusing on the functions of the literary elements contained within. Throughout our discussions, we will be able to determine how these “bannable” ideas or elements are or are not necessary for the books to function as cohesive narratives with specific themes. In the end, we should be able to determine if or when restrictions should be placed on novels intended for young people and who gets to make that decision.

Reading List

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – it’s important to have a classic on your list because then someone will say, baffled, “But it’s a classic. How can you ban a classic?” Bonus points for Mark Twain because then you can pull out this quote:

I wrote Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn for adults exclusively, & it always distresses me when I find that boys & girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean. I know this by my own experience, & to this day I cherish an unappeasable bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and draw a clean sweet breath again this side of the grave. … Most honestly do I wish that I could say a softening word or two in defense of Huck’s character since you wish it, but really, in my opinion, it is no better than those of Solomon, David, and the rest of the sacred brotherhood. If there is an unexpurgated [Bible] in the Children’s Department, won’t you please…remove Tom & Huck from that questionable companionship?

 

2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – it’s important to have someone’s actual lived experience on your list because then, when someone says that a book about incest or rape is unsuitable to age group, you can say, “Yes, but these things actually happen to teenagers and maybe we should talk about them so teens who experience them don’t think they’re all alone.”

 

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry – this should appear early in the semester so students can say, “It’s just like in The Giver–they just don’t want people to think for themselves.” Also, the irony of The Giver being on the banned books list will not be lost on them. Farenheit 451 and 1984 also work well for the latter purpose.

 

4. Forever by Judy Blume – because teenagers don’t have sex [/sarcasm]

 

5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – because kids don’t deal with sad things or have imaginations. Bonus: if you’re talking about how the book is sad and why, and a student says, “It’s just a book,” you can counter with what my friend suggested: “The Bible is just a book.” Heads might roll.

 

6. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers – because war sucks and lots of teenagers go to war and, surprise, it’s violent! It’s not like this will help anyone understand why their friend, cousin, brother, sister, uncle, etc. might have PTSD or anything.

 

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky – I can’t even remember why this is banned. Language? Discussions of sex? Homosexuality? Probably all of those things and more. God knows you don’t want teens to read about an authentic high school experience.

 

8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – because you can’t read the whole series, and this book works as a standalone. Also: magic.

 

9. Life Is Funny by E.R. Frank – I blogged about this book for Banned Books Week before, so I won’t repeat myself here. The main thing to know is this book was actually removed from a school library because it depicts things that actually happens to kids in middle and high school.

 

10. Whale Talk or Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher – Pretty much all of Chris Crutcher’s books have been banned or challenged. The list would be incomplete without him.

 

How I Ended the Class:

For the final project, I had them pick a novel on the ALA’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books list and write a paper explaining  the theme of the novel and why the challenged elements are necessary for the reader to understand that theme. Then? Presentation on the book!

 

Anyway, I am very passionate about this topic. If you want to learn more, visit the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom or participate in this year’s Banned Books Reading Challenge.