Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Posted by Sarah at 5:11 PM
Monday, February 23, 2009
I'm working on some layout involved things over the next few days. Please bear with me if the page looks funny for a little bit! I need to work out some of the kinks. I can already see some goofiness...
Posted by Sarah at 12:52 PM
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I remember reading Eva's post on "The Kiss," so this was one I had to read. Usually stories that don't really have a plotline get on my nerves, but the language in the story was so beautiful. I tried to find the story in French as well. There's nothing better than a beautiful story written in a beautiful language! Here are some of my favorite quotes from the story.
Posted by Sarah at 4:33 PM
I went through another time where I didn't feel like reading. It didn't last long, though.
I'm still working on It's Not About the Tapas by Polly Evans. I won this book back in December and I decided to break by own rule. I wanted to save all the books I receive for when I go to college and may not be able to get to a library easily. This book sounded too good, but it is disppointing me. When you aren't caught up in a hideously boring history lession about Spain, the story is quite monotonous. I like to read about travelling, especially since my dream is to backpack around Europe. Spain does not sound all too appealing while reading this.
On a brighter note, I decided that I am going to continue doing things like I did for my analysis of Chick-Lit post. I will chose a genre every so often and read a lot of books in that genre (to start off with. I may not focus on one genre, but a certain author or time period). I finished First Daughter my Mitali Perkins and decided that my next research-y post will be on YA books. I will not review any of the books that will be involved with the big post at the end, just to build up the excitement!
The coming month is going to be difficult reading-wise. I resolved that I would not get stressed out about reading for a reading resolution this year, but I am pretty stressed out. I have begun reading The Fountainhead and Wuthering Heights for school. The schedule I have to read the books for it difficult! It doesn't help that the books are not interesting! Both of these books are classics. I really don't want to read a classic for my personal classic challenge, but I need to. I could cheat and say either of the books are my monthly classic, but they are for school. I may get arounf to reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, but I won't risk getting stressed out about reading another book.
The Fountainhead is okay. I'm only a few chapters into this monster of a book. It is pretty boring, but not as boring as Crime and Punishment! In fact, the mood of the story reminds me a lot of Crime and Punishment, but some of the characters remind me of The Catcher in the Rye.
I am reading Wuthering Heaights while listening to it. I found a free podcast of it on itunes. I found that I try to read too fast, so I don't understand anything that happened! Even though reading a single chapter is a time commitment, it is still better than not understanding the book at all. It is still very confusing, but listening to the book while reading along helps a lot. I may even use this technique for reading more difficult classics if I can find the audio for it for free!
Posted by Sarah at 1:43 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Posted by Sarah at 5:28 PM
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Yes, I just told you to bond with an inamimate object.
I don't mean to hug them or anything, but you can do that if you want to. Just spend some time with books sometime. I spent so much time with books today without really reading them much.
1. Bond with your library
I posted about how I really don't spend much time in my library. I usually just order books. For the past few weeks I have been better about that. I've actually been browsing. Yesterday I went to the library and spent a good 2 hours there. I had a lot of homework to do, so I went there to study with no distractions other than the smell of books.
We got a brand new library a year ago and I actually spent more time in the old one than the new one. It was nice today to actually use the new tables at the back of the library and venture into the 'Young Adult' section that had way more books than when I last checked!
I was at the library the day before as well for a scholarship interview (no, I didn't get it...) and had to go in one of the conference rooms. There is a whole section of this building that I hadn't even seen back where the conference rooms are!
Even if you have been to your library a million times, go bond with it!
2. Bond with your books
I rearranged my bookshelf again today. I love how books look on shelves, especially when arranged in a neat way with a bunch of little things scattered around. Now I have a special place for the plaque I got from my aunt for Christmas and for my library book stack. Even though my shelf doesn't look like Nate Berkus' (seriously, you really can't make a shelf look good unless you own hardly any books and way too many expensive vase-type things), my shelf makes me smile.
Here are pictures of my newly rearranged shelves, they aren't in order though.
Posted by Sarah at 7:19 PM
A while ago, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness posted a meme that goes like this: Someone asks you five questions to answer in a blog post. Then people comment on that post to be interviewed. The poster choses a person and sends them questions to answer.
Kim warned us that she is a journalist, and the questions would be good...and they are! I'm used to asking people tough questions for my school newspaper, so it is fun to answer some every once in a while!
If you would like to be the one I interview for this fun meme, post 'Interview Me!' along with your email address.
1. Pretend you're going to spend the next 12 months on a submarine -- what three books do you bring with you?
Definitely not anything to do with the ocean! By the time that year is over, I will be tired of it. Of course, I will want to bring my Bible. I'd also want to bring East of Eden because every time you pick it up, it can be interpreted differently. A Complete Works of William Shakespeare would be nice too. I'll have a lot of time on my hands for more heavy reading!
2. I really liked the post you did about being a teenager and blogging (especially about how you sometimes get comments that are different from what adult bloggers get). What is one piece of advice you could give to students who are thinking about starting a blog?
I know that blogging was popular among teenagers back before MySpace became popular. Those blogs were filled with everyday gossip. Teenagers shouldn't start blogs unless they have a set subject matter other than about themself. It makes it so that the readers of their blog think better about them, and not about the gossip they spread. I know if any of my teachers or people at school read this blog, they certainly wouldn't think the same about me! Teenagers should show their maturity through blogging, not their immaturity.
3. 10 years from now, what do you want to be doing?
I either want to be working in a French speaking country as an international correspondent for a major news network or earning my master's at some really fabulous school-on a full scholarship of course ;)
4. What is one book that's changed the way you think about a political or social issue?
I have really strong political views-especially for someone my age. I think I may get it from my mom. She gets really angry when people have political views based totally on ignorance. There is one book that strengthened my views on war. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini showed how war is sometimes necessary. Just as school is sometimes a necessary evil, so is war.
So far, no book has radically changed by life. More people have changed my life than books have, and personally, I would rather have that!
5. You've been chosen to teach a class on any kind of literature you want -- what genre would it be, and what books would you put on your syllabus?
I would want to teach a class that would show young people that literature isn't just for old man english teachers. I'd pick books that are relevant to the lives of students. I know that there are some classics that a lot of people should read, but The Scarlet Letter will only give high schoolers a bad taste in their mouths for literature. I don't think it is the books that matter as much as how it is taught. If literature classes focused less on symbolism at the beginning and more on how the book affected society, I think a lot more kids would be reading for fun. After a while, teachers should work up to literary theories, but not from the start.
I'd put The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, The Pearl, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Romeo and Julliet, and Hamlet (The Shakespeare plays would be in the No fear Shakespeare version) on the syllabus. Most of the books are short. You have to face it. Teenagers just won't read long books. They'd rather be on facebook.
Posted by Sarah at 11:58 AM
Friday, February 13, 2009
Posted by Sarah at 11:58 AM
You know why a lot of people think teenagers are hopeless? Why they are always getting into trouble and just being apathetic about everything?
You may say it is because of how their parents raised them, or blame it on hormones.
In Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, a new perspective is offered. Teenagers are the way they are because of what people expect them to be. Our society says that the teenage years are the time to go crazy, and everyone expects that.
If you are a teenager and you aren't out doing things that I wouldn't mention in a blog like this, you must be a freak of nature.
Please note that I am a teenager. I'm frustrated because a lot of adults don't expect me to be what I really am. They expect me to be apathetic, lazy, and have an attitude problem. Sometimes, I can be those things, but isn't everyone, regardless of their age? Sometimes it even shows through this blog. I don't think I get the same types of comments that the adults do. I'm getting tired of hearing, "When I was your age..."
I had a teacher last year in a very diffcult class that I thought I was ready for. I was determined to get a good grade in this class, just as I had in my other classes. The teacher's expectations were WAY higher than any other teacher I had ever had. Instead of working at the same level as my easier classes, I rose to those expectations rather than risk a failing grade. I worked by butt off for that year. This class was so hard! I got a C. It was the first C I ever received on my report card. I put in what I thought was A or B work, but earned a C. In my other classes, I didn't do anything and got an A.
The easy classes for me that year are what our society is now. We set incredibly low standards for teenagers so they can squeak by without doing much. Since many don't face big consquences, it is not considered failure.
It now seems to me that the best teachers I have ever had expected a lot of their students. My journalism teacher last year was hard to please, but when she told you an article was good, you knew it was. My history teacher in 8th grade gave really hard tests that you actually had to study for, but the A meant more to you after all of that.
The youth leaders at my church who expect more of us than just coming into a room and filling up a chair...
What if there were higher expectations? What if we expected all teenagers to graduate high school, go to college, not do drugs, not party or drink? Sure, some teenagers still would, but some would rise to the occasion and meet those expectations.
In the meantime, all the teenagers who already do those things without being expected to are labelled as the "good kids."
One point that stuck out to me in Do Hard Things was what you DON'T do doesn't matter as much as you actually do. For example, wearing a purity ring is a good thing, but making a stand for a cause you believe in is even better.
You want proof that teenagers who want higher expectations exist? Go to therebelution.com. There is a blog dedicated to this, run by teenagers.
As for this post, I bet you didn't expect this!
Posted by Sarah at 9:08 AM
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Posted by Sarah at 5:29 PM
Funny sites to go to:
How to annoy people (http://www.bored.com/getannoyed/index.htm): Not like anyone needs an instruction manual on how to be irritating, but this site cracks me up. It includes a list of ways to annoy people in various places, such as in an elevator, at the office, on a blind date...Here is a sampling:
To annoy people at the office, schedule meetings for 4:14 pm.
"I thought you had to be in relatively good physical shape to be a police officer..."
"Would you look at the size of the hair I just yanked out of my nose!"
and my favorite, ways to get rid of a blind date.
Hold a debate. Take both sides.
Repeat every third third word you say say.
Ask the people at the neighboring table for food from their plates.
Ask your date how much money they have with them.
Destroy Sites: (http://www.netdisaster.com/): Type in a url, and bombs away! Not a fan of Al Gore? Find a picture of him and practice shooting. Find the teletubbies annoying? Go to pbskids.org and have a ball!
You aren't limited to just shooting, but you can enjoy the destructive effects of fried eggs, various forms of animal waste, and more!
If you go to any of these sites and care to admit it, post about your experience!
Posted by Sarah at 5:01 PM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Here are several definitions of "bibliophile."
"a person who loves or collects books, esp. as examples of fine or unusual printing, binding, or the like."
"A lover of books.
A collector of books. "
"someone who loves (and usually collects) books "
Notice how none of these definitions talk about actually reading books? They just deal with collecting and liking books. Can you actually be a bibliophile without actually reading books?
I've thought that I am a bibliophile, but you can hardly say I collect books. I try to read as many as I can, so maybe that is collecting them in my mind, but by definition, I am not a bibliophile.
Someone may not read books, but collects them just to have a cool-looking shelf. How many times have you seen on a movie ot TV show of a room filled with gorgeous books that the characters never actually read? By definition, they are bibliophiles. They love the look of books and they like to collect books, but they don't read them.
I propose a change of definition!
Also notice that the definition of "oenophile" is messed up too.
"someone who appreciates wine"
"One who appreciates and enjoys wine.
A collector of wine. "
"a person who enjoys wines, usually as a connoisseur."
I guess I could be an oenophile because I appreciate wine, but do not actually drink or own any. I appreciate how other people like wine. I'm an oenophile, but not a bibliophile!
Let's just change the whole dictionary!
Posted by Sarah at 5:10 PM
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows Barabara Kingsolver and her family through a year of eating. Her family decides that they will grow, make, or find locally everything going into their mouths or do without it. Although we learn at the end of the book that they only followed this rule for produce and poultry and not for anything made of flour, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is certainly a unique read.
Basically, everything you never needed or wanted to know about slaughtering turkeys or growing asparagus is in this book. It is interesting though. Barabara Kingsolver takes the perspective that if more people only ate locally, the world would be a much better place. Some of her ideas about the subject are really good, but I think she is a little too radical about it. Her family moves across the country to a farm in order to eat this way. They don't work, they just grow things. That is not very realistic.
One problem I had with the book was that there were so many facts and figures in it, and I caught a major one wrong. The book refers to LDL cholesterol as the good cholesterol, which is not true in the slightest. It made me wonder what else in the book was wrong, and it made me lose interest. I almost quit reading it.
At some points while reading, I even started thinking I should take up gardening, but then realized that I wouldn't eat any of it any way!
Grade: B- or C+
Posted by Sarah at 11:53 AM
Monday, February 9, 2009
I've promised several people I would get around to writing this post, so here it is: my findings on readin Chick-Lit analytically. For my senior project, I compared the portrayal of women in various literary periods, but focused on Chick-Lit. Along with comparing the portrayal of women in various circumstances such as in relationships and in the work force, I came up with some surprising results.
Most of you know that Chick-Lit is often cricisized as mindless books full of fluff and stereotypical romance. A lot of people claim that Chick-Lit is not "real" reading.
Consider this. Charlotte Bronte wrote a letter to George Henry Lewes on January 12, 1848 discussing the novels of Jane Austen. Bronte had a perspective on Jane Austen that many readers today have on Chick-Lit. Here is an excerpt from her letter, as seen in This is Chick-Lit.
"An accurate daguerrotyped portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant and confined houses."
Doesn't that sound familiar? This debate had been going on for decades!
I'm not writing this to say all the naysayers of Chick-Lit are out of their minds. I think every book has a correct audience. If Chick-Lit does not work for you, fine. Just give it a chance.
I know that some people have even given up reading Chick-Lit for more worthwile reading material. Even though classics are great, Chick-Lit is becoming a part of our culture. Just like any bibliophile shouldn't pass up reading some of the classics like The Great Gatsby or The Grapes of Wrath, neither should anyone dismiss Chick-Lit so quickly.
While I read Chick-Lit analytically, one of the things that really stuck out to me was how Chick-Lit in general follows a young woman in her quest. Everyone has some sort of empty space in their life. They long for something to fill it. Is this not true for characters in other works of literature? However, in Chick-Lit, the women in the stories reflect the society in which the book is set. These women mostly search for a man to fill their empty spot. Sometimes, like in The Devil Wears Prada, they will their want with a job.
I focused my paper on how the women in the books reflect the expectations of society. Yes, Chick-Lit heroines are a bit too obsessed with shoes and purses and clothes. But aren't a lot of other women living in America today. Yes, women in Chick-Lit can't seem to function without a man by their side. But isn't that how a lot of women are today?
I wouldn't call myself a feminist, but instead of hating Chick-Lit for the mindless fluff, hate the society that made it mindless fluff.
If you've given up on Chick-Lit, try giving it another chance. This time, pretend you are reading it for the first time. You do not know you are reading fluff. Try reading it analytically and see what you come up with. I'm glad I did. Even though I may still read it for a nice poolside read from now on, I enjoyed reading it like I would have read something else.
Posted by Sarah at 5:11 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2009
After two not so happy Sunday Salon posts in a row, I am happy to report that I have been reading up a storm! But, I haven't been so good at posting reviews so far this year. Ugh!
New Moon: The copy I got from the library is in horrible shape! I can take the whole book out from the cover. I waited so long, I should get a nice copy. It's difficult to read because I'm trying to hold the cover onto the pages, but it's not working out so well. Other than that, New Moon is okay. I miss Edward. It is annoying how Bella can't get along without having a guy by her side. Feminists would hate Bella. She always wants a guy!
I'm happy that I am able to read a popular series. I've never been able to do that. I never read Harry Potter. I tried several times, but it didn't interest me in the slightest. When I was younger, I wasn't reading The Series of Unfortunate Events like everyone else. But now, I am reading the Twilight series and enjoying it like the rest of them!
Animal, Vegetable Miracle: I finished this yesterday even after deciding that I was going to stop. The book was a neat read, but had an error that made me question the rest of the book. There is so much I could talk about that I should save it for a review....
The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorite books, also written by Barbara Kingsolver. I have never read anything nonfiction by an author that I read their fiction. It was weird seeing how Barbara Kingsolver lives her life. I think she's a bit looney, but there are good aspects to the claims she makes in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I even found myself having the urge to start a garden, but it is February.
Do Hard Things: I waited over two months for this to come in. I am glad I did because that means a lot more people read the book before I did. I think everyone, even if they are not a teenager, should read this. I'm not very far into Do Hard Things, but it is fantastic. This is the way I have thought for a while now and it is so nice to know someone else thinks the same. Although I agree wholeheartedly with the book, it is still challenging. When I post about Do Hard Things, I don't think it will come in the form of a review, but just as my opinion on the subject of what people expect from teenagers. Everyone wonders why teenagers go around doing drugs and drinking and getting into trouble. It is because nobody really expects more than that. Our ociety says that the teenage years are a time to get it all out of your system, and it is not. I know I am in the minority of teenagers that does not live the way society expects, and I am proud to be one of them.
The Bible: I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I am trying to read the entire Bible this year. I've tried several times before, but this time I am trying a different format. I got through the entire month of January, which is the farthest I have ever gotten on any reading schedule of the Bible. Right now, I am reading from Matthew, Psalms, and Proverbs. The reading plan I am on also includes portions of Genesis and Exodus this month, but I have read those books so many times in other failed attempts to read the Bible, I'm skipping them this time so I do not associate reading them with failure.
Along with these books, I started reading some short stories. I joined the 100 shots of short challenge, but you can read my post on it! I'm excited to be reading something that I find challenging, and I am enjoying it so far.
Another bit of happy news. My huge project is due tomorrow. I finished it yesterday! I feel so free. I am proud of myself because I went above and beyond what was expected of me. I references many many books in the paper and wrote twelve pages instead of the ten I expect most people are going to do. This is by far the most difficult project I have done, but I am glad I took the hard route instead of the easy one. Let's just hope my teacher agrees!
Posted by Sarah at 12:07 PM
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I've been reading a lot more short stories recently. I've read two anthologies this year! Usually I just read short stories for school. I'm pretty scared of them. In order to get much out of reading a short story, you must analyze, read between the lines, try to find symbols, etc. I like doing that for school, but I haven't done much of it for pleasure.
I stared an english compostition class that is focusing about writing analyses of short stories. I have acquired two short story anthologies. One of them is fantastic! I also realized I have a Roald Dahl anthology just sitting on my shelf. Short stories are so easily accessible. You can find many on the internet, and if you have an extremely busy life, you really don't want to pick up a novel. If your life is busy but you have a spare half hour, a short story is perfect.
I joined the 100 shots of short challenge to force myself to analyze more when I pleasure read, to read more of something I am afraid of, and to plan in advance for college. I don't expect to be reading a lot after September, but short stories will be a great thing to read when I have a spare moment at whatever school I go to.
I'm not quite sure how I will post about what short stories I read. I know I will have a list of the ones I have already read in he sidebar. I'm thinking I post after every three to five short stories I read, or once a month.
So, I've already read three!
Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin: To be honest, I didn't quite understand this one. I may have to go back and reread it. I liked the style the story was written in though
The Lotery Ticket by Anton Chekhov: This short story stays true to it's name: short. The story only has time to follow the thought process of the narrator. His wife buys lottery tickets frequently, but he thinks it is absurd. He is filled with a sudden hope one day as he read the paper that the paper will print their lottery ticket number. He imagines all the things he could do and get with the prize money, but then he reads the numbers.
Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin: I read this for a class, but I still think it counts. Sonny's Blues is about two brothers. The narrator has not seen his brother Sonny in years. Sonny has had a rough life and was involved with drugs. Later on, in the last scene of the story, the brothers reunite and the narrator sees the impact music has had in getting Sonny's life back on track. Sonny's Blues has some interesting symbolism that I am not used to, which was a unique experience altogether.
Most of the short stories I have read have a lot of irony in them, and those are the stories I like the most. I loved Guy de Maupassant's The Necklace and How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Tolstoy. Do you know of any ironic short stories that I can read for this challenge?
Posted by Sarah at 11:21 AM
Friday, February 6, 2009
Posted by Sarah at 2:17 PM
Posted by Sarah at 2:06 PM
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Posted by Sarah at 12:33 PM
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The past two Sunday Salon Posts I have posted have been about how I can't get into reading. Thanks to many of your helpful suggestions, I am back again! Thank you to all who suggested things. I will probably have to refer to your helpful suggestions many more times.
I has The Little Prince sitting on my shelf of borrowed books. I had planned to read it as my classic for the month, and for Dewey's Books challenge. In two sittings, it was done. It very much reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. This made me feel accomplished, so I started reading All I Ever Needed to Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Bloon, a book of essays about the effect Bloom's book have had on various female writers.
I decided to abandon any other books I had attempted to read over the past few weeks, The Pillars of the Earth, The Notebook, and all! I'm starting fresh now. I have a new stack of library books to prove it, they are light but interesting reads. And get this, mostly nonfiction!
Right now I'm reading two books that have me equally entertained. My life has suddenly gotten a bit more crazy. A new semester of the classes I am taking at the community college along with normal high school classes has begun. I'm glad to be reading and taking notes again! My high school classes haven't offered much to me. For the first time this school year, I read out of a textbook last week.
Posted by Sarah at 6:43 PM
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Posted by Sarah at 10:48 AM