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Category Archives: Book Club

Book Club: Anne of Green Gables

This is the book I own that I’ve never read. I bought it quite some time ago at Good Will. I adored this movie as a young girl. My grandma bought me the complete series of books for Christmas one year because she knew how much I loved the movie, but I just never really got into the books. I thought it was about time I read this one.

The movie version of this book is about 80% word for word out of this book. There were maybe 4 chapters that weren’t in the movie at all, but there were more details in various chapters that were left out of the movie. You definitely know Marilla more in the book. You get a better sense of her feelings toward Anne, which were very endearing. What was not endearing, was the fact that she is pretty racist in a couple of spots. The book also has a lot of wordy descriptions, which are consistent with Anne’s character, but not consistent with my reading preferences. So all in all, watch the movie and skip this book.

A side note that was kind of interesting about this book was that I read it in the sauna at the gym, and several people struck up conversation with me for reading this one. I found that pretty interesting. My next sauna read is a much more contemporary book. We’ll see if people care to engage with me about this new book.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: The Outsiders

This book fits in the category of a book published before I was born. I’ve had a couple of friends suggest this book to me multiple times, but for some reason I never picked it up. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It had more plot twists than I expected and really engaged me from beginning to end. It made me think of some really sweet kids who have been in my life over the years. I know very little of the background to this book, but my understanding is that the author wrote it when she was a kid because she didn’t think the books she was reading in school appropriately reflected the real experiences of teenagers. Just like several of the other books I read on this challenge, boy has my life experience been so vastly different from so many others. If I were to write a book about the experiences of teenagers, this is not the book I would write. Regardless, I enjoyed this book and appreciated the way issues of class are brought up in ways accessible to younger students. I can see why a lot of my 7th-graders read this when I taught middle school.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

This book fulfills the “Banned Books” category in my reading challenge. Reports of why this book was banned include reasons such as the description of rape, the hatred toward whites in the book, and profanity. Yup. That’s all in there. I also think this is an important book to read. It’s important to read about the experiences of people who aren’t like you. I am nothing like Maya Angelou. Nothing about my upbringing is similar to hers. Reading her book was enlightening to me. It was hard, and it was beautiful. The most notable moments in the book to me were as follows:

–The molestation and rape were obviously disturbing, but I have lived with an elementary aged child for almost two years now, and I have my own sweet little daughter. I can guarantee that my reaction to these parts of the book were more so than they would have been over two years ago. I was so disturbed that I practically had a physical reaction of disgust in wanting to protect little Maya.

–The experiences she had living with and without her parents. These were just so very indicative of the differences in our lives. Again, something important for people to wrestle with.

–The ending, which I think was just one of the most beautiful endings to a book, but perhaps I’m biased after having a little one.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Book Club, Uncategorized

 

Book Club: Bossy Pants

I don’t know why I didn’t read this book sooner. That’s a lie. I know why. I’m not crazy about 30 Rock, and I just always preferred Amy Poehler to Tina Fey. However, this book was super great, and I recommend it to all my friends. Tina Fey provides some great commentary on sexism and feminism and parenting and show business and other relevant topics through a great little narrative about her life. Fun, easy, and quick reading, but still gets you to think about some of the bigger issues in life.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: Nancy Drew and the Lilac Inn

For the book I finished in a day (#2), I chose a Nancy Drew book the nine year old who lives with us got for her birthday. I’ve always wanted to read a Nancy Drew, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. I have several thoughts about this book. First, there was so much careful description of all of Nancy s clothes and she always had a dress on except for the pants she wore while padding a canoe. Um…OK. Next, these books have a pretty high vocabulary for the age to which they are aimed. I can’t remember any off the top of my head, of course, but I had to look up a word or two. This was surprising. At least Nancy is pretty smart in all her gender appropriateness. And finally, Nancy gets herself into some really sticky and dangerous situations! I did not expect that. Since there’s about 100 of them, I knew Nancy was going to be OK, but I would have been worried if I didn’t know that as a fact!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: Go Set a Watchman

For the book I previously abandoned (#9), I chose Go Set a Watchman. I don’t have too much to say about this book because nothing really happens in the story. There’s a whole lot of slow build up for a relatively big argument between two characters and then the book is over. I should give the caveat that I never read To Kill a Mockingbird, and I acknowledge that this argument would have been a bigger deal to me if I had, but still. I had previously abandoned the book about five chapters from the end and was not really motivated to see how it ended if that gives you and frame of reference. Regardless, I can now say that I finished it and I know what all the fuss is about.

 

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Book Club

 

Book Club: Year of Yes

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes fills the “been meaning to read” category (#3 on the book challenge list). In fact, I went from planning to read this, to thinking I might skip it altogether, to devouring it in two days. I absolutely loved this book. Loved it. I know part of why I loved it is because I indulge in Shondaland. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder are three of my favorite shows. My guilty pleasure in these shows is why I wanted to read the book. What I didn’t know or expect was how empowering and enlightening this book was going to be for me.

In this book Shonda talks about a year of her life in which she started to make more positive decisions for herself. She started saying “Yes” instead of “No.” In that, she shares some really important stories about feminism and equality as well as issues of self-worth and owning your own badassness. I’m really glad I got to read her words on these topics and think about how some of what she talked about applied to me.
Let me give you some context. As most of you know, I used to be a classroom teacher. I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in gradeschool. I was good at teaching. It came naturally. As a result, I had a decent amount of teacher swagger. I was confident, innovative, and always looking for ways to get better. My desires to get better weren’t because of some doubt in myself or my abilities. It was because I really wanted to always improve. Similarly, that swagger and confidence didn’t come with an attitude of being the best teacher on the planet who couldn’t improve. I knew my strengths and weaknesses. I played to my strengths and looked to others to help with my weaknesses.
Then I went to grad school and slowly but surely, I lost my swagger and confidence in myself. It got to the point where if I was complimented, I almost immediately negated it. I looked at my weaknesses to define me and dismissed strengths as not good enough. I’ve come to think of myself as the weakest link in my program pretty much since I got here. I thought of everyone in my program as superior to me rather than my peers.
So, I’m really going to work on thinking of myself as a badass again. I have strengths. I can do things. I’m not terrible at what I do. Yes, there are people more skilled than me, but that doesn’t discount my skills or my ability to learn or my incredible work ethic. No, I’m not perfect, but I work hard and because of that hard work, I have accomplished a lot. These things are facts, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging them. In fact, denying them keeps me out of spaces I have worked hard to fill. No one is going to help me fill those spaces. It’s up to me to take them. I’m going to start saying “Yes” in some places I’ve been saying “No” for too long.
All of that introspection to say you should read Shonda’s book. It’s a great read about a really interesting woman.
 
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Posted by on January 19, 2016 in Book Club