Shakespeare – Weeks 1 and 2

Hello again readers!

I know, every time I come post I think, I should post more often.  Then, I don’t….

In any case, I have started my first few weeks of studying Shakespeare!  The plays and sonnets we are going to read are all new to me.  The reading, analysis, and discussion has been really interesting.  I am certainly enjoying it!

Here is what we’ve read so far!

Week 1 – Comedies
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Can you believe I have never read this comedy?  It was pretty funny.  I enjoyed the whimsical nature of the plot.  It reminded me a lot of Aristophanes and his comedies.  In fact, I learned that Shakespeare was educated using Greek and Roman plays.  I analyzed Act V and discussed the meta-theater of the “Pyramus and Thisbe” play.  All in all, a good play.

The Merchant of Venice

One of our focuses during these five weeks is the comparison between performance and reading the plays.  Our first week we watched a production of The Merchant of Venice as we read along.  I really didn’t care so much for this play.  I felt like the characters were just trying to get the better of each other.  Not my favorite, but certainly another interesting comedy to read.

Week 2 – The Histories
The Tragedy of Richard III

We started our week of history plays with Richard III.  The opening soliloquy was the topic of much discussion.  Shakespeare has Richard open by laying out his entire evil plan.  Shakespeare’s Richard is apparently very deformed, so instead of finding a girlfriend/wife, he wants to manipulate others and work his way to be king.  Now, being a “tragedy”, you can guess what happens.

It dawned on me about halfway through the week that some archaeologists analyzed a skeleton that they think is Richard III.  What I found intriguing is that the osteology shows the person suffered from serious scoliosis, but was not a disfigured as Shakespeare’s Richard.  That led to interesting thoughts and discussion about the literary purpose that Shakespeare had for creating an even more disfigured Richard.

The Life of Henry V

Our read/watch play for this week was The Life of Henry V.  Henry is painted as the “mirror of a Christian king”.  He leads his people into battle in France.  We watched a performance with Lawrence Oliver as Henry.  Again, the second play this week was not one of my favorites.


On the side, I’m reading a hilarious comedic collection of essays called Furiously Happy.  The author, Jenny Lawson, presents a honest, cynical look at her life with anxiety, depression, and a crazy family and loving husband.  If you are interested, you should certainly check it out.  She also has a blog you can read here.

Seriously, read it.  (Warning:  moderate amount of cursing, some possibly triggering portions for those who struggle with self-harm, depression, and other mental illnesses.  However, a great, positive look at the nature of surviving a mental illness!)

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Reading Update

I really, really wish that I had more discipline when it came to updating the blog!  Oh well, I’m going to change it now by letting you know what I’ve read in the last three or so weeks!

I have posted reviews/stars on my Goodreads feed, so if you want to know more about these books and what I thought, visit the sidebar to the right!  —>


Novels and “Fun” Reads

I haven’t quite kept up with my Book a Day plan, but I have read some amazing books!

The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger – a deliciously indulgent read and different from the film.  If you liked the movie, read the book!

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart – a twisted and turning book about a teenage girl and her crazy family.  Read this if you liked The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, or other psychological explorations/thrillers.

 

Flora and Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo – follow young Flora, her romance writer mother, crazy neighbor, odd nephew of crazy neighbor, her odd father, and a super squirrel (!) as they embark on some adventures.  Cute and engaging.  Read this if you are ready to step up from graphic novels or illustrated novels like Wimpy Kid, or if you believe in superpowers.

Nine, Ten:  A September 11 Story, by Nora Raleigh Baskin – I’ve never been one to read extensively about the events of that fateful September – neither fiction nor nonfiction.  However, my YA Lit social media was absolutely blowing up with reviews of this work.  I got it on release day (thanks Amazon!) and I was not disappointed.  The book follows four middle school students in the days leading up to the attack.  The book was brilliant, touching, honest, and real.  Enough said!

Order of the Wicked, by Danielle Paige – another prequel installment from the amazingly twisted Oz of Danielle Paige.  I can’t wait for the next novel – or for her new series beginning up soon with Stealing Snow.  Read this if you enjoy twisted tales, revisits of some of your favorite characters, or if you want an intense and amazing read!

 

What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty – imagine waking up 10 years in the future and not remembering anything in between.  That’s what happens to Alice.  Moriarty takes us through Alice’s life in snatched memories of the last 10 years.  A perfect summer read filled with confusion, clarity, and self-discovery.


Well, that’s enough for now.  Check out my Goodreads feed to see the textbooks I read in the last few weeks too!

How is your summer reading going?  Let’s chat!

“Sanka? You dead mon?”

No, I’m not dead…but yes, it has been a while since I blogged.  Things went a little sideways for a couple of weeks.  Let me fill you in!

What happened…..

Remember how I was taking Block class a mere 3 hours from home?  Well, yeah, that finally ended last Friday.  The last two weeks we talked about special education and content literacy.  The class is now over and in the books.  I’ve learned a lot and I am glad I had the experience of this class with my friends and colleagues.  I’m also glad it is over!

Then….

Well, let’s just say that returning home, and staying home, has been nice.  I spent a few days immersed in homework.  I am now, though, returning to the world and doing chores.  Laundry is almost caught up.  Dishes are done.  My random junk from living away is getting picked up.  Slowly but surely.

My Classes Now
One of my fave comics from Hyperbole and a Half has become a meme!

So, now that I am at home, I am still taking 4 classes online.  I’m doing Precalculus, Applied Calculus, Math for the Elementary/Middle School Teacher 1, and Linguistics.  This is the summer of the content classes!  They are keeping me busy, but I am glad I can accomplish these from the comfort of my living room.

And now….THE BOOKS!

I’ve updated my Goodreads, but I thought I’d give you a quick run-down of what I have read these last few weeks!

Textbooks:  I finished reading Classroom Assessment for Teachers for my Assessment class.  I also read Improving Adolescent Literacy for the final week of block (on….content literacy!).  Two more texts with a bunch of information!

Audiobooks:  I finally finished Inkheart on audio.  It was good!  I found myself driving around Chadron in the vain hope of finishing the book – it was that good.  Audio definitely was the format for me and this book!

I’ve also started the abridged version of The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown.  I’ve read it before, but it is action filled and I thought an abridged version might be a good audio for me to try.

Novels:  I absolutely devoured If I Stay, by Gayle Forman.  I love love loved it!  If I Stay tells the story of Mia, whose family has been involved in an accident.  Mia is unconscious, but she can travel around the hospital and see her family and friends – yet they cannot see her.  Forman paints an epically tragic tale through flashbacks, questions, and heart wrenching scenes.  I want to get the second one to add to my library soon!

I’ve started a re-read of one of my favorites too!  The Devil Wears Prada is the tale of Andrea “Andy” Sachs and her epic year as the second assistant to THE Miranda Priestly.  I’ve seen the movie a bunch (actually, saw the movie before read the book), but I really like the novel.  I won’t give you any spoilers, but there are some differences between movie and novel. 🙂

Picture Books:  For my Math for the Elementary/Middle School class had me create a lesson plan for math that involved children’s books.  A perfect blend for my two loves!  In the process, I read two beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written books by Greg Tang.  The Grapes of Math and Math for All Seasons use poems and images to create word problems for readers to solve.  They are quite inventive.  I think an entire Greg Tang library is begging to be added to my collection.  Check them out!


Whew!  I know that was long, but that’s what you get when I haven’t blogged in two weeks!  If you’ve made it this far….congrats!  Tell me what the best thing you have read in the past two weeks has been.  I’m always looking for something new for the TBR!

IMWAYR – May 23, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicGreetings readers!

I am not even going to lie.  Not enough reading for fun is going on in my life.

Sure, we all have our excuses.  If you don’t want to read mine, scroll down to the next part and I’ll tell you my progress!

The Excuses (in no particular order)
  1. Taking Block is a lot more time intensive than I thought it would be.  Not only is there class M-F for three hours, but then there are homework assignments too.
  2. Online classes on top of in person classes is actually harder than I thought.
  3. I spent a lot of time getting things organized so I can graduate in a year.  That took longer than I expected.
  4. Driving 6 hours a week is exhausting.  Although, the audio book is going well.

All in all though, I am really enjoying Block.  I love my classmates and it is great to get to hang out together all week!

Now, the reading progress!

The audio book thing is going pretty well for me though.  I’m listening to Inkheart and am really enjoying it.  There are times during my drive when the reader kind of sounds monotone.  I do occasional crank on the tunes instead of the audio book, but I am really enjoying it!

I am also reading through the final book in the Crank series.  Fallout is just as good, if not better, than the previous two.  What is great about this installment is that the narrative POV changes between Bree/Kristina’s various children.  I had to renew it from the library, but I am really, really, really loving it!


Well, that’s it for now!  What have you been reading?

IMWAYR – May 8, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week has been filled with a lot of work so that I could wrap up things at my job.  Today I am off to Chadron to take part in Professional Sequence class.  I’m also starting my Book-a-Day challenge – so follow along on Goodreads or Twitter to see what books I get read!

I was lucky enough to have time to finish an amazing YA nonfiction work.  Terrible Typhoid Mary:  A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America, by Sarah Campbell Bartoletti, puts a very real and understanding spin on the story of Mary Mallon.

Mallon was a cook in the early 1900s in New York.  She was a well-respected cook who worked for well-off families.  However, she was unlucky enough to work with a series of families who were victims of the sometimes deadly typhoid disease.

The author dives deep into the motivations and events that led to Mary’s eventual imprisonment and quarantine.  Her engaging story makes Mary a sympathetic character and made me think about the motivations of those who wanted to study (and profit) from proving that Mary was a typhoid carrier.

I highly recommend this wonderful work for those interested in medical history.  The book reads like informative fiction – although everything is true!


I also devoured a book recommended by many of my YA Lit Class classmates.  Little Peach, by Peggy Kern, was an engaging and intense read.  Michelle, aka Little Peach, runs away from a really horrible situation (Grandpa dies, Mom is a drug addict, Mom’s boyfriend attempts to sexually assault her) to find a friend of hers in New York City.

Michelle doesn’t find her friend, but is instead taken in by a kid man named Devon.  However, Devon is actually a pimp.  Peach becomes one of his girls and experiences a life of prostitution, drugs, alcohol, and fear before eventually telling her story.

Little Peach does an excellent job dealing with the delicate nature of human trafficking while still exploring the comfort, then danger, then fear of her main character.  This is an intense read, but an excellent one.  It would be a great conversation starter for an older teen or adults.


Well, what did you read this week? Have you read either of these awesome books?

Reading Response/Snapshot Saturday

I’ve got two great bookish pics to share with you this afternoon!

Reading Response:  Tweet an Author

This week I have been reading Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison.  I’m only about 1/3 done but I am truly enjoying it.  I thought I would tweet the author to see what her inspiration was for this flipped tale.Authors on Twitter!

 

Snapshot Saturday

The first installment of my birthday money, book buying, summer bookshelf filling binge arrived.  Here’s what came today!

Wish Fulfillment!


So, what are you reading today?

Summer Fun!

It sure has warmed up today – it is currently sunny and 81 outside!  The days of warmth and late day sun are finally upon us.

I am a planner.  So the advent of summer also means that it is time to prepare my summer reading plan.  I have been putting this blog off all week because I have LOVED YA Lit class so much that I don’t want it to end.  This summer reading plan is one way I can continue the reading fun all summer long.


The Plan

The Idea:

This summer I am going to follow along with many readers out there and try to complete a book a day this summer.  The #bookaday challenge is one that is championed by Donalyn Miller – one of my fave authors of professional development books.

The When:

I am starting my #bookaday on May 9, 2016.  This is the first day of the May/Summer semester and the official end of YA Lit class (at least in my mind).  I will read a #bookaday until 100 days have passed – August 16, 2016.

The What:

My 100 books will consist of a variety of genres, intended audience ages, and formats.  I will, of course, keep reading my YA Lit Summer TBRTBR.  However, I am going to read widely in a variety of formats this summer.

I plan to read/listen to at least 5 audio books.  This is something I don’t normally do, but driving back and forth to NE each week will give me time to get to know this format well.

I am taking classes, so any textbook that I read at least 75% of for school will also count into these 100 books.  However, my math books will not count.

I am going to read at least 3 professional development books.  I’ve got an idea of where I want to go – Passionate Learners and The Book Whisperer are anxiously waiting to be devoured.

My other books will be from my ever growing TBR, old faves (been itching to re-read Wicked these last couple of days), and new finds from the library, browsing at the book store, or that Amazon (my friend/foe) suggests.  I’ll also try to pick up whatever you recommend to me too!

The How:

So, how am I going to keep myself accountable?  First, I am going to continue to blog right here!  I’ll post my weekly It’s Monday! post and share my week’s reading with you.  I hope that you readers will continue the conversation and make recommendations based on my weekly reads.

Secondly, I am going to continue to tweet my reading.  I’ll bug you on Twitter with the #yalitclass and #bookaday hashtags.  Follow me there to get more consistent updates on my reads.

Finally, I’ll continue keeping count on GoodReads.  I will shelve books, group them by genre, audience, etc., and post reviews and star ratings.


So that’s my plan friends.  I hope that you continue to journey through reading and writing  on this blog, Twitter, and GoodReads.  What are you reading now?  What is your summer reading plan?  Let’s chat….