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?


Snapshot Saturday: Picture This Reading Response

I finally finished reading Yellow Brick War, by Danielle Paige.  I wanted to sketch an important idea about the book and share it with you!


I decided to sketch a view of Oz and the Other Place (Kansas) because I feel that the thin shadowy line between the two worlds is going to be essential going forward in the series.

This sketch is what I envision Amy saw when she went with Lurline during the battle with Dorothy.  Lurline shows Amy how the two worlds are flip sides of the same coin.

In this novel we learned that the Nome King can travel between the worlds.  We know that Amy and Nox were able to pull Madison into Oz.  This permeable barrier is going to be essential in the final novel.

In the final novel (not out until 2017!!), I wonder how important this barrier will be.  How will Amy use this barrier to help save both worlds?  Is the Nome King, the only being who can easily travel between worlds, someone who should be trusted or is he the mastermind behind all of the events of this series?

Have you read the Dorothy Must Die series?  What do you think will happen next?  Let’s talk below…

Reading Response: 20 Better Questions

I finished An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green this afternoon.  The following answers to Twenty Better Questions contain spoilers and illusions to spoilers.  Read at your own risk!

  1. What character(s) was your favorite? Why?

My favorite character is Hassan because he lives life with a sense of humor.  I love how Hassan can take a situation that may be painful or unhappy and see the humor in it.

2. What character(s) did you dislike? Why?

The Other Colin (TOC) for sure!  He always seemed kind of smarmy and like he wasn’t a good person.  I thought that he would be taking advantage of Lindsey all along.

3. Does anyone in this work remind you of anyone you know? Explain.

The way that Colin can remember nearly anything reminds me often of my husband.  He is so intelligent and knows so many random things (that always seem to come up in our conversations because that is how we are).  This aspect of Colin is certainly my husband.

4.  Are you like any character in this work? Explain.

I think there are ways that I am like Lindsey.  I want to be liked and accepted.  I feel like in high school I did change myself some so that I would be more likable by my peers.

5. If you could be any character in this work, who would you be? Explain.

I’d love to be Hollis.  Well, Hollis minus the pink obsession.  Hollis is such a kind and generous person – working all hours of the day and doing everything to keep the people in her town employed and take care of all of them.

6. What quality(ies) of which character strikes you as a good characteristic to develop within yourself over the years? Why? How does the character demonstrate this quality?

I would want to develop Lindsey’s characteristic of caring and authenticity that we see when she visits with people from the factory.  As she goes to interview the “oldsters” with Hassan and Colin, we get a glimpse of the girl she truly is because they all remember her kindness and the compassion she has for the people in her town.

7. Overall, what kind of a feeling did you have after reading a few paragraphs of this work? Midway? After finishing the work?

After reading the first few pages in this work, I really felt like this was going to be an agonizing journey through Colin’s post-breakup depression.  I wasn’t really drawn into this book like I was when I read The Fault in Our Stars.

Midway through the book, I finally got a sense of who Colin and Hassan were and started to feel invested in the story of Colin and his breakups.

After finishing the book, I am pretty pleased with the interplay between math and language.  Ultimately John Green did an excellent job blending my two loves of math and language as he tells this story.

8. Do any incidents, ideas, or actions in this work remind you of your own life or something that happened to you? Explain.

The feeling of hopelessness and the sense that he will not ever be important is something I have dealt with.  I have been in the place that Colin and Hassan find themselves.  I felt like Hassan when I have been nearly paralyzed by the fear of becoming what I am to be.

9. Do you like this piece of work? Why or why not?

Overall I liked this piece of writing.  However, it is not going to be one of my top re-reads because the slow pace of action and not having an instant connection with the characters.

10. Are there any parts of this work that were confusing to you? Which parts? Why do you think you got confused?

I sometimes got confused when parts of the Katherines stories were told.  I think I got confused because that was Green’s intention – to keep us confused as to why the Katherine dumped Colin, and keep the memories of his loves shrouded in the hazy fog of recollection.

11. Do you feel there is an opinion expressed by the author through this work? What is it? How do you know this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

I believe that John Green is putting forth the idea that we all matter to others.  The long-lasting thing about a person is the way that they impact the lives of other people.

12. Do you think the title of this work is appropriate? Is it significant? Explain. What do you think the title means?

An Abundance of Katherines is appropriate because Colin is attempting to explain his love life through creating a mathematical formula.  I think it is important because he is so focused on his breakup with Katherine but is not looking at the world around him.

13. Would you change the ending of this story in any way? Tell your ending. Why would you change it?

I would change the ending by just telling a bit more in the Epilogue.  I would have loved to hear Lindsey’s thoughts and her hopes for the future with or without Colin, Hassan, or Hollis.

14. What kind of person do you feel the author is? What makes you feel this way?

I think that John Green is a person who believes in love and the goodness of people.  In this book we can see that the goodness and friendship that forms between the three main characters lead to the love and resolution of the stories.

15. How did this work make you feel? Explain.

I ended the book feeling like my nerdiness has been filled – I have worked through the story of Colin and the math of his story.  Ultimately, it is a good feeling.

16. Do you share any of the feelings of the characters in this work? Explain.

I feel the fear and apprehension that all three characters feel – the desire to stay in the familiar and not take the uneasy steps into the future that is unknown.

17. Sometimes works leave you with the feeling that there is more to tell. Did this work do this? What do you think might happen?

I did feel like the story just ended and left with some more to tell.  I think that Lindsey, Colin, and Hassan continue their epic road trip for the rest of the summer.  I also think that in the fall they go off to their respective colleges just a little bit changed for the better.

18. Would you like to read something else by this author? Why or why not?

I had already read The Fault in Our Stars a couple of years ago.  I really liked it.  I think I would want to try Paper Towns because I read it was a mystery.

19. What do you feel is the most important word, phrase, passage, or paragraph in this work? Explain why it is important.

“And the other moral of the story is that you, Smartypants, just told an amazing story, proving that given enough time, and enough coaching, and enough hearing stories from current and former associates of Gutshot Textiles that anyone – anyone – can learn to tell a damned good story.”(p.  208)

This really exemplifies the author’s theme that we can all be taught something by everyone we come in contact with.

20. If you were an English teacher, would you want to share this work with your students? Why or why not?

I would share this book with my students.  I would say in a book talk that this is a story of exploring who you were, finding who you are, and being changed into who you will be in the future.

Reading Response: Crank

I finished Crank by  Ellen Hopkins last night.  I stayed up way too late, but it was so good!  Here’s my GoodReads review of this amazing verse novel.

Crank Good Reads Review

Have you read Crank?  What did you think of it?  Let’s talk below….

Letter to High School Me – Reading Response

March 2016

Dear High School Me,

This week I read a book that includes a character who is a reflection me. The book is called Catalyst, and is by Laurie Halse Anderson. It won’t be published until 2002, but trust me, it needs to be read! You see, Kate is a pastor’s daughter (even though you are not one, you will be a pastor’s wife). She is at the top of her class academically (4.25 GPA me can totally relate). She feels an incredible sense of responsibility and takes care of her family.

Reading this book was like looking back at you – high school me. I really can relate to the character of Kate on so many levels. Kate struggles with the idea that there is a “Good Kate” and a “Bad Kate”. Good Kate does everything everyone expects of her. Good Kate studies hard. Good Kate takes care of her father and brother. Good Kate is efficient and completes all her homework and housework (thanks to insomnia). Good Kate holds down a job. Good Kate is a cross country star. Good Kate is not the real Kate.

Bad Kate is barely holding life together each day. Bad Kate is panicking because she didn’t get into the only school she applied to – MIT. Bad Kate sneaks out and runs miles at night. Bad Kate is annoyed by her boyfriend, but stays with him because he is a good kisser. Bad Kate can only get everything accomplished because she has insomnia and hardly sleeps. Bad Kate wants to scream to the world that she is the real Kate. Yet, she can’t do this because Good Kate won’t let her.

As an adult reading this book, you will see yourself in both Good Kate and Bad Kate. The struggle that Kate engages in daily to hold it together in an increasingly confusing world is one that you have gone through. Kate’s biggest struggle is the struggle to be who she really is. This is a struggle that you know very well. There were the nights you slept only 2 or 3 hours because of all the homework, activities, and practices that encompass your life. There were nights when your inner you struggled to break free from the expectations of your life – or at least the expectations you have placed on yourself. Kate is a complex character who struggles with living up to her perception of everyone’s expectations of her. You know this. Adult you sees high school you in many ways just like Kate. When you read this book, you will understand the pressure she puts herself under, you will see high school you, and you will wish you had done some things differently.

Laurie Halse Anderson has done an excellent job at painting the world of Kate. The struggles of Kate’s life are those of attempting to discover who she truly is and what these facts mean to her. You need to read this book because Kate is a version of you. Kate is someone who is working to figure out life and balance the you everyone expects and the you who you want to be. Anderson does an excellent job at letting the reader hear Kate’s voice and experience Kate’s struggles.

The challenges that face Kate in Catalyst are outside of your experiences. However, the way Kate changes often mirrors how high school you will change to adult you. In Catalyst Kate finds herself thrown together with someone she does not like. Kate and Teri find their lives forever entwined because of the fire that destroys Teri’s house. More than that, Kate and Teri become supports and friends when Mikey dies. These events are so important to the story of Catalyst. Kate’s world has crumbled around her – causing her to slowly implode. But she finds that Mikey’s death has impacted her also. It turns out that Kate’s life and her choices to this point have given her the opportunity to be open to forming this friendship bond with Teri.

Laurie Halse Anderson has spun a world that seems familiar and yet different to adult you. Kate’s struggle to discover who she is and find who she will be in the future. She battles the “Good Kate” of everyone’s expectations and the “Bad Kate” of her thoughts and actions. It takes some pretty horrible circumstances in order for Kate to start exploring her identity. About half-way through the book, Laurie Halse Anderson has Kate’s thoughts and focus shift from internal to external. She and Teri become friends and help each other through this extremely difficult time.

I know, High School Me, that this book won’t be published to 2002. However, you really need to get this book the day it comes out. Catalyst will change your life. It will mirror your high school reality in terms of attempting to discover her own identity. You get to see a window into the world of Teri – one that you will not have to experience, but one that creates an amazing character that you love. I promise, reading Catalyst will be worth your time. It will change you in ways you will not be able to imagine.


Future Me