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….


IMWAYR – March 28, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis past week was our Spring Break at work.  Lucky for me, I had lots of YA Lit to read!

This week I found some cool resources on the web (okay, not a book, but still).  I finished 2 books this week and made major progress in a couple of other books.  So, here we go!

Around the Web

We spent this past week exploring social media and YA Lit.  Here were a few of my fave links from this week – for both YA Lit class and other bookish things!

Social Media in YA Lit:  Article that looks into social media as a plot device.

Teen Girls and Social Media:  Not about YA Lit particularly, but an NPR article/interview that explores the deeper, darker side of social media.  This interview is especially focused on violence and sexuality among teen girls.

Best Books of 2016 (So Far):  One of my fave reading gurus, Donalyn Miller, has posted a couple of YA books that she loved in March.  I trust every recommendation she has.

Dame Maggie Smith’s Bookish Roles:  Book Riot is pretty hilarious.  They have a list of the best “bookish” roles Dame Maggie Smith has played.  Of course, Professor McGonagall is high on the list.  But, she is one of the best actors ever.

Best Book Nerd Tweets:  Here are some hilarious Tweets curated by Barnes and Noble online.

Books I Finished

This week I finished up An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green.  This was an okay book, but not my favorite.  Colin is trying to get over a pretty horrible break up with a girl named Katherine – the 18th one he has dated.  As Colin and his friend Hassan spend a summer in a small rural town, they both learn a little about themselves and the people that they meet includinoriginal_books-books-on-taigan-john-greens-an-abundance-of-katherines-signedg Hollis (a factory owner) and her daughter Lindsey Lee Wells.

Overall, it took me quite a while to get into the character of Colin – I found I wasn’t really connecting with him.  Once I became invested in his story, the book went a bit faster.


After finishing Crank, by Ellen Hopkins, this past week, I really, really wanted to continue to read Kristina’s story.  This week I read the second book in the trilogy Glass.  In Glass, we pick up after Kristina has given birth to her son Hunter.  She is still living with her mom and step-father and her younger brother.  However, she is still fighting her addiction to meth and the overwhelming urge to be Bree.

Kristina/Bree goes through the struggles of trying to find a job, keep a job, being kicked out of her house, trying to take care of her son, and fighting this monster.  I don’t want to put in any spoilers because I know that some other folks are reading it now too.  Let’s just say… it.  You won’t be sorry!

Making Progress (In Progress)

I am also, for probably the first time in my life, trying to read more than one book at a time!  I don’t know how it is really going, but here is what I’m still working on reading.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, is the story of Mo, his daughter Meggie, a crazy “aunt” named Elinor, a mysterious stranger called Dustfinger, and the evil Capricorn.  Sound complicated?  Well, Mo is a very well respected book binder.  He and his daughter love to read and they are like two peas in a pod.  Then late one night, Meggie sees a strange man outside her window.  Mo brings the man in and Meggie learns that a very dangerous man named Capricorn wants Mo and a special, dangerous book.

Mo and Meggie attempt to flee in the morning, but Dustfinger is right there waiting for them.  He climbs into the van with them and they all venture to Elinor’s “house”.  It’s not really a house because it is stuffed full of books without much space for people (my kind of house, really).  Mo and Meggie, and the book, are safe – for now.

But….someone comes and kidnaps Mo in the night.  Meggie and Elinor attempt to find this Capricorn character and rescue Mo.  Dustfinger is along for the ride, or so it seems.

AND that’s as far as I have gotten so far  This monster of a book is lovingly being called “The Doorstop” by my husband – but at over 500 pages, he’s not wrong.  I’m starting to get into the story a lot more.  So hopefully, next week I will have finished it!

That’s it from here…for now!  What did you read this week?  Any great resources about teens, their reading, and social media to share?  Let’s chat below…


Virtual Book Communities

Last week I thought about how talking about books within our classrooms helps develop a sense of our classroom community.  These classroom communities provide our teen students with a place to read books, talk about books, learn about the favorite books of others, struggle with books, and be a community.

But, what happens outside our classroom doors?  How do teens discuss their reading lives when they are not in school?  Some would think they don’t talk about their reading lives.  However, I found this is not the case!

How It Used to Be

Way back in the Stone Age (the 1990s) I was in high school.  My friends and I might talk about what we had read, but there was no Google or Facebook (or MySpace or blogs really) to talk with others.  We had to do it “old school” and talk face to face or even on the phone.

Image Credit:
     Image Credit:

Maybe it wasn’t quite the tin can era.  However, we were limited to people we knew when talking about books.

How It Is Now

Today’s teens have many different avenues for talking about books and developing their community of readers.  There are still all the “old school” ways – talking in class, discussing books at lunch or in the hall, hanging out with your friends over a book, and calling each other on the phone.

Today’s YA readers are going past these prehistoric methods though.  In my web research this week I found out that teens use a variety of platforms and social media services to talk about books.  They are not limiting themselves to people they know in person.  Rather, they are enlarging their reading community to include anyone who has access to the web.

Tech and the Community of Readers
Image Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

There are about a million different places that teens, and YA readers in general, go online to share book recommendations, get ideas, and talk about (or to!) their favorite authors.

These are a few of my favorites…

  • Goodreads – Goodreads is a pretty amazing site for cataloging your favorite books, rate the book after you have finished reading it, and get ideas from your friends.  You can connect your Goodreads account to your blog (check out one of my shelves on the right of this page), Facebook, or Twitter account.
  • Twitter – This has been the coolest new to me social media this semester!  I never had a Twitter account before, but I have found that it can be extremely exciting to talk books on Twitter.  I can tweet to my favorite authors, join in discussions with my classmates or with other readers, and share my thoughts in 140 characters or less.  Still working on keeping it to 140 characters….but a girl has to have a challenge now and then!
  • Blogs – Following the blogs of other readers is an amazing way that teens (and YA readers) can share their musings, their ideas, and their reviews about books.  Reading my classmates’ blogs has been a strong stitch in the fabric of my YA Lit Class community.  The blogs are places we can discuss ideas about reading and share books that are our favorites (or our not favorites).  I haven’t really explored how a person finds a new blog for suggestions.  Do you know how?  Be sure to let me know in the comments.
  • Pinterest – This is a new social media site for me.  I just joined Pinterest in January and mainly to get ideas for another class (Pythagorean Theorem time!).  But did you know that there is a HUGE Pinterest community that pins different images or articles or sites about books?  I definitely have fallen down the rabbit hole of Pinterest this week and have found some amazing resources.
  • Snap Chat & Instagram – Here are two social media sites that I don’t belong to.  However, it seems that teens are using these platforms to visually talk about books  This is great, especially for those who like to read but do not like to write – they can share their faves via a picture!  Then, they comment on each others’ photos and start the conversation there!

Integrating Tech into My Reading Community

I am very thankful to my YA Lit Class and our professor Dr. Ellington for making us a community.  You see, I take this class online and have not ever actually met any of my classmates in person!  However, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I now have some amazing bookish friends.


My books, my computer, my TBR list...
My books, my computer, my TBR list… and my mess!

I am continuing to integrate tech into my reading life.  I currently use Goodreads, Blogs, and Twitter – especially for my YA Lit class.  I am going to continue to explore the depths of Pinterest to find lists and ideas about books.


I am also very lucky to be part of an “online book club” for YA Lit Class.  We “meet” every week in a Google document and talk about a book.  This week we discussed Crank and had really, really, really good discussion.  Without the web, I wouldn’t be able to have this experience.

Always More Questions

As I shared with the ladies in my book club yesterday, I always end up with more questions than answers.  This is especially true when the topic or idea is something I want to know more about (okay….so everything)!  I’m going to leave you with some questions.  Please answer below and let’s keep this conversation about tech and reading going!

  • How do you discover a new blog to follow?  What are your criteria for a “good” book blog?
  • Would you rather post images and photos or words when discussing books?
  • Is there still a place for the “old school” technology and books?  Do we put enough emphasis on being able to discuss books and themes orally?
  • How do we develop strong writers and readers if they communicate in 140 characters or less?
  • What is the best place online that you have found to get new book ideas?