Monday, April 9, 2012

Loving - Karen Kingsbury

Synopsis from B&N:  The answers Bailey Flanigan once longed and prayed for are finally becoming clear. In Loving, the fourth and final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, Bailey is planning a wedding and making decisions that will shape her future.

I both loved and hated this book.  I started out wanting one thing but by the end of the book was glad it was something else entirely.

This was my favorite book of the series.  It seems to be where most of the growth takes place in the characters.  And, of course, it tied up all the loose ends (last books tend to do that, you know).

However, it was more than that.  The book made me wonder and long and hope.  And remember that God does have a good plan for my life.  And when I get off track, He is still faithful to guide me back…when I listen to Him.  When I am faithful to Him and His word.

How Writers Work - Ralph Fletcher

Summary from B&N:  This book will show you how writers work, how you can become a writer, and how you can find a process that works for you.

This book was a basic, quick read.  However, there are some parts of it I want to read to my seventh graders tomorrow before they start revising their personal narratives.  And it has helped me solidify some of my ideas on how I want to revamp how I tackle writing with my students. 

I plan to buy it as a reference.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Synopsis from B&N:  Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival

I was not necessarily intending on reading this book.  Although it’s been a hot topic at school since the year started and really ramped up in March with the buzz around the movie.  So I had thought about it, but it wasn’t high on my priority list.  This past week it got bumped clear to the top due to discussions on it in my home and the DH goading me into reading it by saying I couldn’t really speak to its content since I hadn’t read it myself (never mind the fact I’ve been in and around discussions surrounding it for months now and pretty much know the whole plot – and by this point had even received the student and coworkers run down on how the book and movie compare).  So Friday I went into school and borrowed it for the weekend.

First of all, the positives.  This book is extraordinarily well written.  The description and the emotion.  Amazing.  Suzanne Collins writes her characters in a way that you either love them and root for them or despise them.  I became quickly connected to Katniss.  She is smart and strong and determined.   
And The Capitol and their minions…are equally as abhorrent.

You are drawn right into the story and it is easy to just want to read “one more page”.
That being said, I stand firm in my thoughts that this book is not appropriate for 11 year olds, 12 year olds.  Really, eighth graders I’m on the fence about.  I expected the book to be violent.  But even with that expectation, I was shocked by some of the savagery.  And I didn’t expect the bits of sexuality at all.   So well written.  Engaging.   But not appropriate, in my opinion, for what has ended up being the target market.