just what it sounds like…reading as a religion

General

Are You Suffering from Cupid Syndrome?

So, this afternoon, I’ve been working on a big project–adding tags to my blog posts.  I had not been doing this before as I’d been writing my blog and that’s silly.  Tags help people find you!  So, I decided I would make sure I do this from now on.  As the true librarian that I am, I also decided that I needed to go back and retroactively tag all my posts.  So, I’ll be working on that for a bit.

The best part of this project: I was trying to think of a good way to tag books that are so awesome that you can’t put them down and I had a really inspired idea.  Can’t Put It Down. CPID.  Kinda looks like CUPID.  So, that’s what I’m gonna call them Cupids–books that you can’t put down.  Now, you’re like, “Sarah, anybody can make an acronym, why is this so awesome?”  Welll, there’s more to the name than just an awesome acronym.  Think about it…people who are shot by Cupid’s arrow become totally single-minded.  So in love that they just can’t do anything else, but yearn for the one they love.  Sound familiar?  Book is so awesome…must keep reading…must not eat or sleep…must finish book.  Total Cupid Syndrome.

So, in the future, if you see something tagged Cupid or Cupid Syndrome, you know it was a total page-turner that I was totally hooked on.  I hope to have some of these to share with you soon!

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I’m Baaa-aaaaack!

Damon and Stefan

I usually put a book cover here, but I couldn't resist the opportunity for a little Damon Salvatore.

Hi y’all!

Things have been so crazy here!  Thank goodness it is the end of the semester!  I am so excited to take a nice break and then come back for my FINAL SEMESTER OF GRAD SCHOOL, after which I will be a REAL LIVE LIBRARIAN.  So exciting!

Anyways, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been reading.

Well, in the last month, I’ve technically read four books, but I wanted to wait till I was done to review them.  That’s because I’ve been reading the Vampire Diaries books by L.J. Smith.  I have the nifty two-in-one versions that combine the first two books and the last two books into two compiled volumes.  So, basically, once I finished the first book, I had to go right into the second because they are in the same volume and all.  Then, when I was done with that, I figured I might as well read them all before I write about them.  Truthfully, I haven’t quite finished the last one, but I’m getting there.  Enough about my madness, let me talk about the books.

Here’s the deal.  Again, this is one of those cases where I watched the tv show first.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I am in L.O.V.E. with the tv show.  SO exciting and dramatic and sexy!  I went into the books with the typical understanding that a book and a movie are never the same.  This has never been more true in my eyes.  I liked the Vampire Diaries books, but they are definitely not the tv show.  If you go in expecting them to be the same or vice verse, expect the tv show to follow the books, you are going to be really disappointed.  Besides the names of the characters and some of the minor plot points, these are two TOTALLY different entities.

So, to look at the books themselves, I thought they were enjoyable.  Standard vampire danger and allure.  Romance.  Requisite love triangle (not nearly as hot as the tv stelena/delena struggle).  Epic battle of good and evil.  These are a good read for a lazy day, but not something I am just crazy about.  I actually found it kind of hard to connect with the characters.  Overall, however, a good time.

What’s up next, you ask?  Well, it’s Christmas break, so I will definitely be doing some reading.  A few years ago, I took the break as an opportunity to read the entire Gossip Girl series.  I can get a little single-minded, occasionally.  This year, I have some ideas in mind.  I don’t have room to take a ton of books to my parents with me, so everything waiting on my bookshelves will continue to wait.  I think, with the help of the public library, I am going to tackle reading the 5 Fitzgerald novels. I am OBSESSED with the Jazz Age right now.  Although, really, who isn’t?  Have you seen Boardwalk Empire? Plus, then I will totally be in the right frame of mind for reading Vixen and/or Bright Young Things, which I will (fingers crossed) hopefully receive as Christmas gifts.

That’s about it for now.  Stay classy!


Where Did All My Books Go?

Wizard of Oz

I may have my Kansas citizenship revoked for perpetuating this sterotypical connection.

I love books.  A lot.  People know this about me.  Lately, however, I seem to be suffering from a lack of books.  What? A lack of books?  Anybody that has seen the bookshelves in my bedroom knows that I definitely don’t suffer from a physical lack of books.  You may call what I’m suffering from a theoretical lack of books due to the lack of spare time in my life recently.  I just can’t seem to spare anytime to get my hands on the wealth of books I’m dying to read and enjoy them.  I’m just not connecting with my books.  It’s pretty terrible.  Look what it’s doing to me.  It’s turned me into some kind of crazy philosopher spouting ridiculous mumbo jumbo about my emotional connection with my books.  LOL.  Actually, don’t worry, I’m not going insane.  I just can’t write about books due to the fact that in the last 3 weeks, I’ve read about 75 pages total (not even all in one book, to boot).  So, in summation, I don’t have any reviews to share.

There is, however, hope on the horizon.  On Thursday, I’m going to Kansas.  Yes, that’s right…KANSAS!!!!!!  Aren’t you guys excited for me?  Wait….what did you say? Why would anyone be excited to go to Kansas?  Well, DUH, K-State Homecoming. Go Cats!  Plus, I get to spend Halloween with my BFF!  And best part of all, lots of plane time to devote to reading! Yay!  Hopefully, in honor of Halloween, I will be finishing some v. vampy novels to share.

That’s about all I’ve got for now.  I wish you and your books all the happiness in the world, as I work tirelessly to reconnect with mine.  Can’t wait to share some new stuff soon.  (There might even be a super fab new concept coming to my blog….but shhhhh…..don’t tell anyone!)


#SpeakLoudly about Censorship

Beware: There are spoilers as to the plot of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson contained within this post.

So, anybody that’s pretty deep in the book blogging community knows about what’s been going on today–the controversy surrounding an opinion piece by a Republic, MO man in the News-Leader of Springfield, MO.  You can read his article here: http://www.news-leader.com/article/20100918/OPINIONS02/9180307/Scroggins-Filthy-books-demeaning-to-Republic-education

Dr. Scroggins questions the use of/access to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five in the public schools of Republic, MO.

Anderson and Ockler have both taken to their blogs in response:

http://madwomanintheforest.com/this-guy-thinks-speak-is-pornography/

http://sarahockler.com/2010/09/19/on-book-banning-zealots-ostriches/

I am going to do the same and here are my thoughts.  Of these three books, I have only read Anderson’s Speak.  I can certainly say that this is one of the most moving books I have ever read.  Dr. Scroggins has taken scenes and dialogue from the book out of context to portray this book as what he calls ‘filthy’.  A lot of what he says is the way the book depicts high school life, is actually dialogue by the main character, Melinda, and is colored by sarcasm and negativity, due to the intense trauma that she has experienced at the hands of her classmates.  Those of us who have actually read the book and taken the time to understand what it means know that this book about learning to speak up for yourself, to value yourself as a person, and to seek help without fear of embarrassment or retribution.  The main character, Melinda, suffers the unspeakable–date rape at a party.  After calling the cops who break up the party, Melinda is ostracized by her friends and classmates.  She didn’t say anything about the rape, so nobody knows that she is suffering.  Melinda withdraws and refuses to speak, as she fears that she will only make matters worse for herself.  As the novel progresses, readers watch Melinda deal with her inner struggles and find her inner voice.

While I have never personally experienced something so horrible as Melinda has, there are teenagers for whom Melinda’s story is reality.  This novel has and will continue to help many teenagers deal with the things that they are experiencing.  It is depressing to consider that any school may ban this book and possibly prevent it from helping even one teenager who is suffering.  Even teens who have not suffered any great trauma can learn a lot about valuing themselves and speaking up, even when their opinion might not be what people want to hear.

Dr. Scroggins is certainly entitled to his opinions, but I have a problem with one person trying to dictate what information all students have access to.  Just like he is entitled to present his opinion, others are entitled to a different opinion.  Students should have access to all opinions, so that they may make thoughtful decisions as to their personal values.  In this same vein, students should have access to information and books concerning all different life experiences.  (And if one person has a right to censor at all, it should only be for their own children.)  Dr. Scroggins is attempting to level his own Christian agenda upon the public school system in his community.  Don’t even get me started on what he thinks is ‘Christian’.  Myra McEntire is a really cool Christian, who discusses this in better words than I could ever hope to (http://writingfinally.blogspot.com/2010/09/speak-loudly-in-defense-of-laurie-halse.html).  The issue, at hand, is whether Christianity should even be brought up to the school board.  There’s a little thing called Separation of Church and State.  That means religious values have no place in dictating the workings of our public school system.  As well, people of all religious ideologies should feel welcome in a public school.  So, in summation, Dr. Scroggins should not expect his personal religious values to dictate what any child besides his own has access to or to dictate how his local public school system operates, no matter what the religion of the school board members.

A lot of people of spoken out on this topic and the general focus is on speaking out against censorship.  One of my favorite bloggers, Liz over at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy, takes this opportunity to raise a larger question: For those of us who book blog, have we said things in our reviews that could be used to help ban a book?  Read her take here: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/teacozy/2010/09/19/tool/

After reading Liz’s article, I immediately thought , have I written anything that can be used in such a way?  I was ready to read through my past reviews and change things I had written so as not to allow book banners this opportunity to use my words in a negative way.  And then, I thought, wait, how terrible is this? I am about to censor myself and what I write so others cannot use my words out of context to censor access to a book.  How much does that suck? Making censorship a nasty cycle.  It really saddens me to think that in this world, we have to be careful about how we present a book, so people won’t take offense to it and try to censor it.  My goal with this blog is to let people know about books that I liked, books that moved me, books that I think can make a difference.  The last thing I want is to prevent access to books.  Take heed book banners: If you ever try to use my words to support your causes, I will not react lightly.

If I could share one piece of advice regarding this issue, it would be the following: Don’t let one person or one group of people dictate how you feel about a book.  Discussing books is one of my favorite things to do, but don’t let anyone force your judgment of a book.  And parents, before you write a book off, pick it up and read it.  Don’t censor things from your children just because someone told you it was ‘bad’.  And then, if you don’t think it’s right for your child, leave it at that.  Please don’t go and try to make decisions for other people’s children.

Lastly, when it comes to anything that causes you harm, be it abuse, rape, inequality, or even censorship: #SpeakLoudly.  We can’t change things if we don’t try.

P.S. Best thing to come out of this is inspiration to read great books.  I’m going to the library to check out Twenty Boy Summer and Slaughterhouse Five.  If you know me and want to read Speak, I’d be glad to loan you my copy.

UPDATE:

Here’s a post that I thought was cool:

http://www.greenbeanteenqueen.com/2010/09/speak-loudly-when-book-bannings-hit.html

Thank goodness, someone finally sat down and dissecting the literary issues here:

http://www.philnel.com/2010/09/20/speaking-out/


Breaking News: My Copy of Mockingjay Arrived Today!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

I am so super EXCITED!!!!!!!

Today, my beautiful copy of the newly released Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins arrived.  This is the third book in the highly popular Hunger Games trilogy.  I cannot wait to begin reading  it.  Too bad I have to go to class tonight.  😦 I have a feeling I won’t get much sleep tonight.  Look forward to a review coming very shortly because this is gonna be a can’t put it down kind of read.  I just know it!

Also on my currently reading list is Star Island by Carl Hiaasen.  Although, I’m gonna take a break from this until I finish Mockingjay.

I just wanted to share my excitement with you.  Stay tuned for my review coming soon!


An Avalanche of Stuff, or Why I’ve Disappeared Lately

So, school is kicking my butt right now.  I have so much homework to do that I don’t even have a moment to think.  One good thing: I’ve gotten to read some awesome books for school.  Anyways, I stopped in to talk about one in particular–The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I wasn’t sure I was gonna like it, but boy was I wrong.  All I have to say is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When my life calms down, I’ll be back to review it fully.  But for now, I’ll just say I loved it.

XOXO
Sarah


Peter Pan Syndrome, or Why an Adult Would Write a Blog for Teens

The truth about me is:

I am an adult (sometimes).
I am going to be a librarian when I grow up (which is pretty much now).
In my head, I am a princess.
I consider myself a modern day Audrey Hepburn, which should appeal to you lovers of everything retro.
Some part of me forgot to grow up, so I am obssessed with pop culture and every latest trend.
If I could own only one book, I don’t know what it would be–but I can guarantee you it would be a young adult book.

And so here I am, writing a blog about young adult literature.  This blog is for the young and the young at heart.  It is for the Rory Gilmore’s of the world, who take a book everywhere (even to the school dance).  It is also for the people, I know you’re out there, who haven’t read a book since kindergarten and The Cat in the Hat.  You can love to read, too.  There’s something here for you if your hero is Princess Mia or also if it’s Alex Rider.  This blog does not discriminate–you will meet athletes, geeks, spys, socialites, vampires, werewolves, princesses, adventurers, and every other kind of character under the sun.

So, what will you find here? I am going to call them reviews, but I’m certainly not going to call them professional or scholarly.  Simply put, I am going to tell you about books that I read, what I like about them, what I don’t like about, what you might like about them, and any other idea about them that pops into my head.  Feel free to tell me your thoughts about books, about what I write, or about any other thing you want to tell me about.  If you have books that you’re interested in, ask me about them.  I might have already read them and can tell you what I think.

As an appetizer, here are some books that I’ve read lately and really enjoyed:

  • Absolutley True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock
  • Airhead and Being Nikki by Meg Cabot

You may see full-fledged reviews of these and other favorites of mine in the next few weeks.

See you later,
Sarah
readligion@gmail.com