Goodreads for all

I recently started sharing book recommendations and reviews with my students on Goodreads. They are required to keep a reading list through out the year and I thought this would be a fun way to take it on-line and give them access to each other’s lists.  If you don’t have experience with goodreads, it’s basically social networking for book nerds.  You can add and review as many books as you want and when you “friend” people you can see what they’re reading and check out their reviews.

I thought about creating a separate account when I started sharing with my students but due to time constraints and laziness, I just use my personal account.  It’s not like I’ve reviewed Anais Nin on there or anything.  Besides, most of them are too busy messaging each other to care what I’m reading.  I had no idea there was even a messaging feature until my students found it within 4 minutes of being introduced to the site.

This is a long introduction to the idea of older versus younger YA.  Often on book review sites  books for young adults will be described as 15 and up.  I teach 12-14 year-olds with varying levels of life and literary experience.  Sometimes I will get really excited about a book and describe it to my students only to realize that it’s probably not a book they should read without parental approval.  Oops.

My most recent YA read The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl is one of those books. I read it and would recommend it highly…but only if you’re 15 and up.

More shifts in perspective

When I started writing this blog I didn’t have a baby.  When Eliana came along I still didn’t want to blog about motherhood.  There are enough Mommy blogs out there (aspiring writer blogs; there’s a real shortage there).

But regardless, being a mother colors and shades every part of my life, so occasionally it will sneak its way into a post. Most recently, I’ve noticed that being a mother has changed the way I read.  When a parent and child were separated in a book I was reading, I always identified with the child.  I felt their fear, but also their resilience and the tinge of excitement that comes with being on your own.  Now I might read the same passage and feel nothing but terror for the child set adrift in the world without the parent.  I feel the pain of separation much more viscerally than I ever did before.

The circumstances are the same.  I think I feel it differently because a child doesn’t assume they can control the world.  A child is more content to adapt and move with the current than swim against it.   I should know better than to expect to control the forces of nature that will affect my daughter or myself.  I would like to read that way and I would like to live that way as best I can.

Inference 101

While reading an article about lung capacity my 7th grade students marveled at a picture of Dizzy Gillespie blowing on his trumpet.

Students: Who’s that?

Me: That’s Dizzy Gillespie.  He’s a famous jazz musician, but I don’t think he’s alive anymore.

Student: (shouting) Is he dead?!

Me: Mmmm, yep.