Posts tagged ‘literature’

November 29, 2011

Reading updates

by stryson

Moving has cut into my reading time! I’d planned to be done with my 50 book a year challenge by this week, so that I can spend December continuing to work my way through Ulysses, but such is not the case. Today, I finished my 47th book. I’ll be lucky to finish the whole challenge, at this rate.

This challenge is a Goodreads phenomenon. If you’re interested, the group is here, and my posting is currently in the P-T section. When I finish, it’ll move to the finish line section. I completed the challenge two years ago, but skipped last year in favor of reading harder, longer books – which is when I began reading Ulysses.

The book I finished today was called Robert and the Class President. Clearly, it was a book I was reading with my students in school. As far as plot goes, the book is mediocre, but it does provide some opportunities for lessons on multiple meanings of words.

On the other hand, we’re reading a completely not mediocre book in my sixth grade class – The Great Gilly Hopkins. The kids are loving it, and we’ve gotten into some really great discussions so far. Gilly is so full of sass!

In my personal reading, I’m working on two books at the moment. The first is The Pilgrim’s Progress. This book was written in the 1700s, and it’s an allegory about a Christian making a pilgrimage that’ll end in heaven/the promised land. I’d gotten interested in this book because I’d heard it mentioned in other books. I seem to remember it coming up in Little Women, for example. (Side note: today is Louisa May Alcott’s birthday!) The other is called Queenmaker, which is a historical fiction novel about Michal, the first wife of King David of Israel.

I’m not truly concerned about reaching the fifty book goal for the year, but I am disappointed that I couldn’t finish as early as I’d have liked. I’ll be doing the challenge again next year, but I may break in December/January to finish Ulysses as planned, regardless.

September 22, 2011

Happy Hobbit Day!

by stryson

Happy Hobbit Day!

What better way to start this day than with a ridiculous, nerdy sing-along with Leonard Nimoy?

For those of you not in the know, Hobbit Day is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpieces, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In addition to doing age-appropriate readings about hobbits, thanks to edhelper.com, I’ll be using The Hobbit Name Generator for some fun with my kids.

If you’re not in a position to spend the day reading or walking about barefoot, perhaps you can create a hobbit name for yourself and make the effort to eat six meals today. You can’t beat hobbits for lifestyle choices.

September 7, 2011

Book Review: The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

by stryson

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple – Karen Cushman

Recommended for: early middle school

I fell in love with Karen Cushman’s writing as a teenager, when I first came across her novel, Catherine, Called Birdy.  I was slightly disappointed by The Midwife’s Apprentice, but I absolutely adored The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.

Summary:  California Morning “Lucy” Whipple is a twelve year old girl who finds herself in California despite her best intentions and efforts to the contrary.  Following through on an old dream, her mother packed the entire family up and moved them to Lucky Diggins, California, after Lucy’s Pa died.  We follow Lucy’s experiences as she learns to cope with her new living situation, as she pines for her hometown in Massachusetts, and as she grows into a strong young woman.

I love historical fiction, and I was incredibly disappointed by living in California when I moved there, so this book was a natural fit for me. Thankfully, I found it was a good fit for my fifth grade reading class last year, as well.  The kids really got into the Old West setting, and could relate closely with Lucy’s struggles.  Common themes of family and responsibility carry through well.  I used the Novel Unit book for homework questions and some guidance for discussions and vocabulary, and it all went quite well.

You can view the Amazon page for the book here: The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

The Amazon page for the Novel Unit books are here: Teacher’s Guide and Student Packet.

Finally, the other Karen Cushman books I’ve read: Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice.