Monday, October 15, 2012

Looking for Quotes for School.

I have been tossing around a decorative/inspirational idea for my classroom for the last few weeks. When I was in high school, I loved reading things hanging up in my teachers' rooms. And I've decided that my room is too plain and needs some jazzing up.

Here is where you come in.

I really want to put quotes from literature up on my walls. I figure each quote can be printed on colored paper (blue, green, and purple to match my decor ;) You think I'm kidding...I'm not). I would love to have your input on some fabulous quotes for my kids to gaze at while they are pretending to read The Epic of Gilgamesh in the new future...

In exchange for you favorite quotes from books, I'm also going to put your name up there, so you will have a permanent place of honor in my room. :)

Please help me out by commenting below with some of your favorite quotes. The one thing I ask is that the quotes be appropriate for my high schoolers.

Thank you! I look forward to seeing your quotes!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up for October 14, 2012: A Happy Weekend.

I know that quite a few bloggers are taking ti easy today, recovering with a reading hangover from yesterday and the 24-hour readathon. This is the first time since I started blogging that I haven't participated. It felt a bit odd to not be as involved (I still hosted a mini-challenge, but didn't pick up a book yesterday). I know I have said it before, but I have felt so removed from my blog and my original intentions that I am struggling with coming back to blogging...and finding the time to read, let alone write entries.

This past week was incredibly stressful-meetings, grading, conferences, Homecoming festivities...I am still recuperating and probably will be for the rest of the week. I also had to get my self-evaluation done for school and will be having my first formal observation on Wednesday (hello nerves....). I've been busy and happy.

I was also excited to spend the whole day yesterday and a good chunk of this morning with Matt. Since school started, we have been working completely opposite schedules. I get up at 5:15 when he has just come to bed. I go off to school and don't get home till after 4 most days. He leaves for work at 2:30, so we miss each other. The only time I see him is on Saturday mornings before he leaves for work and on Sundays. So, it was nice to see him ALL day yesterday and spend some quality time with him. We drove up to Michigan State for the game, saw some old friends, ate delicious food, and sped back home to chaperone Homecoming. It was fun to see all the kids dressed up. When our shift was over, we went out for a nice dinner, then spent the rest of the night watching baseball. We both really needed that time together, so it was worth missing the readathon. :)

I'm still trying to decide what I want to do on the blog. I miss the blogging community, but I am over some aspects of it-the pressure to consistently post, the pressure to be overly social on twitter, the pressure to READ and write all the time...I don't want to stop blogging...but I am tempted to just delete this space and start over...I don't know. I'm just unsure if I want to write about the same things. And since I got my job and since unemployment was the reason I started blogging here in the first place, I feel like this just isn't as important.

Anyway, I didn't mean to whine-just thinking out loud.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Winners for the Oldies but Goodies Mini-Challenge.

First, I want to apologize that I am announcing my winners so late-I was out all day with my husband and just got home a little while ago.

I had a great time reading through your entries! I went to to pick my winners and you'll see them here in reverse order. Since I had over 100 entries, I am adding a third winner!

First up is our winner of ONE PEL title....Congrats to...

The second winner get their choice of THREE PEL titles. Congrats to...

Laura of Devouring Texts!

Last is our big winner who gets to choose FIVE PEL titles. Congrats to...

Winners-I will be sending you an e-mail soon to touch base about your titles!

Thank you all for entering. I will give you a hint and let you know that I will be doing a holiday themed giveaway with PEL titles as well. Make sure to come back and visit me! :)

Keep on reading!

The "Oldies But Goodies" Mini-Challenge.

Welcome readathoners!

I hope your readathon day is going wonderfully, and that you are reading a slew of amazing things. While I signed up to participate, I won't be starting my reading until later tonight (some things came up that I have to take care of today). 

In any case, I DO have a mini-challenge for you. A couple of years ago, I hosted a similar challenge and passed out some wonderful Penguin Clothbounds to the winners. I decided that I really wanted to host something similar, because hey, I read a lot of classics round these parts...

But instead of those Penguin Clothbounds, I decided to offer up something a little more exciting-Penguin's new English Library Collection (henceforth called PEL). You can see my own budding PEL collection at right. What I love about these titles is that they have the same style and covers as the clothbounds, but in a broader selection of titles! They're wonderful books...and I want to share them with two winners.

The first winner of this challenge will win their choice of FIVE TITLES from the PEL line. The second winner will get to choose THREE TITLES. And if 100 people enter, I'll add on a third winner who will get their choice of ONE TITLE. If you want to know what titles are available, you can visit the PEL Website to see the covers and titles (I should comment that the collection consists of 100 titles-30 of which haven't been released just yet).

The Rules:
  • You must be a participant of the readathon to enter.
  • You must 13 years of age or older.
  • This challenge is open to anyone that the Book Depository delivers to (most countries).
  • You MUST leave me an e-mail in your comment below so I can contact you if you win.
  • To officially enter, leave a comment below (with your e-mail) and your answer to the following question: What classic book should ALL high school aged children read and why?
  • This challenge will end after three hours (*I do want to note that I may not post winners right away. For that, I apologize, but I have something I have to take care of this afternoon). I will disqualify any comments left after that time has passed.

Good luck! I look forward to reading your answers and sharing those titles with my students!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Harry Potter Schoolbooks.

I am participating in Jenna's readalong of the Harry Potter series through December 15th, and I made some great progress at the very beginning of last month (I flew through the schoolbooks, Beedle the Bard, and the first 5 books in about a week and a half). I figured it was time I actually start writing about those books and my impressions.

First, I should tell you that with the exception of the schoolbooks, I have read the series numerous times. I love Harry Potter and the world Rowling created. I will apologize in advance if my fan-girling gets a little nuts, or I talk about the books in general. I will try not to give away any spoilers to the handful of you who haven't read the books, but I can't promise anything.

Second, I completely forgot how much I LOVE this world once I am in it. It sucked me in and if it hadn't been for that pesky job of mine, I would have finished the series outright. ;)

On to the books!

I decided to start off the readalong by reading the schoolbooks. These are the only books in the Harry Potter world that I hadn't read before. I know that my sister owned them, but I guess I never read them? Actually finding copies of them was difficult. I had to visit three bookstores before I found the box set pictured above. I found that odd, but nevertheless, I have them in their new hardcover glory sitting on my shelf.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

I began with this title for a couple of reasons...mainly that I wanted to save Quidditch until later. :) I thought this one would be the least interesting of the two.

Fantastic Beasts is essentially an encyclopedia of the creatures found in the Harry Potter world. There are some notable exceptions to what's in here-goblins are not classified as beasts, so they aren't in here while centaurs are (centaurs asked to be labeled as beasts). I found the classification notes interesting, and as I began reading the series, it would pop up in my head.

Each entry has a label of how dangerous the creature might be. Some entries have scribbles from Harry and friends in the margins-I wish there had been more of this. Their little quips and insights were charming and cute, but sometimes pages would go by before another one. I wanted more!

There are some pictures to display some of the creatures-especially the ones that don't appear in the series. Again, I found it quite charming! I enjoyed the little sketches and the little bits of humor Rowling injected into the book.

My one qualm with the book didn't even pop into my head until I was reading book 4...the blast-ended skrewts that are Hagrid's obsession are not in the book! I'm sure this has something to do with when the schoolbook was originally published to when the fourth book came out, but I was a little surprised. That was the only missing beast that popped into my head, but I wonder if there are more?

All in all, this was an enjoyable little read, and it only took me an hour or so to get through. It was entertaining for me since I had already read the series multiple times and was a great way to get back into the mindset for the universe.

Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Wasp

Whereas Fantastic Beasts was a schoolbook belonging to Harry, this title was part of Hogwarts' library. I loved the little touch of seeing the list of team members who checked the book out prior to Harry. That's what makes specialty books like this worth it!

Like Fantastic Beasts, this is just a slim volume that talks about one of the obsessions in the Harry Potter world-that of Quidditch-the wizards' game played on broomsticks. Reading the books, I have always been a fan of the game that Rowling invented for her wizards and witches. And when I was away at college, we had an intramural Quidditch program (sadly played on the ground, but you did have to pretend to be sitting on a broomstick). Quidditch is one of the many touches in the books that makes the whole world feel real, you know?

Anyway, this title talks about how the game was created, some notable teams around the world, and special moves, like the Wronski Feint. I think I enjoyed this one far more than the previous title only because it read straight through and wasn't disjointed in entries (makes sense, right?). I learned some interesting things about the sport so that when I started reading and Harry started playing Quidditch, I picked up a few things!

But just made me want to play. :)

Both books were great little reads and a great reintroduction to Harry Potter and Hogwarts. I would definitely recommend both titles to people who have read the series and loved them, since reading them before would just confuse you. :) I do wish Rowling would write more of the schoolbooks in the future (Hogwarts, A History anyone?), but that's just wishful thinking. I think she has left the world of Harry Potter behind her for now. Let's keep our fingers crossed though!

Onto The Tales of Beedle the Bard!