Why 100?

Last year I set out to read 100 books, but I ran out of time and only read 75. So this year, I will read one hundred books. And you're my witness :) The only thing stopping me this year is 9 seasons' worth of Seinfeld episodes- wish me luck!

Monday, November 29, 2010

89. making me hungry for pizza

Playing For Pizza by John Grisham
When someone wakes up in a hospital bed from the worst concussion in the world with an entire city that hates them, apparently they go to italy to play football there!  i hesitated to pick this one up, but my mom insisted that it was "a kinda cute ending," so i gave it a shot.  i'm glad i did.  it was a nice little novel to conclude my interesting little weekend.  and i think i am going to keep the weekend alive by -gasp- skipping my class today!  oh no!  but, with the exception of finishing Playing for Pizza, i am actually going to get some shit done.  and thats a promise. 
Grisham surprised me with his detailed portrayal of both food and football in this book- not a law firm, a football field in italy.  i reccomend that he do this sort of food writing again, because it was making me drool.  and isn't that, after all, the sign of truly good food writing?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

86, 87, 88. seem too good to be true?

.... it's not.  since this weekend was thanksgiving weekend, infamous for time spent around the house doing absolutely nothing except being around family, i took full advantage and read like a mofo.  Peony in Love by Lisa See came in at spot 86, and i really enjoyed it.  i liked how see worked around the plot line of the classic Chinese opera (i'm assuming it actually exists: The Peony Pavilion.... if not, it was still cool) and molded it to her character, while still throwing in some crazy twists and turns.  it managed to be a bit depressing at times, but overall the message of despair was overcome by love and family yada yada yada.  there was also a lot of reference to the intricacies of literary analysis and early female writers barging through the male dominated politics and improprieties.  i liked that.  this would be a good read for any female literature student.  not to be sexist, but it was quite girly and girl-power centered, so yeah. 

number 87: I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
another memoir piece.... its interesting how these are soooooo popular right now.  i'm even writing one for a class (in fact, i should be doing that right now instead of writing this.....) this was one of the more light hearted ones that i have read and i actually laughed out loud at some points.  it was ridiculous.  but enjoyable.  and also really easy and quick, which is an important quality in books i read these days.  mishna is a completely white child that is part of a completely white family but they live in a predominately black neighborhood in seattle that her dad grew up in and therefore identifies more with the african american culture than anything else.  so mishna tries to fit in and "be down" like her dad and little sister but has troubles.... hilarity ensues.  blah blah blah  this would make a funny movie (not as funny as borat though)

number 88: The Bad Girl's Guide to Getting What You Want by Cameron Tuttle
an oldie but goodie.  i read it every time i need a pick me up that makes me feel less guilty and more excited to be alive and do good bad things.  if you haven't read this book, definitely grab it.  again though, more of a women's book.  and it is a little corny, but it tries to be, and its soooo good that it cancels out any corniness.  sooooooo great.  read it now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

85. Writing Makes Perfect

This was an interesting book.  I have to do a "book talk" on it with a partner for a class, so i don't want to spend too much time on it here, but it was a worthwhile read.  it is definitely in the pile to keep for future reference, and i think i will actually reference it at some point, which is saying something.  gallagher has an innovative perspective on actually customizing your teaching to include as much writing as possible and also to cater to what the students need at that moment in time.  for instance, if you notice a lot of students are having issues with run-on sentences, teach about run on sentences then and not later on as a book or curriculum dictates.  also, something i didn't know before, don't make notes to correct every little nitpicky thing..... that wastes your time and they don't even look at it if there are marks everywhere.  i totally didn't know that.  instead, note only a few things that pop up in that students' paper several times and let them fix it.  ah the things i am learning..... i'm learning about learning! ha!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

84. magical realism inspires magical procrastination

I think books are my crack.  I really do.  Instead of facing my blasted homework as I should... finals week is looming closer and closer, I said to myself, "i'll just finish my book, then i'll feel better."  if that isn't an addict's statement, i dont know what is.  I am nearing the end (as in 30 pages away) of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and it was an interesting, albeit confusing read.  I think I can see in this book the style that must have taken some part in inspiring the strange salman rushdie.  while it is confusing and sometimes grotesque, magical realism is the bomb.  the author describes a normal person's day, in an average portrayal of the world, then BAM! somebody just floats up into the air into infinity while they are helping someone fold a sheet in the courtyard.  you never see these instances coming, nor do you really know what has happened while you are reading it, but then you think "wait a second..." and re-read a few lines and realize that the book is crazy (in a good way).  there were gypsies (give me your tears..... oh borat, how you slay me), flying carpets, massacres, butterflies (yep, rushdie had definitely read this before becoming a writer) that appeared around one person and their memory, 200 year old people, glowing gold, and my favorite so far, a pool filled with champagne!  so delightful.  i have no idea what surprise awaits me in the next 30 or so pages as the book ends, although pretty much every one of the family members has locked themselves up in some form of solitude and died (or lived for hundreds of years)*sorry, but this wasn't a spoiler, if you haven't read it, you definitely know that most of the characters will die at some point.  and, as i still have 30 pages, not everyone has died.  so there.  i will disagree with the critic who said that this book should be required reading right after the book of Genesis, though.  that's kind of sacrilidge.  not cool.  nor did i think it was that over-the-top required reading fantastic.  but what do i know? 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

81 and 82 classroom research

as i have come towards the end of my education studies (YES!), i have come to the realization that not only is my spelling, grammar, and ability to think going downhill, i have also not read nearly enough young adult literature to help any future student out.  which is why i hit the AWFUL college library's young adult/children's section.  it is horrendously under-represented for such a vast and unimpressive library,  and books are only available for 7 day check out, but i will not use this space to air my grievances with the university library here.  i will just say that 81 and 82 were my own form of research, and the book i am in the middle of right now is too.  Dangerous Skies and The Chocolate War kept me company last week, and i can now say that i have no idea why they speak so highly of Cormier's The Chocolate War.  There is a lot of random inferences to "jacking off," as they most commonly refer to it, and really weird boys' school dynamics, but i suppose boys would like it.  i can never see reading this as a classroom though, it'd be pointless.  and Dangerous Skies is my own pick, not something frequently discussed in class, but i thought it'd be worth a chance.  It might be a good introduction to racism in 50's/60's south for 5th or 6th graders.  we'll see i guess, if i even get that chance.  other things are happening, and i hope to sit down with Lois Lowry's Number the Stars tonight and wrap it up.  which would mean 83, in case i don't get to writing it. because i am too busy rushing to the library within 7 days to return it.... don't get me started.
ciao (look how rediculous i am tonight.  crazy weekend results, eh?)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Between love and madness, lies xenophobia

Sunday, November 7, 2010

As 80 approaches, a summary

A summary of what I have read thus far, a count of 79:
1. Ten Days in the Hills, Smiley 2. Who Moved My Blackberry?, Kellaway 3. Girls of Riyahd, Alsnea 4. Dragonfly in Amber, Gabaldon 5. Teaching Poetry in HS, Somers 6. Neither Here nor There, Bryson 7. Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, Esquith 8/9/10. Bad Boys in Black Tie, Foster, McCarthy, and Leigh 11. The Map of Love, Soueif 12 T.E.T., Gordon 13. The Giver, Lowry 14. Something Blue, Giffin 15. Dear Joh, Sparks 16. Engaging Readers & Writers, Wilhelm 17. Deeper Reading, Gallagher 18. The Moor's Last Sigh, Rushdie 19. Mediterranean summer, shalleck 20. the road, mccarthy 21. second helpings, mccafferty 22. classics in the classroom, jago 23. split second, baldacci 24. you are what you eat, browne 25. little lady agency, browne 26. joey pigza swallowed the key, gantos 27. white noise, delillo 28. the treasure, johansen 29. reading native american literature, goebel 30. sunburned country, bryson 31. the phantom tollbooth, ,juster 32. blogs, wikis, podcasts, richardson 33. the help, stockett 34. room with a view, forster 35. moscow rules, silva 56. little lady, big apple, browne 37. even cowgirls get the blues, robbins 38. little lady and the prince, browne 39. ellen foster, gibbons
40. the scarlet letter, nathaniel hawthorne
41. love the one you're with, emily giffin
42. queen of babble, meg cabot
43.smitten, janet evanovich
44. the secret of lost things, sheridan hay
45. goodnight nobody, jennifer weiner
46. letting go!, mara fox
47. a thousand acres, jane smiley
48. a journey to the east, herman hesse
49. the lost symbol, dan brown
50. everything is illuminated, safran foer
51. pretty little liars, sara shepard
52. fourth comings, megan mccafferty
53. the kitchen god's wife, amy tan
54. vanity fair
55. charlie and the chocolate factory, roald dahl
56. leaf man, ehlert
57. voyager, diana gabaldon
58. is it done yet?, barry gilmore
59. the language of baklava, diana abu-jaber
60. native son, richard wright
61. the love songs of sappho, sappho
62. how to stop worrying and start living, dale carnegie
63. of mice and men, john steinbeck
64. teaching visual literacy, nancy frey and douglas fisher
65. persepolis, marjane satrapi
66. nose down, eyes up, merrill markoe
67. winter in the blood, james welch
68. Jesus, deepak chopra
69. skeleton man, joseph bruchac
70. friday night lights, w.h. bissinger
71. sizzling sixteen, janet evanovich
72. vision in white, nora roberts
73. drums of autumn, diana gabaldon
74. the hidden life of dogs, elizabeth marshall thomas
75. shakespeare's sonnets, shakespeare
76. literacy in the digital age, r.w. burniske
77. the maltese falcon, dashiell hammett
78. the associate, john grisham
79. the legend of sleepy hollow, washington irving
80. the secret, rhonda byrne

oh my gosh, i totally forgot to count a book this summer (a hefty one, too)- a thousand acres, by jane smiley!  so i'm at 80!  yaaaay! happy weekend!!!

77, 78, 79 i know, unbelievable, right?

i've actually been working on some of the books i've been finishing lately for a while- some sat on my desk, collected dust on my bookshelf, or got tossed around in my bookbag for a time with a bookmark firmly inserted somewhere near the middle.  so the winners of this weekend's lottery are.....

77. The Associate by John Grisham (hmm. funny, i remember this plot in two other Grisham books....)
78. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving -a classic-
79. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne -potentially life-changing: i am definitely impressed with the content of this book, although the format/writing could be improved, but i am so overwhelmed (in a good way) with the statetements in here that I don't even know where to begin thinking about how it effects life and religion.  we are all made of energy that has been in existence for the span of mankind and will be in existence once we leave.  that doesn't sound like a lot, but think about it: there are so many spin-offs of thought in this one profound little statement from a book:  does that mean reincarnation exists- if our energy is just transferring to the next generation then aren't we somehow transferring to the next generation?  the power from God is energy which He created us with and the universe with, so we are actually part of God, which makes me wonder if Jesus was God's son, but also an allegory for all human kind that realizes this because in reality we are all God's sons/daughters.  this could totally blow the lid off of why Christianity differs from Judaism and Islam in that Jesus was God's son, whereas he only exists in other religions, but it not God's son.  but if this were English literature at its' finest, then Jesus could be real but also the biggest, most powerful allegory or metaphor of all time!  think about it for a second, because i'm not just raving right now, nor am i blaspheming, in case you were wondering.  I have total faith and belief in God and Jesus, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  don't get me wrong, but i also happen to have a lot of background in literary analysis and it is really getting the most of me, but what if i'm on to something here?  read The Secret and think real hard while you are reading it- it'll blow your mind.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

75 & 76!

well, this is shaping up nicely.  so far, i've read/finished two books this weekend and i am well on my way to finishing off two more- yay extra hour for daylight savings time!!!  ha ha actually, i will probably be enjoying sleep during that hour, but you just never know with me.  i woke up at 5 am this morning ( a saturday, mind you) with every single light on in my room- because i had passed out with my hand on the phone at 11:15.... i must have been tired to sleep with all the lights on for that long, eh?  but don't worry, i promptly went back to sleep until 9:30, appropriate saturday morning time (or really, any morning for me.... damn school getting in the way of my sleeping in!) 
This book about literacy in the digital age was a lot of hooey in my eyes.  It mentioned a couple of good websites, but really its full of a lot of stuff that a teacher would never have time to do and that students would never want to do.  whatevs.
as for the american crime novel classic, the maltese falcon, it reminded me of an old smoke and mirrors black and white movie.  im not even sure what that means.  it was also a whole lot of hooey, but at least it was entertaining- i was on the edge of my seat wondering who would be shot next and whether or not brigid was innocent.  it was kind of racy for the 30s when it first showed up, but according to my standards, not nearly racy enough to accomodate the old school pin-up image of the damsel in distress/deliciously evil and crafty woman... i would have liked that to come into it a bit more.  she was not nearly as attractively described as i would have liked.  no, i don't like women, but i do like a good description, especially in a crime novel where that could come into play later on.... 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

73.-74. shakespeare and dogs

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' The Hidden Life of Dogs and a book of Shakespeare's sonnets..... 26 more to go in ooohhh let's see... 8 weeks.  how will this happen????  3 or 4 books a week!!!!  luckily i am in the process of reading like 4 others right now for school and i have a semi-free weekend this weekend.  The Hidden Life of Dogs was cool, but not as interesting as I thought it would be.  Marshall Thomas is a crazy woman- she spent thousands of hours following her huskies on walks to see where they went and how they reacted to certain situations like traffic, other dogs, different neighborhoods, etc.  But she left so many questions that I would've liked to have known at "I could never figure out the reason for this.."  I would like to know the reason for this, that is why i'm reading your book: go find the reason or back it up with other instances of other dogs doing something like this!  oh well, it was still a quick and interesting read, plus I enjoy almost anything dog-related, so i enjoyed it overall.  also, i read shakespeare's 152 sonnets for my literature class, which, by the way, is kicking my ass.  we have to read so many poems a week that they all get filtered through the system as if we haven't read them at all, then we are tested on nit-picky details.  thanks a lot, lady.  i'm really learning from your class............................... NOT.  "This suit is black not."  -Borat (a way more entertaining fellow than shakespeare- yup, i said it, I, and english major, said it. borat is more entertaining than shakespeare)