Thursday, May 27, 2010

Woot-woot! A Blogger Award!!!

One of my fellow bloggers at Loving Books has awarded me the following award.

The rules of this award are to share seven things about yours truly and to pass this on to 15 more blogs I've recently discovered. On to my seven things!

1. In February I switched from drinking coffee to green tea. The change wasn't difficult, but I'd been drinking coffee for at least fifteen years! I switched to green tea because it is supposed to be healthier for you. Here's crossing my fingers that it is...

2. My book addiction works like this: I pick up at least fifteen books and overwhelm myself with all that I want to read. For example, I'll go to the library and pick out a few, then come home to discover another and start reading that one instead. When I get a book I really enjoy, I usually do nothing else.

3. When I was younger I never ever wanted to be a teacher. Guess what I do for a living? Yup, I'm a teacher. :)

4. One of my favorite movies is Rudy. I get totally suckered in by inspirational stories, hoping that I will take all the persistence and dedication portrayed on screen and shift it into my personal life.

5. I have a goldfish. His name is Biggie. I used to have another one that was small. So I named them Biggie and Smalls. Sadly, Smalls passed away. :(

6. I love when the days get longer. I feel like so much better. Lately all of my reading has been outside.

7. My mother always tells me how wonderful yoga is, so I've tried it. I have done it more sporadically lately, but can totally attest to how practicing regularly makes one feel so much better!

Now, to pass on this award to fifteen other bloggers! Here are the fifteen:

1. bibliophiliac
2. mainewords
3. Michelle's Book Blog
4. Mrs. V's Reviews
5. Bibliolatry
6. Book Crazy
7. Buffy's write zone
8. DeRaps Reads
9. Edited to Within an Inch of my Life
10. Writers' Ally
11. Crazy Cat Lady's Library
12. Daisy Chain Book Reviews
13. Frenetic Reader
14. From the Shadows
15. In the Hammock

Hope you check out those blogs...

Now, back to reading The Chosen by Chaim Potok. Just heard about it and I'm really starting to get into it. Review forthcoming!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday ketchup!

I have been remiss...I have not posted a thing to my blog lately, due to a ton of work happening and the infestation of a book series (Not YA) that has totally taken over my weekend mind. I've been reading Stieg Larsson's trilogy and it has me riveted! I don't believe the third one is available yet, and the suspense may just kill me.

That and work has been long lately...been putting in some twelve hour days, but I am anxiously awaiting the summer...

Be ready for the next YA review. Should be up later in the week!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Blogger Hop!

Yup, it's Friday again! I'm looking forward to checking out some book blogs. You can grab the list here!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

A contest!! Enter Today!!

You can get to this awesome contest on the blog Love At the End of the World.

The books up for grabs look awesome...I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. But the other one I can't wait to read!!!

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

After my son got home from school the other day I asked him some of the customary questions. What did you do at school today? What did you learn in Science, Social Studies, Math? What are you reading in English?

He let me know that he is currently reading The Outsiders, that standard middle school novel that all of my high school students still remember and love. For some of my students, it's the last book they've read. It occurred to me my knowledge of the book was nil.

Shame on me!

I know it is a classic, yet I vaguely remember the movie and don't remember reading the book at all. So I took a few hours and gave it a read. Loved it! On to my three points.

1. S.E. Hinton was (and probably still is) incredibly wise. The entire time I read the book I thought about how this was written begun by a fifteen year old and finished by a sixteen year old. Hinton remarked in an interview that she feels Ponyboy was closest to her as a person. That makes sense to me, as it was her first novel, she was young, and I think often young people are drawn to first person. In light of this I have to give her props for being so mature, understanding, and just plain wise about people and the world.

2. The first chapter. I had a hard time with the way the descriptions were put in. I mean, they were basically arranged by paragraphs and to be honest it made it really hard for me to feel the difference. I guess I got caught up in trying to memorize all the facts about the kids before the action really started to happen. It was disconcerting to me, but perhaps helpful for kids who want that information laid out for them.

3. Lack of parents. I read somewhere, I believe on another blog, that in young adult fiction the parents are frequently absent or neglectful. This novel clearly falls into that category, and it forced me to think about that issue again. Is it really necessary for kids to not have traditional parents in order to delve into issues of coming to terms with themselves and their world? I don't think so, but it is certainly prevalent in YA, and this is sort of like the bible of YA, adored by kids and teachers alike. Something to think about.

Well, I'm glad I read it. If I've read it before and don't remember, I'm glad I read it again. Up next? Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Really, Tyra? Really?!

So I commence my usual tour of MSN and Yahoo today only to be greeted with the news that Tyra Banks--supermodel, reality star, narcissist--signed a three novel deal with Random House. You can read an article on it here.

I only have two points here. Paradoxically, they are contradictory yet valid at the same time...hmmmm.....

1. Really? Beauty and fame aren't enough for you? You need to infringe on the land of people who have been honing their craft for years, writing and rewriting with such tenacity mingled with self-doubt that it would drive anyone mad? Really? And you are going to call the first novel Modelland? (Interesting side note: the article pronounces the title for us. Thanks, CNN. *snicker) I think I'm going to spew my cookie dough ice cream. I'm sickened.

2. Hm. Modelland? I'm infinitely interested in knowing exactly what is going to happen in this fantasy land that blends "magic and fierceness"! Is Miss J going to be there? Will I be able to listen to snarky (love that word) fashion photogs and model hanger-ons? Will I love this as much as I love Top Model and the blatant display of self-love and I-am-better-than-you-ness? Will I love it?!

Overall, I am so torn that I don't know what to do with myself. But something in my gut tells me it's not going to be good. And my gut is substantial and generally truthful. I'm going to listen to it. ;)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting to know you...(sounds corny, I know but...)

Well-I have decided to do a bit of stealing today. Don't panic, I actually have permission, and I thought it was a good idea. So, in honor of having reached ten followers, I wanted an opportunity to talk a bit and ask a few questions. Feel free to answer one, all, or none. (But please answer at least one.)

I am up first, so for my Mother's Day I'll answer these questions. And Happy Mother's Day to any mothers out there!

Name: Cheryl Chambers

Siblings: Not a one.

Children: 2 sons...soon to be teenagers which means I will spend literally all of my time with teenagers. It should be interesting.

Favorite food: Today? Pizza, just cause I feel like having some.

Are you a writer: Yes

What do you write: Usually flash fiction and poetry. Recently blogposts and YA

Last book you read: Lady Macbeth

Book you want to read: Dead Until Dark (the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.

Favorite author: I have a favorite author couple...F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Where you see yourself a year from now: Teaching. Hopefully having a completed YA manuscript.

What's your life philosophy: Don't ask me. (No, that's not my philosophy...I threw this question in here looking for ideas!)

Copy and paste the form below.




Favorite food:

Are you a writer:

What do you write:

Last book you read:

Book you want to read:

Favorite author:

Where you see yourself a year from now:

What's your life philosophy:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! Again!

Uh, yup! It's that time again...

I'm hopping so much that I don't know what I'm doing anymore!!!! But you should too.

There's a list of blogs here!

The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer

First off, my apologies already for this review. Last weekend, in a cold induced frenzy, I read for hours on end. I barely left the couch. In fact, I think I only left the couch to lazily reach for the next book on my list.

Okay. I'm exaggerating, people, but let me have those simple pleasures. :)

The reason for this disclaimer lies in the fact that it has been almost a week since I've finished the book. And yet I still have my three points.

1. What a smart book! This book details a childhood and reads almost as a justification of sorts, a confessional novel if you will. (Think Their Eyes Were Watching God without the adulthood, marriages, and dialect. Hm. Sounds like a completely different book then.) This book is "smart" in that I think a sophisticated young adult reader would adore it, recognize the important literary significance contained within the pages. The main character is a child, and the path she takes allows for us to understand the supposed adult she becomes, though that period of time rests in our imagination. This would make a phenomenal read for a mature high schooler trying to make sense of his or her world and place within it, for often that place is understood through place in family dynamic. Yet it also encourages change and individuality, that we are not predisposed to becoming one person or another without any free will. Kudos there.

2. Culture novels make me swoon. Novels that mix cultures and have our characters, and by extension readers, dissect culture and its affect on us are true gems in the literary world, perhaps today more than ever. What young person doesn't need to understand background both within and without family? Not one, I say!

3. Tragedia. I became engrossed in understanding the unfolding tragedia, and often wondered if I had already been "in" it so to speak. I believe this was Judith Ortiz Cofer's intent, though who am I to say? For a few hours I became Consuelo, and understood that the mood of this work was the tragedia, perhaps, that these little events all formed a larger picture and backdrop to make us feel, viscerally, the life of Consuelo, and that perhaps if one event were to come it became almost inconsequential because it had been with us all along.

Wow. I feel serious even after writing this. Definitely not a book to read if you want giggles or romance or guilty pleasure. This is a book to treasure if you feel like feeling. That, in my humble opinion, makes a stellar book.

Cofer is on my list of writers I love. Today at least. ;)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More than reviews?

I originally wanted to dedicate this blogs solely to reviews, but the more I'm lost to the blogosphere, the more I realize how much else there is out there to do! I will be posting a review soon, of course, for The Meaning of Consuelo, but I will also be thinking of things to add here besides just me rambling...

Author interviews I definitely want to add.

Ideas for anything else would just rock...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman

The last few days have been wicked. Viruses for both computers and for me, wrapping things up for the composition course I teach, and an AP Literature exam coming up for some of my students. I slept about twelve hours last night and could still find it in me to give sleep a few more hours. But in that time I’ve managed to do some reading. Of course. :)

I’ve been working off book recommendations lately, and I had one given to me by a teacher after I started discussing Stargirl with her. I grabbed Whirligig by Paul Fleischman, off the shelf, started it that night, caught some type of plaque and could not get off the couch, then finished it over the weekend.

First, you can find some reading on whirligigs at Wikipedia here.

I must admit. I harbor mixed feelings about this one. My three points.

1. Too ambitious? I wasn’t prepared for the serious nature of this work, the heavy topics of drunken driving, suicide, and accidental murder that were revealed in the first chapter. It did take me by surprise. Once I got where the novel was going, though, I willingly paid my ticket and held on for the ride. Yet as I read on I craved more. I hoped for a more visceral reaction but it felt a little disconnected to me and I never quite got that “Oh, wow” moment.

2. However, kudos on issues. The real big shout out from me on this one is handling such topics at all. I think there might be a tendency to shy away from these topics because, perhaps, this makes it too easy to see certain behaviors as okay or condone actions or promise quick redemption. Whirligig did a fantastic job of handling events in such a way as to avoid this.

3. A little more character development prior to might have been nice. If the reader meets Brent, the main character, earlier in the action and is able to get a real handle on this character in a deep way, a large scope, perhaps that “aha” type moment would have been there. I wanted to know Brent before the tragedy. I wanted to understand the decisions he made a little more than he was just embarrassed and upset at a party. That seemed too simple to me.

Overall, yeah, I would recommend it. Was it one of my favorites? Nope.

Today’s word: despondent meaning depressed.

Today I am despondent due to my cold, my computer, and the fact it’s only Tuesday…