Friday Favorites:All About Books

Happy Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve done a Friday Favorites post so I figured I’d throw one together before heading in to work at the school today and link it up with Andrea… I don’t have a lot to share today just a few things from this week…

1.) The Public Library
So, apparently I’ve been living under a rock for my whole adult life because I just got my library card this week…it was my first time in a public library and to be honest I felt like a complete nincompoop walking up to the desk and saying something along the lines of “hi…uh…um, yeah I’ve never been here before….I need a um….(I think I may have whispered this last part as if I was in the midst of a drug deal or something)….library card.” I then proceeded to check out a stack of books and downloading the Overdrive App, leading me to…

2.) Overdrive
I downloaded Overdrive to my phone, added my library and immediately began browsing the available titles. You link to your library and can download e-books and audio books across devices and it is amazing! I ventured into the world of audio books for the first time – I’ve always been strictly a physical book reader (my poor Kindle is sitting neglected on my bookshelf as I type) but I have to say, the fact that I can listen to a book and clean (or sand the bare bathroom walls to get ready for paint) or run the snow blower on the driveway or while I’m laying in bed at night unable to fall asleep is pretty appealing to me.

3.) Bossypants by Tina Fey

My first audio book was Bossypants, by the always funny Tina Fey. This in a situation where I think I made the best choice opting for the audio book version because Tina fey does the reading. I laughed so much while listening to her tell her life (and career) story…as a first foray into the world of audio books I think this was a great choice and I have holds on a few more that I am really looking forward to!

4.) Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
LOVE.

Okay, I’ll give you a little more than that. Lauren Graham has such a great narrative style (which is not at all a surprise). This novel is one that has been on my “To Be Read” list for a while and thanks to the library I finally got my hands on it. I’m about halfway through and already love the story (and the very subtle Gilmore Girls references); the story itself is compelling and complex and just plain fun.

I do have a few more books in my basket that I look forward to reading and an ever growing TBR list.

What are your favorite books? Do you have an opinion on audio books? Any thing I need to add to my TBR list? Let me know in the comments!!

Blessings,
Megan

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Read Whatever YOU Want To Read!!

Warning RANT up ahead….turn back now if you don’t want to read my rant….or skip to the bottom for some announcements….

Rant commencing in…3….2….1…..

This Slate article may be old news at this point but go read it, come back here and then we’ll talk….

Okay, did you read it? Good.

There are a few points in this article that I’d like to respond to.
1.) The age range of what is considered “Young Adult”. According to Ruth Graham (the author of the Slate article) says that “Young Adult” readers are between the ages of 12 and 17. Now, There are several novels that are considered “YA” that I wouldn’t let a 12 year old read because of content or language, or any number of factors.

2.)

“Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children”. – Ruth Graham 

I think the fact that the author is tossing around the word children is demeaning to the “YA” readers out there. By calling a young adult a child, you’ve just taken away that label of adulthood you’ve given them. I don’t think an adult should ever have to be embarrassed for what they read. I think if you are a parent you would likely read a book before you let your child read it, as my parents did with the Harry Potter series. After reading this article I asked my dad, “are you embarrassed that you read all of the HP books and his answer was a resounding no…and then he asked for an explanation and I pointed him towards the article.

I don’t think it is up to Ms. Graham to decide who should be reading what.

3.)  ***THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS POINT**** Skip to number 4 if you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars or the Divergent series

“Most importantly, these books consistently indulge in the kind of endings that teenagers want to see, but which adult readers ought to reject as far too simple. YA endings are uniformly satisfying, whether that satisfaction comes through weeping or cheering”. – Ruth Graham 

No, I’m sorry. This is not entirely true. If this was truly the case ***Spoiler alert*** than John Green would not have killed Agustus Waters and Veronica Roth would not have killed Tris. I think this statement from Graham discounts the fact that “YA” readers can be critical readers, and that they are still in touch with reality. Real life doesn’t always have happy endings, and it doesn’t get wrapped up for you in a shiny red bow. There are lots of “YA” books with unsatisfying endings, but yet they remain fan favorites.

4.)  “And if people are reading Eleanor & Park instead of watching Nashville or reading detective novels, so be it, I suppose. But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.” 

I’m sorry but WHAT?!? This comment from the author makes me a giant squid of anger ( <— watch the video, you'll understand). 

By the way, this guy up here, yeah he writes YA for any and all readers that want to pick up one of his books. 
So now, she’s criticizing adults who read YA and adults who read detective novels. I read both. I (at 21 years old) still consider myself young…and an adult….and a reader. I think no matter what age you are, you can learn something from “YA” literature. Adults and young adults alike have a lot to learn from Gus and Hazel, and yes even Eleanor and Park. There is a lot that can we can all learn from Q and Margo Roth Spiegelman of Paper Towns; lessons about life, and rush judgments, and not getting to know someone complexly and deeply. Just because the narrator is in high school, or college doesn’t mean that someone out of that age group can’t learn a lesson or two. 
5.)      

But I remember, when I was a young adult, being desperate to earn my way into the adult stacks; I wouldn’t have wanted to live in a world where all the adults were camped out in mine.” – Ruth Graham

Listen, this post is not supposed to be some sort of academic response to the Slate article, if it was I wouldn’t be using the “Giant squid of anger” gifs, there is nothing academic about giant squids of anger. This is just to say that a reader is a reader. Whether that person is reading “YA”, detective novels, or non-fiction…or a YA non-fiction detective novel. No one should dictate what you read. You read what you like to read. When I was in middle school, I lugged around my dad’s World War Two books in my back-pack and read them during silent reading when everyone else was reading the books of the day and no one was telling my “you are a “young adult” that wasn’t written for you. So I guess what I’m asking is, why the double standard? 
I guess I just don’t think that what another person chooses to read should be looked down upon by someone, and you certainly shouldn’t be embarrassed by what you choose to read. Authors write for an audience, I don’t think that John Green, Maureen Johnson, or Suzanne Collins would look at an adult and say, “sorry, I wrote that for “Young” adults, you can’t read that.” Of course they wouldn’t! They write so that we can read. Regardless of age, race, or gender authors write so readers can read. Writers write so that hopefully you can find something in their books; whether that is a momentary escape from reality, a lesson about relationships, or even in some cases making a friend because of a common interest in authors and books. 
Readers read so that at the end of a really hard day at work, or a really stressful Monday ( you know what I’m talking about : p ), or just needing to relax at the end of the night we read. We pick up a book and step into a world of someone else’s creation. A world void of phone calls with complaints on the other end, a world with out computers freezing up at the most inopportune moments, a world where you aren’t mowing the lawn. We read so that for a little while at least we are living someone else’s life. We are Q on the search for Margo Roth Spiegelman, we are Hazel in Amsterdam with Gus, or we are Rainbow Rowell’s Cath, trying to navigate college without her twin sister….and yes, those are all examples from YA novels, some of my favorite YA novels. 
Writers write so readers can read. It’s as simple as that. 
(that sort of segues to my next point) 
Camp NaNoWriMo starts in just under three hours and I’m so excited! I’m going to write a novel, for anyone who wants to read it. Whether they be an adult or a young adult. I don’t care who reads it, as long as someone does. Who am I to say that people can’t read what I or someone else writes. That’s not up to me or anyone else to decide. If you are out of the 12-17 year old range and you want to read something that is labeled as a “Young Adult” novel go ahead…if you want some recommendations check out the authors and books that I linked to, I promise you you won’t be disappointed. 
Sorry about the rant, this article just kind of made my blood boil when I read it….anyway, getting ready to start writing in a few hours, I’ll post a word count update as soon as I can. 
Blessings and happy reading, 
Megan 


All About Jane: A Book Review

I had the distinct honor of receiving a free copy of All About Jane (in exchange for a GoodReads review) directly from the author, a friend, mentor, and former teacher of mine: Carrie Mattern. She sent me this piece of her heart to read and review.

photo source: http://manasunriser.blogspot.com/2013/06/978-09892303-1-5.html

All About Jane is a pretty heavy read, and it isn’t one that should be taken lightly. It covers a pretty heavy topic, and normally wouldn’t be one in my reading list. The main characters have to deal with the suicide of a classmate, and Carrie handles this topic with enough restraint, and enough compassion so to keep the reader comfortable….for the most part.

A big part of this novella has to do with bullying, and suicide as a result of bullying. What can happen when bullying isn’t stopped. The narrator of the story is Cassie, and she takes us through Jane’s story. Carrie has written it in a way that you feel as though you are sitting in a room with Cassie hearing this come from her, and not reading it from the pages of a book. I was immediately drawn into this story…and I was riveted from beginning to end.

I can’t really tell you too much without spoiling the book, but I would like to tell you how to purchase a copy! You can make your way to Carrie’s website, and check out All About Jane, and her children’s books.

I don’t want this to turn into a PSA, but here it is: Bullying is an epidemic. Not all bullying is recognized for what it is, or even seen at all. This is something that is within our power to stop. Stand up, say something, and let’s put an end to it together! When I said at the beginning that this was a piece of Carrie’s heart, I was being completely honest with you. She has been instrumental in implementing Anti-bullying policies, and awareness groups at the High School where she teaches, the school that I attended. She has dedicated herself to this cause, and to her students….Please consider supporting her, and buy a copy. (And I can personally attest to the fact that her children’s books are AMAZING as well!). Please join me in supporting this awesome local author!

Blessings,
Megan