RSS Feed

Category Archives: Random Thoughts

National Poetry Month

Posted on
National Poetry Month

It is National Poetry Month once again. Each year I try to read some form of poetry to honor the month. This year I’m either going to be reading Beowulf or Edgar Allan Poe. Even though I’m not a poetry fan, it is still a strong writing style and reading interest. Poetry helps  people connect with themselves, the world around them, and emotions. It is less intimidating to some people when they are asked to read something. Here are some popular poets and poems.

Some famous poets: 

  • Robert Frost
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Walt Whitman
  • Maya Angelou
  • Langston Hughes
  • D. H. Lawrence
  • E. E. Cummings
  • T. S. Eliot
  • Pablo Neruda

Famous Works of Epic Poetry

  • The Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer
  • The Aeneid by Virgil
  • Don Juan by Lord Byron
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
  • Beowulf
  • Metamorphosis by Ovid
  • Epic of Gilgamesh

Famous Poems

Eldorado

Eldorado

I found out yesterday that a poem in one of my favorite John Wayne movies, El Dorado, was actually written by Edgar Allan Poe. I hadn’t actually thought about it before. I thought it had been written for the movie. However, my husband and I bought a copy of the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe for our home library yesterday. I flipped through the table of contents on the drive home and stumbled across Eldorado in the list of poems. When I flipped to it, imagine my surprise when I read the exact poem from the movie. It was a good day.

Eldorado

By Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,

a gallant knight,

in sunshine and in shadow,

had journeyed long,

singing a song,

in search of Eldorado.

 

But he grew old –

this knight so bold –

and o’er his heart a shadow –

fell as he found

no spot of ground

that looked like Eldorado.

 

And, as his strength

failed him at length,

he met a pilgrim Shadow –

‘Shadow’, said he,

‘Where can it be-

This land of Eldorado?’

 

‘Over the Mountains

of the Moon,

Down the Valley of the Shadow,

ride, boldly ride,’

the Shade replied,

‘in search of Eldorado!’

Books Set During War Time

Since one of my challenges for this year is to read a novel set during wartime, I put together a list of some of the most recommended books to read that are set during wartime.

Civil War

  • Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  • North and South by John Jakes
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

World War I

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Regeneration by Pat Barker
  • Birdsong by Sebastian Faulk

World War II

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusack
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Sophie’s Choice by William Styron.
  • The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • The Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
  • Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Korean War & Vietnam

  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • The Hunters by James Salter
  • MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker

Wars in the Middle East

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Other Wars in Europe

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  • Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Cold War

  • The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

Articles about this:

Books with Unreliable Narrators

So one of the challenges for the 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge includes reading a book with an unreliable narrator. For some reason I couldn’t think of what that meant. The best definition I could find is: “a character whose telling of the story is not completely accurate or credible“.

Therefore, I have searched and come up with list of the most frequently mentioned books with unreliable narrators.

Here are some articles on the subject:

Hit the Restart Button

So I fell a little behind on my reading, blogging, and reading challenges last year. For my followers I apologize. I have been getting back into things over the holiday season and uploaded my 2017 reading challenge. I will be using the PopSugar Challenge. My last year results were poor for me and I hope to do better this year. I read a lot last year that I didn’t log, most I didn’t review unfortunately, and some I didn’t even finish. Hopefully this year I find the time to put into my blog and am able to help you guys find a few books to try. This year’s reading challenge looks interesting and I’m looking forward to stretching my book horizons some. See you in the shelves!

Creating your own summer reading list

Posted on

I came across this article on the Book Riot website and thought it was wonderful! Like the author, I am also a teacher, and I particularly like how simple her guidelines were. Here’s the link: http://bookriot.com/2016/06/07/how-to-create-your-own-summer-syllabus/

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN SUMMER READING SYLLABUS

I’ll put this out there first: I am a public school teacher, and damn lucky to have an extended vacation of at least seven weeks every summer. I’ve been teaching since I left college at 21, so for my entire life, the months of July and August have been a change from the norm, and even throughout summer jobs and family obligations, I’ve never lost touch with the summer freedom feeling. A few years ago I secured my master’s degree and was finally ready to be done with required reading…except I missed it. I like rules and structure, and I missed having a list to at least taunt me about what I was SUPPOSED to be reading. That lead to my first self-created summer syllabus, a habit I’ve continued each summer with varying success.

Despite the academic connotations, I never stock my syllabus with titles I find intimidating. Instead, I evaluate where I am in various reading challenges, what I want to learn more about during the summer, and what my family will be doing at different times. Here are some steps to building a summer syllabus:

  1. Pick 1-2 books that help you meet your personal reading goals for the year.  I’m attending Book Riot Live in November, so I’m going to be adding titles by the amazing authors who will be speaking (you can see a full list here). I’m also loosely participating in the Read Harder challenge, so I’ll shoot for at least one book that will satisfy a line item there.
  2. Pick 1-2 books that address personal challenges and/or personal growth. My family is in the middle of a big move that will execute right at the halfway point of summer, so I’m thinking about a book that will make me feel guilty about all the stuff I own. My young kids are a little late starting preschool, so if I can find a homeschool-style book that doesn’t ick me out (lots of them have assumed that I am also interested in a gluten-free diet or strict Christian lifestyle, which is fine, but not what I’m looking for), then I will add that to the list.
  3. Pick 2-3 books that are in a favorite genre. I always add graphic novels, my favorite to read at the splash park. The summer is also the perfect time to start a new YA series, because they make me happy, and I like being happy in the summer.
  4. Pick 1-2 books that you’ve been meaning to reread. I reread a ton in the summer, maybe because I am home and sitting near my bookshelves more often than not. I have rereadFortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve every summer for a buncha years, and any Harry Potter revisiting usually happens in the summer months.
  5. Pick 1-2 books that support your career goals. Anyone you know who works in a school is spending a big part of their summer planning and preparing for the upcoming year. Aside from any suggested reading from my administration, I always have at least one topic that I’m researching (last summer I read a lot about Responsive Classroom, this summer I’m alllll book clubs and classroom libraries) and I usually try to hit at least two books in that vein.

And  there you have it. The bare-bones formula for a decent summer reading list. Adjust the number of titles based on how quickly you fly through books. Adjust the time period to address how long you want to be working on your list. With tiny tweaks, this could be a great way to plan your reading year. Or, if you’re a blessed vacationer like myself, give yourself a summer syllabus that eliminates head scratching the next time you find yourself in the bookstore or library. The best part? Come September, no one will know if you’ve stuck to the plan.
Do you plan your yearly or summer reading?  Do you find yourself saddled with syllabi from higher ups, or are you in total control of your book choices? Do you have any suggestions to help me flesh out the categories above?  I’d love to hear your summer reading thoughts.

Real Neat Blog Award

download (1)

I’ve been nominated!

I’d like to thank Bookheathen’s Right to Read for nominating me for a Real Neat Blog Award! I’m very flattered. The idea is for me to respond by answering a few questions and by nominating some other friends to do the same. Wow!

These are the rules:

RULES

1. Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.

2. Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.

3. Create 7 questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

Well, here are the questions I was asked:

  1. What inspired you to start writing a blog?
    I just wanted to start recording my thoughts and opinons on books, as well as keeping a log of what I’ve read.
  2. Do you have an all-time favorite book and, if so, what is it?
    Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Claire Robson is definitely right in the top mix. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier is there as well along with The High Lord (Book 3 of the Magician’s Guild Trilogy) by Trudi Canavan. I know I reread those one regularly. I also love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.
  3. It’s a commonly held opinion that a movie is never as good as the book on which it is based. Do you have a favorite movie that you think is better than the book? [just one, in case you have more]
    I thought the Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightly was better than the book. Only because it followed the story almost exactly, the costuming and language were spot on, and it made the story move a little more interestingly and quickly.
  4. What do you look for in your favorite blogs – e.g. poems, humor, challenging writing, serious issues, frivolity, art, photographs  etc – or whatever?
    I like interesting articles on random book knowledge and also polls and book crafts.
  5. What historical figure is your role model, if any, and why?
    I don’t really have a historial role model.
  6. What is your favorite indulgence – e.g. chocolate, expensive holidays, fast cars etc – or whatever?
    Totally books and chocolate LOL and yarn for crocheting.
  7. What recipe can you offer for achieving world peace?
    I think everyone should have to visit different countries and live there for a minimum of two months. This way they can experience how different people live and have a better appreciation of the difficulties and values of different societies.

And here are MY questions:

  1. What inspired you to start writing a blog?
  2. Do you participate in any reading challenge(s)? Which one(s)?
  3. What is your favorite book format and why? (Paperback, Hardback, Kindle/E-book, Audiobook, Large Print, etc.)
  4. What is your favorite NON-fiction book?
  5. What is your go to book store when you are looking for something?
  6. What hobbies do you have aside from reading?
  7. What are your five favorite fictional places?

My nominees are:

  1. Maria Casacalenda – Big City Bookworm
  2. Ajoobacats
  3. Kindles and Wine
  4. Robert – 101 Books
  5. A Year of Reading the World
  6. Becky – Blog of a Bookaholic
  7. The Classics Club