8/25/15

Bullying 101: Ten Books on My Syllabus


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's topic is ten books that would be on the syllabus if I was teaching a course on a particular topic.  Bullying is a sensitive topic for me, and therefore I have decided to make a list of books that I would teach if I had a course on bullying.  The goal of this course would be for the students to learn about how bullying impacts the bullied and to hopefully inspire them to be better people.

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Since this book is told from the bully's perspective, this sounds counter-productive, but this is an amazing book and one that would really resonate with a reader who was bullying another.  Often, we can't see the bad things in ourselves until we see them reflected in a piece of literature, and this book could do that for others.

2. Tease by Amanda Maciel
This is another book told through the bully's eyes, and one that I couldn't even finish, but I think it would be great for discussion.  The main character shows no signs of understanding that her bullying pushed a girl to commit suicide, and it inspired me to write my first every DNF review.

3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Ever since I finished this book, I have believed that bullying would cease to exist if this book was mandatory reading in every school.  This course could allow me to make one more step towards that goal.

4. Dear Bully by Various Authors
I had such a strong emotional reaction to this book that I could only read it in small pieces.  There are such powerful pieces in this book, that I couldn't omit it from this syllabus.

5. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
This book was INTENSE and tells the story of just how mean girls can be to one another.

7. The Beckoners by Carrie Mac
I found this book to be gut-wrenching and very similar to Some Girls Are.

8. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Although being bullied is no excuse for resorting to school shootings, this book opened my eyes to what those boys went through and how they felt that they had no choice but to take the wrong type of action.  I bawled so much on a ferry that a kind little old lady offered me Kleenex and chocolate.

9. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I read this recently, and it still resonates in my heart.  This syllabus is very girl book heavy, and adding this book helps to round out the topic of bullying to include boys as well.

10. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
I haven't read this one yet, but I loved the movie and it's another boy book.  Plus, what course is complete with out a book to movie adaptation?

Have you read any other books that deal with bullying?  Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!

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8/24/15

My Reading Journey [1] - Elementary School

I've had this post sitting in my drafts since March, but have finally decided to write it.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about how my reading tastes have changed since I started blogging, but also how they have changed since I was a child!  I haven't decided how many parts this series will be, but I'd like to take you all on a journey, my reading journey.


I have always been a reader.  Whether it was reading the coloured comics on the weekend (pictured above) or taking weekly trips at the library to borrow stacks of books, my nose was constantly buried in some type of reading material.

I loved unending series, from Sweet Valley to Babysitter's Club to the Thoroughbred series.  I loved the predictability of coming back to the same characters over and over again, as they faced new challenges and adversity.  Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield were my all-time favourites, as I identified so profoundly with Elizabeth, but secretly wished that I was a little bit more like Jessica.

Although my mother was happy that I was such a devoted bookworm, she definitely wasn't quite as happy about my reading choices.  She picked up a Sweet Valley High book one summer, and then made it her mission to have me read better quality books.  I appeased her by gobbling up Black Beauty, the Black Stallion series, Little Women and anything else that she recommended, while also covertly borrowing stacks of my favourites as well.  At the time, I wished that she would simply let me read what I wanted to read, but now I'm glad that I can say that I've read all of those classics.  Fortunately, we agreed on Nancy Drew and I had her blessing to read as many mysteries as I wanted.

In Grade 7, amidst being bullied by my former best friend, a girl in my Pathfinder group introduced me to Piers Anthony and I fell head over heels.  I'd always liked books featuring unicorns as a little girl, but this was adult fantasy and I devoured the entire Xanth series, as well as the Adept series.  At 13, this was my first foray into adult literature, and it wouldn't be my last.

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8/20/15

On My Nightstand - August 20

Although I'm not really writing reviews these days, On My Nightstand is a weekly-ish feature that allows me to share what I'm currently reading, some thoughts on what I just finished reading and what's coming up next from my TBR pile!

Recently shelved as read:

I finished Onyx, the second book in Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series, and I really enjoyed it!  I'll definitely carry on with the series, and I really enjoy the fact that the main character is a blogger.  Such a fun addition to the story!

I also finished Amy Poehler's Yes Please on audio, which was super fun!  There were funny moments and lots of heartwarming moments (especially the mommy ones) and I enjoyed almost all of it.  There were a few name-dropping sections of the book which, as I haven't watched Parks and Recreation, I didn't really understand.  But on the whole, a very enjoyable read.

On my nightstand:

I've decided to dive head first into George R.R. Martin's A Feast of Crows, alternating between the audio and the print versions.  I have the audiobook for three weeks, and figure that I can finish this beast of a book if I read 37 pages per day (thanks to Debby @ Snuggly Oranges for inspiring me to tackle this series in this manner!)

Since this hefty fantasy can be a bit daunting, I also picked up Sophie Kinsella's Finding Audrey from the library.

Just to keep things interesting, I also started another memoir, I Am Malala on audio during my commute.  It's my book club's September pick, and I wanted to read it now to leave time for Queen of Shadows next month!

Calling my name from the shelf:

I haven't touched my review books this month, as I had hoped to, but I may tackle one or two in between chapters of A Feast For Crows.  I'd still like to read one more book from my very ambitious August TBR before the end of the month -- suggestions anyone?

How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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8/18/15

Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I haven't had much blogging time in the past week (hence nothing but On My Nightstand posts), but today's topic was so much fun that I had to draft up a quick post (even though I can scarcely keep my eyes open and would rather be reading in bed...big yawn!)

1. Sarah J. Maas
This girl is going to be atop everyone's lists.  And she deserves it.

2. Sarah Dessen
Sarah can do no wrong, and her books define summer for me.

3. Emery Lord
My new queen of summer!

4. Morgan Matson
So much contemporary goodness from this lady!

5. Leigh Bardugo
A new discovery for me this year, but I already cannot WAIT for the release of Six of Crows.

6. Marie Lu
Although I haven't yet read The Young Elites, I bought a copy based on how much I adored the Legend series.

7. Laini Taylor
The Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy is so beautifully written that I will snatch up everything that she writes, ever.

8. Cassandra Clare
I own almost all of her books in hardcover, which just goes to show that I don't wait for the paperback releases.  Which reminds me that I really need to hurry up and finish the Infernal Devices...

9. Taylor Jenkins Reid
Another new discovery for me this year, but I've loved both of her books and can't wait to pick up a copy of her latest release!

10. Lauren Oliver
I debated putting Lauren Oliver on this list, since there's a few of her titles that I don't own and a recent title that I was not head over heels for.  BUT, I love her writing so, so, so much that I will at least pick up all of her books, even if I don't love each and every one.

Do we have any of the same auto-buy authors?  Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!

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8/16/15

On My Nightstand - August 16

Although I'm not really writing reviews these days, On My Nightstand is a weekly-ish feature that allows me to share what I'm currently reading, some thoughts on what I just finished reading and what's coming up next from my TBR pile!

Recently shelved as read:

I read Tamara Ireland Stone's Every Last Word in about two days.  HOLY SMOKES that was an amazing book!  I feel like it had a bit of buzz around the blogosphere, but everyone needs to read it, like NOW.  It's the story of a girl who has OCD (but more obsessive, less compulsive) and I absolutely LOVED her story.  Absolutely beyond five stars -- it's beautifully written, tugs at the heart strings big time, and one that I will definitely be buying and re-reading.

After that, I picked up Taylor Jenkins Reid's After I Do, which I also loved.  At first, I was worried that I wouldn't really connect with the main character, who's going through a rough patch in her marriage.  The book is about so much more than that, and touches on all kinds of love and themes.  I loved it even more than Forever, Interrupted and will definitely be picking up a copy of her latest release soon!

On my nightstand:

I let my husband pick my next read off my August TBR pile and he chose the next book in the Lux series because he's "tired of looking at this book."  That cracked me up.  I usually like to pick a pile of books that I feel like reading and let him choose when I'm having a hard time making up my mind, and I guess he got tired of constantly seeing the bind-up on the pile, since I read the first book, but had yet to read the second book.  I'm almost done, and I'm liking it better than the first book so I'll definitely finish the series.

Calling my name from the shelf:

I'm still planning to knock a couple of review books off my TBR this month, but I've also been working my way through my very ambitious August TBR and I'm doing pretty well so far!  Any suggestions on where I should begin?  I'm definitely craving a new series, but I still can't quite decide which one to read...

How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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8/5/15

On My Nightstand - August 5

Although I'm not really writing reviews these days, On My Nightstand is a weekly feature that allows me to share what I'm currently reading, some thoughts on what I just finished reading and what's coming up next from my TBR pile!

On my nightstand:

I moved Kristin Cashore's Graceling back to my bookshelf -- I'll go back to it in the fall, I think, but I'm just not in a fantasy-type mood right now!

I just started Tamara Ireland Stone's Every Last Word, after Lauren @ Lose Time Reading told me that she loved it.  I'm only a couple of chapters in, but I'm already loving it.

Recently shelved as read:

I finished Jessi Kirby's Golden over the weekend, which I had sitting on my shelf for over two years!  I read (and really enjoyed) Things I Know By Heart, which she published this year, but I hadn't read any of her backlist titles.  I really like her writing style and, although the plot was a touch cheesy in Golden, I still really enjoyed the story.

Then I picked up The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley based on Brie @ A Slice of Brie's recommendation and OH MY GOSH.  What a beautiful, heartwarming and fantastic story!  Highly, highly recommend it.

Calling my name from the shelf:

I would still like to knock a couple of review books off my TBR this month, but I've also set myself a very ambitious August TBR.  Any suggestions on where I should begin?  I'm thinking that I might pick up Taylor Jenkins Reid's After I Do, but I'm also craving a new series lately.

How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!
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8/4/15

Reading Habits Tag

I saw this one over a Quinn's Book Nook too (seriously, she gets tagged to do all the awesome ones!) and, although I wasn't tagged, I thought this looked like lots of fun!
Do you have a certain place for reading at home?
I usually just read on the couch in my living room, or in bed before falling asleep.
Bookmark or random piece of paper?
I used to work in a bookstore, and I still have tons of the freebie bookmarks that we handed out with every book purchased.  They're perfect for bookmarks because they're thin and not too tall (I don't like using a massive bookmark in a smaller book because it always hangs out the end of the book and gets rumpled).  Years ago, I used to always use bookmarks with tassels and sometimes I miss those.  I think I need to find an awesome new tasselled bookmark that I can rock.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?
I try to always try to finish to the end of the chapter, unless I can barely keep my eyes open!

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
I can't watch TV while reading, but my husband will often be watching the sports highlights or playing a video game, so it doesn't bother me to have the TV playing in the background.  In terms of music though, I don't usually read with music, but if I had to, it couldn't be anything with words.

One book at a time or several at once?
I used to always, always read one book at a time, but lately it seems like I have no less than five currently reading books on Goodreads!  I would like to try to get back into the habit of reading one at a time.

Reading at home or everywhere?
I do most of my reading at home, but also in the lunchroom at work and whenever I can sneak in a page or two (like walking from my car to work, listening to an audiobook on my drive or even waiting for the elevator!)

Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Definitely in my head, although I used to read out loud to my husband when we took road trips in the summer.  I've also been known to read aloud whenever I read a book where the accent 

Do you read ahead or skip pages?
If I hit a slowish plot part in a book, I have been known to skim rather than reading each and every word, but I won't skip ahead or skip pages.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I'm not too concerned about keeping my books looking new, but I don't break the spines.  My books get toted around in my purse while I'm reading them, so the covers often get a bit banged up, but otherwise I do treat them gently.

Do you write in your books?
Nope!  I did in my school books, so I have an anthology of Shakespeare that I wrote in all over the margins while my professor was lecturing.  I don't write in the books I read for fun, just for school.

If you've participated in this tag, feel free to leave me a link to your post -- I'd love to see your answers!  If you haven't participated, feel free to consider yourself tagged -- this was such a fun bunch of questions to answer!

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8/2/15

July Wrap Up!

The Books

Books Read: 4 (Saint Anything, The Start of Me and You, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Golden)
All of these were books off my own shelves; three were purchased this year, and one was a book that has been on my shelves for a couple of years.

Books Acquired: None!
I have acquired a total of 23 books so far this year, and have already read 13 of them, so only 10 acquired and unread books -- pretty proud of myself for that one!  I'm also halfway through a bind-up of the first two Lux books, so I'll soon be at 14.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: None, it was a month of standalones.
Flights of Fantasy: None, I've definitely been craving contemporary!
TBR Challenge: All of my read books were off my shelves, but only one has been on my shelf for a while, so I'm up to 14 books so far this year!

The Blog

I started off the month with deciding to do things a little differently here on the blog, and focus on the other aspects of my life beyond just reading.  So far, I've shared a post about my yoga journey and I'm excited about writing other posts in the future.  I also wrote two more updates on my reading (here's the first and second) and I'm thinking about doing these weekly from now on!

I also shared the Disney Princess Tag, which I found on Quinn's Book Nook, and joined in Top Ten Tuesday to share ten books that celebrate diversity.  I wrote a discussion post on TBRs and I loved the comments that you all shared about the way that you manage your TBRs!  I had never thought about heading to Goodreads to find my next book to read, but I was amazed that most of you do just that!  My last post of the month was a library book haul -- my first one of these in a long, long time!

The Other Stuff

Knock on wood, but my car appears to be back to normal!  Otherwise, most of July was spent just trying to stay cool -- it's been so insanely hot here!  We even have water restrictions in place (no lawn watering, no washing cars, etc.) because there hasn't been enough rain.  Let's just say that I am MORE than ready for fall to arrive.  Anyone else feeling the same way?

What's happened in your life this past month?  Do you hate car trouble as much as I do?  Have you read anything interesting lately?  Let's chat in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!

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8/1/15

August TBR -- I Need Your Help!

I love to make TBRs, whether it's lists, piles or jars -- even though I almost always change my mind about what I want to read mere minutes after I finish making the list!  They're just so fun to put together!  So, here's my tentative pile for August -- but I need your help in making some choices, so please help me out in the comments below!


In June, I created a mini-TBR for myself based on the categories for the TBR Takedown challenge, which I'd seen around the blogosphere.  I actually completed all five challenges (although not exactly the original books that I'd picked) and it was kind of fun!  In August, there's another challenge going on (although I forget which one!) so I thought I'd make a monthly TBR based on these topics.  Of course, this is for a week-long readathon, but I'm not able to read 7 books in one week, so I'm aiming for 7 books over the month!  Realistic, I think!

1. Read a book with blue on the cover.
I just picked up Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The War that Saved My Life from the library, after reading Brie @ A Slice of Brie's rave review!  It's been a loooong time since I read a middle grade novel, but I'm excited to check this one out!

2. Read a book by an author whose last name starts with the same letter as yours.
My last name starts with the letter R, and I've been itching to pick up After I Do, ever since I read Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid a month or so ago.  Plus, this book has a blue cover as well, so it'll also work with the previous challenge.

3. Read someone else's favourite book.
Erin Lindsay McCabe's I Shall Be Near to You instantly went on my TBR list when I saw how much Lauren @ Lose Time Reading and Cass @ The Casserole LOVED this book last year.  It's been sitting on my bookshelf since Christmas, and I can't wait to dive in.

4. Read the last book you acquired.
I recently picked up The War that Saved My Life from the library, as well as Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken.  I'm excited to read both books, and can count either one for this challenge.

5. Finish a book without letting go of it.
Since I don't have the luxury of reading a book in one sitting anymore, I'm not sure that I'll get to this challenge!

6. Read a book you really want to read.
This is where I need your help guys!  The whole stack of books on the left hand side are ones that have been calling my name from the shelf for a while.  Black Iris I bought on impulse a couple of weeks ago, and have been dying to read ever since.  I want to read the rest of the Lux series, and all the other books are the first book in a series.  If I love the first book, I'm going to have to buy the rest of the series, and I've been itching to buy some more books lately, so I feel like I should start a new series, and then have a good excuse to purchase some new titles.  So, where should I start?

7. Read seven books.
This will be a stretch, but I think I can do it!

What's on your reading radar for this month?  Any suggestions on which book(s) I should read first?  Let me know in the comments below!

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