Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Genrethon 2016 Wrap-Up

I am happy to report that I managed to complete Genrethon this past weekend by completing three different books from three different genres, ones that I don't normally dip into.  In typical fashion, however, I did stray from my TBR quite a lot and only managed to complete one of the books I thought I might during the read-a-thon.  In any event, here is what I read last week:

Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples [3/5]: While I enjoyed this installment of the Saga series, it didn't resonate with me as much as volumes 2 or 3 did.  This one focused a lot on Alana and her work on the Circuit and, I have to say, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much.  Maybe because this volume wasn't as action packed or because I couldn't decipher where the story was headed I wasn't as engaged as I was with previous volumes. [Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction]

Sit, Stay, Love by J.J. Howard [3/5]: This was a middle grade novel I picked up during my school's book fair a couple of weeks ago.  The book is about a girl name Cecelia who volunteers at a dog rescue and falls in love with a pug they a nursing back to health.  Her beloved pug is adopted by a snobby boy at her school who wants to turn the pup into a fancy show dog.  Cecelia then enters into a campaign to thwart the pooch's show dog chances, but . . . she begins to see her schoolmate in a different light.  For what it is, a predictable middle grade read, this was a cute book that was a mindless, escapist read.  Though J.J. Howard is no Tolstoy, it was an enjoyable book and one I look forward to putting in my classroom library. [Genre: Middle Grade, Romance]

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg [2/5]: I had started reading this collection about a month ago and put it down in the middle of the titular poem.  However, for the sake of meeting my last reading challenge I returned to the collection and completed it.  Within the past two months I have read two of the central works of Beat Generation literature-- On the Road and now Howl-- and I can honestly say  that the movement doesn't appeal to me at all.  I don't find the plays with language appealing or the imagery transcendent at all.  In terms of this collection, I think the often anthologized "Howl" and "A Supermaket in California" have their aesthetic merits and are worth a read (and a study), but they aren't representative of 1950s American poetry as a whole.  Frankly, you're better off reading Robert Lowell IMHO. [Genre: Poetry, Beat Literature]

Did you participate in Genrethon?  Did you meet your goal or stick to your TBR?  Let me know on Twitter @thelexicondev.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Teacher Appreciate Week & Book Fair Haul

This week is both Teacher Appreciation Days at Barnes and Noble and the annual book fair at my school.  In honor of these two annual events, I bought a fair few books.  I thought I would share some of my purchase with you in case you were looking for ideas for what to pick up at an event near you.

|1| Libra by Don DeLillo: I have read DeLillo's White Noise a couple of times and fell in love with the author's dark humor.  Based on my enjoyment of his earlier novel, I picked up Libra, a work I have mulled over for months.  Libra is a work of speculative fiction about alleged Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.  I'm interested to see if Libra will have the same type of humor that White Noise did.

|2| Me Before You by JoJo Moyes: I have been on the wait list at my county library for this book for ages . . . and I am still near the bottom of the queue.  Impatience lead me to this one.  

|3| A Night Divided by Jennider A. Nielsen: I am really interested in German history and I was excited to see this young adult novel about the Berlin Wall.  When I am done reading this one I am going to put it into my classroom library.

|4|Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer: I own and have already started reading Cinder, so I thought I would buy the second book in the series because the price was right ($4!) and I could pass it on to the kiddos once I have finished it.

|5| Sit, Stay, Love by J.J. Howard: I'm not going to lie, I bought this because there was a pug on the cover.  It.Was.Fated.

|6| Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: I have seen this one go around BookTube and BookStagram and I have also seen a fair few of my students reading this one.  Since the book is now out in paperback I thought it would be worth reading myself and adding to my classroom library.  

What books are on your to-be-purchased list for April?  Let me know on Twitter @thelexicondev. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

In her memoir It Was Me All Along*, blogger Andie Mitchell chronicles her life-long struggle with weight, body image, and her problematic relationship with food.  Unlike most "blogger books," It Was Me All Along doesn't offer readers an airbrushed look into Mitchell's otherwise perfect life.  On the contrary, Mitchell is candid about her struggles and the ongoing challenges she still faces.

Like many of us, Mitchell had always had a troubled relationship with food.  Even in childhood, Mitchell would binge to help assuage her feelings of sadness and loneliness.  As she got only, Mitchell's weight ballooned until the summer after her second year of college when, through diet and exercise, she began to loose weight.   Yet, even after she reached, and surpassed, her goal weight Mitchell's struggles with food and body image did not end.  Rather, the pressure of keeping the weight off and maintaining a balance between eating right and exercising became an all-encompassing obsession for Mitchell.  In this memoir she details how she was able to get past these darkest periods during her weight loss journey-- both medical and non--and what steps help her get her life back on track.

At the end of the book, you're left with the sense that though she has successfully dropped the weight and has built a successful career as a food writer, Mitchell still must mediate her relationship with food.  I cannot stress how refreshing this point of view is.  So many times, memoirs seem to espouse the idea that everything is  "okay now," but Mitchell avoids this pitfall.  Rather, she offers her readers are more hopeful, attainable end point: it can get better.

It Was Me All Along was an enjoyable read, though one I cannot see myself reading again in the future.  If you enjoy reading memoirs or are struggling with weight or food issues of your own, I highly recommend this book.

GoodReads Rating: 3/5

*This book was sent to me by the publisher through Blogging for Books for review consideration.  The thoughts and opinion expressed in this review are my own and I have not been financially compensated for this review.