Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaching Writing

After finally finishing off 40+ editing/revision assignments (x2) and 40+ book reports, I am now preparing for the next round of 40+ family stories... all authored by a group of seventh graders who wowed me today in their brief presentations of family memorabilia and story synopses.  I'm in the midst of hearing about famous connections to the American Revolutionary War, Grace Kelly, the Chicago Rockets football team, while other students reveal a love-letter collection between great-grandparents, vessel pictures of their ancestors' journey, and photos that capture the Italian immigrants' dream of opening a family deli... it's our own WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? episode in my classroom!  Though there are times when I am overwhelmed with the stresses of being an English teacher, when I swear I won't assign another essay or writing assignment, when I am simply too tired to write another comment on another paper that will most likely not even be read unless we have yet another one-on-one conference... though there are times like these, there are also moments like today when I eagerly await the evening's calm when my biological kids are in bed and husband is engrossed in a Sox game, and I can take my tea and enjoy my school-kids' work as if turning pages of the next blockbuster novel.  Bravo, 7th grade!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Themed Books

I found a niche in my reading.  I tend to enjoy books about books.  My students think I'm addicted to reading, devouring books whenever I get a free moment, and they're right, I know, but I can think of worse obsessions.  So, here's a list of some novels I've read and plan to read, all with the twist that at the center of their literary plots, there's a book or bookstore or bookclub... gotta love it!

1.  The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)  ***** 5
2.  The Angel’s Game (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)  ***** 5
3.  The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)  ***** 5
4.  The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)  **** 4
5.  The Dante Club (Matthew Pearl)  *** 3
6.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows)  *** 3
7.  The History of Love (Nicole Krauss)  *** 3
8.  The Club Dumas (Arturo Perez-Reverte)  ** 2
9.  The Book of Lies (Brad Meltzer)  ** 2

On my shelf:  The Book of Air and Shadows (Michael Gruber), The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri (David Bajo), The Secret of Lost Things (Sheridan Hay), The Jane Austen Book Club (Karen Joy Fowler)