Tag Archives: books

What I’m Currently Reading (according to Goodreads)

End of a long work week with reports to write, but I am a little sick of trying to rephrase “if you don’t hand work in you can only get a zero” a million times…

It’s the middle of semester one reports so naturally that means it is also time for me to procrastinate wildly and start reading two or three hundred books at the same time! My Goodreads “Currently Reading” list is a little ridiculous at the moment – 14 books – but I can’t bear to give up on any of them. My yearly challenge sits at 32/80 (down from the target of 100 set at the start of the year) but that is mostly because I am in the middle of a cozy mysteries series that I am able to breeze through when I want something lighter and pulpier to read (The Tara Holloway series by Diane Kelly, FYI).

Below are the books currently in my “currently reading” list, from oldest on the list to newest. Most of them are books from my local library that I start reading, get caught up with work so hardly have time to continue, end up renewing the maximum about before reluctantly returning to the library barely read. A couple of them I was so into that I ended up buying my own copies to read at my own pace. Any excuse for a Book Depository order!

  1. Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team and a Dream – H. G. Bissinger.
  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon.
  3. Who Killed William Shakespeare?: The Murderer, the Motive, the Means – Simon Andrew Stirling.
  4. Mermaids: The Myths, Legends, and Lore – Skye Alexander
  5. Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors – Len Wein
  6. A French Wedding – Hannah Tunnicliffe
  7. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  8. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  9. 1984 – George Orwell
  10. The Debutante – Kathleen Tessaro
  11. The Fall of Arthur – J R R Tolkien
  12. Favourite Maori legends – Alexander Wyclif Reed
  13. Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins – Susan Casey
  14. Death, Taxes and Cheap Sunglasses (Tara Holloway #8) – Diane Kelly

 

Hopefully once reports are finished I will be able to whittle down this list somewhat. Besides the Tara Holloway books, I would like to re-borrow out The Fall of Arthur, the Wonder Woman comic and I want to finish GWTW by the end of the year! It’s a little alarming to think not just of this list, but of the books that I own that I have not read yet either! Perhaps I can add that in to a future blog post..

Any recommendations about these or any other books I should get stuck into while I have the time?

Here’s hoping your TBR list is much shorter than mine!

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Gone With The Wind Part 1

Today I was looking through my Goodreads “currently reading” list and realised that I have around 10 books on that list! I am chronic in starting a book only to take a break from it for a while, a LONg while it seems, and then have to pretty much start from the beginning because I’ve forgotten what it was about! I am also chronic in reading/re-reading books in a series in an effort to pad my Reading Challenge (Deltora and Series of Unfortunate Events, I’m talking to you!) for the year, which now sits at 78/85 books,  but having all those unfinished books on my list does get to me at times.

I don’t know quite what it is that makes me put books down after starting them. Obviously being busy at work has had an impact – I rarely want to read at home after my brain is wired all day – but other than that I am curious as to why. The books that are on my “currently reading” list are a range of classic and non-fiction books, some of them library books that I started but never got around to finishing. I know that with books like Kavalier and Clay and All Quiet on the Western Front the reputation of them being “classics” can feel daunting at times. I know that I have Anna Karenina, The Iliad and Heart Of Darkness among many others sitting on my bookshelf for years, waiting for the right time for me to read them. Whether that time is when I’ve had my fill of puff, chick-lit/mystery books or when I’m in the school holidays ready to be challenged OR simply when I have the motivation to want to tackle one of these mighty works.  Continue reading Gone With The Wind Part 1

Friday Five: Favourite texts to teach

Long time no post (as always)…

My year 8 class is currently studying a book that I studied when I was their age, and we are all loving it so much that I started thinking about the other texts that I enjoy teaching, and that I have (in my short career) used with a range of year groups and schools.

  1. Tomorrow, When The War Began
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    My year 8 class is in the middle of a comparative essay assessment for this text. We read the book, watched the TV show and the film over the last five weeks (plus school holidays). TWTWB is a novel that I really got into when I was in high school, and it is a book (and series) that is so unique in its plot, writing, characters, themes and issues. That idea of “what would you do if your country was invaded” is something that should seem inaccessible to teenagers today. But the way that John Marsden tells the story of Ellie and her friends is so compelling and vivid, so emotional and raw and above all else real, that I think it uniquely appeals to teenagers. The group of characters all have their flaws and are so different that I think everyone can identify with at least some part of a character. I used to live near a local airport, and whenever I read book one and then heard the planes flying at night, i would freak myself out so badly!
    This is also a series that I can never put down; once I read the first book I often read the other six within the week, and the same happened when I was teaching the book this term – I spent the first week of my holidays engrossed in guerrilla warfare and teenage terrorists.
  2. The Princess Bride
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    My year 8s looked at this movie at the start of the year, looking at characterisation, genre and film conventions. I adore this movie, and (selfishly) as a teacher I don’t like to teach texts that I don’t know or like. So when the opportunity came up for my year 7s last year to start looking at narrative conventions and characters, I had the idea to show them this movie. They loved it, after complaining at first that it was sure to be an old black and white movie, if it was made in the 80s.. I got them to do a character analysis on how one character in the story changed as a result of the events in the movie, some of them crafted some exquisite responses!
    I have also read the book, which quickly became one of my all time favourites as soon as I started reading it.
  3. The Outsiders
    2626920066_091dc0a914_zI first read The Outsiders when I was in year 10. I was amazed that such a seminal, rite-of-passage text that resonated with my male classmates was written by a girl no older than I was (at the time). Since then, I have used that text with my mostly male, disengaged classes. I have found that they identify with at least something in the novel, whether it is the loyalty and devotion of the three Curtis boys, the hero worship of Dallas Winston or the lonely bravado of Johnny. I think The Outsiders is a book that you could study on many levels; whether it is to introduce themes and issues as I did this year with a hard year 10 group, plot and conflict with my year 9s last year or parallel characters and debating with my year 9s in my first semester of teaching.
    The Outsiders was one of the first books that I remember reading in high school that I know have had lessons stay with me into adulthood. It was Ponyboy and Johnny that I turned to when facing my first novel study with my first “smart” class, and it is the lessons that they taught me that I try pass on to my students.
  4. Invictus

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    yes, i know this is the actual event, not a picture from the movie.

    This one is a bit more personal for me. I saw this movie with my brother and my dad at the movies, and I left crying and proud to be South African. As an English text though, I think that Invictus has a lot to offer. It explores issues of racism, class systems, sports, politics, history and civics. I first used it with a hard year 10 class last year, and they looked at it more as a film study, with issues and themes the main focus. My year 10 class this year was very similar. We had previously watched a documentary called Pacific Warriors (my class has a lot of rugby specialist program kids) looking at the issues of inequality and funding in sports. I think the kids get a lot from Invictus, from looking at a moment in history and events that seemed too unreal to be true, to being able to watch a good sports movie.
    I also like to teach it because it allows my students to get to know me a bit better. My family lived through a lot of the circumstances in the movie. My granny was a great hockey player who was not allowed to represent South Africa because of the colour of her skin, my mother was a great ice skater who was on her skating team as one of the “token” two coloured girls, and my grandpa would constantly talk about how great Madiba was. The movie is very real for me even though I have never really lived in South Africa, and I think lets my students see me as an actual “person” with a history and heritage that I am proud of. We also have a giggle at me being near tears at the end of the movie EVERY. SINGLE. TIME i watch it!

  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
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    This one less as a “study” text, more as an “end of term” text. I have shown this movie at the end of terms since it came out, and every single class i have shown it to (8,9,10,12s) have enjoyed it. I adore it, and i think it’s perfect in its quirkiness!

Hope your Friday is less chaotic than mine! Would love some suggestions for go-to English texts, my tendency to stick to the familiar can at times be limiting…

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Life Update Time! (Taking Stock Jan 2016)

Life update time! I head back to work next week which I find myself kind of dreading. But I have had a great summer (non-relationship-wise) and I’m ready to take on some new challenges.

 

Cooking: A lot lately as I (again) attempt to change my eating habits. I find that I struggle to enjoy cooking for myself, but I adore cooking for other people! Below are the last two breakfasts I made for my housemate, very proud of them if I do say so myself!

Breakfast_made_for_boy_who_had_to_wake_up_early._Am_I_the_greatest_housemate_ever_Perhaps______breakfast__scrambledeggs__eggs__bacon__toast__mushroom__spinach__tomato__best__wifematerial__yoohoosailors__pretenditshealthypancakes

Drinking: Water from an old Mount Franklin bottle. Is that whole “don’t reuse bottle water bottles” thing still a thing??

Reading: Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labours. Side note: How bad ass does Gal Godot look in the Batman vs Superman trailer?!

Wanting: so many, many things. Let’s go with motivation for now..

Looking: at the old Casablanca poster above my desk, finally hung up!

Playing: that Covet fashion game (I’m pretending it’s helping me be more fashionable!), Pandemic and Ticket To Ride . I am OBSESSED with Tabletop at the moment!

Deciding: if I want to go run myself a cold bath. It is SO HOT that sometimes I do that first thing in the morning, just sit in the bath to cool down. The cat has started sleeping in the bathroom (apparently over his previous bath trauma) which goes to show, evaporative airconditioning= NOPE!

Wishing: that my housemate was not moving out in two months, or that he asks me to move in with him (HA!) or that he just gives me a really nice birthday before he moves.

Enjoying: that the cat and I have gotten into a perfect routine this holidays. And that I know all his facial expressions and postures, and he does what I want (finally!) at one word, AND that there has been no inside pooing. Victory!

Waiting : for my younger housemate to come home, so I can tease him about his lady dramas.

Liking: the new organisation of my desk. I cleaned it up nicely yesterday to give me a good workspace. Naturally the rest of my room remains less organised!

Wondering: if I can pull myself together enough to clean up the rest of my room. I-think-i-can i-think-i-can i-think-i-can….

Loving: My boo.

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Pondering: waking up early tomorrow to try get into my school routine. ORRR do I sleep in as it is one of my last holiday days?

Watching: The Office (US) S05 E09 The Surplus. About to head into an Agents of SHIELD catch up too.

Hoping: a fairy comes and waves their wand over me and makes me look like I did four years ago. #fatty #badday

Marvelling: at other people’s abilities to be hella into their fitness and health. Very, very envious.

Needing: To find some motivation.

Smelling: the bowl of frangipanis on my desk from my trees in the backyard. Another reason I wanna stay in this house!!

Wearing: pink singlet, green undies, black shorts. And I’m only wearing the shorts because my housemate is due home soon!

Following: Ashy Bines on Instagram and Snapchat. She’s annoyingly perfect looking, and yet so accessible and down to earth about herself and her ups and down.

Knowing: I need to do some more planning and reading for school. My first year teaching HASS (Humanities and Social Studies) so I’ve got a lot to catch up on!

Thinking:  that I want to go on a cruise this year. My Hawaiian trip was cancelled as my aunty changed the cruise we were all going on from one in the school holidays to one during the term! Sad that I can’t go with my family, but the cruise they are now going on is far better value. BUT I do still want to go on a holiday this year sometime.

Feeling: like the weather has cooled down a bit and the air con is actually working properly!

Admiring: friends that are changing their lives and making better choices than me.

Sorting: out my possessions into keep, give away, throw away piles. Biting the bullet, organising, cleaning, the whole thing.

Buying: Too many books that I do not have time to read. It’s a sickness!!

Bookmarking: ideas and things I want to buy for school. I do love me some stationary and resources!

Disliking: that I still get itchy eyes and hayfever from the cat (and all the cat hair and dust in my room!).

Opening: my iTunes to find that all my music has disappeared. Joy.

Giggling: at a photo frame I found this morning with an odd brand name (inside joke hehehe)

Snacking: On nothing at the moment!! Trying to kick the habit and eat regularly enough that snacking doesn’t happen.

Coveting: a house. a car, a boy, a holiday, a size 10 body.

Wishing: to have the resolve and commitment to stick to my plans to change habits, even when I am feeling conflicted and down.

Helping: myself by deciding not to go to the shops to buy dinner and snacks.

Hearing: my text tone go off as my housemate asks me to let him in. The silly boy left his keys at work, so all weekend he has been pestering me to see when I am at home.

Hope you have all had a great start to the new year! Any motivation suggestion slay it on me, I suck balls at motivating myself!

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Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors

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Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. Another one I haven’t been keeping up with, but this week’s is an easy one for me; I have a lot of Auto-buys! I do want to expand it as new books and books with that author involved/the subject, as with a couple of them being in the great library in the sky can’t exactly bring out a new novel! And of course, GRRM:

  1. Agatha Christie
  2. Meg Cabot
  3. Rick Riordan
  4. Nick Hornby
  5. GRRM
  6. Truman Capote
  7. JRR Tolkien
  8. Matthew Reilly
  9. Ann Brashares
  10. Lucy Knisley (she’s amazing!)
  11. Sue Grafton
  12. Gregory Maguire
  13. Lauren Conrad
  14. Waris Dirie

A range of crime/mystery, fantasy and chick-lit, which is pretty much me in a nutshell!!

What are your auto buys? I’m sure I’m missing about ten million I’ve forgotten!

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Top Ten All Time Favourites (of the last couple of years)

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. Long time in between drinks for me, but as I find myself with a spare couple of minutes (read: I am procrastinating a giant pile of marking) I thought I would dip my toe back into the list pool!

I am choosing to do this list on books that I have read (for the first time) in the last 3-5 years, not necessarily books that have only come out in that period. Meaning that if I wanted to, I could include Madame Bovary as I read that only a couple of years ago.

Continue reading Top Ten All Time Favourites (of the last couple of years)

Top Ten Books That Should Be Movies

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme brought to  you by The Broke and the Bookish, which I endeavour to participate in regularly!

In my last week of summer holidays before going to work at a new school, i have been catching up on books, TV shows and movies that I have missed throughout the year. A lot of these movies in particular have been very much not worth the wait, or adaptations of much loved books that have not had that same level of love translated into their big screen outings. So for this week’s top ten, I thought I’d go with books that should be adapted (but only if they are done so exquisitely).

 

Continue reading Top Ten Books That Should Be Movies

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme brought to  you by The Broke and the Bookish, which I endeavour to participate in regularly!

This week’s list is releases of 2014 that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. I tend to re-read a lot during the year, so I usually miss the big releases each year. Case in point, it took me years to read the Stieg Larsson books, not to mention the Twilight series AND I am yet to read a single sentence of John Green (though, to be perfectly honest, I don’t ever see myself reading anything by him!). So without further ado, here are ten books from last year (still feels weird saying that!) that I meant to read but never got around to!

 

Continue reading Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Most Anticipated (but not necessarily debut) Novels

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I decided I would adjust this week’s The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday topic from most anticipated debut novel to most anticipated overall. I am a big series reader, mostly YA, fantasy and mystery/crime, though I am attempting to broaden my horizons this year. So without further ado, these are the ten books that I am so looking forward to this year that I will actually buy a physical copy of it!

I have this thing where if I truly love a book/movie/album, I will buy an actually copy of it as opposed to buying it online/ebooking or downloading it using… “itunes.” Lately this has included The Monogram Murders, Gone Girl, Firefly, Star Wars on bluray and The OC.
Continue reading Top Ten Most Anticipated (but not necessarily debut) Novels

Top Ten Book Goals/Resolutions For 2015

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After some time off from writing (part laziness part busy-ness) I feel like this week’s The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday topic of book resolutions fits well with a renewed commitment to my reading/writing.  I am someone who makes a lot of promises/goals and resolutions to myself (I’m currently deciding what I want my reading goal for 2015 to be, its either going to be 150 books or working my way through the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge) that I have trouble keeping. However I am hoping that this little list is one that I can stick to! Continue reading Top Ten Book Goals/Resolutions For 2015