Tag Archives: Speak

Laurie Halse Anderson in January!

Please allow me to fangirl for a second. I about died back in November when Laurie Halse Anderson announced her book tour for her latest release, The Impossible Knife of Memory. Her first two stops will be in Washington State! I was fortunate to receive the e-ARC from Edelweiss several months ago and will start it any day now.

Anderson was in WA a couple of years ago and I missed the tour, but it’s something I’ve never totally gotten over in terms of my book world experiences. That sounds like hyperbole. But, Speak is one of my all-time favorite books, adult or young adult. Anderson’s books are painstakingly researched and therefore are authentic and raw. She handles delicate topics with care and even humor in some cases, calling her books Resiliency Literature (as opposed to Young Adult Literature). In my experience, her books are unisex and about topics that others are afraid to tackle or that others just aren’t able to write about with such honesty and finesse.

As part of my teacher preparation program at WSU, I took a course called Young Adult Literature, and we got to read books that would be popular for young adults–our future students. I wasn’t reading much outside of my school requirements and the books for this course were all books that were accessible and engaging for me, even as someone flirting with the outlying years of being a “young adult,” myself. My favorite book that we read in the course was Speak. The voice of the main character, Melinda, was realistic for a teen. It was the first book where I’d seen capitalization used for monikers that Melinda used, and lists (this is a me thing, and I loved seeing an author use it). I didn’t realize there were books being written like that, for this age group, that weren’t about girls struggling with wearing make-up and getting a boyfriend. The message is clear and important, yet the reader isn’t hit over the head with that message. My good friend (and now department leader!), Sarah, and I would talk about how important Speak is for young people to read–males and females–and hoped it could become part of our future curriculums, where ever we might end up.

Anderson’s books create readers. When Sarah and I did get to incorporate Speak into our Literature Circles unit in 2008/2009, boys and girls listed it as a top choice to read. After completing the book, students wanted to read other books by Anderson. It was a teacher’s dream, because students were excited about books and reading, and were talking about what they’d learned.

I can’t say enough about why I admire Anderson as a writer. I look forward to diving into The Impossible Knife of Memory and listening to her speak on Tuesday, January 7th at South Kitsap HS in Port Orchard, WA. Thanks to Eagle Harbor Book Company for making that visit happen, and for communicating with me about the change in location!

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Book Blogger Challenge (Day 1 on Day 2)


To try to get back in the swing of things with this ol’ blog-a-roo, I am participating (mostly) in the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge, hosted by Good Books and Good Wine.

So, this is actually Day 2, but I got a late start. Tomorrow’s Day 3 post will be the Day 2 prompt for me, because I don’t really have any book blogging BFFs. I’m not a book blogger, but I do blog about books on occasion. 😉 My internet presence is spotty at best so we’ll see how these 15, er, 12 days go.

Today’s Prompt: 15 Book Related Confessions

1 – I have read  few classics. I’m an English teacher and a reader and I haven’t read…okay, no, it’s probably easier to list what I HAVE read: The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julius Caesar and I *think* I read The Scarlet Letter in high school. There are definitely more that I read in high school and college, but that’s all I can think of now. 🙂

2 – I leave special “bookmarks” in hard copy books. If you borrowed my copy of Speak, for example, you would find a message slip from my (now) husband from college. Even in my Kindle, I have a parking pass from a camping trip, my friend’s school picture that kept falling out of my purse so I just stuck it in, etc.

3 – I judge books by their covers. Really, don’t we all? I am drawn to covers with cool typography these days.

4 – I have a bone to pick with authors who write a series, because I can’t not finish a series. I have to read each book as it’s released, which typically means a gap year between books.

5 – If I LOVE a book, there’s a possibility I’ve bought it twice: once on the Kindle and then a hard copy (Divergent, Love and Leftovers). Similarly, I sometimes have an e-ARC on my Kindle and then buy the book if I love it a lot (Time Between Us, The Raven Boys).

6 – I always wish to reread books, especially before they hit the big screen, but I don’t have time. Because of the classroom, interning, reading new e-galleys for fun/review, etc., I just can’t. (I’m talking to you, The Hunger Games and Divergent!)

7 – I doggy ear pages and I mark-up books. I love my Kindle because I can mark-up a book without marring beautiful pages, but, I write (in pencil) on my hard copy books, too. My cousin usually then borrows my books…I’ve never asked her what she thinks of my annotations, but I should.

8 – I have this weird OCD-like thing where I mark-up/doggy ear pages when I find vocabulary words from my English class. Do I take the book in and show my students? No. (Although, that is my original intent.) Do I use the sample sentence on a word wall? No. (Although, I should.) It’s a weird compulsion!

9 – I like object covers over the real-life photos that are popular in YA today. Give me an object, colors, and/or cool typography over a girl in a pretty dress any day! (No really, please!)

10 – I have an almost absolute need to read the book before seeing the movie. As such, I have not seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Harry Potter, I don’t want to see The Maze Runner until I’ve read, etc.

11 – I favor YA Romance and now NA Romance a lot. I feel a little silly about this, and I know I shouldn’t.

12 – I never finished reading Bill Clinton’s My Life autobiography. It’s just SO MUCH BOOK. I seriously started it probably 8 years ago. Until I started interning, I always completed books and even when I’m reading for fun I still do. I do not have a book blogging/pleasure reading DNF list… except for Bill.

13 – I started reading YA as an adult because I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson in my college YA Literature class. I had no idea authors were writing books set in high school that weren’t like The Babysitters Club and/or Sweet Valley High, which I loved to read when growing up. Speak is a standalone, compelling, provocative, quirky in all the right ways kind of novel and it made me want to read more about high school life, and, get those kinds of books in the hands of my students.

14 – I have never read an audiobook.

15 – I don’t do scary books (creepy/thriller/etc.). When people talk about books that are creepy/scary/etc. I’m just not drawn to them. I rarely read a book that can make me cry, and similarly, I don’t read books that are thriller kinds of page turners. Weird?

‘Fess up! What are some of your book confessions? 

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Filed under 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge, About Blogging, Bookish