Mission

Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Salon: Sunday Coffee



It's a rainy Easter Sunday here in South Carolina. This is the week I will finally have a Sunday Salon post, after trying for three weeks without success. 

Life and Teaching

     Change is the theme in my life this year. My school district and my high school switched from year-long classes to the semester schedule this year. This seemed like a good thing at first: previously I was teaching on an A/B schedule, with six sections of students. It was possible to have 160-180 students on my rosters, which is a heck of a lot of grading. But I've found that the semester schedule has its own drawbacks. Then we have had new evaluations thrust on us (without much real guidance), much more documentation of student progress, and what feels like a constantly increasing pressure.

     Then our district made some decisions that will dramatically change life for teachers and students: a new start time for middle school and high school; this will be good for students but a huge adjustment. On the bight side, I will drive to school in daylight! Other changes are probably too complicated to explain well in a short space, but another big change for me is that our principal will be retiring at the end of this year.  

What I've Been Reading

     Despite a crazy busy schedule (tons of grading and deadlines) I have continued to make time for reading; reading just does it for me....it allows me to go to another place, relaxes me, and gives me distance from my day to day problems. Here are a few of the books I've read over the past few weeks that made a deep impression....
The Hot Zone was one of the scariest books I've ever read. Preston is an incredible writer; he kept me on tenterhooks for the entire book. The best part was that I had learned so much science, in such an enjoyable way, by the time I finished the book.


Although I haven't had time to write about it for the blog, The Bone Clocks was one of the best books I've read in a long time. Absolutely loved it, and can't wait to read more from David Mitchell.

Most Recently Read

And So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan. A love letter to The Great Gatsby, I'm still reading this. Highly personal, and highly recommended for fans of Fitzgerald's best known novel.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I first read this in high school, and it holds up. Disturbing and prescient.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.  This is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy. Weird, absorbing, immersive. Looking forward to the next book in the series (sitting on my desk).

Now Reading

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. My students love this book, so I *have to* read it. They've been using all their persuasive powers on me!

The Kids Are Reading

Both male and female readers in my classes are loving Red Rising and Ready Player One. And female readers are gobbling up Red Queen.

Coming Up Soon

     I really want to read or reread a classic (or more than one). Right now I'm looking at Jane Eyre.

     What's been going on for you, in your reading life or just life in general? I'd really like to know! Hope everyone is having a happy Easter Sunday. Peace.

16 comments:

Iliana said...

Happy Easter! I know the Hot Zone book is an older book but I'm curious what you think of it now with the threat of pandemics, etc.

Anne Bennett said...

My students keep urging me to read RED RISING, too. If I can get my hands on it and another student doesn't have it checked out perhaps I can read it for Spring Break. I love READY PLAYER ONE, too. It sounds like you are experiencing lots of changes at school. I hope they all work out.

bermudaonion said...

It seems that the people who make the decisions for students and teachers have no idea what it's like to be in the classroom. Happy Easter!

bibliophiliac said...

@Iliana-Hot Zone was just so compelling--and extremely relevant. Preston has several other books I want to read, including books on bioterrorism. The Hot Zone made me realize how vulnerable--and lucky--we are and have been....

bibliophiliac said...

@Anne Bennett-sometimes I just have to allow my reading to be led by my students! So far I am enjoying Red Rising. I can see why male readers like it, because the central character is a teenage boy, and the focus is more on power than romance. Ready Player One is on my list too...

bibliophiliac said...

@bermudaonion-most of the changes in our district take place with no teacher input at all....

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'm impressed that you are able to read so many good books with such a heavy workload. I can't imagine how you keep up with so many students.

Bryan G. Robinson said...

I had (am having) a long Easter break from work, from Friday through today (Monday) and while I "should" be reading, I'm just not doing it. I've been watching movies and Netflix binge-watching. Maybe next long break, I'll do better. All that said, I'm impressed with all the reading you're doing and like Deb said, especially with your workload.

Andi said...

I hope the changes are more positive than negative! I'm also really glad to know you enjoyed The Bone Clocks. I'd love to get it read before the end of the year.

bibliophiliac said...

@Deb Nance--I forgot to say that on the new schedule I *only* have 85 students a semester....Still a lot of essays to grade!

bibliophiliac said...

@Bryan-Binge watching is another pleasure I need to catch up on!

bibliophiliac said...

@Andi--Loved The Bone Clocks. Wish I had read it during a less busy period of my life...

Jeanie said...

Having taught HS English on an A/B schedule, I feel your pain! I, too, had 180 students and our dept required a full essay a month! My greatest nightmare was to have the graded, but unrecorded, essays in my car when it was stolen!

Have wanted to read The Bone Clocks - will take a look at it.

Lisa said...

Oh so many changes in your work life! So many ways to measure a child's learning - but not nearly enough time to really teach them any more, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Hello - this is just a general comment. I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a while and think it is time that I let you know!

Please continue to write about books that I want to read - right now I am about to check my library for The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.

Reta Kenter
AKA
Bufalogirl@AOL.COM

bibliophiliac said...

@Reta-I hope you love The Bone Clocks as much as I did!