Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Top 3 Reasons I'm Excited to Teach Lord of the Flies

About the Book

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Published September 17, 1954

GoodReads Description

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable tale about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

My Thoughts and Excitement

During my time in high school, Lord of the Flies was not required reading material.  Even now, it isn't.  Honestly, I think it's one of the most important books.  I'll get into my reasoning a little bit later, but I wanted to take a moment to give you a mini-review on a more personal level.  It has been a week since I finished Lord of the Flies, but I'm still in awe of the powerful story and message.  The bleak future and dark being of man is often portrayed in literature, but no piece has done so more powerfully than this one.  Golding created a story filled with young men that the audience can't help but care about.  I wanted every single one of them to succeed, to live, and, perhaps most importantly, to be saved.  This book is one to be cherished and to be shared with our high school students.  These individuals need to have the conversations about the nature of man in order to make informed decisions about the kind of man, or woman, they would like to become.


The Top 3 Reasons I'm Excited to Teach Lord of the Flies

  1. Golding creates a number of wonderful characters.  These are characters that I truly believe my students will be able to identify with.  The smart kid?  The leader?  The bossy pants?  I can think of specific kids who fit each of those descriptions.  If I'm able to see them in my own classroom, I believe my students will be able to as well.  This will help to make the story more relevant as they see that instead of being a bunch of adults, it is a bunch of boys not much older than themselves.  How would they react?  Should we chastise these boys for their bad choices?  Should we celebrate their wise choices?  Is the fire or the rescue still something to celebrate with Piggy and Simon gone?  Is there a specific reason those boys didn't deserve to survive?  
  2. The symbolism in this book is absolutely powerful.  There is so much anger toward the way things are and hope for the way things could become.  Especially when you consider that Piggy's final moments are the very last moments that there is hope for intellect on the island.  Once he, the intellectual symbol, has perished, Ralph faces the imbecilic takeover of the other boys.  This lends a brand new example to mob mentality and the necessity of rules.  I am so excited to have this conversation with my students and to understand their thinking.  Will it change?  Will they hold tight to their current feelings toward school rules?
  3. Despite the age of this novel, it remains relevant to our society today.  Politically, many people believe that we are abandoning rules that should be followed and are falling into a state of chaos.  In the pop culture sphere, we see many of the same themes in books like The Hunger Games and even The Maze Runner.  I am so excited to discover what other connections my students make.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The House with a Clock in its Walls (Review)

About the Book

First published in 1973

GoodReads Description

Orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan and quickly learns that both his uncle and his next-door neighbor are witches on a quest to discover the terrifying clock ticking within the walls of Jonathan's house. Can the three of them save the world from certain destruction?

My Thoughts

As a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe, I was delighted to see other reviews of this novel liken Bellairs' style to Poe's.  I was not let down.  In fact, I absolutely devoured this book!

While I do enjoy books written in the third person, I tend to prefer books written from the first person.  This book was a lovely exception to that rule.  Bellairs' choice to write in third person allows the reader to connect to Lewis on a much deeper level.  This level forces the audience to care what happens to Lewis and to be terrified not only because of the haunting events that unfold but because they truly want to see a happy end for Lewis.  This brought so much more meaning to the story and created a more memorable experience.

While it may seem strange, my favorite character was Mrs. Zimmerman.  I absolutely loved how kooky she was.  For a while, I actually thought that there wasn't much strength in her character.  At the moment that she shows up in the novel, I found myself looking forward to her silly antics.  I LOVED how sassy she was! 

After I finished this book, I was excited to learn that Bellairs wrote a few following books!  I'm so excited to get them and to find out what happened to Lewis next!

My Rating

Saturday, November 3, 2018

6 Degrees of Separation: November 2018

This meme is brought to you by Books are My Favourite and Best

This month, the starting book is Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray...

...which I've never read.

But, you know what else I've never read? 

That's right!  The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.  Who knew the author of one of my favorite books...

And did you know that The Great Gatsby was Fitzgerald's third book?  Which, coincidentally, is the same number as my favorite Harry Potter book!

The Harry Potter series was very important to me as a young reader.  Through this world, I learned just how much I loved fantasy.  That led me to authors like Clive Barker.

During my first read through of Abarat, a movie called Stardust was being released.  I loved the movie!  But, as usual, the book was better.

And that was how I met my favorite author, Neil Gaiman.  But Stardust wasn't my favorite of his books. That title belongs to Coraline.  A 128 page children's book that gave my teenage butt nightmares for weeks!

And there you have it folks!