Category Archives: books

Guest Blogger: Krista Longo

I am not big on reading, but if I find a book that interests me that completely changes. Recently, my best friend told me about a book that she read. She told me it was one of the best books she had ever read and she started telling me about it. After I thought, “This book sounds amazing, I definitely need to borrow it!”

So I asked her for the book and I began reading. Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin, is about a forbidden romance. It tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan. She had always been the perfect good girl, until she turned thirty. Her best friend Darcy throws her a surprise birthday party. After a night of too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed that night with Darcy’s finance.

Although she wakes up the next morning wanting to forget everything that happened that night, Rachel is soon discovering that she has feelings for Dex, the one guy that is off limits. As the wedding date nears, Rachel knows she needs to figure her feelings out. She realizes that the difference between right and wrong is sometimes blurry and that you have to risk everything to achieve true happiness.

Something Borrowed is the first book of a five book series. Although I haven’t yet finished the series, I am in love with it. These books always keep me entertained and interested in what is happening. There is so much suspense and drama involved that you feel like you are a part of it. Each book takes a new perspective from a different character, continuing on the story from the first novel.

I would definitely recommend reading these books. Giffin is a very talented writer who knows how to capture her audiences’ attention. She makes it hard for you to stop reading and put down the book. Giffin is also very good at sending out life lessons through her writing.

Next time you are at the bookstore, invest in the book Something Borrowed to begin reading a fantastic series.

Make it so.

We read The Hunger Games for my Adolescent Literature class this week. I love this book. I loved it so much when I first read it; I had to teach Adol Lit just so I could make it required reading for everyone. It’s an amazing text.

If you don’t know what The Hunger Games is about, or have never heard of it, you have been either living under a rock or are simply deprived of some serious quality American popular culture. The biggest news of pop culture in the past two weeks—aside from Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood and Lindsey refusing a plea deal—is that they have cast the role of the main character in The Hunger Games movie that is coming out next year. Apparently, everyone who is any female of acting caliber has read for, or at least wanted this role. Names from Abigale Breslin to Hailee Steinfeld have been mentioned but ultimately, the character of Katniss Everdeen went to Winter’s Bone actress Jennifer Lawrence.

In class, several of my students’ referred to this text as science fiction. Many wrote in their text response for the book that they didn’t care for science fiction so they had a hard time getting into the plot. I assigned this text as a dystopian novel: America in the future is a desperate place where the overruling government requires each of the segregated twelve territories to send two children into the Hunger Games each year where they fight to the death. Very much like The Giver and Brave New World, this text is classified as dystopian.

It never even occurred to me that this plot—or dystopian novels—could be classified as science fiction. I am not kidding. I never considered myself a fan of science fiction. In my mind—like many people, I am sure—lovers of science fiction are anti-social misfits that spend too much time analyzing the forcefield capabilities of the Enterprise. But as I write this, I realize: I know what the Enterprise is. That already makes me one of them.

I had to really face my sci-fi roots this week. No one has ever accused me of liking sci-fi—and I say that like it’s an accusation, a negated identity that I would never want to be associated with. Yet in this month alone, I have started rewatching The X-Files from episode one, something I just did a few years ago.

I have also listened to an audio version of Fahrenheit 451—again a revisit for me.

I also referenced the new Battlestar Galactica in last week’s blog post and quoted from Firefly in an email to a friend.

And the other night, I had a dream about Jean-Luc Picard buying me the new iPad2 as a gift for Easter. (don’t ask. I can’t even believe I am admitting this on a public blog.)

Apparently, I do like science fiction. Apparently, sci-fi fans are not all anti-social.

OK. You have me on the misfit description.

A Room of One’s Own*

Every time I teach any gender-related course in which feminism comes up in discussion, it is inevitable that a few students—both male and female—will vocalize an unwarranted need to continue any feminist activism. Because, these students argue, girls can do anything boys can do.

In theory, this is true. In practice . . . meh. Not so much.

If you are still arguing the point that men and women have achieved equal status (and many of you still are), you might want to consider this:

From Amy King at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, “Best of 2009” tracks women’s efforts in publishing by breaking down the book awards and ‘best of’ lists of 2009 (originally posted at SheWrites).

Amazon: Top 100 Editor’s Picks 2009
77 Men
23 Women

Christian Science Monitor: Nonfiction
18 Men
4 Women

LA Times
Fiction
16 Men
9 Women
Nonfiction
19 Men
6 Women

Library Journal: 31 Titles
19 Men
10 Women

The National Book Awards
Fiction: 1 Man / 0 Women
Nonfiction: 1 Man / 0 Women
Poetry: 1 Man / 0 Women
Young People’s Literature: 1 Man / 0 Women

New York Times
Nonfiction
43 Men
12 Women
Fiction and Poetry
25 Men
20 Women

Publishers Weekly
71 Men
29 Women
Top 10
10 Men
0 Women

Washington Post
Nonfiction
69 Men
17 Women
Fiction
57 Men
27 Women

The Nobel Prize for Literature: 1901 – 2009
91 Men
11 Women

The Pulitzer Prize
Biography or Autobiography, 1919 – 2009
63 Men
5 Women
Fiction 1948-2009
40 Men
16 Women
Nonfiction, 1962 – 2009
36 Men
11 Women
Poetry, 1950-2009
44 Men
16 Women

U.S. Poet Laureate, 1937-2009
36 Men
10 Women

* “In order for a woman to write fiction she must have two things, certainly: a room of her own (with key and lock) and enough money to support herself.” — Virgina Woolf

Guest Blogger: Christie Jenkins

Boldly Breaking Through

A woman has been catching eyes and turning heads on the Bestseller list and in Vogue. Fatima Bhutto a twenty eight year old Pakistani woman who is at the heart of the politics in Pakistan and stolen the hearts of many admirers. Her book Song of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir, has been released and shares Bhutto’s family history; a history that is violent, cruel, but also passionate, with the relationship between her and her father at its core.

What makes Fatima Bhutto such an inspiring figure is that she is able to rise in a country that is famous for silencing women. She comes from a family that has formed some of the most corrupted governments but also has broken walls (her Aunt was the first woman elected as Prime Minister in a Muslim state). Her Father Mir Murtaza was assassinated in 1996, and Bhutto refuses to remain silent about who she thinks is responsible, she does not play into the fear that has kept so many on their knees, instead she has pointed fingers and stood up for what she believes and knows to be true. She is truly an inspirational figure!

I first came across Bhutto in surprising place, Vogue magazine in an article entitled “Dreams of her Father” with a sub heading “Brilliant, beautiful, and outspoken, Fatima Bhutto adds fuel to the feud within Pakistan’s warring dynasty…” I was intrigued and quickly unraveled news reports, interviews, and reviews surrounding her books and her life. She is on a mission to help her country and those that need it the most, even though every time she goes home her life is at risk. At the end of the interview in Vogue, Bhutto states:

We are a rich country. We have gas, oil, resources, but because of endemic corruption we are forced to beg for help to take care of people who need it.

She has organized and supported many programs aimed at helping her people, and she does this knowing that her government and members of her ruling family have aided in ending the life of her father, grandfather, brother, and Aunt. I felt that this was a woman who should be known and read and reflected on, for she is a force that has overcome millions of obstacles and expectations in order to help serve her countrymen.