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Showing posts from June, 2014

Book Review: From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt

Wow, it feels like forever since I've done a regular book review.  Okay.  From Rockaway was the first library sale book I finished, and I am delighted with it.  It's short but the story feels dense.  Like how restaurants know to serve you small slices of really fudgy cake.  
          The book starts with four working-class kids from Rockaway Beach - Alex, Timmy, Chowderhead, and Peg - who are coming home from prom. (I think the story is set in the 80s.')  Of the four friends, only Alex is going to college. Continuing school is so rare in this neighborhood that seeing a kid go to bartending school is enough to make the whole community extremely proud, so Alex is a celebrated oddball.  But when the friends part ways that fall, their lives, including Alex's, begin to spiral out of control.  
          The Rockaway Beach in this book is bleak, inescapable, tough, and alternately dull and horrifying. (Dull, because there is nothing to do and no money to do it with.…

Library Sale 2014... A "Haul Post"

The summer has officially begun!
          And not because classes are finally, finally over.  No.  The summer has begun because my co-blogger Grace and I went to our annual library sale this weekend!
           This tradition, in which I force Grace to take me to her country house (which was built in the 1700s'!) so we can go to the Stone Ridge Library sale, is quite central to our friendship and, furthermore, provides me with a security net of books that I can dip into at any time for the rest of the year.  It's MUUUCH cheaper than going to Barnes and Nobles every time I finish a book, that's all I can say.
          So this is a list of what I picked up this year!
1. From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt - Rockaway is my beach!  I spend pretty much all summer there, so I had to read this.
2. Handbook of Short Story Writing: Volume II, edited by Jean M. Fredette - If I'm going to spend all my free time writing reams of short stories, I need to know how to write them properly.

Singer-Songwriters Who Are Also Poets

I know much less about music than I do about books, but I can definitely tell you that my taste in music is influenced by my appreciation for good writing.  I especially love songs with wordplay or that take on a slightly different meaning the more you listen to them.  With this in mind, I've compiled a list of my favorite poetic singers in the hopes that they will confound and delight you, too.

1. Marina Diamandis aka Marina and the Diamonds - She's probably my favorite singer of all time.  "Mowgli's Road" is one of her most poetic and clever songs, but I was totally mystified by it for a while. It's pretty clear that she's feeling pressure to conform to what the music industry wants from her, but then there's also this weird silverware metaphor about how "the cutlery will keep on chasing me" and how the "spoons are metally mean and "the knives are bloody cold".  It took me weeks before I suddenly had a eureka moment listening…

High School Poetry and My Margaret Atwood Reading List

So, I have been a very happy camper in English class this month because we have just started the POETRY UNIT!!!! Yay!!  And what makes a sophomore English poetry unit so wonderful is that we don't even have to write poems for it.  Now, you might think that I would be upset by such a restriction, but actually I couldn't be happier with it.  After all, high school is full of kids who are full of feelings and lacking in experience. What I'm trying to say is that a poetry-WRITING unit would have resulted in a slew of terrible, TMI-inducing poems.
     (I must say that none of the above sarcasm means that I am exempt from the crummy-teenage-poetry-writing crew of America.  I just, you know, keep my poems in a file where no one will ever see them :P)
     But all of that aside, we were asked to pick a poem to memorize for this unit, and I chose "February" by Margaret Atwood.  And thus I became aware of the wonderful writing of Margaret Atwood!  She is a Canadian literary…