It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts
Here are a few of the reviews we have done last week. We are also inviting everyone to join our Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge. We hosted the AWB Challenge last year and we are thrilled to be able to host it again. Do sign up if you are looking for exciting reading challenges with monthly book prizes. Click on the titles/images below to be taken to our blog posts.
I have also written a post about my thoughts on the Accelerated Reader Program.
I am inviting fellow teachers, teacher educators, writers, librarians, authors, artists, parents, fellow book enthusiasts to share their own experiences and ideas about the AR program.
This week, we will be sharing about Edgar Allan Poe and his affinity for darkness that dwells in men’s hearts.
We are also joining Nonfiction Monday this week hosted by Abby the Librarian.
Nevermore: A Photobiography of Edgar Allan Poe
Written By: Karen E. Lange
Published by: National Geographic, 2009.
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
This book provides a perfect overview for young readers who would like to know more about the Master of Macabre and his tortured life. I read this in an hour’s time, yet I feel that I have learned a lot of information about Poe that I never knew before. It contains enough facts to make it interesting for a younger audience, juxtaposed with lovely imageries to make the events come to life; and just enough so as not to overwhelm the reluctant reader.
I was particularly taken by this photograph of Poe’s mother, Elizabeth, who died of tuberculosis when he was only two years old. I am reminded by some of the lecture sessions I conduct about the thin line between creativity and madness, and how a difficult life history contributes to what Dabrowski calls “positive disintegration” defined as “a series of psychological disintegrations and reintegrations, resulting in dramatic change to a person’s conceptions of self and the world.”
Clearly, Poe’s childhood with his foster family (with a foster father who found it difficult to connect to his theatre-going, poetry-loving ward with the sad eyes) and his many lost loves, and his seeming-desperate attempt to love and be loved, his alcoholism that proved his undoing, his brilliant mind edged with devils and demons and darknesses – all make for a compelling reading. Definitely a must-read for those who are drawn to Poe’s works.
For those who wish to know more about Edgar Allan Poe, click here to be taken to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore website filled with helpful links and information. The NYC Department of Education also has a collection of teacher resources to introduce Edgar Allan Poe to classrooms of different grade levels – pretty comprehensive site.
Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe
Story and Illustrations By: Scott Gustafson
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
I was intrigued by the title of this illustrated YA novel and borrowed it with great interest. As I read the novel, however, I was disturbed by the lack of historical notes that would link the narrative to an actual episode in Poe’s life. It appears more like a fictionalized retelling of a fragment of Poe’s childhood.
While I found the premise of an imp that whispered grisly thoughts that slink and slither in Poe’s young mind, and a talking Raven who seemed more like the imp’s anti-thesis quite promising in the beginning – their conversation throughout the novel, while lighthearted and funny (and would most likely capture a lot of youngsters), did not appeal to me that much.
Think of this more like a mystery novel (not necessarily within the genre of nonfiction), with Poe being accused of a misdemeanour that he did not do; hence, his quest to clear his name so that he would not be punished. Throw in a theatrical show, a prized rooster, and a Magician with a demon on his back – and you have a story in your hands. Not sure though how close the depiction of this boy is to the actual young Edgar Allan Poe. More than anything, I enjoyed the masterful illustrations. I think we need more richly-illustrated novels.
This was the very first meeting of “Saturday Night Out for Book Geeks” (aka SNOB-Geeks) with John Boyne’s “The Terrible Thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket” with (a few) illustrations by oliver jeffers. We had a lovely discussion punctuated by easy laughter, a dose of healthy skepticism (Mexican American style), and a suspension of disbelief (courtesy of Felicia, who thankfully does not speak backwards). It was a beautiful evening with people who obviously care about books – the best kind of people, if you ask me.
I am now slowly reading my November books for my TWO book clubs. “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende for GatheringReaders at the Jurong West Public Library with 9-12 yo kids (discussion is on 17 November) and Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian” with the SNOB-Geeks due on 23 November. Looks like I have my reading cut out for me in the next two weeks. This and A Dance With Dragons. Plus a few others besides. Book Love.
There is also a recent review of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Series in The New York Review of Books entitled The Women and the Thrones written by Daniel Mendelsohn. This article explains why I am so enamoured with the series.
Read-a-Latte Challenge Update: 211/212 (150)