Book 9 of 2021—don’t judge how far behind my goal I am. Packing and moving killed my reading this spring and summer. It turns out sitting around and reading when there are boxes to pack made me feel like I should have been packing instead… anyway.
On to Book Thoughts:
I enjoyed the read; I read it in about a day and a half. For some reason I’m not mourning the characters as much as I usually do, but I think that might be because either (1) the title mentally prepared me to lose them and / or (2) I didn’t identify with the characters a whole lot. I don’t usually read books with teen male protagonists, but it was really neat to be in their heads. At the end of the book, the author writes an essay addressing some aspects of the book (including criticism over the title), and he reveals how much he identifies with one of the characters. The thought processes are authentic. It’s not someone guessing “if I were a teen boy, how would I feel?”
On that note, I’m basically the same age as the author and he is on his 4th book. Nothing like reading about his book tour in Denmark to make me feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in my life 😅😐
What stands out? Oh my goodness. So much. First, the concept. I wouldn’t put this book in the “dystopian” genre at all. It’s our contemporary world with one simple change: around midnight on the day you die, someone calls you to let you know, so you can make the most of your last (up to) 24hrs on Earth. What would you do with a day if you knew it was your last?
Next, the concept of connection runs deep in this book. If you don’t pick up on subtleties on the first read, definitely read it a second time. Every character, every action, every moment is connected. It’s a good reminder that our actions impact others.
Lastly, what you probably already know is a theme in the book: Don’t take the moments for granted. The moments matter. Our culture robs us of moments. Consumerism, materialism, capitalism: these systems work together to ensure we have the best, the most, the newest, but they also rob us of time. We are all guilty of chasing the money or the promotion or setting aside our family to do the job that will get us the money or the promotion. Why? So we can have the resources to enjoy the moments, later. Always later. Until one day, later is gone.
I’ve not kept up with my book posts, so forgive the flood coming your way. This is #Crossover by @kwamealexander
I read the whole thing today and loved it. I was attracted to it for several reasons: I want to present diverse perspectives in my classroom library. I want to include books with literary value that young men will enjoy readying, too. And of course, books in verse have piqued my interest both personally and professionally of late. I love poetry, and I love to help my students love poetry. Most importantly, as I’ve mentioned before, books in verse reduce the burden on struggling readers because they accomplish A LOT with a lower word count. Turning pages faster builds confidence!
As far as the story: I loved it. It’s highs and lows. It’s wins and profound losses. It’s basketball as a metaphor for life.
For teaching: YES. There isn’t a poetry or fiction concept I couldn’t cover with this book. Rhyme scheme. Sound devices graphical elements. Foreshadowing. Figurative language. There’s even a tanka!The list goes on.
It has me wondering if maybe I should have my school order a class set. 👀❤️
#IamMalala was an amazing read! It is her memoir of living in a Taliban occupied Pakistan, fighting for her right to education, and surviving the Taliban attack on her life. Her bravery, perspective, wisdom, and faith are remarkable.
From a literary perspective, I enjoy her presentation of the politically complex context that is Pakistan. What many of us (Americans) fail to see is the complexity of any situation. We are quick to throw everything we have into one of two very problematic political buckets and go “all-in”. People from other parts of the world often have much more complex understandings of their (often paradoxical) systems. Malala beautifully presents the stark reality that sometimes there are no “good guys” in terms of political entities, or very few at the most. She examines each event from the perspectives of multiple parties to demonstrate the confusion, distrust, and chaos created by corruption and a history of violence. I firmly believe we should ALL be reading books about historical events from the perspectives of other cultures so that we can see how our county’s actions are perceived around the world.
On that note, I think she tells her story in very much the style of her culture. The caveats and trips back and forth in time to explain context can confuse a reader who isn’t familiar with this type of storytelling. I think it helped me immensely to have read books like The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. These works of fiction introduced me to cultural norms and historical context that I drew from as I read.
Today I finished this book. It’s from my classroom library. I picked it up to read it so I could recommend it to my students. It is told from the perspectives of 3 very different narrators. The story follows them as they navigate relationships with family and friends through huge changes in their lives. Their lives beautifully converge during a solar eclipse. In a lot of ways, it is coming of age story. It’s about change. It’s about beauty. It’s about being comfortable in one’s own skin.
My favorite quote comes from a minor character in the book, Stella, an old lady.
“When I was your age, I knew nothing about the world or my place in it. I figured I’d be someone’s wife, then someone’s mother. It never occurred to me to be someone myself.”