Warm Bodies Part 2

So, I feel really unobservant right now. I was doing some research on the Warm Bodies movie. On the IMDB website, there is this wonderful little bit of trivia.

The film is based loosely on “Romeo and Juliet”. “R” = “Romeo”; “Julia” = “Juliet; “Perry” = “Paris”; “M/Marcus” = “Mercutio”; “Nora” = Juliet’s “Nurse” (the character of Nora is also a nurse).

It makes complete and total sense. I can’t believe that I didn’t see it. I shall have to hang my English teacher hat up for the weekend. I am not worthy of it. Before I hang it up in shame, though, this novel might be a way to get my kids who are obsessed with zombies to like Romeo and Juliet more when I teach it in May. Hmmmm…. the wheels are turning already.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm BodiesWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I toyed with the idea of reading this book since I saw the trailer for the movie. I knew that it would be an easy read and I didn’t want to spend the kajillion dollars (okay $10, but still!) to buy it– especially when I knew it would only offer a couple of hours of entertainment.

After reading a review by my friend Amy, I decided that I would read it. I took myself to the library and requested it. I waited. And waited. It arrived for me this morning; I picked it up at 9. It took me about two hours to read.

They were two of the best hours I’ve spent with a book in a long time. That really surprised me. I wasn’t really planning on liking it. In fact, I was completely prepared to hate its guts. I figured it would be just another zombie book in a long line of zombie books.

This one had heart. R, the narrator, is one of the most fully fleshed out (har-dee-har-har) zombies ever written. Because the book is written in first person, we are allowed inside of R’s head and follow his thoughts as he develops through the book. It is this character development that I love. Through his relationships with the Living and the Dead, R becomes whole again. I never thought I’d end up rooting for the zombies.

I am planning on purchasing this book. It is going to stand up to multiple readings. I am sure that there are nuances that I missed the first time around.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Scar Night by Alan Campbell

One of my students recommended this book to me. He is what we call a “reluctant reader” so I was excited to read it. I don’t know how to tell him that I did not really like it much. The fact that it took me ten days to read is a testament to how I had to drag myself through it. He kept on telling me that it would get better, but I never found that the case.

The world of Deepgate is a dark one. I’m all for dystopian societies. Usually they are the settings for my favorite books. The description of the city was detailed to start out. There are chains everywhere, supporting buildings over the Abyss. I never quite figured out what was holding the chains up, but maybe it was because I didn’t read closely enough. I really didn’t care. The problem that I found with the explicit detail is that it felt like a broken record to me. Just as the story started revving up, there was a description of the horrible living environment. It was more distracting than helpful.

Campbell jumps right in to the story without much exposition. Normally I like that, too. However, he also jumped in with a completely different vocabulary with no explanation of what the world-words meant. I guess it is a good exercise in contextual reading. I spent the first few chapters trying to figure out exactly what was going on and why it was going on. Characters were tossed in as if the author expected us to already know who they were. I kept on checking to see if this was a book 2 of a series.

The main characters were superficial. There was no depth to them. Campbell kept hinting at a deeper story, but never told it. I know that this is a method to increase anticipation and interest in a novel. The thing is, you’ve got to stop being a tease and give the information.

The first book in a series should make you want to read the second book. I just let out a sigh of relief when I was done, ready to move on to a more interesting book and forget that I ever read Scar Night.

I gave it 2/5 stars on Goodreads.

Ripples in my Pond: Twitter and My Donors Choose Project

Right now I am completely in awe of the power of social networking. I recently submitted a project to Donors Choose to purchase a classroom set of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Donors Choose is a place where teachers can post projects and donors can donate as much or as little as they choose. I heard of it through comments on this post by The Bloggess (who is really very sweet, in spite of all her declarations that she is not).

I looked at the website and immediately thought, “Oh, this will never happen. I don’t know enough people.” Then I started thinking of my social media network. I follow some of the most amazing, generous, funny people. I decided right then and there that I was going to do this thing. After all, you never get anything unless you try, right?

So, I spent a couple of days filling out the proposal, stressing over every word. When I submitted it, it came back approved. *YAY* The next step was getting the word out.

Last night I turned into to a human spambot. No… a spamhuman. (Oh great, now I am hearing Monty Python in my head. Lovely day, innit?) I have never been very good at self-promotion. Asking for help makes me feel all funny inside. Asking people for help with MONEY makes me feel like … well, I don’t want to put a disturbing image in your mind. Let me just say that it is incredibly uncomfortable.

My followers were very kind and didn’t jump ship when I started asking everyone I knew to retweet my project.

My twitter friends Amy (@lucysfootball) and @patrixmyth assured me that I wasn’t a spambot. It was good because I was beginning to wonder. Lisa (@lgalaviz), another generous person though she tries to deny it, decided not to retweet it just once, but a million times. If you don’t follow them on twitter, go, do. If you aren’t on twitter at all, sign up, then follow them. It is easier that way.

My heart swelled when pnut from my favorite-band-of-all-time-forever-and-always 311. If you’ve never checked them out, you need to. They are an amazing group of guys and their music is the rockin’est.

Then Neil Gaiman HIMSELF retweeted it. Not only that, but he replied to my request for a retweet! I think my hubby thought I blew a gasket. I was jumping up and down from the joy of the response. I thought I was too cool to react like that. I guess I am a geek at heart. I am embracing that part of me.

All of this ties into the novel itself and the unit that I am going to be teaching. Every action has meaning. If I had read that comment and not done anything about it, I would still be sitting here, trying to figure out how to get a great book for my students to read. I made the choice. The velocity of that choice allowed me to experience this awe-inspiring moment. Because I took this step, my project was funded in less… than… eight… hours!!

To all the donors and those who helped me: Thanks for being the ripples in my pond.

Chasing the Whale

The Great Whale

I suppose every literate person at one point in time decides that he or she should read the wonderous tale of great Captain Ahab. Well, this winter break, I have decided that it is my goal to finish Moby Dick.

I have made it farther than I ever thought possible. I made it through the chapters about cetology and learned more about the whale than I ever wanted to know. I do have to admit, however, that I did skim it a bit. Does that make me a bad person? I have to say, no. I have decided that it makes me an efficient reader. I made it through the chapter glorifying the color white, effectively ignoring the statement that all things white (including people) are superior to all things dark. I accepted that because of the historical time period in which the book was written.

Now I am almost 300 pages in and I have hit a lull. There is a part of me that thinks I should just give up. The other part, however, says that I should soldier on. My fear is that I will become obsessed with finishing, much like Captain Ahab has done.

On a lighter note, I do love me some Queequeg! There is something very inspiring about the pagan cannibal. He gives me joy. Maybe I will finish itjust to find out what happens to him.

Wish me luck in my pursuit! Off I go to harpoon myself a book!