A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
To begin, I would like to apologize for the brief hiatus. The last couple of weeks were filled with play practice, play performance, and trying to keep up with grading book reports that present a moral dilemma every time I look at them. I have been reading though and I have not forgotten about the book giveaway that I mentioned, though if I had done my homework properly, I would have realized that The Association of Small Bombs doesn’t come out until much later in the year. Though, in the spirit of award season, and without much to do, I would like to announce the winner of this (almost) 100 followers giveaway. Congratulations, Pots of Tea!
The picture above is of your prize and I hope that you will very much enjoy it. Please email me, private message me, or tweet to me wherever you would like your winnings sent.
In other news, I have managed to continue reading. I recently finished the book Audacity by Melanie Crowder. It’s a novel written in prose about a young woman who begins her life in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. She’s a Jew, which is horribly unlucky if you’re living in Russia at that time or if you’re a young woman full of ideas and a desire to become a doctor and to really do something meaningful. It’s based on the actual life of Clara Lemlich who was very influential in organizing a women’s union in the United States when lots of immigrant girls were working in garment factory sweatshops. It was a beautiful book and I couldn’t put it down. I wanted the story to go further than it did though. I feel like the book ended in the middle of the strikes, albeit a very influential turning point kind of strike, but I know that Clara did a lot more and that we only are given the very beginning of her story.
This book managed to rekindle that fire within me to continue to fight for what I believe in and to fight to make positive change in the world as well. Sometimes, I feel that in the day to day press of life as a 7th grade English teacher in their first year, it becomes very easy to lose yourself in the mediocrity and bureaucracy of teaching. It becomes easy to be lazy and to find the little loopholes. Audacity reminded me to not give in to those feelings and to keep applying my mind in new and different ways. It’s never too late to reinvent my classroom or my teaching style. It’s never to late to work for what you believe in.
After finishing Audacity, I picked up The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, which, as you all know, I was very excited to begin. It is a little too close to all the other YA books currently out there about young women in dystopian societies. There is the main character, who is a pickpocket and destined for the war that is being fought by people called Reds for people called Silvers. Reds are normal, average people who bleed red blood. Silvers are people who bleed silver blood and have special powers – like controlling people’s thoughts and actions with their minds and being supernaturally strong (Cinder, anyone?). The main character, Mare, finds herself working at the palace after being in the wrong place at the wrong time and then being at the right place at the right time talking to the right person. At the Silver palace, she witnesses a Queenstrial (The Selection, anyone?) before realizing that she too has incredibly strong powers she shouldn’t have (Shadow and Bone, anyone?). Of course, Mare is destined to fall in love with the prince, though she’ll have to figure out (there are half brother princes) which one is really right for her. As much as I wanted to fall in love with The Red Queen, I find it to be a strange mash-up of all the other popular YA stories right now and I wanted something a little different, a little new. It’s still well written – much more so than The Selection, but not quite as well done as Cinder. It will be an entertaining read, but it feels like the story is a little tired because I’ve heard it before.
Happy reading and I’ll be back Wednesday.
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No One Here But a Writer Who Gets Up and Try
Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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Stefan Falke photographs artists who live and work along the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region on both sides. All photos © Stefan Falke (use with written permission by the author only)