Friday, September 2, 2011

Book News: A (Small) Rant, Authors Playing Sports, Literary Baby Names & Cemeteries, and Bacon in Book Titles

I hit my limit this week -- the "I really can't fit any more hours into the day -- there are only 24 -- and I don't have enough time for anything" limit. Because my work comes before play, that meant school was the focus rather than the blog. School was actually the focus more than anything: spending time with loved ones, reading, watching television, working out, blogging.

There have been many days in the last three weeks when I've worked 10 or 11 hours at school, then come home to work an additional three, four, or five hours at night. I haven't been getting much sleep, and I (obviously) haven't had time for any "free time." (A bit of an exaggeration... I went to a Titan's game on Saturday night. But before I left on Saturday, I was busily doing paperwork and printing off curriculum materials to browse on the way to Nashville!)

There are a whole host of reasons I feel more stressed this school year, but one in particular is the Tennessee state legislature's systematic war on teachers. You can read a bit more about that here, but suffice it to say that Race to the Top has nothing to do with sound education. And nothing in common with the wildly-successful Finnish school system I mentioned last week. We teachers in Tennessee will continue to do the best we can possibly do in order to help our students be the best they can be. Perhaps at some point our stress level will decrease as a result of intelligent law- and test-making, with the focus becoming actual student achievement rather than data from a single standardized test score. (Whew. Okay. Off my soapbox.)

Because it is a holiday weekend (and because I worked for about four hours last night preparing for the rest of the week), I feel a little bit "freer" tonight. So, a blog post, in light version.

Virginia Woolf Playing Cricket
Flavorwire's post about authors playing sports (with photographs). Yes, you want to click on over. The first photo is Agatha Christie in 1920s swimwear, on a Hawaiian beach beside a surfboard. Enough said. (via The Book Bench)

Also from Flavorwire, a list of literary baby names for your perusal. Interesting reading, even if you aren't expecting a little one anytime soon.

Bronte Vault, via The Literary Cemetery
Since it's getting to be slightly fall-ish (in month, if not in weather), here is a list of ghoulish literary trips: a Publisher's Weekly blog post that attempts to discern which is the most literary cemetery out there.

I love this twist on Dahl's The BFG!
Twitter exploded with the literary hashtag #replacebooktitleswithbacon this week. They're funny. They're really, really funny. Even southern author Mary Kay Andrews got in on the action yesterday, as did mystery writer Kathy Reichs. (via Jacket Copy, although I noticed the trend on my own Twitter feed!)

The Hunger Games (the movie, not the book) debuted its first trailer at MTV's Video Music Awards last Sunday. As MTV's VMAs are not always on my watch-list, I caught up with the video on YouTube after the fact:
I simply can't wait to see Katniss come to life onscreen.

I'd like to tell you all about the fabulous review books I've read this week. But as aforementioned, I've had little time for reading pursuits. I do have a stack of excellent reads waiting for review that have just been published or are about to be, including:
  • Jeffrey Archer's Only Time Will Tell
  • Ernest Cline's Ready Player One
  • Celia Rivenbarks' You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl 

Perhaps this weekend will afford me the time to read and review. For now, however, I'm going to curl up with the next book in Sara Shephard's Pretty Little Liars series, Killer, which one of my students let me borrow this week. A little light reading and an episode from the last season of Big Love on my Galaxy tab via HBO Go, and I'll be as happy as a clam.

Have a fabulous weekend, and happy reading!

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