Reading Habits

I think it’s common for each of us to do something in our own way, and to feel it’s the normal way. But then you see or hear about doing that same thing differently and you wonder, have I been doing it all wrong? 

This is how I feel sometimes when it comes to other people’s reading habits. Of course I know that there isn’t actually a right way or a wrong way to read when it comes to choosing a book, how many I read at a time, how much I read in a day, etc., but sometimes I still feel that way! Here are my reading habits and why they work for me.

1. Most of my reading happens during my lunch hour at work. My typical reading time is only five hours a week, all during my lunch hour at work. This works for me because this is not a time that is conducive for doing much else, and it’s set-apart time where I don’t have to feel guilty for using it for reading. If I’m really into a book, I will sometimes read a little more at home in the evenings or on the weekend.

2. I only read one book at a time. The one exception to this is my Bible reading or if I’m reading a little bit of a non-fiction book at a time, usually along with other people. I cannot even imagine trying to keep up with reading multiple fiction books at one time though, and it would take me longer to finish a book which would drive me crazy! If it takes me much more than a week to finish a book I usually get antsy (unless I knew it would take a while because of the book’s length), and I think I would have an obvious favorite and that the others would get put aside.

3. I don’t read ARCs, so I read whatever I want, whenever I want, almost always solely based on my mood. I actually feel weird when I finish a book and I don’t know what I want to read next. I almost always know. And I don’t like when I’m ready for a library read that isn’t available, and when it is I’m usually in the middle of something else (like me impatiently waiting for The Winner’s Kiss right now).

4. I have a bad habit of losing bookmarks, so I generally use ticket stubs, coupons, and other random paper things. I really wish I used pretty bookmarks while reading, but alas.

I want to hear from you! What are your reading habits? Why do they work for you? 

Advertisements

Ten Books Every High School Student Should Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Books Every X Should Read, and I decided to go with high school students.

Even though I’ve always liked reading, I always dreaded required reading. So many of the archaic classics just did absolutely nothing for me at the time I read them. However, several of them were also very thought-provoking. If I was given a high school English class with free reign how to teach it, I would want to include some books written in the last few years as well, because many of them are also very impactful. Below is a mix of older classics and newer stories that I feel every high school student should read.

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

GR-tokillamockingbird

I kind of feel like this one’s a given, and for good reason. I read it in the 10th grade and am long overdue for a reread.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

thebookthief-cover

My thoughts on this one can be summed up in this GIF:

readthebook

3. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

GR-thecrucible

This book is about The Salem Witch Trials, written during the time of the Communist Red Scare in America. Point being: the message it timeless. This book rocked my world in 11th grade.

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

GR-thepictureofdoriangray

Thought-provoking but far from boring. I read this one the summer before my senior year, and it really wasn’t a bad poolside read. Plus, it may encourage the students to read more Oscar Wilde, which they should because he is hilarious.

5. Anthem by Ayn Rand

gr-anthem

Alternative possibilities that work just as well: The Giver or The Hunger Games. But let me explain what I think is great about Anthem for high school students though. First off, it’s short, which is always a plus for required reading. Secondly, the character perspective is interesting. At first, you’re not reading about a unique individual, like Katniss. And you’re not reading about a child who is given a great opportunity, like Jonas. You’re reading about an adult who is toiling in his world when he makes a discovery on his own that changes everything. Besides, there’s a decent chance in this day and age that a high school student has probably already read The Giver and The Hunger GamesAnthem explores more dystopia themes that will take their critical thinking to another level. It is a little heavy-handed, but that in itself might make for interesting discussion as well.

6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

gr-thehobbit

Pretty much because it’s a fantasy gateway, and if a high school student hasn’t read any fantasy yet, it’s time for them to discover if it’s for them or not.

7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

enders_game_ya

Another genre read that again, I think high school students should be exposed to. And it certainly has plenty of material for a paper or a class discussion.

8 and 9. Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys

ruta-wwii

I had to include both, because seriously, moving WWII fiction that focuses on lesser-known parts of history.

10. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

crime&punish2

I had considered just making this one a bonus for AP students, but this book impacted me too much for me not to put on this list. Even if it’s an abridged version, that’s fine. No one really needs that sub-plot about the sister anyways. This book is all about consequences to actions, something I think all high school students need to think about.

What books made an impact on you in high school? What book do you wish you had read in high school?

One Paragraph Book Reviews

gr-vicious

Vicious has gotten a lot of praise, but I was a little nervous about reading a anti-hero story, because that’s not my usual thing. This story is darker than what I normally read as well. The chapters alternating between the past and the present put together the story in such a way that helped you see what made Eli the way he was, even if he made some wrong choices. It was compelling, but not for everyone as it was dark and violent. I’m also not sure if I feel the need to continue reading on. The story does end a little openly, but I was satisfied with it.

Rating: 4 stars//Content advisory: Moderate language, high violence, some off-screen sex but nothing graphic

gr-salttothesea

Easily my favorite book this year so far, Salt to the Sea was beautiful and heartbreaking, much like Between Shades of Gray and yet different. The story follows four POV’s, all who meet up by the time they reach the Wilhelm Gustloff, where a maritime disaster worse than the Titanic yet lesser-known strikes. The story was a little confusing at first because we are thrown into the middle of these people’s lives, but you catch up and become wrapped-up the stories.

Rating: 4.75 stars? I’m still waffling between 4.5 and 5//Content advisory: All sexual content/language/violence is mild, though some themes might be a little mature for some younger readers.

gr-twist

After enjoying Loop and feeling the need for more answers, I quickly turned to the follow-up, Twist. However, I ended up disappointed. The plotting felt more convoluted and confusing, and instead of things making more sense at the very end, we get *spoilers in white* a reset button that felt like Fringe all over again, except worse. I didn’t dislike it enough to give it a real low rating, but I would say if you’ve read Loop but not Twist, keep it that way.

Rating: 3 stars//Content advisory: All language, sexual content, and violence is mild.

gr-therithmatist

The Rithamitist is hard to explain. It’s alternative history, it’s fantasy, it’s a dash of steampunk. While different than Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy, it would appeal to fans of it, I believe. At first I was a little confused by this world of chalk drawings and soldiers that use them, but ultimately I just fell in love with the characters, as I usually do with Sanderson’s books. Joel feels like a precursor to The Reckoners’ David, but I liked him more, and dramatic Melody is so much fun to read. At the end, I was ready for more and it is simply a tragedy, as Melody would say, that I have to wait so long for the sequel!

Rating: high 4 stars//Content advisory: Mild violence

gr-calamity

It saddens me to say that Calamity is my least favorite of the trilogy AND my least favorite Sanderson book. The first half or so DRAGGED for me. It probably didn’t help that I had awful book amnesia concerning the second book, so I can’t blame that particular confusion on Sanderson, but I expected him to be able to draw me back into the world and characters and care again, but I just couldn’t get into it for the longest time, and even when I did I wasn’t all in. We are given obvious foreshadowing for what is to come, but it ended up being kind of confusing and not feeling like true closure. I thought maybe I missed something but other reviews on Goodreads have echoed sentiments of the weird plot holes. Maybe I shouldn’t have read this one right after The Rithmatist, but this book just failed to have the usual Sanderson magic. The only thing keeping it together is my moderate interest in David and the series as a whole.

Rating: 3 stars//Some violence, mild sexual content, mild language.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Movie Review: The Martian

Despite my bookish nature, I decided to watch the movie The Martian without having read the book. Thus, this review will be about the movie as a movie, not as an adaptation of the book.

the-martian

After a mission goes south and it’s believed he’s been impaled to death, Mark Watney is left behind by his crew – on Mars. Once the reality of the situation sinks in for Mark, he puts his mind to work. How can he contact Earth? How long would it take for a rescue mission to reach him? How can he make his food supply last that long?

I really liked Mark’s character. He’s extremely competent, but he does have to try things by trial and error at times. He’s also very funny, which helps him get through and is entertaining for the movie as well, especially since there’s also a lot of science and math babble.

In addition to Mark being stranded on the planet, we get to see some of his mission crew, making the long journey back home, as well as that of several NASA employees on Earth. I really liked seeing all these different facets of the situation. When NASA finds out Mark’s alive, we see them struggle with the PR situation, if and when to tell the rest of his crew, how they are going to attempt a rescue, etc.

the-martian (1)

martian-group-01-800

I really enjoyed every aspect of the movie, from the writing to the acting to the directing. Since I didn’t know the story and how everything would play out, I was intrigued the whole time and on the edge of my seat towards the end. The only complaint I have is small, and that is I wish I could have gotten to know some of the other astronauts a little better, but I know that wouldn’t have been feasible in the movie’s time length, and it didn’t need to be any longer.

The Martian isn’t a new favorite, but it was definitely very enjoyable. If funny, realistic sci-fi appeals to you, I’d definitely recommend The Martian.

4-5stars-edit

Have you seen The Martian? What are your thoughts? Have you read the book?