I facilitate a book club with the high school students at work. We started with Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell over their winter break. And we when finished it in Feb., I brought in several books for them to choose from for what we would read next. The consensus was Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl.
The book is a fantastic first-person recounting of the narrator’s, Blue van Meer, senior year in high school on the U.S. east coast. It’s an interesting choice for the kids I work with, because there will be little common experience. Most of the students have lived their whole lives in the city and have little experience with life outside of Southern California or Mexico. Continue reading Discussing Special Topics in Calamity Physics with teenagers 1
Well, now that November is 12 days old, NaNoWriMo is ending the second week. With a goal of 1,667 words a day, I should be completing just over 20,000 words today.
But I’m not. I should make it well past the 3,000 word mark today. And though that’s not on track for winning this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m actually very pleased with myself.
So far, my NaNoWriMo story (with the terrible title Mars Attack [it desperately needs to be finished so it can tell me a better title]) is the longest work of fiction I’ve written. I write a lot of very short stories and rambling blog posts, but I don’t usually write even short-stories. The only other venue I’ve written so many words in was the MA, but even there I ranged on the short side of all the writing. My thesis, the giant paper that I spent almost 2 years researching and writing in order to get my degree, was short at almost 70 pages.
Continue reading NaNoWriMo Update 1
Well, it’s November again. All Hallows Eve was spent watching black and white horror movies, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Walking Dead.
And when the clock rolled over to mark the beginning of November, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) kicked off. And for the second year, I’m attempting to write a novel length (50,000 words) story all in the month of November.
Last year was my first attempt, and I think I set too high of a goal for myself then. But this year I have a longer story mulling in my head and acceptance of my limits as a writer. But I also want to challenge myself to get better, and the only way to do that is to try tasks that I think are just outside of my ability.
And so I’m on attempting NaNoWriMo again. We’ll see how many words I put down this year. I’ll post updates here, for people not signed up on the NaNoWriMo site. Or you can friend me there. I go by the handle EnglishN3rd.
If you’re headed into a month of furious writing – good luck. If you’re sitting out this year – don’t feel too bad if all the writers you know are absorbed in their projects. November isn’t that long, so we’ll all be back before you know it!
The Hunger Games, a young adult novel set in the very sad future of the United States of America, is a fantastic story. Suzanne Collins obviously knows her apocalyptic fiction, as she crafts a story with characters that remain human in an inhuman world. The novel fits very nicely within the grand tradition of life after the end of the world under a dictatorship.
I really love the characters, especially Katniss. Her emotional growth and conflict rise about the brutal conflict we watch her struggle through. Much like Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, I care what happens to the narrator, even as I am confused by the world she lives in. The optimist in me thinks that this world could never come to be, but the realist sees the world of George Orwell’s 1984 becoming reality and knows that it just takes the right conditions.
Why this novel isn’t a 5 star for me is because of the length. I wish that the trilogy was condensed to 1 book. Continue reading The Hunger Games