Monday, January 18, 2010

Reading Discussions and Books

The director of my local library was nice enough to meet with me and offer some advice.
Among her many helpful suggestions was that I make some reading discussion questions for the book, so I think I'm going to try and come up with some before I go back to school. Goodness, but that's soon...

I'll probably post the questions or at least a link to them on the side of the blog, and on the book's Facebook fanpage. I'm looking forward to making these, because I think that people can find a TON to talk about when it comes to this book. Whether you like it or hate it, you'll be able to find something to rant about. There are controversial subjects, there's a whole lot about high school, about stereotypes, movies, books. Well, there's really only one scene that goes into books, but it's a fun scene. It's between Phyllis, the main character, and her best friend, Taylor. Phyllis isn't a big reader; she's far more musical (which I wish I could be). But Taylor LOVES to read. One wall of her bedroom is a bookshelf. She'll read anything. In fact, maybe she should have a book blog...

While Taylor will read anything, she won't buy just any book. Because, first of all, who has the money for that? Secondly, there are rules that apply. Time for an excerpt! (At this rate, I'm going to just end up posting the whole book.)

Jesse played his music loud (nothing wrong with that) so that we had to yell to each other.
“Can we go to the bookstore first?” Taylor shouted.
“Which one?” Jesse yelled.
“The bigger one!”
“Barnes and Nobles!” Key told him loudly.
“There’s only one Noble! It’s Barnes and Noble!” Taylor screeched.
“Whatever!” Key yelled.
“She’s right though,” Jesse told her. He had to tell her twice, practically shrieking the second time.
“So can we go there?” Taylor demanded.
“Yes!” Jesse shouted.
“Thank you!” Taylor screamed.
So, upon arrival, the four of us headed straight for Barnes and Noble. Jesse and Key went to look at CDs and DVDs. Taylor and I wandered about aimlessly.
Looking over the books, I didn’t spy anything tempting. I usually get books at the library or for Christmas, a habit started long ago when I was saving money for a keyboard. Now I was saving for a car.
First I just had to learn to drive.
Unlike me, Taylor was a book addict, and had something to say about every book she saw. She picked one off a shelf. “Phyllis, this author calls himself F. Paul Wilson. What do you think his friends call him. F? or F. Paul?”
“F. Paul, time for dinner!" I giggled.
“I wonder what the F. stands for.” Taylor put the book back.
“You know,” she said, “there are certain books I can’t buy. It’s not that the books are bad; some of them are probably really good. I’m just a bigot.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Bigot?”
“About books.”
“I thought you’d read anything.”
“Oh I would. I just don’t buy anything.” She looked around and pointed to a book on a bestseller table. It looked like one of those action/romance/murder type deals. “Look at this author. She’s the reason I can’t buy her book.”
“She looks like your mom.”
“Yes she does. And my mom would never—” Taylor scanned the book info “—never ever write a book like this.” She replaced the book, looked around for another. “And this one,” she said after she’d read the back. “This one is about a girl, narrated by a girl. But a man wrote it.”
“Doesn’t Stephen King do that? And Harry Potter?” God forgive me, but I’d never read a Stephen King or Harry Potter book. I don’t have enough patience and energy for all the pages. And I’ve decided my life is weird enough as it is.
“They’re different.”
“How’s that?”
“Stephen King switches.” She grinned. “And my mother abhors him. I just bought his books in the first place to piss her off.” She held up a defensive hand. “But I do read them. And Harry Potter is too good to apply stupid rules to.”
I pulled out a Janet Evanovich book. “What about her?”
“Her main character’s hilarious. But I get pissed because she eats donuts and cake all throughout the books, and she’s still being...sought after by guys.”
“She probably works out.”
“It never says she does.”
“Well I don’t tell everyone whenever I go for a walk or eat something less fattening than usual, but I still do.”
Taylor snorted. “If you got fat it’d probably just go to your chest.”
“You’re lucky I don’t say anything bad about you skinny people.”
She laughed. Taylor and I understood each other.
Taylor didn’t buy any books in the end, but Jesse got another loud CD.

I know I can get pretty discriminant when I'm looking for books to buy, which doesn't make much sense. I should be willing to try anything. I can't really describe what it is that draws me to books. New books, that is. If I see a new book by a favorite author, I'll buy it, of course. I'm dying to read Tangled by Carolyn Mackler, because I love her books. I have such a long list of books I already have to read, though! I can't imagine being a full-time book reviewer, I read far too slowly and lazily and I'm completely unorganized. I've been reading the same book all winter, with others in between. I guess I have trouble focusing. You might be able to tell from the direction of some of these posts...

Oh, but for those who are interested, I've been reading a book called "The Beekeeper's Apprentice." It's a new take on Sherlock Holmes- he's older, retired, and takes on a brand new sidekick. Her name is Mary Russell, and she's his match for brains and biting wit. She finds him when she's 15 and almost trips over him in a field. Great book. I keep reading and from case to case it just keeps getting better.

That book has reading discussion questions in the back (as do many others) so perhaps I'll look to them for guidelines when forming my own. I'm not sure if I want mine to be quite like others, though. I want some that'll cause huge arguments and scientific debates!

I'll probably start working on them tonight, and I'll post them for consideration as I think of them. I'm thinking I'll go for 10-15.

Also, thank you to my new followers! Like I said before, I'll work on getting you guys some company! My new goal is ten!

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