Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Character Alphabet (Part 2)

Here's G through M

G is for the gate that Margo and Q had to scale on their adventure when they broke into Sea World, the last amusement park in Orlando that Margo had to break into.

H is for the high that Q feels when he figured out that paper towns were not abandoned housing developments, but instead a mapmaker’s way of catching copyright infringement. Then he finds out that Margo was in Algoe, a paper town with one building.

I is for the intensity with which Q loves Margo, even though they hadn’t been friends since they found Robert Joyner dead in Jefferson Park.

J is for Jefferson Park, the location where Margo and Q found Robert Joyner when they were nine.

K is for the killing of the Joyner, a detail that Margo changed for the story she wrote about her and Q when she was 10.

L is for leaving, which is what Margo did. She told Q that leaving was something she had to do for her. She couldn’t live near her parents or the city of Orlando anymore.

M is for Margo Roth Spiegelman, the girl that everyone thought they knew, who sees herself as a paper girl, in two dimensions.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Character Alphabet (Part 1)

Sometimes, when I get bored (or when my students need examples), I do reader response projects. I like this one. It made me think a little differently about my novel. For this example, I used John Green's Paper Towns (Speak, 2008), which my students saw me reading and heard me talk about for a few days.

So here's my A-F

A is for the anxiety that the protagonist Quentin feels when Margo Roth Speigelman convinces him to go on a quest for revenge with her that includes breaking and entering.

B is for Blackberry, the way Q’s friend Radar (probably) updates his Wikipedia-like website called Omnictionary.

C is for catfish. Margo had Q go to the grocery store, buy three whole catfish wrapped separately and hid them in various places, saying that her relationships with people “sleeps with the fishes.”

D is for darkness. When Margo’s clues lead Q to an abandoned mini-mall, he finds the dark to be rather frightening initially. The more time he spent there the more he became accustomed to the darkness.

E is for the effort that Q spent for a month trying to track down the clues that Margo left for him.

F is for failure. Q would have felt like a failure if he found Margo and she was dead.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kindle + iPhone = $259 in Savings

Okay, so I was putzing around on the iTunes App Store during my staff meeting this afternoon and came across the Amazon Kindle app for iPhone and iPod Touch. (Mom you should totally get this.) I've been thinking about how convenient a Kindle would be for the 12 hour trip I have from NM to IN next week, but this is definitely the better solution.

Previously, I was running Lexcycle's Stanza, which I've read is the best app for free eBooks. And you can wirelessly transfer books downloaded onto your computer to your handheld device. It supports Project Gutenberg and Planet eBook downloads, among others. I'm going to keep running Lexcycle's Stanza, if only because of the ease of transfer and the free books I've already downloaded and don't want to lose.

See, I do a lot of waffling. I love physical books. I like the way they feel. I like the way they smell. I like the sound they make when I pop a kid in the head with one. ;-) For me, paper books are much more practical, especially since I think it'd be significantly more difficult to lend books to students from my classroom library if I didn't have the physical thing. Goodness knows that if I lent one of them my iPod Touch, I'd probably not get it back in the same condition if I got it back at all.

From what I understand, though, the book prices on Amazon are lower than anywhere else. I was excited when I found Matt de la Pena's Mexican White Boy because it's been on my list for a while now. But I'd pay $10 for it on Kindle, then pay another $8 at least when I went to buy the paperback to go in my classroom. Gah. Maybe not so practical for me, but I've downloaded a bunch of books in the public domain, so it can't be all bad.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

On Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Series)

I'm going to have to say that this is the first book I've read in a long time (I've been working on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness since sophomore year of high school) that I haven't been able to finish. Usually when I put books down it's because I have to read for class, or because I have other work to do and I fully intend to come back to it. I just couldn't finish this one. I'm going to have to reflect and figure out why. It may have something to do with the fact that I was reading John Green at the same time, and honestly, the two don't compare. I've read some reviews of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the one in USA Today by Bob Minzheimer said Diary of a Wimpy Kid "Has taken the word 'reluctant' out of 'reluctant readers'" which I've found to be true. I bought the entire series (thus far, book 5 isn't out yet) for my classroom library and there's always someone reading it. I like to know what my students are reading, and will usually get to many of the novels I haven't read eventually. I'm going to try to come back to this one. In the meantime, it's going to stay in my classroom library for my students to enjoy.

In other Wimpy Kid news, there's a movie pending. Check out the Entertainment Weekly First Look here.