Category Archives: Nerdiness abounds

ALAN is Mecca

Beautiful readerly people, life is just so much! Last week, I finished a 2 week marathon session of teaching The Odyssey to delightful 9th graders, expedited the Thanksgiving festivities with my family, and attended the ALAN conference in Atlanta (got books, met authors, lived life)… oh, and I got a dog.

First things first, let me subject you to feelings of severe jealousy based on the spoils of my Heroic Journey that was November, 2016.

alan

All ALAN attendees (mostly pre-service and certified teachers) get a 40 lb box of books plus a “swag bag” with more books. Additionally, most (if not all) of the authors in the books and bags are speaking at ALAN, so you have the opportunity to get all 40 lbs signed. As my friends and I quickly discovered, this is a divide and conquer task, since I got well over 40 books, so one must prioritize based on author.

I, personally, put 100% of my effort into meeting A. S. King and M. T. Anderson. You know how they say “don’t meet your heroes”? Don’t listen to them. Meet them. Meet all the wonderful, inspirational people you can, especially authors. These magical unicorns of humans have dedicated their lives to telling important stories and offering insights that are often misunderstood or misrepresented, so they have earned your spazzy fanship.

Behold:asking

As I stood (first!) in line to have books signed by Jason Reynolds, I looked upon the undoubtedly fascinating conversation between A. S. King, M. T. Anderson, and some guy. Ignore the rando and just enjoy the fact that great minds are magnetized to each other.

Speaking of Jason Reynolds…

jasonr

And M. T. Anderson…

mtanderson

It was a darned good time! I hope to be able to go in future years. And thank God teachers are paid so well that we can jet-set across the nation every November to highly anticipated and moderately expensive conferences!! OH WAIT, WE’RE NOT!

Also got another nerdy tattoo!

tat

Lastly, this is my puppers. I realize this is not book-related but you can get over it because he is adorbs and this is my blog.

groot

Have good days and I hope to be back as soon as possible!

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Filed under Lindsay, Literary Ink, Nerdiness abounds, Not A Book Review

Teachery Tools

One day, I get to decorate a classroom. Most classroom spaces are blank canvases, with concrete blocks, MAYBE carpet instead of cement, and a bulletin board space. Sorry, that’s not going to cut it in my classroom. I’m excited to share some of my plans with you guys, because I know that no one will appreciate my decorative aspirations like my blog friends!

hogwarts map

Click here to buy on Etsy

westeros map

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Maps on maps on maps! I’m automatically inclined to like a book if it has a map in the front, because that means I’m about to be transported to an exciting new place. I have always known that I’ll have maps of my favorite literary places on my classroom walls. Hogwarts, Middle Earth, & Westeros = entirely necessary.

middle earth

Click here to buy on Etsy

In high school, I loved sentence diagramming! This poster shows diagrammed formats of famous first lines from Classic texts, combining two things I love!

Click here to buy

Click here to buy

Click here to buy on Etsy

Click here to buy on Etsy

Please look at these stamps. We’ve been talking a lot about grading in my Grad classes and how certain feedback can really shut down budding writers, so my plan is to give feedback that stimulates students and encourages them to keep going. My ultimate goal is to replace failing grades with “keep going” grades, and I think I can use this Gandalf stamp to tell them, “let’s stay here and work on this a bit more.” I understand that that is not the intended purpose of the stamp, and yet, it will be my purpose.

Click here to buy on Etsy

Click here to buy on Etsy

This one would be used for the opposite purpose! I don’t want to say Pass/Fail or A+/F-. I think throwing in this literary reference could make it seem less serious, and hopefully could reduce the stress students often feel to succeed.

sting

Click here to buy on Amazon

Please look at this letter opener!! I mean, how many unopened letters will I receive as a teacher? Probably not many. But when one comes along every now and then, I’ll be so ready.

mug1

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And here is my Stark mug.

 

clock

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A Deathly Hallows clock? Yes, please.

 

 

Click here to buy

Click here to buy on Etsy

Look at these adorable stamps! These could really help with my plan to give feedback that is constructive & requires follow up so they can correct mistakes, but the monsters are totally cute. Maybe a little juvenile for late middle and high school, but I do what I want.

Click here to buy

Click here to buy on Etsy

I love burying my nose in an old, musty book. Library books also have a very endearing smell. For that reason, I will one day buy one of these candles and, depending on the authenticity of the scent, I will constantly have one blazing in my classroom.

Click here to buy on Etsy

Click here to buy on Etsy

This calendar has different literary quotes for each month & really cool graphics. Need.

 

Guys, I’m just so excited to one day have a space that I can make my own. Most of these things, aside from the posters, don’t take up much space, so that leaves tons of wall space to leave for my students to decorate with displays of success. I think a unique and personalized space feels less sterile and makes teachers and students feel more comfortable in a learning environment. The more receptive we are to the space, the more we might absorb. Regardless, I want my classroom to be a space where all my kids feel safe to engage and be themselves, so I’m setting the example by being my own nerdy, book-loving self.

I hope you all enjoyed looking through these things and I encourage you to click on the pictures and support these creative individuals. I plan to do another post about “Teachery Style” soon (I have to buy several of these things before I reveal my amazing finds to the bookish public), so stay tuned for that!

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Filed under Lindsay, Nerdiness abounds, Not A Book Review

L: Book Nerd Christmas

My Christmas was less book-centered than normal this year because my family went all out and focused on my outdoorsy side. However, what I did get, I love! Hannah was kind enough to give me a cute canvas Banned Books tote bag and no, your eyes do not deceive you. That is indeed a HP wand remote control. It is the most fun I’ve ever had screaming “Avada Kedavra” when I turn off the TV. My Hobbit laptop sleeve is amazing, obviously, and I’m so excited about all the new books in the house, as if my TBR list wasn’t long enough already. Christmas is truly the best time for book nerds, but then who needs an excuse to get some new book toys? Links are below, so you can enjoy them with me!
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Banned books Tote | Harry’s Wand Remote Control | Harry Potter Illustrated Edition | The Hobbit Laptop Sleeve
Luna | Ready Player One | Blood Meridian | Red Rising

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Filed under Lindsay, Nerdiness abounds

Love the Look of Your Book

I have a problem that I don’t really consider to be a problem: I’m willing to spend way more money on a more attractive copy of a book that I intend to buy. Aesthetics are a big deal to me, especially when it come to my books. I love the idea of color-coding one’s bookcase; especially in those luxurious pictures online of a whole wall of sectional bookcases, with each section revealing the many spinal hues of each color. I, however, would never do this. In theory, it’s a great idea, but I like to keep “families” together and all too often, books in a series don’t maintain a constant color scheme. I refuse to separate my Harry Potter books just based on color. They must stick together, and thus the color-coding notion is discarded.

Image from weburbanist.com I am quite meticulous about book height, though. I have my bookcase organized based on height and in continual descending order. Again, books in a “family” must all be the same height. This may be particular to me and my preferences (I’ve seen some very haphazard bookshelf sorting that make me cringe), but it also may not. The main drive behind reading and buying books is preference; just browsing through a book store doesn’t tell you anything about the plot twists or character struggles. Sometimes, it’s all about what catches your eye, and for books, this makes looks very important.

We’re a very visual society; television, cinema, video games, etc. have increased in popularity with the increase in technology and visual capabilities. If a book wants to get noticed, if it doesn’t already have the cult following of many classics (which pretty much ensures continual reading among future generations), or if a book wants to set itself apart from all the other things you don’t want to read on just that shelf at the bookstore, it will HAVE to employ some sort of eye-catching cover art, interesting title, or elaborate spine decoration which makes it the one you pick. A book needs to catch your eye for survival purposes! Maybe it’s a library book and it has to remain popular or it will get the boot; maybe you bought it, read it, and are now letting it live on as decoration in your home. It has to look good to survive. I have a huge stack of books that weren’t attractive enough to take up much-needed space on my shelf. They cry about it everyday, but it’s their own fault for not being better looking.

I remember when Hannah begged me to read the A Song of Ice and Fire series for months before I actually picked it up. I thought the cover was boring, that was my whole reasoning. Not only do books have to compete with technology these days, but they often have to employ the advancements in the visual arts for cover art the will capture my eye. I was generally offended that G.R.R.M’s publishers didn’t try harder. “Um, let’s just make each volume a solid color with some vague symbol on the front, okay?” No, not okay. I’m sure I’m not the first to look at that cover, think “well that looks boring” and pass it up for something far less entertaining and worth my while. Publishers need not be so lazy!

FGN In the spirit of this topic, I postponed purchasing my own copies of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series until I found just the right set. I wanted them to be old, preferably hard cover volumes, used but with no notes or blemishes, and all of the same “family.” Well lucky me, I found them this past weekend at a used bookstore in Nashville, TN. They don’t have the hard covers, but they have been loved by someone before me, have unique, eye-catching covers and all belong to the same family (and they have that amzing smell that buying new versions just can’t provide). On a sidenote, I also got a hard cover used copy of Rebecca so I’m also stoked about that! Patience and superficial preferences pay off and I found some really great treasures!

I know I’m not the only one! Does anyone else have preferences in regards to your books? I’d love to hear from you!

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Totally Trendy!

Happy early birthday to Suzanne Collins! If you don’t know that name, get out from under that rock and pick up almost any newspaper or magazine from this past Winter and you’ll quickly figure out who she is. She is the author of the recently oh-so-popular The Hunger Games series. I doubt it would be much of an exaggeration to say that everyone everywhere has at least heard of this particularly trendy series. That’s the thing about books that are “trending;” even if you choose not to partake of it, you still cannot help but be aware of its existence and seemingly ever-growing popularity. So this Wednesday, I decided to do a bit of a tribute to books and series’ that seem to sweep the nation.

I’m talking about the books that “trend” in such a hard-core way that libraries and bookstores experience temporary but albeit frightening levels of patronage. I was working at the Oconee County Library when America was going through the “The Hunger Games” phase, and I cannot recount how many people came in and signed up for a new library card (whether it was their fist card or their old card had long since expired) not so that they could browse the shelves and enjoy our selection, but so I could hand them their new card in time for them to immediately hand it back and ask me to put The Hunger Games on hold for them.

Confession time: I have not read them. Like I said everyone and their mother (literally, moms love it) came to the library wanting to put their name on the hold list. I didn’t feel compelled to buy it and I certainly didn’t want to wait in line, so I passed. I’m sure I’ll read it later, once the madness has subsided. But I understand the allure of a trendy book just as well as the next reader. I rode along for the Harry Potter madness. And although the Song of Ice and Fire series has not fully swept the nation, it is gaining popularity quite quickly.

The important thing is that we, as readers of quality literature, only get caught up in the works that deserve to captivate the masses. There will always be books that become popular for reasons I’m never quite able to pinpoint, or reasons that are questionable at best, i.e. libido. Series’ like the Twilight saga and the recently controversial 50 Shades of Grey have nuzzled right in to the “lady porn” category, gaining popularity with females ranging from ages 15 to 60 based solely on their saucy contents. I have read no reviews praising the authors’ evident talent or eloquence; none commenting on the originality of subject matter and plot lines; it’s simply the female version of “Penthouse Forum.” Which is fine. Those who take offense don’t have to read it. Done deal. I’d just like to acknowledge the works that deserve this level of popularity. While some books become trendy because of controversy & social taboos, others employ fluid language as well as original and challenging story lines. Which is more worth our time? I’ll let you decide.

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Filed under Lindsay, Nerdiness abounds, Not A Book Review, Wednesdays with Lind-say!

Belated Wednesday’s with Lind-say

Yes, yes, I know. I vowed to write something each Wednesday and thus far I have been a smidge of a slacker. Well, yesterday was move-in day so the blog just had to wait. My sincerest apologies to all.

In other news, those of us who grew up alongside the fantastic fictional characters in the Harry Potter series were lighting a celebratory candle for Harry and J. K. Rowling’s birthdays on Tuesday. This series stands out to me in my “Why it’s Lovely to be Literate” series because my love affair with books truly began with Harry Potter. My aunt Cyndie lent me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and suggested that I give it a try and, from that first page, I was a goner.

Every once in a while, a book comes along that captivates readers in a way that is hard to describe. Even now, I am having a hard time truly expressing how formative this series was for me, as it undoubtedly must have been for many others. Up until that point, my reading was merely done for educational purposes and, like most pre-teens, recreational learning was not on my to-do list. Then this book came along and completely upturned my reality, showing me that reading was capable of being something I yearned to do instead of merely being something I tolerated. I get the impression that this shift in perception happened to readers across the globe. Rarely can a book bewitch (no pun intended, but still appreciated) readers of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Parents were equally enamored; perhaps because the books offered momentary solace and escape from everyday life and forced readers to picture a world beyond the average stretch of the imagination. Whatever the reason may have been, the entire world turned its gaze upon this series. Hannah and I were both intensely into them; I still remember the rush of excitement when I saw the Wal-Mart employees wheeling out crate after crate full of books ready to be handed out at midnight. I still remember Hannah telling me that she had stayed up all night and finished one of the books before the sunrise. I still remember thinking she was crazy but secretly being jealous that I hadn’t thought to do that as well. I am quite literally jealous of my younger self. I resent the fact that I can’t go back and read them again for the first time. Read and reread I will, until my dying day, but I will never again will it be like that very first time. I remember it being, for lack of a better word, magical.

So, we the literate, are able to fully understand the timeless value of those stories. Some people cheat and only watch the movies. Poo poo, I say to them. The movies were great but undeniably pale in comparison to the story when being told by your own imagination. Cheers to you, J. K. Thanks for writing the most influential series this generation will probably ever know. And Cheers to you, Harry. Happy Birthday to the boy who lived.

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Filed under Lindsay, Nerdiness abounds, Not A Book Review, Wednesdays with Lind-say!

Wednesdays with Lind-say!

Since Hannah is off gallivanting in Europe, it has been left up to me to maintain the blog and the interest of our readers on my own until she returns; that’s exactly why the blog is all but drooping and you all have probably long-since lost interest. It’s understandable, though. This is a blog about our reading experiences and our sometimes complimentary, sometimes opposing insights and opinions. So, without her to support me, my blogging falls short of perfection, as I like to think hers would if I were to take a Euro-trip. In any case, the show must go on and thus I offer you another Why It’s Lovely To Be Literate, or “Wednesday’s with Lind-say” (as Hannah so cleverly dubbed it), segment!

Now, remember my first post about the loveliness of literacy? How it feels like we, as readers, are in on some joke that the rest of the world simply doesn’t understand. We can now laugh along and give a “yeah, totally” thumbs-up to the person on the sidewalk wearing an “I party like Gatsby” t-shirt. Well we must not forget that the exclusivity is not the only perk! A love of books and reading can often lead to a different perspective on what’s important in life. When you love something, you want to surround yourself with whatever nurtures and enhances it, right? A love of literacy and the knowledge it brings is no different. When this particular passion becomes a driving force in a person’s life, in my experience it results in a love of elaborate display methods and the desire to befriend others with the same passion.I value this change in perspective. In me, it has developed into a great appreciation for the small things in life. My happiness requires far less than the 21st Century entertainment industry has to offer. I don’t need video games, just a good storyline; no thanks, you can keep Snooki from Jersey Shore and I’ll just be over here with Bilbo Baggins. I find him to be exponentially more appealing.

I think this is one of the best things about literacy. Yes, we’re “in” on the joke. Yes, we get to browse the internet for awesome little gadgets that only readers would be able to appreciate. But the most important thing is that we appreciate the value of an interesting character and a captivating storyline. Few, if any, “reality stars” can measure up to the fictional characters with whom I associate myself!

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Filed under Lindsay, Nerdiness abounds, Not A Book Review, Wednesdays with Lind-say!