I just read that a teacher in Virginia at a Catholic school had his students participate in NaNo this month. Their goal was 30,000 words rather than the 50,000 most aim for.
I understand that private schools don’t have to necessarily cover all the same topics as public schools, but I find this to be a bit much. Class time has likely been used for it. And it’s impossible for him to give any kind of substantive feedback with the time crunch.
Obviously he figured this would help them improve their writing skills, but I disagree. Why not instead focus on writing throughout the month? Poetry. Short stories. Maybe a short nonfiction essay? I just don’t think this is the best way to really help high school students improve their writing. And I don’t think it’s a good use of the time he has with them.
What do you think?
The holiday season is upon us here in the US. Black Friday is less than a week away and then it’s a mad dash to get everything you need for Christmas. Which in most cases is nothing, but people suddenly “need” or “want” things when the holidays come around. So dumb.
Anyway, I got to thinking about holiday books recently. We have a table of Christmas cards. We have a table of Christmas books. And there’s a small section of holiday books in the kid’s section at my store. All this to say that I’d never thought of holiday books before now.
I’ve thought of the Charlie Brown specials and old cartoons that start showing up on TV. And I’ve thought of the ridiculous shopping season. But not any books. I mean, is it really THAT important to read something that just happens to be snowy and jolly? Is it THAT important to read a book around Halloween that is about Halloween? No. I don’t think it is.
We already know how crazy Black Friday will be nationwide. We already know about the shopping season that takes place over the next month. We already know about the decorations EVERYWHERE. I just hate that the holiday season now has to be a part of every aspect of life. Oh well. It isn’t a major part of mine. Thankfully.
Do you have any go-to holiday stories? I have none.
First off, I read the book some three and a half years ago. So did I know most of what would happen? Yes. Did I have every detail etched into my head? No.
The movie starts calmly. It has to if you think about what happened at the end of Part 1. We see that Peeta is still in a pretty bad state. And we soon realize that the war is going well for the districts and 13.
What I liked best about this movie over Part 1 and even the first movie in the series is that it played out more like an action movie than the others did. At least in my eyes. It was pretty nonstop from the time Katniss arrived in District 2 until the end of the movie.
When you’re watching it you almost forget that it could ever be adapted from a young adult series. That’s not a shot at the genre, it’s just what I’m thinking.
I thought the cast did quite well in their roles with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson standing out just above the rest. Peeta was good, bad, and even wildly crazy all in just two hours. Hutcherson did well to convince me of the ongoing turmoil plaguing Peeta.
I have two favorite parts of the movie. There’s a scene in which Katniss and her squad are proceeding toward the presidential mansion through the tunnels beneath the Capitol. They’re resting. But their whereabouts are known and mutts are released to find and kill them. They’re unable to outrun them and are forced to fight. They do. But the space is small and most of the squad is able to escape. Except Finnick. He keeps fighting. But he’s ultimately killed. And Katniss kills as many as she can by detonating the holo. It was one of my favorite moments because once Finnick was alone with a long ladder to climb we all knew he wouldn’t make it. But he fought. And fought. He kind of symbolized the entire rebellion.
The other was the assassination of President Coin. One of my favorite parts of the book and the series. It became apparent once the Capitol surrendered that she’d simply take Snow’s place. And it took Snow to convince Katniss, along with Coin proposing a symbolic Games. Katniss always stood for right, and she wouldn’t just stand by and watch one tyrant be replaced by another.
Guys, I thought the movie was a solid ending to a rather fantastic series. My order of the movies is #2, #4, #1, #3. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll reread the series and rewatch the movies.
Thank you, Suzanne Collins. For giving so many The Girl on Fire.
This won’t be a list of things that I didn’t know before I read the series or watched the movies, but more a list of things I think people can reasonably take away from it.
1. Family is everything
We’ve all seen in movies or TV shows that family is the most important aspect of life. We’ve all probably been told by our parents or siblings too. Whether or not you believe it to be true, this series exemplifies the idea. From the start Katniss just wants to stay alive for her family. Her sister. Her mom. And then those immediately around her like Gale and Peeta. Family is everything. It’s why she fought so hard in her original Games.
2. It’s okay to voice unpopular opinions
Katniss is not outspoken before she enters the Games for the first time. She’s pretty average. But as time goes on and she embraces her role as the mockingjay we see that she does not like any of what’s happening in the districts and she speaks up. Sometimes her timing is bad and the consequences trouble her, but Katniss struggles to just keep her mouth shut when she’s instructed to do so. Her freedom of speech is all but nonexistent, but she still speaks out against the Games and the Capitol.
3. Love is a tricky thing
We all know that Katniss loves the people around her. Gale. Prim. Peeta. Her mom. Probably Haymitch and Effie. Cinna. She does. But it’s a different reason for each person. And she still struggles with choosing either Gale it Peeta. Things like love don’t always have to be so black and white like we’re made to believe.
4. War doesn’t solve every problem
And we know this. But it is so evident in the series. They go through this brutal war between the districts and the Capitol and what changes after it all?
5. You control your own actions
During the Games and the war Katniss and company had to do some bad things. She was forced to kill. And she did. To survive. But at the end of the day, the Capitol and whatever you think its real-world equivalent is, can only make you do so much. You still control you.
What did you take from it all?
I’ve seen all four movies on either Thursday or Friday. But this time around Lionsgate started Thursday night showings earlier. I counted ten showings at my local theater for tonight. I don’t remember that many for any of the other movies.
And as a result I managed to try out my local theater for the first time since their heavy remodeling last year. The auditoriums aren’t as big as other movie theaters and there’s less seating because every chair is a brand new leather recliner. They’re huge.
Anyway, my question tonight is simple. How do you plan on seeing Mockingjay Part 2? And what have you thought of the movies? I’ll have a great post tomorrow morning about the series as a whole.
Taylor Swift gets praised and criticized for everything. I’m not a fan of her music. I don’t follow her on social media. And I’m not generally interested in any “news” that comes out about the superstar. I have nothing against her, I actually believe her to be one of the great artists in music today. I just like my country.
But when someone as popular as she is does something to support literacy and get kids reading, I take notice. Scholastic will donate the books to New York area public schools. I’m not sure exactly what her role in the donation is, but I imagine she’s been supporting Scholastic’s charitable efforts for some time.
I know it can be easy to criticize celebrities for attaching their name to charitable causes, but who cares? Promoting literacy is promoting literacy. And Taylor Swift might be the biggest star in the world. So good for her.
What do you think?
The Anne Frank Fund holds the copyright to Anne’s diary. They use the funds they receive from the book sales to support charitable organizations around the world. But no one is talking about those efforts right now.
The copyright to her book is set to expire throughout most of Europe on January 1, 2016. Which means the book would be in the public domain and any organization or publisher could publish it. So the organization is saying that Otto Frank, her father, is actually a co-author. This move will extend the copyright many years.
I have two thoughts on this. First, I don’t think for one second that Otto Frank is the co-author of anything. Second, I have an issue with copyright law as it stands today.
What I don’t understand is why copyright law only extends a set number of years after the creator’s death. Why do great works need to eventually become part of the public domain? They’d still be widely available. And usually very cheap. I think my copy of Anne’s diary cost me like $4. Would we read Shakespeare significantly less if his works weren’t in the public domain? Would certain classics like Dracula or Frankenstein or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn be less read and recognized if not in the public domain? I don’t think so.
So while everyone else wants to say it’s a money grab by the organization, I won’t. This is one of the most widely read books ever, and I have no issue with those who own the copyright trying to hang on to it as long as possible.
What do you think?