Meg by Steve Alten

MegI love sharks. I will read anything with a shark on the cover. A book about the Megalodon, ancestor of the Great White Shark? Yes, please. I picked up and read this book around 2010. I still have the physical copy I read on my bookshelf. I didn’t remember much of it, but I remember enjoying it a lot, and I want to read the sequels, so I gave it a reread. It’s as good as I remember.

This book is a whirlwind of a read. It starts heavy and it keeps up its intensity to the end. I read huge chunks of the book in a sitting because I found it so difficult to put down. It reads like a movie, carefully plotted, with excitement at every turn. I hear this book has been made into a movie, and I kind of want to watch it, but I doubt it will be as good as this book.

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Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Darkly Dreaming DexterI watched the Dexter TV series on Netflix a while back, and after discovering it was based on a book series, I sought out the books. I have three of them on my Kindle. I add books I want to my Amazon Wishlist and snag them when they drop in price, and the first three must have dropped below $3, or I wouldn’t have them. They have been on my to-read list for a while, anyway. I am just now getting around to reading one. I can’t tell you how good it feels to read something I want to read, for fun rather than for school. 

I enjoy these police-procedural books. You know the ones: a serial killer is on the loose and a cop or someone who works for the cops is trying to find out who is doing the killings and why. I think of James Patterson when I think of these books, and speaking of which, I should really read one of his books again soon. Anyway, I digress. Darkly Dreaming Dexter brings something unique to the table, but for better or worse, it is one of these books. For this book, it’s for worse. 

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Teaching Running Out of Time

Running Out of TimeI recently taught Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix to two Eighth Grade ELA classes. I have essentially read this book three times: on my own before teaching it, and aloud to two different classes. I’ve had enough. I did not like this book. It has been taught by other teachers at my school for years, and when I was given my classes, I was given the book. I made the most of it. In this entry, I’m going to tell you what I did not like about this book. However, acknowledging its merit to student, I’m going to discuss the benefits of teaching it as well.

I wanted to give a spoiler-free plot summary of this book, but it is extremely difficult to talk or write about this book without spoiling it. If spoilers concern you, stop reading here.

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Animorphs: The Stranger

Animorphs The StrangerSo, funny story with The Stranger: I read this seventh book of the Animorphs series in 2018 a day or so after reading The Capture. I got ridiculously busy with school shortly after, and I did not get to write my recap. I tried to write it when life slowed down again, but the details of the book were fuzzy to me, and I knew I’d have to reread it again to do the book justice. Now, coming back to the series in 2021, I decided to go back to book 7, recap it properly, and move forward from it. I had considered moving on and rereading and recapping book 8, but the lack of a post for 7 would trigger my OCD, so here we are.

I actually listened to the audiobook for this “read.” The school I teach at this year is nearly an hour from my house, so I was able to get through the book in about two days. I loved the audiobook. This “read” made me appreciate this book so much more than I did before. It was never a favorite of mine, but now I think it is a really solid entry in the series.

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Making Criminals (The Hate U Give)

The Hate U GiveSo, a little backstory before I dive into this entry: When I was growing up, I loved Drew Barrymore, and Ever After was one of my favorite films starring her. Drew Barrymore’s character, Danielle De Barbarac, loved books, and the last book her father gave her before he died was Utopia by Thomas More. She quotes Utopia in the movie and lives by More’s ideals. She uses the book as a defense against selling servants, quoting More: “For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?” The book was published in 1516, so it is old, to say the least. What I find interesting is the idea of an “appearance of justice” More wrote about back then is remarkably similar to the “justice” (or lack thereof) Starr sees in The Hate U Give. 

More’s quote is interestingly similar to Tupac’s verse quoted in The Hate U Give: “The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everybody” (page 17). Both Tupac and More mention infants. Tupac says, “The Hate U Give Little Infants…” More writes, “…and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy…” Both are basically saying neither group is given an opportunity to be more than they are because they are not supported. They are born into their stations and are stuck there.

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