Check this out

….. not to let Glee take over this blog but here is some news.

Haven’t read any blow me away books lately – but Joshilyn Jackson’s new book is coming out so I think I will reread Gods in Alabama and then her latest, which focuses on a Gods character.

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Clear Eyes, Full Hearts,

Can’t even finish the game????  I love this show but this episode was just painful, every freaking moment was bleak.  Well except Tami and the coin toss, and I was so grateful for that little moment.  Please, please, I need some light.

Vampires: A phase or eternal?

I have been waiting for today ever since I pre-ordered the final Sookie Stackhouse story to download directly to my Kindle…two months ago.  Unlike my friend, I am obsessed with vampiric fiction.  It is shamefully trendy, I know!  From Vampire Diaries to Cirque du Freak to Twilight, I am a vamphile.  I was excited to see the Eclipse trailer on a friend’s Facebook page.  That’s where I am at the moment. 

When considering this entry, I’ve racked brain: what is the metaphor?  (I was destined to be an English teacher).  What do vampires represent?  Why the vampire-mania?  In Buffy’s time, vampires were only good for slaying, but now, they are objects of desire — undead heroes that cause females to swoon and swear undying love. And yeah, the pun is intended.  Because, according to one of my 7th grade girls, some girls are just obsessed with Edward Cullen only and some are obsessed with the idea of him: the idea of true love lasting forever and forever inhabiting perfect, youthful bodies.  

And maybe that’s what they represent: youth, beauty, love and reliability.  At the moment, I think it’s fair to say times are hard and that those universally admired attributes seem to be in short supply.  Have you read CNN today? Oil slicks, teacher strikes, car bombs and the ever-present missing woman, presumed murdered by boyfriend or husband.  Unlike real life, when you snuggle into the couch with popcorn, a diet 7-Up and a novel with a dashing vampire, you know what you are going to get.  You can count on them to stick around because they never die.  Remember, the good vampires, Stefan and Edward, don’t kill humans.  They are noble and self-sacrificing.  They struggle with the moral implications of being the undead and just need a good woman to love ’em up!  

Vampire fiction is cheesy, predictable and a little embarrassing, and it gives readers the means to escape into the dream of true love forever and ever and ever.  And they lived happily ever after, forever, and never grew old. The end.

Really cheekyreader? Really?

O.K. so I have welcomed cheekyreader to Libr*fiti. I did this for 2 reasons – this first is that as my life has taken a turn from where I was when I started the blog and I am not keeping up in a manner that I would like, and I figure that another contributor will help. The other reason should be evident by her introduction – we don’t always have the same take on things and I thought it might be an interesting dynamic to have on this blog.

That being said – Good girls don’t have sex?!? Really?!? You are going THERE?!?. There is nothing more annoying than moralizing in a book or t.v. show in an after school special kind of way. You know – Quinn is pregnant, EBC is well, evil, etc. In fact I thought Glee’s choices in who went through with it and who didn’t was a cop out and stereotypical. I am not so sure we should be so hung up on sex in that American puritanical kind of way. Shouldn’t we take a more healthy approach, which admits that good girls not only have sex, it doesn’t have to be a negative thing?
Also I am pretty sure Las Chicas are not entirely representative of all girls that age. Particularly since the teen in my life announced it was a boring episode because nothing happened…… Read into that what you will. Then again like the chicas, the more singing the better.

And of course all of this has particular resonance in terms of YA, it has taken a while to break the problem novel model of ‘punishing’ those who have sex (girls) with pregnancy, abortion, hell even death but I feel it necessary now to remind everyone of Forever – meeting ‘Ralph’ didn’t ruin the girl’s life. What does it say that I remember the penis name but not the name of the girl? So there – good girls do have sex.

GLEEful Good Girls

Here I go, dipping my toes in the waters of blogosphere.  Although I am a reformed techno-phobe (when I was 21, a friend sat me down and insisted that I create an email account), I am not quite techno-geek and, well, I am reminded of the early morning swim practices of my youth…everyone else jumped in, and I entered the water inch by inch.  So, hooray to blogging.  It’s another inch into the brave new world of ____________.  

Who am I?  Well, a reading, grading papers, yoga-posing, cupcake baking kind of person who wants to write.  Of course, this is Mary Ann’s blog.  She is amazing.  If everyone had a Mary Ann, well, this world would be a better place.  She’s letting me blog with her, and maybe some of my students will read…get ideas about books, post to a “live” audience!  And, maybe I will make some new reading friends who have ideas for inspiring our younglings to read!  

Thus far, my 7th and 8th graders don’t feel too thrilled or impressed about the idea of their English teacher having a blog.  One kid tried to humor me by using powerful vocabulary (they know I love that): ” I am ecstatic,” he said. Unsupportive, ironic little buggers.  

Speaking of little buggers, how about “Glee”?  (I promise to work on transitions).  One of my 8th grade boys thinks it is the “most ridiculous show” on tv.  He’s a pretty cool guy and prefers “The Office.” I started watching “Glee” last season, finally caving to intense pressure from my 8th grade girls.  Usually I find it hard to commit to a weekly show, but thanks to Hulu and a husband who works late on Tuesdays, I’ve managed to be a faithful Gleek. My 8th grade girls and I enjoy discussing each episode: we are very critical of Mr. Shue — Will, grow up! — , love Mercedes just the way she is, think Kurt should get over it and revere Sue as the goddess of hair insults.  However, I was a little alarmed about The Power of Madonna episode.  Guess why…

Because of a personal vendetta against Madonna?  No.  Because Rachel’s negligee looked like something from 1950?  No.  Because the idea of discussing three plot strands in which three characters may or may not lose their virginity makes me feel uncomfortable?  Yes.  I know, I know…what about Quinn?  She is already pregnant.  Puck is a womanizer.  Evil brunette cheerleader is promiscuous.  What’s the difference?  Is it because Quinn, Puck and EBC are punished for their choices?  Maybe.  The prospect of Rachel losing her virginity to annoying guy, Jesse, from Vocal Adrenaline is frightening.  Aside from the fact that we (8th grade girls and I) think Jesse is snake, Rachel is a “good girl.”  And, I think that is what bothered me most.  Because, if I am honest, I wasn’t as concerned about Finn in a cheap motel with EBC or Mr. Shue and Kewpie Doll (Emma Pillsbury).  But, “good girls” having sex?  Noooooooo…!  I won’t add a spoiler, in case you want to see it on Hulu.  

My 8th grade girls (from now on referred to as Las Chicas) and I discussed the episode.  Las Chicas varied in their responses.  One advised others “not to watch with parents.”  Too cringe worthy.  Other Chicas felt like there was too much sex, and they especially don’t care about Mr. Shue. They just want more singing. But one Chica said that “Glee” is like real life.  Apparently, Jesse getting mad at Rachel is true to life.  According to La Chica, unlike 90210 — the characters on “Glee” make choices that are realistic. 

And this is the crux of why I like “Glee” — because the characters break into song, and yet the show is still described as “realistic” by the Las Chicas.  It’s funny and smart and true to life — for some more than others.  

This brings me back to my earlier confession — the good girl thinking about having sex.  Can she still be the good girl?  The type A, uber-motivated princess with two dads?  I know, I know — she can.  I teach middle school, a world of absolutes, of good and evil, black and white, right and wrong.  And that might be another reason they like “Glee”.  It presents the middle ground,the space between light and dark, a space some Las Chicas navigate already.

FNL

The thing is there is always just enough bitter with the sweet- Saracen-redemption, loses just so it isn’t too perfect.
But Joe McCoy makes my stomach hurt.

This time of year

Last night my beloved jayhawks went down.  Normally when this happens I rewatch a season of Buffy so that I can avoid any mention of it – like a commercial for the final four or something.  But this year – well, I am pretty sure they overachieved, and it wasn’t a horrible loss.  I had no expectations.  So I am not so inclined to binge on Buffy.  But then again a good Buffy watching is never a bad thing.