I didn’t like Eleanor & Park. I didn’t connect with the plot or the characters and I pretty much had to force myself to finish it. I was therefore understandably reluctant about reading Fangirl. Sure, everyone was raving about it, but most people rave about Eleanor & Park, too. In the end, I decided to read it, because the concept was interesting to me, and because someone in the library had to…
For those of you who don’t know, who haven’t guessed from the title, Fangirl is a about a young American girl just starting college who obsessed with the (doubly) fictional ‘Simon Snow’ fandom. With good reason too! Cath has been fully immersed in the fandom for years, and her current slash fanfiction ‘Carry On, Simon’ is a cult-hit with tens of thousands of fans eagerly waiting each new chapter. The novel centres on Cath’s struggle to mix her fandom life with her real life – a difficult mix at the best of times, made more so by a twin who is going off the rails, and the confusing attentions of real boys.
Despite my unwillingness to start this novel, I am really glad that I did. (Evidenced by the fact that I finished in a day!) Maybe it’s because I myself have been a fangirl, maybe Rowell’s writing has improved, or maybe I should give Eleanor & Park another chance, but I really enjoyed Fangirl from the moment I picked it up.
Neryn thought she had lost everything and could trust no one, not even her mysterious companion, Flint.
But when she finds refuge at the rebel base of Shadowfell and discovers her canny gift as a Caller, she feels the first stirrings of hope.
Now she faces a perilous journey with the rebel Tali and the Good Folk, who shadow her steps. She must find the three Guardians who can teach her how to use her unwieldy gift – one that it is rumoured could amass a powerful army.
Can Neryn master her magical power to save Alban from King Keldec’s stranglehold?
Or will she be too late?
When I read Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell last year, I really enjoyed it. However, reading it again before opening Raven Flight I did find the progression of the story rather slow. This was understandable for a novel that centres around the slow development of trust between two people who have little experience of it, and a journey across a dangerous landscape. It made me a little worried about Raven Flight, though.
As an adult reader (and avid fan of Juliet Marillier!), I still enjoyed Shadowfell, but as a teacher librarian who is trying to promote the novels to students, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to convince my students to A) pick it up, and B) keep reading.
Raven Flight quickly allayed any such doubts.
This was a fantastic novel, both in its own right and as a sequel. I found myself mesmerized by a novel that was equal parts adventure, fantasy, quest and coming-of-age novel – with just the right amount of romance! Marillier is a master storyteller, and whilst Shadowfell may have gotten lost in the long journey which Neryn undertook, Raven Flight continues that journey at a pace which is captivating and entrancing. I definitely didn’t want to put it down!
I haven’t managed to do too much reading lately – life has been very busy with the approach of Christmas and lots of work. In exciting news, I have managed to get a job for the upcoming school year – I will be working in a school as a teacher-librarian! Just what I was hoping for! 😀 😀 😀
A side-effect of this is that I have been given a pretty long recommended reading list, full of stories that young adults like to read. I had to laugh when I saw that I had already read quite a few of the recommended authors – my enjoyment of YA literature is definitely coming in handy! The best of the recommended YA books I have read so far is definitely Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen. The novel has some great characterisations, and dealt with some sensitive issues in a delicate yet realistic manner. More on the novel below.
Coming up, my reviews of Juliet Marillier’s latest release, Flame of Sevenwaters, and the (auto)biography of John Barrowman, Anything Goes.
Featured this month:
- Contest – Matthew Reilly
- Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight – Nick Earl and Rebecca Sparrow
- Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
- Crow Country – Kate Constable
- The Body in the Fog – Cora Harrison
It is nearly two o’clock in the morning here, and I am wide awake.
Ideally, I would rather be blissfully dreaming the night away, but clearly that just isn’t going to happen any time soon.
I have been spending the last week (or is it two? three, even?) being alternately absorbed by the book I’m reading (On the Edge by Richard and Mindy Hammond), the TV show I’m watching (Eureka – behind the times in the middle of season 3), and the many, many articles and books and forums I’ve been reading in preparation for my upcoming assignment.
My mind is awhirl with combinations of serious brain injuries, strange science experiments, styles of leadership, car crashes and professional development plans. Is it any wonder at all that I suddenly can’t sleep?
I’m actually quite amazed that I haven’t forgotten which way is up and which subject I’m meant to be focusing on at the moment. But then, there’s still time! Come Monday, it could be that my lecturer gets an assignment on the fascinating and addictive show that is Eureka, and a report on the effects of serious brain injuries. Or, if I can actually get to sleep sometime soon, mayhap they’ll get an essay on two of Goleman’s leadership styles and a report providing an overview of a professional development plan.
Maybe. We’ll just have to wait and see. And, hopefully, sleep.
There are so many more facets to the roles and responsibilities of a teacher-librarian than I ever imagined. Even now, after a year of studying, I am continually surprised by all of the tasks school librarians are expected to accomplish. I never expected that the seemingly boring role of budget management would be one of them. Let alone that it would prove to be less boring than I always thought…
The [school library] collection cannot afford to be an eclectic gathering of interesting resources that may prove to be useful.
Well, and damn!
(I guess I’ll just have to leave the eclectic and interesting resources for my own personal library… :P)
My understanding of the role (and especially the future) of the teacher-librarian continues to change. I have read so much in the past year about the future, or lack thereof, of the school library that my understanding of just what teacher-librarian’s do, their role within the school community, changes almost drastically from one day to another.
For my new semester at university, I have been reading a few articles on the future of the library in this ‘post-literate’ world. And I have come to a new conclusion: no matter how much the focus turns from the maintenance of a print-based collection to a digital one, no matter how the library is perceived, even if they take away the books and the library, there will still be a role for the teacher-librarian (even if they change the title).
My current understanding of the role of the teacher-librarian is founded upon the importance of information literacy, upon the need to ensure that students are critically aware and able to decipher all information to the best of their ability. Even if there is no longer a physical library in schools, but merely a digital one, the teacher-librarian may still have a role in ensuring that all students (and staff) are information literate.
But that, even there, is my worst case scenario. In my dreams, the future is one where the importance of the book and the printed and bound word is still recognised, and the library is not just something that teachers and principals put up with for tradition’s sake, but because they recognise its value, and its fundamental beauty. But what can I say? I’m a traditionalist, and I’m a romantic.
Mai Lee (2010), A library without books?
Doug Johnson (2010), Libraries for a post-literate society.