Best project EVER

For my young adult lit class we have to do a group project on something related to the adolescent experience. My group decided to do teen fads, specifically focusing on music, dance, movies, tv shows, and fashion. As the history major in the group, I volunteered to cover the 1940s and 1950s (although none of the other group members seemed particularly enthused about these decades anyway…).

So now I’m listening to a 1940s big band playlist on YouTube. And it’s totally productive, because it’s research. Best project ever.

In other news, I signed up for the public library’s adult summer reading program. I haven’t done a summer reading program since I was a little kid, and I have this giant stack of library books, so I figured, why not? My goal is 20 books. I already have two. And, given the pace I’m reading Anna and the French Kiss, it’ll probably be three by tomorrow. I think this is probably the cutest book I’ve ever read. I just want to hug it and never let go.

I’m also taking the WEST-E next month. Which, for those of you not in the know, is the state test that I have to take in order to get a teaching certificate that proves that I have enough knowledge of my subject area to be able to teach it competently. Next month I’m doing the Social Studies one, and then this fall I’ll take my other one for my Humanities endorsement. I have like a 19-page PDF file with all of the things that should be on the test. Most of it I feel pretty solid on, but I pretty much looked at all of the stuff that pertains to Washington State History and was like, “When did we ever talk about that?” But I’m not too worried about it.

I have a job interview on Thursday for a summer job…wish me luck!

Oh, and before I forget, the world definitely needs to be exposed to this:

Summer in the City of Subdued Excitement

My friend and her fiance were visiting from California this weekend, looking around because they’re thinking about moving here. (She is familiar with the area, he is not.) We ended up revisiting a few of the places we used to go a lot during our freshman year before she transferred colleges, a lot of which I hadn’t been to in a few years.

It really made me nostalgic. It also made me thing…this is it. This may quite possibly be the last summer I have up here. I have tons of time on my hands (for the moment – I have an interview for a part-time job coming up!) – I should slow down and try to really enjoy it, and try to soak it all in one last time.

I love it up here. I really do. I remember the spring of my junior year of high school, when I was starting to think about which colleges to apply to, I had my heart set on the University of Washington – until my guidance counselor told me to look into Western, which is known for its teaching college. I’m really glad I ended up taking his advice, because let’s face it – while I love visiting Seattle, I could never live there. It’s too big. I’d be miserable.

Anyway. Bellingham has a unique charm to it, and I’m going to miss it if/when I have to leave. So. I’m endeavoring to make this last summer up here truly awesome, even with the class and potential job. And I’m hoping to be able to share some of that with you…if I can remember to pack my camera/that I have packed my camera. (Let’s face it, my cell phone camera just doesn’t cut it.)

And on the writing front, I opened my Word document for the first time in months yesterday morning, and was all set with my coffee and my Cobra Starship…and then I ended up writing a poem instead. I’ve written a little bit tonight, though, it’s been awhile so I’m trying to get back into the groove.

And now I’m falling asleep, so I’ll call it good here. Have a good night, everyone!

Currently Listening To: Enrique Iglesias – “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)”
Currently Reading: Lirael by Garth Nix

In which I politely rage.

The Wall Street Journal published this article about how books written for teenagers are too dark and are going to lead them all into depravity.

I think this is ridiculous (and not in a good way). Yes, there are dark YA books out there. But these books aren’t dark for the sake of being dark. These books tackle serious issues in ways that are accessible to teenagers. Teenagers need these books, because often this is the only way they can deal with these issues because the adults who should be there for them are too busy burying their heads in the sand, pretending that teens are completely ignorant about the world around them. (Newsflash: they’re not. They’re way smarter than they get credit for.)

You know why the sorts of books this author complains about exist? Because they exist in our society. If things like rape, abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, etc. didn’t exist in our society – if teenagers didn’t have to deal with them – there would be no reason to have to write these books.

I might someday be a language arts teacher. I think about the things I had to read in school – how many of these things can students really relate to? I mean, yes. There is something to be said for having them read the classics and broaden their horizons and whatever (and I love them, don’t get me wrong), but at the end of the day, is a story about twenty-somethings trying to find rich husbands, or an exploration of the depravities of Victorian society, or a crazy king with conniving daughters, or anything part of the literary canon of dead white guys, really going to grab their attention? Or is it going to be books like Looking for Alaska, or Speak, or The Hunger Games – books that are real, books they can relate to, books about kids who could just as easily be them? If I can get away with it, I would definitely pull these books in. I don’t think forcing kids to read books they don’t want to read, anyway, is very effective; it just kills any love of reading they might have had. Kids need these books, because it might be the only thing that will get them to read.

Personally, the characters in these books were the only friends I had whenever I was the “new kid.” I’m really glad these books exist. If it wasn’t for them, there are so many lunchtimes I probably would have spent sitting alone. And when I did make friends, often it was these books we bonded over – Tamora Pierce and Meg Cabot both come to mind.

So, if people are going to continue to insist on attacking and belittling these books, I’m going to continue to politely rage at these people.