Saturday, May 18, 2019

A Day in the Life #54 In which many things have changed

Also linking up for the Sunday Post at the Caffeinated Reviewer!

I knew I hadn't posted a farewell post or deleted the blog for a reason!  Hello friends and readers who are still around!  It's been a year since my last confession, I have sinned. (Just kidding).  In that year I have lurked on many of your blogs without commenting (deepest apologies), but I've kept adding posts to my weekly round up on the off chance I ever posted one of these again.  But before we get to that...

Last time I posted, I was deeply unhappy with my teaching position (read: being at three different schools, teaching 8 year olds, and having a hugely unsupportive administration and one of the three schools, and a neglectful one at another) and had gone through a major break up.  Since then, I've started dating a really wonderful guy and am teaching in a different school, so all things are looking up!  

I'm teaching orchestra full time at a middle school (which I never would have seen coming in a million years).  They have a very strong music program, a principal who actually majored in music, and middle school is just a MUCH better fit for me age group wise.  (The last part I've always known. I'm too snarky and impatient for elementary school).  I can't tell you how many times my administration has helped support my needs and backed me up in situations my principal at my least favourite elementary school would have blamed me for.  (For one, I had a parent accuse me of losing her child's cello and stealing his bow.  The cello was not lost. Nor was the bow. It's a ridiculous story.)  

The start of the year was CRAZY - my entire cello and half of my bass inventory molded over the summer, which meant I had no instruments for my students.  Which is...kind of a struggle when you teach an instrumental music program. I spent the first month and a half of school driving all over the county during my planning period (instead of planning for any classes/grading) borrowing instruments so that we could start playing.  It was chaotic to say the least.  

It's also a little stressful because I teach 6th and 7th grade world music which is the general music option for students not in band, orchestra, or chorus.  Realistically, it's most frequently the kids with behavioral issues...just in a high concentration.  Most classes have one or two kids who need a little extra support behaviorally, and a few kids who need support because of learning disabilities.  World music classes are more frequently like 4 or 5 kids who will absolutely wreck your class, with about 10 more who need a little extra support behaviorally or for learning disabilities, and then maybe 10 kids who can figure stuff out on their own.  Classroom management in classroom settings is not my strong suit and something I've been working on a lot this year (ie not orchestra - I have no issues with my orchestra classes on that front. But as I've mentioned, classroom style teaching is very different).  Combining a strong need for classroom management with subject matter I've NEVER taught makes things really time consuming on that front, but if there's one thing the previous two years taught me, it's that I can do anything.  If I taught grades 4-12, steel drums, American music, computer music, and exploratory music all within a year with zero background knowledge of how to do so, I can handle a couple world music classes.

So this year has been very work focused since I'm re-learning a whole set of procedures/curriculum/new to the community, etc.  We also put on 2 concerts, take the kids to assessment (where the judges score us and it's a HUGE deal), take the kids to perform at a theme park, and put on a musical.  So to say that the work load has grown is an understatement.  But you know what?  I love it.  I would gladly do this much work because I'm now full time, with full benefits, in a school that supports the arts, with an administration that has an understanding of music.  My coworkers are AMAZING and have helped me so much throughout the year.  I really missed the sense of community you get last year because I was never at a school long enough to get to know anyone really other than the music teachers. still somewhat true at my school, but it's different.  We do everything together, because we do so much work together before and after school.  I am so much happier than I was a year ago. No more finding out about concerts an hour before they happen, or being told you should get a 5th grader to conduct the concert because they moved the date of the concert last minute and it conflicts with one of your other school's concerts.  Life is good, people.

In old news now, Margaret Atwood announced a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale.
Vera and Clare recommend unique books.
James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson Join BBC’s His Dark Materials Drama Series.
Clare lists Movie Adaptations Better Than Their Books.

Veronika wants to know can a ship ruin a book?
Greg discusses monarchy in fantasy.
La La always has good round ups/news/general interesting life/useful reminders (she always reminds me about Sync which you should check out!)

Rachel says Michael Schur (Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99, The Good Place, The Office) has the most relatable characters.
Halsey Speaks on the Feeling of Having to Validate Your Bisexuality.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

2018 Best in Books


Number Of Books You Read: 94
Number of Re-Reads: 23
Genre You Read The Most From: Paranormal Fantasy

Created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

For: Introspective beautiful writing, diversity in historical fiction

The Ship Who Sang (Brainship, #1)

For: Creative world building, diversity in science fiction

The Good Daughter

For: The most harrowing  audiobook I have EVER sat through with convincing plot twists and great, fully fleshed characters

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Te of Piglet

I LOVED The Tao of Pooh...but this did not live up to its predecessor.  It had moments of brilliance that were reminiscent of ToP, but it went onto preachy tangents and rants that had no actual evidence to back up the arguments other than opinion, which is a shame.  I do still recommend The Tao of Pooh if you haven't read it though!

Weapons of Mass Seduction3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

I was so surprised by this one!  I thought it would fall somewhere between smut and fluff and it had so much love and substance. I loved all three story lines in this, and recommend this if you are into contemporary romance!

5. Best series you started in 2018? 

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega, #1)     Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)

1. I was not expecting to love Patricia Brigg's Alpha & Omega series more than her Mercy Thompson series.  I never expected paranormal romance to appeal to me as a genre, especially more than paranormal fantasy but I freaking ADORE Anna and Charles.  I LOVE that you have a main character who uses her submissiveness and meekness as a strength.

2. You don't really see many stories about WWI, let alone the traumas of how it affected entire nations, families, and communities. The Maisie Dobbs series is such a thoughtful look at the time period in Britain and has given me a much better understanding into cultural and social mores of the time.

Best Sequel of 2018? 

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

Best Series Ender of 2018?

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels, #10)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?
Natasha Pulley's atmospheric writing and beautiful storytelling has made her a new go-to author for me!
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
If You Find Me

 I don't read much contemporary fiction, particularly if I know it is going to deal with some challenging emotional subjects.  This is definitely worth reading.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Hands down no question The Good Daughter.  The story unwinds in three major section, and each section starts with this gruesome scene that is the catalyst for the main story.  But each time the story is retold, it's done from a new point of view so you get more information.  I do not know how I survived this in audiobook form. It was SO INTENSE.

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street     A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs, #8)

11. Most memorable character of 2018?
Maisie Dobbs - I'm at least 2/3 of the way in the series now and it's wonderful to see how much she has grown emotionally in the series since the start of it all.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?
At the risk of repeating myself...did I mention that everything about The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was beautiful? Because if I didn' very much is.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?
Modern Romance

Modern Romance - for a variety of reasons.  One, it appears to be well researched and is very upfront about what it doesn't cover or isn't sure about.  Secondly...because of the author and the scandal that popped up after the book.  
  14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 
Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

 I originally started this series at the height of my Cassandra Clare rage (read book 5 of The Mortal Instruments).  So it may have suffered a bit. I have since seen the light (although I stand by my feelings on books 4 and 5 of TMI) and gave the series another shot. So glad I did!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?
“Thaniel listened for a while longer, because the silence was so deep and clear that he could hear ghosts of the thirty-six of thirty-seven possible worlds in which Grace had not won at the roulette, and not stepped backward into him. He wished then that he could go back and that the ball had landed on another number. He would be none the wiser and he would be staying at Filigree Street, probably for years, still happy, and he wouldn't have stolen those years from a lonely man who was too decent to mention that they were missing.”  - The Watchmaker of Filigree Street 
“Cats never liked to admit to names. Being named might lead to being held responsible for something.” - Frogkisser!
“You forget what it was like. You'd swear on your life you never will, but year by year it falls away. How your temperature ran off the mercury, your heart galloped flat-out and never needed to rest, everything was pitched on the edge of shattering glass. How wanting something was like dying of thirst. How your skin was too fine to keep out any of the million things flooding by; every color boiled bright enough to scald you, any second of any day could send you soaring or rip you to bloody shreds.” - The Secret Place
16. Shortest &Longest Book You Read In 2018?
Entwined (The Kinky Connect Chronicles #3) 
41 pages

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)
699 pages                                      

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
The Good Daughter hands down.  Did NOT see a lot of that coming


Well, I can't say because I don't want to spoil the book. So otherwise, basically the entire cast of Lord of Shadows (particularly Kit + Ty!)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2)

Lady Helen and her teren-in-training Darby. Actually just all the relationships in this book.  Runner up would be Lord of Shadows!
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles #1, Tortall #8)

I mean, obviously.
21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:
The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal: Omnibus

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal

This was recommended to me by my cousin and it was gorgeous both in art style and story telling.
23. Best 2018 debut you read?
Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
In the interest of not putting the same book for ever category (*cough* Watchmaker of Filigree Street/Ship Who Sang)

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)

Dread Nation.  I mean...hello post Civil War zombies.  That's about as good as it gets!
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Romancing the Inventor (Supernatural Society, #1)          Frogkisser!

1. No one does fun quite like Gail Carriger, and Madame LeFoux is possibly my favourite character in the entire Supernatural Society series, so having her get her own spin off novella? Perfection.

2. If you only know Garth Nix for his Abhorsen, this has a very different vibe.  It's fun and silly while still having substance to the story.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Ship Who Sang (Brainship, #1)

Although Anne McCaffrey is a big name in books, it's usually about her (amazing) series the Dragonriders of Pern.  I don't have any friends who have read this one, so if you like science fiction at all, I highly, highly recommend this book!
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
If You Find Me
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?
Honestly that would probably go to books I've already mentioned, so I'm going to throw in another title I LOVED this year, but didn't have a question here that merited it as an answer.

The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3)

All of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books are GORGEOUS.  This is the third book in the series that starts with The Shadow of the Wind, but honestly they can be read in any order.  Despite the fact there is an actual chronological order they happen in I think the fact that it doesn't matter when you read each - the reveals just happen in different places, is so unique and very cool.