I’ve now been in Munich for almost two weeks. Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past seven days:
Munich, I Think I Like You
I’ve done a lot of sightseeing and meeting people from the University. I’ve visited the Bravarian Alps, including Ludwig II’s Schloss Linderhof and the cute town of Garmisch. I’ve visited the Deutsches Museum (all about German technology — it’s huge!) and spent four hours listening to music in German at Der Lange Nacht Der Musik.
I’ve taken a few classes, including my German class, and I’ve started to get a real feel for the city. Of course, you also can’t get a real feel for a city until a filling falls out of your tooth and you have to venture into the world of foreign dentistry. Note: German dentists are SUPERB. She put a post in my tooth and did a build up without any pain killers in 20 minutes. Fast, efficient, and effective.
Not knowing German is such a bizarre experience. There are times when I’m just totally lost. The grocery store, for instance. Did I just buy laundry detergent? I hope so. But who knows…it could be bleach. Fabric softener. DISHWASHER DETERGENT. It’s hard to tell, there’s only soap bubbles on the bottle. Using the washing machine to do laundry was also an experience. I’ve perfected the “wait and see how someone else does it first” approach to many tasks, including how on earth one opens the washing machine door and figuring out which compartment the detergent goes in. And I hope 30 degrees Celsius is the right temperature for my clothes, because that’s how they’re getting washed!
So you can see how this has become an adventure. Why is my wine 6 euros when the sign says 4? There’s a 2 euro deposit on the glass! Is this conditioner or shampoo? It’s conditioner…for people with blond hair! Why does this mouthwash taste so terrible? Because it just DOES. Why is this train not going where it said it was going?! Oh, because the U-3 mysteriously changes, mid-route, to the U-2 during peak times! You get the idea. It’s all about flexibility and going with the flow. And sometimes changing trains across town and using terrible mouthwash.
Getting Down To Business
So in between all of the general chaos is the work I’m doing while I’m here. I’ve learned more about the program I’m participating in, which is a master’s of psychology in learning sciences cohort. This is a degree 100% in English, made up of students from all over the world. They told me yesterday that they take nine different two-hour classes each semester, or about two classes a day.
However, these classes are quite different from ours in the US. As I mentioned in last week’s post, they do less reading, but more in depth. The students really analyze information presented to them and critique the research. I’ve also observed a lot of time given in class for assignments we typically might do outside of class. One class is given three whole class periods (out of fourteen total!) to work on the final projects: a concept map. The other class was entirely centered on presenting progress on research they are working on with professors. So while they have eighteen hours of class each week instead of nine, they spend far less time outside of class doing assignments.
In fact, grades don’t seem to be a big thing. At all. And guess what? The students still come to class prepared and ready to learn. Definitely something to think about when pondering how I want to structure my future classes.
I’ve really enjoyed meeting these students, and they have be extremely kind and accommodating. When I explained to them why I’m visiting their classes, one girl told me, “We need more people like you. Studying how different countries do things and taking the best of each.”
I hadn’t thought of it that way. My excitement is still over being in a foreign country for the summer and being funded to do so. But I do have the very real possibility of impacting positive changes. Maybe not this year. Maybe not in the first few years of my career, even. But eventually. So that feels pretty good, and I’m excited for my next five weeks in Munich (and the following three in Porto!).
What personal experience has greatly influenced your career?
Well, kids…I did it! I made it through the first year of graduate school. I had my moments (getting on the motivation bus after spring break was rough), but I did it. In general, this has been one of the best years of my life. I’m academically challenged and intellectually stimulated on a daily basis. I had my butt kicked by a class, a paper, and a book.
I’ve learned a few things along the way, and even wrote a post on what I’d learned after the first semester. So now, in my wisdom as a student with one full year of her Ph.D behind her, I offer some advice to anyone embarking on a similar journey. Obviously, I’m no expert. I’m only drawing from my personal experience. But since many of you are similarly involved in the worlds of education, library science, and books, hopefully it applies.
1. The Ph.D is a collaboration, not a competition. I think a lot of us came into our cohort thinking that we were competing against each other for grades, assistantships, attention, and future jobs. However, we are quite specialized in our areas of interest and expertise. We learned that we all benefit when we help and support each other. That means tackling readings together, late night Facebook messaging over assignment details, and being respectful when offering questions/critiques after presentations or in papers. It also means we share information about conferences, opportunities, and assistantships with each other when we think they would be a good fit. I want to graduate with the most amazing colleagues in the country, why would I not help them get there?
2. It’s okay to be confident. This isn’t the place for humility. I spend my days with some really smart people, and it’s okay for them to acknowledge that they know a lot about a topic.
3. It’s also okay to say, “I don’t know.” This is different from humility. Saying “I don’t know” shows that I am realistic about my knowledge base. I’m self-aware. Often when I say I don’t know, I’m extending the statement: “I don’t know. How can I find about more about that topic?”
4. Pick your paper topics carefully. In all of my classes so far, the final papers have been fairly open-ended. Why spend all of that time on a paper that doesn’t serve some higher purpose? Maybe it’s something publishable, maybe it’s a future mini-section of something bigger. Take it to a conference. Basically, kill as many birds with that stone as possible.
5. Network. Network network network. Network with the faculty. Network across campus. Network with students in cohorts above you. Network with your own cohort, for goodness sake. This, to me, is the best argument I can offer for why this degree should be done full time. It probably sounds silly to people in the outside world (like my parents), but those connections made at afternoon happy hours, lunchtime lectures, and campus activities are priceless. Every time I leave a conversation with a faculty member I have a new opportunity of some kind in my pocket, even if I can’t always take advantage of that opportunity.
6. You will receive constructive criticism and you WILL appreciate it. In my previous life, I did not get a lot of cricism on my papers. I’m notorious for my poor editing skills, so a comment about better proofreading was typical (I try. Really, I do. I’m to the point where I’m just going pay a service to proofread for me, because I’ve yet to find anyone who can actually help me). Beyond that, I might have gotten a suggestion or two and that was it. Now the criticism is plentiful. And intense. We are no longer working toward “good enough for this class,” but “good enough for publication.” I can’t lie — it was tough at first. But that’s the game. Everyone is getting criticism like that. That’s how it works. I’ve had to stop being emotional about my writing and start being objective.
7. The Ph.D is about theory and research. We’ve struggled with this a lot in the first year. As former teachers, we want to make everything practical. What can teachers turn around and do tomorrow with what I’m learning. While that piece is important, it’s not crucial. Theory is important. Research is important. Don’t do a Ph.D if you are going to constantly ask about the practical application of everything.
8. No one outside of academia will care what you’re doing. This makes me sad, because I love what I’m doing and want to talk about it. People love talking about babies and weddings and home decor. And sports. They do not love hearing about research. It’s kind of made me realize who my real friends are. If I can listen to someone talk about various types of poops her baby has made, that same friend can listen to me talk about an idea I have for a paper.
9. …Or if they do care, they’ll tell you that you’re wrong. Several times in the past week I’ve explained a paper I wrote, and had people tell me it was a pointless topic. People who are not in education. It seems strange to me that anyone who knows nothing about a field would make such bold statements. The funny part is that these are always men. That’s right — they mansplained to me. It makes me mad, but it’s also a reality of this world. People who know nothing about your area of study and will give their opinions on it. Teachers are probably already familiar with this fact.
10. You will work harder than you’ve ever worked in you life. It’s true. My master’s degree was a cakewalk compared to this. I think somewhere the rumor was started that the Ph.D is like another master’s with a dissertation attached. Um, no. You could probably get by with that level of work, but you wouldn’t be successful with that level of work. This world is about 50% assigned coursework and 50% everything else. However, I also find that it’s one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. When the bar is high and I work my ass off, I’m impressed with what I accomplish. I like having my ass kicked by knowledge.
Okay, so there you have it. That’s what I’ve learned in my first year, and the knowledge I hope to pass along to anyone about to start this journey or thinking about starting a Ph.D. It’s not for everyone. This has been an awesome, crazy, ridiculous, busy, intense year, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What have you learned in graduate school?
7 Things You Should Never Say to A Graduate Student
Especially if that graduate student is me.
“When are you going to get a real job?”
First of all, I had a “real” job. It paid me a salary, and I have a set of very valuable skills that I brought with me from my six years of experience in public schools. I’ve lived in the world where I got up every morning at 5:30 to go to a job with a 401K, a pension, and health care. It was fine, and I could go back to that world any time I want to. But I have chosen to go back to school because it was the best decision for me.
Second, I HAVE a “real” job right now. I bring to this job a set of very valuable skills from my six years in the public schools. I am treated like a professional. I make a monthly salary. I have health care and whatnot. I don’t think people realize this, but the full compensation package for a graduate assistantship is about the same as a first year teacher’s salary in my state. (Cue the The more you know! jingle…)
We’ll get to call you Dr. Anderson!
Well, yes. I guess I’ll be Dr. Anderson, but that’s not why I’m doing this. Being called Dr. Anderson when I’m done is the least interesting part of why I’m here.
“It must be nice to have so much free time.”
Yeah. It must be. Let’s go find the person who has some of this alleged “free time” and ask them about it, because that person is certainly not me. Unstructured time and free time are not the same thing. I have 29 hours each week where I must be in class or at work. I also have many meetings and educational activities I attend (workshops, lectures, etc). Beyond that, my remaining time is up to me. Even though I determine the order of tasks I attend to and the location where I attend to them (coffee shops!), it doesn’t mean I’m not working my ass off. Friday nights. Sunday mornings. Up until midnight or 2am. Getting up early to finish work before class. I have some free time, depending on the week, but I have far less than I did when I was working in the public schools. I’m just not tethered to a bell schedule and a 7-period day.
“I can’t believe you misspelled that. You’re going to be a doctor!”
I don’t know if it’s jealousy that leads to a faux superiority complex or what, but I’ve noticed that some of my acquaintances like to point out any mistake I make. Like being a doctoral student means I am now a flawless writer or something. If anything, graduate school is a place where I’ve made more mistakes than I’ve ever made in my life. And I’m learning to be okay with that. I don’t know everything, and I’m secure in the fact that I don’t. Perfect grammar is not a prerequisite for admission, and it is not a requirement for completion of the degree, either.
On a similar note, just because I’m a doctoral student in education doesn’t mean I know everything about education. Or English. Or gender studies. Or biology (seriously. People assume this stuff).
“But you get summers off!”
FALSE. I have to get a job in the summer. Otherwise I can’t pay rent or feed myself. In fact, I pretty much have to get a different job every summer. So I’m always a little anxious about the fact that I don’t know where three of my twelve monthly paychecks are going to come from each year. Even my summer abroad in Munich this year is for a research job — I may be going to Europe, but I’ll also be going to work in Europe.
“I always wanted to get my Ph.D.”
What am I supposed to say when people tell me this? I hear it A LOT. I have two snarky answers to this. (1) “Because wanting a Ph.D and getting one are totally the same thing!” and (2) “I’m so proud of you for not following through with your dream!” Both would get me slapped. So I just have to say, “Oh. That’s nice” and change the subject. I also find that these are usually the folks who are more concerned with being called Dr. So-and-So than actually doing research in graduate school.
And finally: “When are you going to graduate?”
In high school and undergrad, the goal is usually to complete the degree programs in a reasonable about of time. Four years. Three, if you’re savvy about it. But graduate school is an entirely different beast. If I stick around for an additional year, it’s not because I’m dillydallying or failing. It’s for a good reason. Flying through a doctorate in the shortest amount of time possible is not always a good thing, especially for those who plan to enter academia. So rest assured, I will let you all know when that date arrives in 2016…or 2017…ish.
What are some things that you think people should never say to graduate students?
We read two non-fiction books in my Critical Social Theory class. I included both on my reading challenge for the year, since I read each cover-to-cover and they are both books that might be enjoyed by non-academics. Since I didn’t want to do a full review for these, I thought I’d give them a blurb here.
Title: The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
Author: Evgeny Morozov
Publisher/Year: PublicAffairs, 2012
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Adult non-fiction
Source: Purchased from the Nook store
According to Morozov, the internet ain’t nothin’ special. While a good number of people might argue that the internet and various related technologies (smartphones, text messaging, Twitter) give us more freedom and access to information than every before, Morozov argues that there is no such thing as cyber utopia. Governments can use the web in sneaky, and controversial, ways to suppress dissenting opinions while maintaining the illusion of freedom. We love to believe that the “revolution will be Twittered,” but it’s just not the case.
Overall, I felt like Morozov’s views were too negative. I may just be optimistic or naive, but it his examples seemed more like exceptions than the rules. I do believe the political and democratic landscape has changed with the rise of the internet, at least to a modest degree. So if you are interested in a well-crafted, well-researched book on the role of the government in internet freedom, give it a go.
Title: No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
Author: Naomi Klein
Publisher/Year: Picador, 1999
Length: 528 pages/18 hours and 35 minutes
Genre: Adult non-fiction
Source: Purchased from the Nook store/Audible
I actually really enjoyed this book. The writing is accessible and the examples Klein provides are interesting. No Logo argues that branding has taken over our lives, and that we, as consumers, need to be actively aware of how this has happened and is happening. Klein definitely has plenty to say about Nike, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Disney, and McDonalds. It kind of made me feel bad about my Starbucks obsession. For about two seconds. Because I was in a Starbucks when I read it.
Of course, the book left my classmates and I to ponder the inevitable question: if all of the products around us are corrupted by unfair labor practices, shoddy construction, sweatshop labor, and ruthless capitalist practices, what can we do? How can I avoid these products and be a “pure” consumer so I’m not the bad guy? The answer: you can’t. But knowing is an important part of being an intelligent consumer. So drink up the Starbucks, just be aware that the entire Starbucks experience is carefully crafted by corporate America.
So that’s what I’ve been reading this month for class. What great non-fiction books have you had to read for classes that might be worthy of review?
Graduate school means a lot of reading. Hours each day of reading. So one question I get a lot is how I manage to balance that reading with my fun reading. This question is not a new one. Book bloggers have probably been asked similar questions about balancing school or work and reading, or just about how we manage to read so much in general. Let’s face it — we read far more than the average person. We all have our tricks and tips for how we fit reading into our busy lives, so I thought I’d share my particular method for balancing reading for school and reading for fun.
So how do I do it?
I have mastered the art of reading in small doses at various points in the day. One of my morning luxuries is sitting at the dining room table to eat a leisurely breakfast with a good book. I go to bed a little early so I can read for 30 minutes before I fall asleep. My Kindle and Nook apps allow me to read on my phone while waiting for friends, the bus, and appointments. E-books have really changed my life because I never have to remember my book, it’s always there on my phone!
At this point, I have made reading a habit. I have always been a reader, but sometimes an undisciplined one. But keeping a blog and holding myself accountable for review copies has forced me to think about my reading more. Since I’ve been building this habit for four years, meeting and exceeding my reading goals each year, it’s become part of my daily life. Most importantly, I built this habit before heading back to school.
Audiobooks have also significantly changed my reading habits. I subscribe to the two books per month plan on Audible, and usually manage to grab at least one audio book for review each month. Audiobooks do take a lot longer to read than physical books, but they make use of time that I wouldn’t otherwise spend reading. Buses make me sick, so I listen to my audiobooks while I ride. My favorite trick is setting the book to double speed! The narration on some audiobooks is sooooo sllllooooooowwwwww that setting the book to double speed even makes them more listen-able.
Being a doctoral student has also made me a more efficient reader. Because I read so much, I’m in better “reading shape” than I’ve ever been. After reading pages and pages of research articles, YA books feel like a breeze! More than anything, though, reading for fun is an escape. If I watch TV, my mind is still buzzing or I’m playing on my computer. But when I pick up a book, I can get totally lost. Even if I only get a chance to read for twenty minutes at breakfast or seven minutes while waiting for a meeting, reading novels takes me away from daily life and grad school stress.
One of my big worries going back to school full time was that I wouldn’t have time to read for fun, but I’m happy to report that hasn’t been the case. I’m currently three books ahead on my Goodreads challenge! Because I want to read, I find time to read. Sometimes I even give myself an afternoon to just crawl into bed with a book and read for hours — why not? With a little work, pleasure reading and grad school can go hand in hand.
How do you balance reading and school? Reading and work? What are your favorite tips for adding in a little guilt-free escape into a book?
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we are looking at literary crushes.
Top Ten Characters I Would Crush on If Were a Fictional Character
This is going to be a very short list. I debated on even doing this TTT, since I don’t really crush on literary characters a lot. For various reasons. I know Augustus Waters, Alex from Delirium, and Four are supposed to make my heart go pitter-patter. But they don’t. And cool lesbian characters are so few and far between.
1.) Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables – Gilbert is so sweet and selfless. He lets Anne spread her wings and be herself without getting in her way.
2.) Warner in Shatter Me – I said crush, I’m not saying I’d act on it. I don’t normally like bad boys, but Warner has my heart.
3.) Frankie Landau-Banks in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – She’s totally straight, but totally self-confident, smart, sassy, and cool.
4.) Hermione Granger – I have a weakness for brainy girls.
5.) Nicola in Empress of the World – Brilliant, nerdy, super cute, and a little tomboyish. I wish the book had been better, but Nicola as a character is definitely crush-worthy.
So that’s it. I’d like to see a better variety of lesbian characters in books.
Which literary characters are you book boyfriends/girlfriends?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we are talking about the books we constantly recommend. This is almost similar to my favorite books, but represents the books I think others might call a favorite, too. I probably sound a little like a broken record, but here they are:
Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most
1.) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – I love this book because it looks like the kind of sci-fi that might typically turn my friends off, but there is so much surprising amazing in there. I think pretty much everyone can enjoy the story.
2.) Looking for Alaska by John Green – John Green is my homeboy. I should probably walk around recommending The Fault in Our Stars, but I’ll stick with my personal fav of his, Looking For Alaska, as my go-to Green novel of choice.
3.) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – I like non-fiction, so if I have a friend who seems non-fiction-y, or who I think needs to start dabbling in the genre, I recommend this.
4.) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – It’s such a powerful book.
5.) The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay – More recent, but the number of times I’ve recommended it in the past three months has been insane. I usually recommend it as a YA book for people who think YA is not as complex at adult fiction.
6.) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Because it’s fun. It’s adventure. It’s a great “can’t put down” kind of book.
7.) Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger – Another recent book. I think books that are fresh in my brain get more “rec” cred than some of the older ones. I recommend this book because I need other people to read it so we can talk about it.
8.) Every Day by David Levithan – An incredibly thought-provoking book. I recommend it to anyone who works with teens, as it can be a great book for teaching about empathy.
9.) Unwind by Neal Schusterman– If The Hunger Games was the book I was reading three years ago, claiming it was edgy and awesome, Unwind totally has that spot in my life now (even though it’s old than The Hunger Games). Imma need the Hunger Games folks to put down that book, and walk over to the real dark side.
10.) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Though Ruby Oliver is my favorite, Frankie Landau-Banks is a better introduction to my favorite author. This is a fun, funny standalone novel with a feminist twist and a good message. Plus I always hope it inspired people to try Ruby Oliver.
Which books are you always recommending?
I started grading (rating) my reads about a year ago. Before that point, I was on the fence about book ratings. I always found it very hard to think about the subtle differences between each rating and I had a hard time making those decisions. However, I realized that I found the ratings of others to be very useful in determining if a book is worth my time. I also pay attention to the ratings on Goodreads, both the average rating AND the ratings of my friends (and sometimes even the ratings of other readers). Rating books has helped me really think about my reads more thoroughly, more broadly, and more seriously.
I will continue to use my rating system, but I’ve been struggling with a few aspects of it lately. Sometimes the decisions are really hard! Here are four dilemmas I’ve experienced:
1. I Dont’t Want to Give Every Book an A or B
I feel like rating scales have multiple points for a reason, and every book cannot be an A or B read. If I only give books an A or B, then all of the B books start to look like the less desirable books I’ve read. Granted, if a book were terrible, I probably wouldn’t finish it. And I am likely to pick up books that I have a good chance of enjoying. However, some books will still be duds and some books will still just be “meh.” I have no fear of giving out Cs for average books.
The problem comes when I’m the only person giving out Cs. For example, if I give a book 3 stars on Goodreads, it makes me look like I hated the book! Sometimes I want to give a big, bold disclaimer that my C means “average.” There is nothing wrong with average.
2. When I Read More, I Get Pickier
The more I read, the more I raise my bar for what becomes a good book. When I look back to books I rated as five-star reads on Goodreads before I started my blog, I would probably give some of those books a B now. A few really good books can make other books feel less stellar. A five star book is one that wows me, surprises me, and is well-written. The bigger my mental pool of books becomes, the harder it is for me to find a true A or A+ read. The flaws are more apparent, and the comparisons are inevitable.
As a reviewer, this is actually a good thing. I’m getting better at pin-pointing what I did and didn’t like about a story, and drawing comparisons to similar titles. When someone tells me they love a particular book, my mental database is big enough that I can always find something else to recommend (sometimes even a surprising book in a different genre!). I also hope that being pickier about giving out As will mean that the As I do give out will be noticed!
3. I Have to Balance My Personal Feelings With An Objective Review
The hardest books to rate are books that I didn’t like, but that I know are actually good books. Sometimes I read a book and I know that everyone else will like it. It’s a likable book, well-written, and I’ve read good reviews elsewhere. However, it’s not for me. Maybe I struggled reading it, got bored, or was reading it at a time when I wasn’t really into the book. What do I do then? Do I give my more objective rating, or my more personal rating? This is a decision I need to make and apply consistently across my reviews.
Since I’m reading more and more ARCs for publishers, I’m leaning toward the more professional, objective rating. However, reading is such a personal experience and I often find it hard to ignore those personal feelings. This is probably most evident in my reviews of books with heavy romance elements. I know my readers will usually like a book because of the romance. I’m a little more skeptical of romance, since I’m not really a romantic.
4. I Compare My Ratings To Those of Others
Goodreads makes this too easy! This is perhaps the thing I struggle with most. I know, based on my rating scale, that a book has earned a grade. But then I see that everyone else has graded it higher. I feel like I’m lowballing the book. Does everyone else just looooooooove the book more than me? Am I grading to harshly? My general method is to only give an A to a book that is top 10 worthy for the year…this keeps me in check, forcing me to separate the good from the great. However, because of problem #2 above, this is actually a really strict criteria. It’s like I’m grading on a curve and I’m worried that the bar is superficially high.
I blogged for one year without ratings and one year using my grading scale, and I still find my grading scale to be sufficient. It is getting easier for me to know if a book has earned an A, B, C, or D without much sweating or crying. The occasional books that do make this hard are still a struggle. The hardest part is sticking to my guns, even if I know I may be grading more harshly than my peers on a particular book. It all evens out in the end, right?
To those who might say I’m over thinking this…you’re right. But I’m hoping some of my readers have faced similar dilemmas and are willing to share!
How do you feel about your own grading scale? Do chose not to use one? Which strugggles do you have?
Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Publisher/Year: Crown, 2012
Length: 333 pages, 10 hours 39 mins
Genre: Adult non-fiction
Format: Audio book
Source: Purchased from Audible
Introverts, this book is for you. In a world that values the qualities of the extroverted and labels introverts as shy, anti-social, and sensitive, Susan Cain highlights the positive qualities of this undervalued portion of the population. She utilizes both personal stories from real introverts and significant research to prove her points along the way.
I have a feeling I’m preaching to the choir when talking about introverted-ness to the book blogger world, since I’m fairly certain we represent an above-average number of introverts, but this book was like a big hug. The world we live in sometimes makes me feel guilty for wanting to spend my Saturday night alone with a good book. We are living in a world that values extroverted qualities more than introverted ones, but Cain successfully shows why we need to celebrated the introverts’ contributions and viewpoints. We offer something unique.
I did have two nit-picks with the book, which kind of represent nit-picks others may have with various parts. First, when Cain talked about teaching she attacked teacher’s viewpoints of group work. She almost made it sound like the new teacher allegiance to group work is a conspiracy by extroverted teachers. I disagree, since there is a lot of research about cooperative learning and there are evidence based reasons why these new teachers are using this as one of many instructional techniques. Critique the lack of anti-coorperative learning research, not the newbie teachers. Second, she encourages introverts to consider careers in library science. This represents society’s gross misunderstanding of what librarians do. I was told in library school that it is common to get applications that read, “I want to go to library school because I like to read books,” and those often got rejected over applications that read, “I want to be a librarian because I like helping people.” Don’t be a librarian if you want to avoid contact with people! I often left work socially drained, longing for introvert time (which is okay!).
FINAL GRADE: B It definitely stands out as one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in recent memory. Cain does jump to some conclusions and make a few points that I might argue against, but I’m going to forgive her due to the overall readability and awesomeness of the book. I read this as an audiobook, since I do enjoy reading adult non-fiction in this format, and I would definitely recommend the audio. It’s the kind of book that you can listen to while working out or driving to work — the starting and stopping to listen for an hour or so each day won’t ruin your experience. The narration is clear and non-distracting.
Required Reading: Required for all introverts. Also required for all extroverts, for the purpose of understanding your favorite introvert just a little better. Extroverts may feel a little offended or defensive throughout the book, but I’ll ask the extroverted among you to set aside your egos and give it a try.
Library recommendations: You could put this in your high school library, but it would be okay to skip it.
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you think introverts are misunderstood?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we are looking at books we just HAD to buy, but we still haven’t read. I do this for a lot of reasons, and I do it a lot. The big question is, when will I have the time?
Also, with the recent “Spring TBR” and “Series I Have Yet To Start” topics, I feel like I’m repeating myself on these TTT lists lately. So…sorry.
Top Ten Books I HAD to Buy…But Are Sitting on My Shelf Unread
[to sell or to keep, that is the question]
Sitting on My Shelf
1.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – Have print copy, a digital copy, AND the audio book (thanks to classics being SUPER cheap in all three formats).
2.) Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman – A classmate did a book talk on this in my YA lit class, and I bought it immediately. In hardcover. It’s survived multiple book purges, but remains unread.
3.) Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork – Same as #2, but add in that it also some awards when it first came on and was on my radar for that, too.
4.) A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray – I did read maybe 2/3 of it, but never finished. I lost interest, and I’m not sure if it was the timing (busy semester) or that it just wasn’t for me. I keep it because I always tell myself I’ll restart in, and I never do!
5.) Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool –Bought it when it won the Newbery, but I don’t think it’s for me. Still can’t stand to part with it, though.
Sitting on My Nook (darn cheap books!)
6.) The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth – Bought it cheap, but I read some reviews that turned me off from the book. I’ve heard it’s good, but slow. Best savored over time. And I’m just not in a good place to read a slow book right now. But one day!
7.) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – I do plan to read this one this summer, in a quest to read digital books I’ve bought cheap and never read. I’m saving it for a time when I can enjoy it!
8.) Luna by Julie Anne Peters – Bought it cheap ($1.99, I think) to save for later.
9.) One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkaff – I started it, but couldn’t get into it.
10.) Feed by MT Anderson – I have concrete plans to read this book this summer.
Which books did you buy and never read?