Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fifty Shades of...Twilight?

If you are a woman, unless you have been living under a rock, you have most likely heard about "Fifty Shades.” This past week, I read the first book in the "Fifty Shades" series..."Fifty Shades of Grey" partially because I was curious to discover what all of the buzz was about and because it is our current Book Club selection. Since the book has received so much press, I felt I was prepared to handle whatever racy scene the author threw at me.

What I was not prepared for was BAD writing. About one hundred pages in I began to realize this book shares many similarities with another series I despise- Twilight. It was as though the author simply substituted "S&M" and lots of dominant (and weird) sex for the Vampires in "Twilight." Both are "forbidden" and yet Bella and Ana cannot resist their charms.

First of all, the female protagonists in both books have zero personality and nothing at remarkable about them. The authors go out of the way to describe exactly how plain and ordinary they are. Bella and Ana are what literary experts would label as a "Mary Sue"due to the fact they lack any qualities that takes them out of the one-dimensional mode. This is done so the readers or the author can easily insert themselves into the story and become the character (because the character could really be anybody).

In a failed attempt to give Bella and Ana some dimension, they have (gasp) divorced parents, including an absent mother and a father who is caring, but also lacks personality. Since this is never really explained or developed it does not work to add interest to either girl. Despite the "Mary Sueness" of Bella and Ana, they have a flock of male admirers, including men who could really have anybody they want (Edward and Christian).

Speaking of men, in both series the leading men are borderline stalkers. Edward shows up at Bella's window and "flies" around the world to see her. Christian creepily appears at the bar in South Carolina where Ana has gone to visit her mother. And is either of the girls worried about this behavior? No, instead they become obsessed with these stalkers and unable to make any decisions for themselves.

Another pet peeve of mine in both "Twilight" and "Fifty Shades" is the redundant conversation and word usage. Stephanie Meyer repeats (many) times that Edward "sparkles" while EL James writes in excess about Christian's eyes. Also, Ana says "Oh Crap" about twenty times throughout the novel during her many annoying monologues. The book is also full of big words where a simple word would have sufficed. I found this incredibly annoying, as though Meyer and James circles "Dead Words” and used a thesaurus to replace them-something I have my sixth-grade students do.

I am truly not knocking either author, because obviously they figured out what readers want (hence the incredible popularity of both series). I get "Grey" is supossed to be an "erotic novel" and not taken too seriously and honesty that aspect of it did not bother me in the least. However, there is no denying that both books lack the character development needed to hold my interest. I did not care what happened to Bella or Ana and as with "Twilight" will not be reading the rest of the series.

Friday, June 22, 2012

School is out and it's a sort of a buzz...

Yesterday was the conclusion to my 8th year of teaching middle school. Pretty good considering 50% of all teachers quit before their first five years, right?

 As far as school years go, this was a decent one- nice kids, new and improved solution for the special education students and some changes made to how we run ASB. That being said, I am still relieved to have a break.I think teachers look forward to summer WAY more than students do and I am fairly worn out from the end-of -the-year festivities.

 Last October, I began a Masters degree in Literacy (online), some of time will be spend writing papers, but mostly I am going to try to relax. I know this sounds simple, but I have some real issues with relaxing.

Take what has already occurred today for example:

 I awoke at around 8am (with NO alarm-amazing) and decided to head to a yoga class. What could be more tranquil  than yoga? After some deep breathing and stretching with (mostly) retired women (who were in surprisingly good shape), I left feeling invigorated. And proud of myself for actually being able to lay still during the deep breathing at the end of class.

The plan was to take Teddy for a walk, maybe do some baking and look at my homework assignment for the week. When I headed out the door of the yoga studio, rain pelted my face. Great, there goes the walk.

So what did I do? Proceeded to go home and begin ENTIRE HOUSE. See, I cannot sit still. It is not that I enjoy cleaning, but after a few minutes of watching "Sex and the City" I felt the urge to move and do something. Anything. Even clean.

As I am writing this post, I am wondering if my lack of ability to chill out is really an issue? After all, it certainly assists me a great deal in my career (one needs to be alert at all times when dealing with teen-agers). Also, who could spend an entire summer watching old re-runs on TV?

Instead I need to fill my summer with activities I enjoy and try to keep busy.

 I am going to make sure I have plenty of meet-ups with friends, weekend (or mid-week) getaways, some mini-adventures and a myriad of books to devour. In essence, I would like my summer to resemble the ones I read about or see depicted in the movies (if only we had a summer share in Hamptons). 

Not every job allows for six weeks of vacation, so I am determined to not take it for granted and truly make the most out of it this year.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

It has been awhile

So long in fact, that now "blogger" has a whole new format! I decided to "go back to school" (online) and now the thought of looking at a computer screen makes me dizzy. Couple that with the fact that this is my most hectic month of school, I have not had time to post.

This post is titled, "My Confessions" because, well...I heard that Usher song and thought it would also make a stellar blog. Also (if you couldn't tell) I have tendency to craft #'d posts. So here they confessions for the moment:
1) Sometimes when I have not showered, I put on workout clothes to run errands. I figure this way, people will at least think I was up early doing something productive. Plus, even though many people in Lynnwood hit up the grocery store in PJ's, I do not want to be one of them.

2) Even though I am an English teacher, I cannot stand many of the "classic" novels. Sure I read them in high school and college, but I mush prefer a good Jane Green book!

3) Sometimes, of the most difficult parts of my job is refraining from swearing in front of the kids. There are days when I just want to say, "Are you effing kidding me?" However, I am reminded of an incident in 5th grade when my teacher (Mr. Cronk) yelled "Oh shit" when Nate Ellison broke his hobbit figurine and how I was scared of him for the remainder of the year. This memory causes me to select a more appropriate phrase.

4) I religiously watch and enjoy many shows created for teenagers. You know the ones on ABC family. "Pretty Little Liars" and "Make it or Break it" to name a couple. They actually have an interesting plot and are NOT reality shows or CSI-type shows, which seem to be the only ones made for adults lately.

5) Speaking of TV, in order to keep up with the reality show gossip at lunch, I simple tune in to "Talk Soup" with Joel McHale and I am set. Really. He condenses the best moments of a week's worth of television into a neat half-hour segment. Plus, he is hilarious.

6) The NBA playoffs are the most annoying thing ever. They last for about three months. Why don't they make it quick, like March Maddness? Maybe then, people would actually care about them. And no, I am not just bitter because the Sonics are gone.

Well...I am now noticing this new "blogger" does not come with spell check (at least not that I can fins), so please ignore any typos in this post. That is another confession of mine...I am an English teacher who not only dislikes the classics, but also cannot spell.