Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Publish Date: 2014
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Length: 520 pages
"Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood." (Goodreads)

From the above summary, Salvage sounds amazing! Spaceships, betrayal, floating continent of garbage and scrap, FANS OF ACROSS THE UNIVERSE?? I'm totally there. I think because of all that, my expectations were way too high because I felt totally let down when I finished Salvage.

When you read this, the first thing you notice about the writing is that the language is a bit different aboard Parastrata. It took a while for me to get used to, but eventually I figured out what the different words meant. At first it was a little annoying to deal with it, but it makes sense that language would be different in the future aboard a spaceship.

I really love reading about people living on spaceships, so I was disappointed that only about 1/4 of the book actually takes place in space (maybe even less). I guess when it was compared to Across the Universe, I figured there'd be more time in space, but no. I wasn't a big fan of Gyre or even the storyline there. Honestly, I had a hard time with this book and really wanted to like it so much more than I actually did. I appreciate what Duncan was trying to do, but it just didn't work for me, plus I think it could have easily been 100 pages shorter. 520 pages is a lot!!

I'm not sure who I would recommend this to. I have a hard time comparing it to Beth Revis's work and I don't know if my students would be willing to put in the time on this one, especially since the language makes it hard to get into. I would love to hear other people's thoughts though!

Monday, May 5, 2014

How and Why I Open My Classroom Library During The Summer

Over the last couple weeks on Twitter, I've noticed that teachers are starting to ask if other teachers/school librarians open their libraries during the summer for student use. My answer to that question is YES!! Here's why/how:

1. First of all, why not? The books will just sit there otherwise, unread by anyone but me (if I go in and get them), so why not let students borrow them? Last summer I went in every Thursday morning for a couple hours (sometimes with a fellow teacher) so students could come and return/borrow more books. Sometimes no one came; sometimes 5 people came. Regardless of how many, I'm always happy to see books going home with students. This summer I plan on being there at least once a week, probably more. I'd like to pick an evening to be there so students can come by then if they can't make the morning time.

2. Not all of the townships in my school district have access to our public library. The township I live in, for example, does not support the library, so I pay for a card every year (the amount the average tax payer contributes). Thankfully, I can afford this, but not many students can. I like to be a resource for books during the summer and am sometimes the only resource.

3. I love talking books and talking to students, so it's great to able to continue that in June, July, and August. After talking about books daily during the school year, I miss it during the summer! It's nice to have that opportunity to catch up about books and life in general one or two days a week.

4. Like I said earlier, last year I went in one morning per week and this summer, I'd like to be there one morning and one evening. I'm also available by Twitter and email for students to contact me if they are looking for a certain book or they can't come in at my regular times. I'm happy to pop into school at another time or leave a book in the office for them to pick up.

Do any of you, fellow teachers or school librarians, open your libraries during the summer? I'm curious to find out what everyone does!

My wall of books that students can pick from!