What I'm Reading. Life as an English Teacher.

I haven't done one of these posts in a really long time, but here goes. I am reading a lot of great stuff lately, but are a few of my latest favorite!

The Storied Life of AJ Fickery by Garbrielle Zevin

I started this book on Friday and finished it by Sunday morning--it was lovely. The story is simple and it's what I would probably call a "quiet book' which is the term I use when the book isn't overly dramatic and doesn't contain a super intense story, but it's powerful and brought a tear or two to my eyes.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda and Hamilton: The Biography by Ron Chernow

First--I've been on the Hamilton fan train since about....August of 2015, so I am not a fly by nighter who only showed up after the Grammy's and Tony's. I've been singing (literally) Lin's praises since In the Heights changed my world in 2008--the man is a DAMN GENIUS. That's not even powerful enough. He is world changing. Universe changing. Yes, I said it.

Ok, so Hamilton the Biography by Chernow is what the musical is based upon, and I have to say, for a biography about an old dead white guy, it's pretty darn interesting. Alexander Hamilton was a total boss--no way around it, and he didn't let his life get in the way of him bossing the heck out of all the Founding Father's, his wife, his family, his frenemy Aaron Burr, and the entire US Constitution. I mean, the dude was a basically penniless orphan when he arrived, and then he became the first US Treasury Secretary--what? 

Hamilton the Revolution is Hamilton porn for anyone who loves the musical or loves Lin Manuel Miranda. It is a BEAUTIFUL book of the ANNOTATED LYRICS from Lin's freakishly genius mind. There are photos and all the fun stuff, of course, but the WORDS are the powerful part of this book.  An interview with Chris Jackson who plays Washington about what it's like to be a black man playing our first president, and a tear jerking interview with Anthony Ramos who plays John Laurens and Philip Hamilton about when President Obama sought him out after the performance to compliment him. 

I could go on and on, but I won't--short answer--if you're into Hamilton, both books are a must read. 

American Girls-Social Media and the Secret Life of Girls by Nancy Jo Sales

This book is the most frightening book I've read in my life. Seriously. It is a million times scarier than The Shining. Because it's REAL. Guys, if you spend time with teenagers, or I'd even say folks into their early 20s, then you know how unbelievably obsessed they are with their technology, and specifically their social media presence.  It's an illness, really.  I'm not judging at all, because I have been known to love on my social media life a bit too hard, but this book lays it ALL out there and it doesn't shy away from anything.

Basically Sales spent two years with a whole bunch of teenagers all across the country, talking with them about their social media lives and why, how, and what they get from scrolling and scrolling and scrolling through a screen. She writes about the Selfie Culture (which is a HUGE microcasm of psychological warfare) and also moms who work hard to complete with their daughters in the social media sphere. It's creepy, it's weird, it's intense, and it's important.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone out there. It's fascinating and nauseating.