Monday, May 25, 2020

Some end of school blather

I guess school is over for the year, whatever that means in these weird, weird times.

There are still 550 library books checked out. Most years, I have fewer than five books outstanding at the end of the year. This is somewhat stressful, but everyone is dealing with losses of one kind and another. Mine are very mild in comparison. Once things get moving again, we'll figure it out.

When school was in session, I got up every day, put on "hard pants" (frequent readers know I'm a big fans of professional dress, or, in this case, 100% cotton Lands End jeans! Not a fan of stretchy or soft clothes), and worked on book related things every day from 7:30- 3:00. I did take a break at lunch time to walk the dog around the block or go for a walk, and truth be told, I took my three bereavement days after my mother's death in bits and pieces. I'm sure we've all had times when 1:00 rolled around and it was impossible to be productive. I also included tweeting time as "work" because I was promoting books; I normally do not tweet during school hours.

Summer plans: Keep reading and continue to hang out with Sylvie, whose age is catching up with her. I won't feel so bad about going for walks or runs during the day, and won't feel a need to make up time if I go to the grocery on Thursday morning.

I'll be sewing, too, once my sewing machine gets fixed. Of course, it quit on Sunday morning. Sigh.

This week, I will be in the building checking in textbooks. The library is as tidied away as it is going to be. I hope that everyone is staying safe and keeping as much on an emotional even keel as possible.

At least we don't live in Panem!

Collins, Suzanne. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Prequel)
May 19th 2020 by Scholastic Press
Personal copy

Just some thoughts: I don't want to take any chances of putting spoilers out there.

First of all, I read The Hunger Games about 12 years ago, before many of my students were even born. That's about 9,500 books ago. It was okay, but I really dislike Mockingjay. Other than that, I have little memory of anything that happened in the books.

This is about Coriolanus Snow, and is set 60 odd years before the Hunger Games. The war is still fresh in peoples' minds, and the games are new and evolving. Coriolanus is involved because students at his school are assigned as mentors to tributes. He gets a young girl from District 12, Lucy Gray, who is a popular contestant, having wowed the audience with her personality and musical ability.

Lots and lots of bad things happen, both to the tributes but also to the mentors. The adults running the games are clearly disturbed. There is a LOT of very graphic, human-on-human violence. I'm not super comfortable with The Hunger Games and middle school students, but there was more philosophy in that book. I kept expecting it in this book and never felt like there were great lessons being learned.

I did like the depiction of Coriolanus and his family as rubbing elbows with the rich but being down on their luck. Sejanus was an interesting character, as was Lucy Gray. The strategy of the game was probably my favorite part, especially how Coriolanus bent the rules. My least favorite part was after the games, which seemed anticlimactic.

I have a copy and will put it in the library. The copy will wear out quickly because we have a 7th grade class that studies The Hunger Games as a unit novel. Is it my favorite? No. Does this matter to my students? Not in the least!

Ms. Yingling


  1. Mockingjay was my least favorite of the trilogy too. I haven't read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes yet, but I expect I will or at a minimum will watch the movie that is being produced by Lionsgate when it comes out. But 550 books still out... With the weird times we are living in, I wonder how many of those will actually come back once school is open again. Hopefully most of them because that would be quite a loss for a library.

  2. Quite the crazy times. Schools in my area have been bagging up each student's locker leftovers and making it available for pickup. I'd be more than happy if a school year never ends this way again.Thanks for all your great book finds this past week. I want them all!

  3. Congrats on ending the school such as it was. I'm impressed with how you ordered your days. With so much in upheaval, a routine helps.

    I've been hearing whispers about the new Hunger Games. I only really liked the first one, probably for the same reasons you mentioned. Even though it had violence, it was questioning that violence. But I'm not a fan of the 2nd or 3rd book, especially the 3rd one. It made so much of the previous books seem pointless. I wouldn't really want my own kids to read it, and they are not interested. They're into humor and fantasy.

  4. I haven't been at school since March 13th and I can only imagine what awaits when we go back. I'm sorry to hear about your sewing machine, your quilts are so lovely. I used to have a sewing machine I loved, but it was old and stopped working one day. I bought a new Kenmore, made of plastic and I've never been happy with it.

    I have to be honest and say I also don't remember much about The Hunger Games and I'm not sure if Allison even finished reading them, unlike the Harry Potter books. I probably won't get around to reading the prequel for a while, since it doesn't interest me much.

  5. 550 books outstanding! Wow. That is a lot, but I have faith most of them will come back. I hope your sewing machine gets fixed soon. I don't do nearly as much sewing as I used to, but when I'm in the mood, I do enjoy it. I did like The Hunger Games, but the rest of the series didn't thrill me. I don't know if I will pick up the new one or not. Thanks for your thoughts.