September 24, 2017

My recommended required reading | AKA Books that I Read for School and Didn't Hate

Summer has finally come to an end. For many people this means going back to school, either as a school or a teacher, and facing another year of studying, learning, and stressing.

School is made up of many facets; horrifying geometry pop quizzes, a list of extracurriculars longer than your TBR, and late nights trying to catch up on what you should have done yesterday. But all of these struggles pale in comparison to the beast of required reading.

The nature of required reading is a double-edged sword, which is perhaps the topic of another blog post. For now, let's just recognize that while being forced to read may not be the most pleasurable literary experience, it doesn't have to be the worst either. As with any book that you read, the reader has power with the story. Even with required reading, you have the choice to make the most of the book, or to dismiss it as another worthless assignment that you are determined to hate.

Teachers too often get hate about their required reading choices, but the students' displeasure is misplaced. The teacher is not the author of the book, or even the person who decided it was popular. As a society, we collectively put value on certain books that survived throughout time. So, let me say it one more time for the people in the back, IT IS NOT A TEACHER'S FAULT THAT YOU HATED A BOOK.

It took me a while to figure this out, since unfortunately, it is easier to blame a teacher than to blame yourself. But once you start at least trying to appreciate the required books, they will start to appreciate you as well. An open minds leads to understanding, connection, and eventually enjoyment while a closed mind only leads to disappointment.

I am not going to lie, I have read a fair amount of books throughout my education career that I did not like or downright hated. But I have read a ton of books for leisure that I hated too. So, in the spirit of trying to see required reading in a new light, I am going to share some of my favorite books that I was assigned to read.

September 3, 2017

When video games meet Spartacus | Arena by Holly Jennings

Arena (Arena, #1)By Holly Jennings
Arena #1
Published on April 5, 2016
336 Pages
Science Fiction, New Adult, Diverse

This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV. She's died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...
The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses. 
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who's far more distracting than he should be. 
Between internal tensions and external pressures, Kali is on the brink of breaking. To change her life, she ll need to change the game. And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside.