English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: Tara Moragn

Tara Morgan – Something Something Bone Gap

Tara Morgan – Something Something Bone Gap

For my young adult novel, I read Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. I chose to read Bone Gap because Dr. Jaxon recommended it after she had read it herself, and because I was dreading to read my first choice, The Book Thief, after hearing about just how difficult The Book Thief was to get through. What I expected from this book was that it would be very dream-like and metaphorical, as that was what Dr. Jaxon disclosed to me when I expressed interest in reading Bone Gap. And Dr. Jaxon was right—Bone Gap most definitely has a sense of whimsicality to it that is very refreshing, and it makes for an interesting and captivating read.

Admittedly, the first three chapters or so are less than page-turners. However, you will soon find yourself gripped by the story and invested in the characters; you only need to give the story time to unfold. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a cold like I did, because you won’t want to put the book down for longer than it takes to run to the fridge to get a snack after the somewhat slow beginning, and you will end up finishing it in a day if you have a good enough excuse (cough, cough).

The story of Bone Gap follows four main characters and a few other minor characters over a period of time in the town of Bone Gap, and it captures their reactions, interactions, and states of being throughout a series of events that all turn out to be connected in some way. I enjoyed getting to know the characters not only through their own chapters, but through other characters’ perceptions of them. Ruby does a fantastic job of unveiling her characters gradually and by leaving a great deal of interpretation up to the reader’s imagination.

The book blurs the line between fantasy and reality, and it takes its readers on an exploration of their own imaginations. For this reason, I believe that Bone Gap should be a must-read for high-school students and high school graduates alike. While the book may not be the most appropriate piece of literature to teach in an English class, I believe that it is a wonderful read-for-pleasure book because it possesses the capacity to engage its readers in such a personal way.

BGD-Inspired Poems & Such

BGD-Inspired Poems & Such

Part (A):

For my poetry book, I chose to read Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. The reason why I chose to read this book over my original choice was because I was itching to read more books by Woodson after finishing After Tupac and D. Foster. Initially, I assumed that the book would be laid out as a diary-like compilation of experiences from Woodson’s life that was sprinkled with poetry that she had written throughout her life. That was not at all what the book entailed!

The book consisted of a compilation of poems that describe Woodson’s journey through life; it is an autobiography told entirely through poems. Before I read through the book cover-to-cover, I decided that I wanted to peruse the book and read any poems which jumped out at me. I read through quite a few poems, and ended my first reading session entirely satisfied and wishing that I could write poetry as well as Woodson. However, I’ve found that after reading through the book in its entirety that it is very hard to remain focused, as I’d had to read several passages over again because I was afraid of missing any main points.

I thought that the book could have been improved if Woodson would have included some periodical non-poetry text so that the reader could have a mental break every once in a while from having to digest such rich and dense poetry. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading and analyzing poetry, but constantly having to put my mind in “poetry mode” gets cumbersome and dull after a long reading session.

Criticisms aside, I found the content of the book to be spectacular as it deepened my own understanding of what people of color go through as they grow up and experience life. I think that I would most definitely teach this book in my classroom if I were to teach eighth grade or higher. This is because I feel as though some of the content might be a little tough for elementary aged students to properly react to; in my opinion, older students would get more out of Woodson’s narrative. Additionally, I think that the length of the book would turn off younger audiences, while older students wouldn’t be as intimidated by the length.

To sum my ramblings up: Brown Girl Dreaming is a phenomenal autobiography written by a very inspirational woman. Woodson’s writing style is beautiful and raw, and the book will grant its readers a new perspective on what it’s like to take a walk in Jacqueline Woodson’s shoes.

Part (B):

A brief poem that I put together using lines from A Brown Girl Dreaming:

At the end of the day, the newspaper is printed.

At night, every living thing competes.

But I sing  anyway, whenever I can.

Tara Morgan – Something Something Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Tara Morgan – Something Something Diary of a Wimpy Kid

For my series book, I am reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. The reason why I chose this book was because I had previously read it as a middle schooler; the book’s debut was in 2007, the year I began going to Marsh Jr. High School. I remember finding the book very relatable as a preteen because I could connect with Greg’s angsty-ness and his apathy towards his school life. I remember proudly handing down my Diary of a Wimpy Kid collection to my brother after I grew to be “too mature” for the series in eleventh grade. My brother then went on to devour the series up until the latest installment circa 2015: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School.

Now as I re-read this book as an adult, I am cringing and laughing at the same jokes I cringed and laughed at eight years ago. It has been somewhat nostalgic for me to revisit the very series that I read so vivaciously throughout my middle and early high school careers. I am finding so much amusement in understanding the jokes that went over my head as a preteen, such as Greg’s grandpa’s online dating life and Rodrick’s teenaged shenanigans.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was “written” by a fictional boy named Greg Heffley, and it recounts happenings from his daily life as a middle schooler. In the first chapter, Greg explains that he is only keeping a diary because he wants a written manuscript of his childhood for when he becomes rich and famous—definitely NOT because his mom got him a diary from the store so that he could have a place to write down his feelings. He describes his school life to us in this introduction as well; we learn how Greg feels about the other kids in his class—especially the school’s weird kid named Fregley (with whom Greg was lumped by the “morons” that go to his school) and his friend named Rowley. We then meet Greg’s family: Rodrick, his teenaged older brother, Manny, his small and spoiled baby brother, and his parents.

In my opinion, what makes this book so easily accessible to people of all ages is its universal sense of humor; everyone remembers feeling strange and misunderstood as they progress through the awkward stages of their life (*cough*middleschool*cough*), and almost everyone enjoys a joke or two about puberty.

As Miller points out in her book Reading in the Wild, the reason why people continue to read books rather than abandoning them is because they are engaged by the material, they agree with the author’s points, and they can relate to the protagonist of the story. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a resounding success that generated nine sequels and a movie because of its ability to evoke a laugh and to engage its reader with captivating stories about growing up.

Tara Morgan – Something Something Reading in the Wild

Tara Morgan – Something Something Reading in the Wild

I thought that the first chapter of Miller’s Reading in the Wild was amazingly well-written, and there were points put forth with which I enthusiastically agree. At the beginning of the chapter, Miller states that the endless “to-do” list of professional, personal, and familial obligations can make it difficult to fit in the proper time to read; Miller acknowledged that “if [she] didn’t make reading a priority, it would be easy to skip it.” The truth to that statement hurts, because I do not make reading as large of a priority as I would have preferred. In the text, there is a passage in which a lady claims that when she does get some down time, she usually checks Facebook instead of reading a book, and I usually do the same. But here’s the thing: that lady has kids and a busy adult life as an excuse. What’s my excuse? It’s not like I go home after school and work and read. No, I lay on the floor and watch YouTube. I am a monster.

That is why I consider myself a “fake reader;” I pretend that I read a heck of a lot more than I actually do. However, this is not to say that I never read! I will definitely peruse assigned readings and whatnot, but that is only because I value my grades, not because I WANT to read that oh-so-interesting article on the reason why my generation is worthless is because we don’t read. I wish that I wasn’t a faker and actually read as often as I claim I do, because I used to absolutely adore reading as a child. I hope that the 10-minute reading sessions at the beginning of class will help me overcome my laziness and get back into the habit of reading for pleasure.

Tara Morgan – Sick Cinderella Rhymes

Tara Morgan – Sick Cinderella Rhymes

She doesn’t mind the northern weather;

There, there aren’t any fish or feathers.

But there are, of course, family plots against her.

By no cupid’s bow was dear dad bit,

With no stones was the Cinderwench hit,

And I can’t seem to write a good riddle for shit.

Tara Morgan – Introdution

Tara Morgan – Introdution

Hello, my name is Tara Morgan, and I was born and raised here in Chico. Once upon a time, my parents came here to receive their degrees and never left, and when it came time for me to decide where I wanted to study, I stayed as well. I’m currently undergoing my third year here at Chico State and am studying to obtain a bachelor’s in Liberal Studies so that I may pursue my dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.

Many of my opinions about what it means to be a reader were shaped by being raised in an English teacher’s household. As I mentioned above, my father obtained his degree and teaching credential through Chico State, and he now works at Orland High School. I guess what they say about apples not tending to fall far from their trees holds some truth. In my view, a reader is someone who consumes and digests reading material– in that they strive to understand and form opinions about the material that they read.

This is my first semester working as a recreation leader for CARD’s after school program at Emma Wilson Elementary, and I absolutely adore my job. The experiences that I’ve gained working on that site have affirmed to me that I am making the right choice in pursuing a degree that will allow me to work with children for years to come. In the past, I’ve worked as a lifeguard for CARD’s aquatics program and have taught swim lessons, working at Bidwell Jr.’s PV Pool, Chico Jr.’s Shapiro Pool, and Bidwell Park’s One Mile (or Sycamore Pool, depending on who you talk to).

In my free time, I love to read anything fantasy or fiction– especially if it pertains to Lord of the Rings. I also love to go on hikes in Upper Bidwell Park and swim here at the WREC. I live with my fiancé named Jake and my cat named Cat.

Thank you for getting to know me! I look forward to getting to know you.