Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

coverHow would you feel if you had to live every day in fear of the love of your life being deployed in a war struck country? Dear John by Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite books of all time. Sparks pulls you in and takes you on an emotional roller coaster by making you fall in love with the main character, John Tyree, a United States Military veteran. As you are falling in love with John, he is falling in love with the other main character of the book, Savanah Curtis. All love stories contain heartbreak, but this book in particular has you grabbing multiple boxes of tissues. Sparks pulls in his readers only to leave them in despair in the middle of the novel. John and Savanah’s love is easy and carefree, making this book an easy and pleasurable read for almost all audiences. As a result of the September 11th attacks, John re-enrolls in the military to fulfill his need to serve his country. When John leaves, Savanah has second thoughts about the long distance relationship and sends a letter beginning with “Dear John,”.

What I love about many of Sparks’ novels is that they are very realistic; they don’t always end in a happily ever after. John and Savanah’s relationship was nowhere close to “ideal”. In one scene in the book, Savanah suggests that John’s father might have Asperger’s syndrome, a disorder resembling autism. As one can imagine, John did not take this diagnosis very well and put up a wall for some time, shutting out Savanah. Sparks also uses figurative language throughout his novels. In one instance, Sparks writes, “The initial feelings associated with love were almost like an ocean wave in their intensity, acting as the magnetic force that drew two people together.” If this doesn’t scream romance, I don’t know what does.

If you are looking for a story that has a happy romantic ending, I suggest staying away from this book. But, if you are ready to steer away from the stereotypical romance novel and let your heart be vulnerable, this is the book for you. To find out what happens between John and Savanah, I strongly suggest getting lost in this tear jerking novel.

Reviewed by Madison H ’17 for Literature of the Millennium


Fun with Animoto

The girls in my Literature of the Millennium class have been hard at work blogging, creating book trailers, and videoing book talks that I hope to share at Morning Reports really soon. Stay tuned.

Here’s a good example of one of my girls’ book trailers created using the Animoto program for If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Isn’t it awesome?!

It’s SO COLD outside! Why not curl up with a good book today?

Summer Reading

I don’t know about you girls, but I was so looking forward to summer break and long stretches of uninterrupted reading time. When it finally came, I felt…wait for it…pressure. Pressure?? On summer vacation?! That’s crazy talk, right?! I did, though. Pressure to pick the right book now that I finally have time to read. I took home a stack of library books. What was I in the mood for? Should I start with the book that lots of faculty are reading this summer, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking? It looks interesting. What about all the books that I shelved this year, thinking to myself, I can’t wait to read this and this and this? Should I read a great literary masterpiece to feed my mind? Maybe some non-fiction or historical fiction or maybe the Maze Runner trilogy before it hits theaters? Maybe a little romance or humor? There are just too many choices!!! AHHHH!!!!

So I took a stack of books home and read the first few pages of each. Nothing jumped out at me. I brought them back to the library. I’m working this summer…it’s so quiet in here without you girls!! I opened a box from Amazon…new books to entice you with next year. Then I saw it. An endorsement from John Green right there on the cover.

“Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable.”

Have I mentioned lately how much I love John Green? It’s like a good book recommendation from a BFF. Anyway, one day later and I’m 99% done with this book and let me tell you friends, John really did nail that endorsement.

If you need something to take to the beach, to the mountains, or just to a chair in your back yard, this is your book. I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how it ends.


From the publisher:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.


What should I read next? Use the comments below to offer suggestions! 🙂


You can judge a town by its public library

I attended a BBQ last weekend and, after identifying myself to another party guest as being a librarian, was given the usual double-take that I receive–I think typically assessing what I’m wearing and perhaps a bit of envy if the person likes to read–but this time I was actually asked, “you’re seriously a librarian? I mean, no offense, librarians are cool–who can forget the shushing ghost at the beginning of “Ghost Busters”, right? But come on, who even uses libraries anymore?” It should come as no surprise, friends, to learn that this guy is not a reader. I did my best to educate him. He just stared at me in response.

Not only do I love school libraries and believe wholeheartedly in the intellectual heart and soul that they can (should!) create for a school, but they can also do so much to anchor a cultural epicenter in your town. Have you girls ever experienced a really progressive, well designed and staffed public library? Seattle’s comes to my mind immediately as does the Charlotte’s where I once worked. It was an amazing network of very unique branches. Our last home library, the Chattanooga Public Library is undergoing a 21st century transformation so radical that it frequently makes headlines, and their new library director, Corinne Hill,  was recently named Library Journal’s 2014 Librarian of the Year. Awesome.

I am so looking forward to exploring the public libraries in and around Troy this summer.

Day students: can you suggest some branches that I should take my kids to check out?

Boarders: what’s your hometown library like? Is there one I should check out if I’m ever visiting?


Wait. a. minute. Did you just ask me if people really use libraries anymore?