Update: Currently at 7 hrs, 52 min of reading/blogging time and 1 hour, 9 min of networking time, for a total of 9 hrs, 1 min as of 17 hours into my start. (I'm using a stop watch to keep track of my time so a)I don't have to remember when I started/stopped reading and b)because I'm kind of anal like that and want to be exact.) I feel quite accomplished. I'm on my 4th book right now.
My second book for today was The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt because I've been hearing so much talk about Okay for Now by Schmidt and read that one of the characters is originally in The Wednesday Wars. I really like to read previous books about people (when I know about them) before the next book.
This book made me wish I had paid more attention in high school English when teachers talked about themes and symbols and "crap" like that. Now that I'm reading more advanced books, I'd like to understand them as well. If I stop and think about what certain parts of the book mean, I can come up with a meaning, but usually when I ask someone else, they come up with what I think of as a better meaning. There may be no wrong or right (contrary to HS English teachers' beliefs) but some meanings are better than others.
The Wednesday Wars talks a lot about Shakespeare, and I'm sure that the author put in the specific parts and plays to make some type of symbolic connection. It makes the book that much more interesting. I thought this book was powerful because it talks about the Vietnam War and a relationship between authority and students, specifically one teacher - Mrs. Baker - and one student - Holling Hoodhood. She hates his guts at the beginning, as he puts it, but she does warm up to her here and there. Schmidt makes some smart moves in this book by making you think all is "swell" when the next chapter, walls (or the ceiling in this case) come tumbling down. He writes a shocker or two into the book as well.
One main theme of the book is being who you want to be, not what someone else wants you to be. Holling learns this early on through The Merchant of Venice but doesn't apply it until much later. On page 48 he says people trapped a Shakespeare character into being a certain way without allowing him to "be anything except for what he was." This plays into the story within Holling's family throughout the book.
There are many parts I found to be profound and many great Shakespearean lines in this book. I highly recommend it and look forward to Okay for Now.