Author Archives: Jessica Dick

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”

Miranda Paul wrote an article called “Books Like ‘Hunger Games’ Makes Reading Cool Again” which grabbed my attention as it is the unit that we just finished. For me, reading is always ‘cool’ but I learned at a very young age that that is not the norm. This article explored how books such as “Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “Eragon,” and “Twilight” make reading cool. With these books soaring in  popularity, authors and book stores are taking notice. The article writes,“these titles inspired many other authors and kicked-off trends of fantasy, vampires, and dystopian series, to the point that shelves of many YA areas of bookstores have a special section” (Paul 1). I think that this is great.  There were so many times growing up that when I finished a book that I loved I would go to the library and bookstore and ask for another book that was similar. I think it is great for libraries and bookstores to take advantage of that because I believe that that is how you get kids to keep reading, once they have found something that they love.

One trend that the article mentioned that I am not so sure how I feel about, because I love so many of the classics, is the rewriting of classics that most of us are probably familiar with. For example, the article writes, “and although not all teens are picking up the classics, they’re getting the same storylines through a growing trend of retold tales. New spins on old books include “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith, “Another Faust” by Daniel Nayeri, “Jane” by April Lindner, and “For Darkness Shows the Stars” by Diane Peterfreund. The case can even be made that Bella Swan’s relationships in the “Twilight” series are akin the angst and longing suffered by Elizabeth Bennett in “Wuthering Heights” (Paul 2).

I am not sure that those would be titles that I would be picking up but at the same time, if it is getting people to read then I guess that it a success. For those of us who have already read some of the classics mentioned above, it might possibly be interesting to see how they retold it. You can definitely tell that current trends are being brought into these classics, for example, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” which kind of has my interest on how they would incorporate zombies into such a classic.

Here is the Amazon description of the novel:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

“So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombiestransforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read”





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Banned Books

“Banned Books Week at 30: New and Notable Efforts” caught my eye this week because it always surprises me that books can be banned. This year, Banned Books Week is celebrating its 30th anniversary. In high school I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and was shocked to learn that it is considered a banned book. At first I was shocked that my strict private school was allowing us to read a banned book, but after reading it and loving it, I could not imagine why people would not want to have children read such a great book.

What surprises me about banned books is that not only does it include classics but it also includes recent and popular novels. For example, the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games Trilogy, and Lauren Myracle’s ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r books.

These popular novels, most of which I have read, have been such a huge success. Yes, they are not as great as some classics, but they have succeeded in getting millions of children and adults across the world to read a book. I remember the lines and midnight releases and excitement when a new Harry Potter book would come out. These books got millions of people, who do not normally read books, to get engrossed in a massive series and to me that is a success and should be celebrated.

In an age where it is more and more difficult to get people interested in reading I think these books should be celebrated and not banned. Going through the list of banned books, some books just completely shock me that they are on the list when I think of other books that I have been forced to read that are not on the list. I understand that people want to protect children from certain things, but I think children are seeing and learning far worse things on tv and the internet then they are in popular books.

I think in this age where it is more of a struggle to get students to sit down and read a book that we should be celebrating anything they are reading, not banning it. What a different world we would live in, if no one had been allowed to read Harry Potter. A book is a book and we should embrace that. 

Jessica Dick


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Since as far back as I can remember there have always been debates about how much teachers should make, how underpaid they are for as much work as they do, and how often they are blamed for everything. In telling people that I want to be a high school English teacher, I am more often given a bad remark about teaching back. “Are you sure?” “Aren’t you just asking for it?” “You couldn’t pay me to go back to high school!” “Teenagers? You’re crazy!” I’m sure we have all heard these remarks at one point. I haven’t even started teaching and I’m already not being supported by a lot of people. This idea of not being supported and not being respected is some of the driving forces behind the teachers who have gone on strike in Chicago this week.

In the article, “Teachers’ Strike in Chicago Test Mayor and Union”, that appeared in The New York Times, it talks about what has led 350,000 students to be without teachers this week. This week, thousands of teachers went on strike, the first in twenty-five years for Chicago. Negotiations have gone on this week between Chicago Public Schools officials and leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union to resolve this issue. This strike has gained a lot of support in other cities giving a “glimpse at a mounting national struggle over unionized teachers’ pay, conditions, benefits and standing” (Rich 1). This topic has even reached presidential candidate Mitt Romney who released a statement saying, “Teachers’ unions have too often made plain that their interests conflict with those of our children, and today we are seeing one of the clearest examples yet” (1).

Issues at debate besides the obvious salary increase and teacher benefits are “how to evaluate teachers and whether teaching openings should automatically go to laid-off teachers” (1). The New York Times reports that the average teacher in Chicago makes $76,000 a year.

This caught my attention because I have heard more and more about teachers being upset about teacher evaluations that weigh so heavily on student test scores. This, and all the issues raised in this strike, are all issues that are applicable to teachers all over the country. What the teachers in Chicago are fighting for are what teachers all over the country fight for everyday, except they still do their job. I understand the importance of the issues and what these teachers are trying to do but I cannot help but think of the students in this case. Coming off of a three month summer vacation, these teachers are starting the year off on the wrong foot. Teachers constantly preach that they want the support of parents, but in putting 350,000 students out of the classroom, they are not getting on parents good side. Where are all these students supposed to go? Parents work, summer camps and programs are over, and college babysitters are back in school.  These parents, especially those with young children, are being forced to call out of work themselves and as a result losing pay. What is most scary for these parents is that they have no idea how long they are going to have to find an alternative for their children. As this strike gains support across the nation, parents across the country are forced to ask themselves if this could happen to them and what would they do?

As much as this strike is supposed to hopefully bring about much needed change you can’t help but wonder about the chaos it is currently causing…and for how long?


-Jessica Dick


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