Armchair BEA: Who am I?

May 23, 2011
Since I – ever so sadly – cannot attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention in New York City this week, I’ve decided to join in on Armchair BEA again! Those of us who are participating in Armchair BEA are essentially putting together our own book blogger convention from the comfort of our own homes (or workplaces or wherever else we’ll be). You can read more about Armchair BEA here.

It seems that I’m not alone in my dislike for writing about myself. From browsing around other people’s introduction posts for this event, almost half expressed the same sentiment. And so it is that I’m still sat here at nearly midnight, finally ending the procrastination I’ve been doing all day to find other things to do aside from writing this post.

My name is Carina, and I’ve been blogging here since the very end of December 2009 (just over a year). Above, you may have noticed my blog’s subtitle: A twenty-something teacher in Toronto reflecting on books, reading, and literacy. I’m going to tell you a bit more about myself by working through this statement.

A twenty-something teacher in Toronto

I’m currently a high school teacher at an alternative school in downtown Toronto, where I work with at-risk students who mostly have very low skill levels (including reading ability) and have been severely disengaged with the education system. I love my job very much. Having said that, though, I’ve just signed on for a very different assignment – in August, I’m going to be re-locating to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, to teach English (probably mostly ESL) in the public high school system there.

Reflecting on books

Most of what I do here at Reading Through Life is post book reviews. I don’t pretend to post highly academic or impartial reviews; rather, I prefer to write about the books I read from a personal point of view. I will read almost anything as long as it appeals to me in some way, and I almost never leave a book unfinished, even if I don’t particularly end up enjoying it. I always want to know how it ends, and I try to be constructive in my analysis of what turned me off of a particular book. One thing that you can definitely rely on is that I will always be truthful about what I liked or disliked about a book, and I will try to explain who might like the book and why. In particular, when I read YA books, I try to explain why they might be appealing to students of this generation, particularly the at-risk ones that I tend to teach.

Reflecting on reading

I also have a very strong interest in learning about the reading habits of those around me. To this end, I started a weekly interview series in June 2010 called Reading Roots, in which I ask other bloggers about their reading histories. I particularly enjoy learning about how people came to identify themselves as “readers”, and how their parents instilled a love of reading in them from an early age. Aside from this, I tend to participate in quite a few reading-related events (such as Armchair BEA, BBAW, read-a-thons, and read-a-longs), which I try to chronicle here on my blog as well.

Reflecting on literacy

I try to write about literacy as often as I can, though that honestly doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to. With my move and job shift coming up, I’m hoping to have the opportunity to talk about this a bit more, as I try to encourage English literacy in a group of Emirati schoolchildren.

What I read

Briefly? A whole hell of a lot. But I do have a few specific areas that I tend to read more prolifically – I read a lot of memoirs and narrative non-fiction, quite a bit of adult fiction, some graphic texts, and a sprinkling of YA books. I tend to be particularly interested in books when they relate to feminism/women’s issues, Islam, the Middle East (particularly the Israel/Palestine conflict), queer characters or overall issues, politics (mostly Canadian, American, or Middle Eastern), food ethics, or stories about people facing down serious life challenges. This is definitely not a prescriptive list of the books that I read – or enjoy – but is a brief overview of some of the major themes that I tend to be attracted to.

Are you new to my blog?

Say hello in the comments! I’d love to pop by your blog and take a look as well. If you’re interested in keeping up with my posts, there are links on the right-hand side of the page for subscribing through RSS or email, as well as ways to link to me through Twitter and Facebook.

Have a great Armchair BEA!

13 Comments

  • Chrisbookarama May 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    I hope you have a good time this week! Good luck with your new assignment.

    • Carina May 24, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Thanks so much!

  • Kimberly J. Coleman May 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I am at the Book Expo in spirit, as my book, Just Sippy, is there. That, I suppose, makes me a contender for the Armchair BEA.
    I invite you to visit my blog at http://kimberlyjcoleman.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html to learn more about me and my website to learn more about my book.
    I will check back here, too.

    Nice to meet you.
    Kimberly

    • Carina May 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Booksnob (Laura) May 23, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    You are so great Carina,
    You always expand and give of yourself, you may not like to write about yourself but you are good at it.
    My post is soooo short compared to yours but then again I had to re-write it because my first post this morning strangely disappeared.
    Have fun!

    • Carina May 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Awww, you made me all blushy and embarrassed! Thanks so much for the kind words. I saw that you had to re-do your post! That really sucks! But it still looked great in the end. 😉

  • Danya May 24, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Wow, the United Arab Emirates will be quite a change from Canada! Best of luck with all the preparations for your new teaching position 🙂

    • Carina May 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Indeed, it will be! I’m thinking of it as a big adventure, though, a new experience that I wouldn’t otherwise get to have. (Plus, I’m excited about leaving the cold weather behind. I hate snow and rain!)

  • Callista May 24, 2011 at 8:59 am

    You are moving to Abu Dhabi?? Wow. That’s quite a ways away from Toronto.

    May I just say, you wrote an awesome Armchair introduction post, makes mine look really bad.

    • Carina May 24, 2011 at 10:14 am

      I am, indeed! It is quite a ways away. The farthest I’ve ever moved before was from Bradford to Toronto (less than 100 km), so this will be quite an adventure.

      Thanks so much! I think yours was great, too, honestly. I just finally made myself sit down and write after putting it off all day and just kept writing until it was done.

  • Helen Murdoch May 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Great post! I am really enjoying learning more about my fellow bloggers

  • Kaitlyn in Bookland May 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I love that you are so passionate about writing about literacy! That is amazing, thank you. I love Armchair BEA 🙂

    Here are my favorites in 2011!

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