Cruise into summer with The Living

The Divergent trilogy has drawn to a close, finishing with a volume that has drawn decidedly mixed reviews from your Hogpro faculty and the most of the rest of the world as well. There is still much more to be said about that series—personally, I find myself changing my mind about Allegiant about as often as I change my socks. We need to hear more about the first movie, and the others to come–are they really going to split Allegiant into two films?.  It’s Insurgent that needs more screen time! –We also have the Mockingjay movies to look ahead to, as well as more from Ms. Rowling as the Fantastic Beasts movie launches and the Cormoran Strike series continues. Having just re-read James Thomas’s Rowling Revisted, I am particularly looking forward to seeing the adventures of Newt Scamander unfold. But that’s still a long way off.

Last week, I went into the first and hopefully annual LSU Young Adult Literature Conference with a central question in mind… what’s next? What new book series do we start to discuss on this site? The female-centric dystopia trend shows no sign of abating; indeed, there was enough buzzing about Marie Lu’s Legend and Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing series that both are on my library hold list. But I can also see the value in a change of pace.

So, here’s my suggestion….

Several books by our guest authors were recommended to the LSU instructors-in-residence for reading prior to the conference. Among them was Matt de la Pena’s latest novel, The Living, published in November 2013 and described by the conference leadership as a “future classic.” I was unfamiliar with de la Pena’s previous work, although I had read of the controversy regarding his books being pulled from the Arizona public school curriculum. But it made little difference, since according to virtually everyone I talked to who knew Mr. de la Pena’s work, The Living was a radically different type of story from his previous four novels. [Read more…]

Another writer notes the Divergent-Personality test link.

See? It’s not just me….

Laura Moss of Mother Nature Network has written a fascinating article linking the Factions of Divergent, the Houses of Hogwarts, the Breakfast Club and Buzzfeed quizzes to personality theory and people’s need to define themselves.   Please discuss! Does the quick-and-easy “sorting” of the protagonists into “the simplest terms, the most convenient definitions” explain the popularity of Tris (and Katniss and Harry), especially for adolescents who are seeking their own identity?  Is this why Facebook abounds with quizzes that claim to tell us which Broadway Musical or Starship Enterprise captain we really are, with a few clicks of the mouse?

What Muppet are you?

FYI:  This is the most fitting Buzzfeed result I ever got:  You are….  Scooter!  Your life is all about coffee.  You are real, really good at your job and deserve more recognition. In addition, I am Atticus Finch, Jadzia Dax, The Circle of Life and Fraulein Maria.

Divergent Movie: First Impressions

It was a beautiful snowy night in beautiful downtown Staunton, Virginia, when, inspired by Elizabeth Baird Hardy’s outings with her Hunger Games readers, a colleague and I went with about 60 Mary Baldwin psychology students to see Divergent at  the historic Dixie theater.  Granted, it was March 25th, a few days after the movie’s big opening weekend, and, at that time of year, a beautiful spring evening would have been far more appropriate, but that wasn’t going to spoil our fun.

Judging from both the turnout for the film and the comments afterwards, this was a movie the students were eagerly anticipated and which lived up to their expectations.  Since my colleague is teaching personality psychology this term, we could not resist indoctrinating them on the Five Factor Hypothesis. But, with their finals coming up in only a couple of weeks, I figure the odds of the students remembering what O.C.E.A.N stands for are a bit more in their favor now.  At least two students have told me they were inspired to read the series now, which is always a desirable outcome.

Spoilers, ho!

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Another Hogwarts Professor Study: Readers of YA Fiction

Dr. Louise Freeman of the Mary Baldwin Psychology Department seeks readers of young adult fiction for a personality study. This study will require you to fill out a brief (15 minute) personality survey. Participants must be at least 13 years old and a fluent speaker of English. The study is approved by the Institutional Review Board of Mary Baldwin College.   Many thanks for your help!

Young Adult Literature Conference and Seminar

Registration opens soon for a Young Adult Literature Conference and Seminar at Louisiana State University, to be held June 2-6 for interested middle and high school teachers, graduate students, academics and other scholars interested in Young Adult Literature.  I will be teaching one of the short courses: Divergent Thinking: Psychology and Neuroscience as Keys to Understanding Roth’s Dystopian World and presenting a breakout session on some Harry Potter related topic.  I am sure the website will be listing the rest of the topics and sessions soon.

Please let me know if any Hogpro regulars would like to attend!