The Owl Eyes Blog
First impressions can be misleading—in life, but in fiction as well. Sometimes, a character may gain a reputation that’s not exactly true to the text. We owe it to ourselves and to the world of literature to give such characters a couple more chapters before drawing conclusions. That’s why we’ve rounded up a collection of commonly misunderstood characters. From Frankenstein’s monster to Mr. Darcy, here are some characters who deserve to be read between the lines.
Every February, Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans from throughout our history. (Though, other countries around the world, including Canada and the UK, devote a month to celebrating black history as well.) You can learn more about Black History Month here. In honor of Black History Month, we’ve rounded up a collection of historical texts, biographies, poems, and novels written by or about black people throughout history. From Phillis Wheatley to Frederick Douglass, these authors have contributed much to our literary and rhetorical traditions. We feel that reading widely helps us to participate more deeply in this celebration, so peruse the following texts and add a couple to your to-read list!
Even though the Greek gods aren’t typically worshipped anymore, Greek mythology has never gone out of style and continues to offer an endless trove of stories, characters, and images. While Greek myths influence all aspects of culture—we name planets and corporations after the gods, for example—the influence is perhaps most prevalent in the arts. Let’s look at some of the poets, playwrights, and novelists through the ages who have found inspiration in the tales of the Greek gods.
When the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BCE) wasn’t studying and writing, he was teaching his students at the Lyceum, the academy he founded in Athens. His experiences as a teacher and lecturer motivated him to think deeply about rhetoric, and to ask the question: how do we best get our ideas across?
Reconstruction took place in the years immediately following the end of the American Civil War, lasting from 1865, when the Confederacy surrendered, until 1879, when the last federal soldiers left South Carolina. Few decades in American history have had as lasting an impact as the Reconstruction years. Let’s look at several of the key, early moments from this period and how they laid the foundation for what would come.
Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” has continued to resonate with readers around the world since its publication in 1849. In the 20th century, notable activists such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. drew inspiration from Thoreau’s work for their own nonviolent resistance to injustice and oppression. Thoreau’s essay endures primarily due to the accessibility, timelessness, and universality of his themes. Whether reading for the classroom or personal enjoyment, consider these key questions before beginning Thoreau’s essay.
Last November, the New York Times published an opinion piece titled How to Get Your Mind to Read. Since we’re all about reading here at Owl Eyes, we eagerly devoured the post. Since many of the recommendations for improving reading comprehension are an active part of our work, I’d like to relay several of the key points in the article here. Leave a comment if you have any other recommendations!
While I still prefer to do most of my pleasure reading offline, I’ve found myself reading more articles, short stories, and other texts on the internet. (There’s something appealing about being able to carry an entire library in your pocket!) However, I’ve noticed that with this increase in screen-based reading, I’m a little more susceptible to fatigue and have more trouble concentrating.
Fortunately, I’ve adopted some new habits and explored some options that help to make screen-reading as smooth and painless as possible. Some of these are specific to Owl Eyes, and some are just good ideas in general.
With the New Year just around the corner, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has “read more books” on my to-do list. This year, though, I thought I’d take it a step further by rounding up a couple of my other literary goals to share with my fellow bookworms—feel free to add them to your own list of resolutions!
Here at Owl Eyes, we’re always working hard to expand our library. We’ve recently been adding a lot of poetry and nonfiction texts. Here are just a few of the new books you can now read for free on-site—don’t forget to check out the rest on our Recently Added bookshelf!
Winter break is nearly upon us. We’re finishing up our gradebooks, meetings, and putting away our lessons for a time. So, you know what that means? It’s time to plan on how we’re going to come back in January stronger and better prepared than ever!
With so much classic literature out there, it can be difficult to know what to read and where to begin. Here at Owl Eyes, we've recently been reading the poems of John Keats, and we're confident you'll love them as much as we do. Getting started with Keats's work can be daunting, and you'll probably have some questions before you dive in. Fortunately, we have answers.
Thank you to NCTE and all the amazing English teachers who made our third year in attendance so fun and special! It was fun to stretch our wings and leaving the rainy comfort of Seattle for St. Louis, and we truly enjoyed connecting with such passionate educators and teachers.
We're excited to attend the NCTE conference this week and hopefully meet many of our readers in person. This’ll be our third conference, and we’re looking forward to showing off what’s new with your free e-reading library and annotating tool this year.