Showing posts from February, 2007

Looking for Alaska by John Green

So I went and read this one after reading his Printz honor book for this year, and it was worth the wait. Spoiler alert: someone dies in the book. It seems like it's a book about boarding school, but in the end it's a book about surviving an inexplicable loss. Favorite quotes: "The times that were the most fun seemed always to be followed by sadness now, because it was when life started to feel like it did when she was with us that we realized how utterly, totally gone she was." (p. 190) I felt that I understood something about grief, loss, and death that I hadn't fully gotten before when I read this quote. "When adults say, 'Teenagers think they are invincible' with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and siz

The Joy of Doing Things Badly by Veronica Chambers

author of Marisol and Magdalena... Favcrite quote from this book is from the chapter "A word or two or three about rejection:" "On the first day, I could cry as much as I wanted. On the second day, I could cry, but I had to get out of the house. On the third day, I could cry, but I had to do something to get back on the horse..."

Things I'm not reading: Storytelling

Monday I heard 8 stories told in class. Tuesday I heard 8 more. Then, 30 minutes after Tuesday's class, I went to the storytelling guild meeting and heard another 6 or so stories told. And, of course, as happens every time I teach this class and am immersed in this world, I am suddenly seeing narrative all around me. In my immediate environment, there are giants. Many giants. There are quests, like the quests of job applicants for positions in our department. I'm on a quest to develop and respect my own research agenda, which takes the strength of a hero. And I am dragon or champion in the stories of so many others. This course always affects the time I can put into reading, because I become so saturated with narrative...

still award season... An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

I'm working my way through honor books slowly. The Printz awards this year look so intense that I think I'd need to recover from them emotionally, which is not something I typically have the juice to do during a semester. One more preface: I havent' read Green's winning book, Looking for Alaska. An Abundance of Katherines was, well, fun. It's summer, there's a road trip, and two guys meet a girl named Lindsey and land a random job with Lindsey's mom recording small town oral history. The over-the-hill-child-prodigy Colin was an amusingly socially dysfunctional character, and his wise-ass sidekick Hassan kept the humor coming while Colin was moping. What's most interesting about the book to me is that Colin's experience of growing out of being special echoes the experiences of many kids. Many modern middle-class kids with adoring American parents are given classes, books, learning experiences, lessons, a host of gadgets and games... the result

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

This is the third in the series that started with The Wee Free Men. I've never been able to get into Pratchett's Discworld series, but I love the "Tiffany Aching Adventures" in this series. Tiffany is a young but very powerful witch. She is connected to unseen forces, but is also extremely practical. This book has her accidentally dancing with the god of winter, and thereby accidentally taking the role of summer for herself, until the real summer has to be rescued from the underworld and the balance brought to rights again. There's lots of charcteristic Pratchett humor, including the fact that the Wintersmith demonstrates his love for Tiffany with Tiffany-shaped snowflakes and floating glaciers. As usual, the Nac Mac Feegle are a great help and highly amusing, as they bluster their way down into the underworld and back again. I had an extremely taxing week, which involved outlining several dissertation chapters and taking notes on the entire decade of the 18