Monday, July 31, 2006

The End of Summer

I have only two more weekdays of summer vacation from work. I have a bit of grad school class work to do, but I hope to spend a significant portion of my too quickly dwindling free time reading some things for pleasure. I want to finish Sophie's Choice, and I want to read a couple of YA books that I didn't get to earlier in the summer. I need to do some housecleaning and some shopping, and I have to go to my hometown for a baby shower. Sounds too busy for summer vacation, but busy is a good description for this summer vacation.

Well, it's late and I plan to be busy tomorrow enjoying one of my remaining days of summer, so I'm going to bed now. Maybe tomorrow, I will spend some time and write a real post, a post worth reading.

Friday, July 21, 2006

These Books

These books, these poor, sad, unread books, waiting patiently on my headboard. I had planned to read as many of these books as possible this summer. Instead, I have spent the summer reading picture books, children's books and YA books, most of which I found, at best, pleasant.

Every night when I go to bed with one or more of those children's or YA books, I see these looking forlorn and lonely despite not being alone in their neglect. I try to turn my head and ignore them, but it's hard to do. Many mornings, I wake, look up from my pillow, wistfully wishing for way to work them into my day. Alas, I haven't been able to do that yet.

On two different occasions, I have been compelled to pull a book from the bookshelf across the room, a book calling my name, desiring a reading. Not wanting to disappoint The Beautiful and the Damned or Light in August, I placed them on the headboard. The other books smiled knowingly at the excitement of the new additions--placement on the headboard is no guarantee of immediate reading. Some of those books have been waiting patiently for over a year for me to lavish them with my attention, to hold them, to fill my mind with their words, to become a part of me. So many books, so little time to read. :-(

I'm sure if I were better organized and a faster reader that I could have at least finished Sophie's Choice and started another book. I should have been able to rescue at least one book from loneliness. I hope they don't decide to band together and dive off the head board onto my one night. That could really hurt. ;-)

Enough procrastinating, I have classwork to do and more children's books to read. Maybe I'll sneak in some Sophie's Choice tonight before I go to bed. One can dream, right?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"...utterly, fatally glamorous"

I am going to pose this same question to my AP students on my teacher blog, but I'm trying to work through the idea first. Maybe one of my few regular readers can help.

In Sophie's Choice, the narrator describes one of his friends, one of the main characters in the novel, as being, "utterly, fatally glamorous." I love this description, which is so obviously fraught with ominous foreshadowing and yet so alluring at the same time. I don't believe that I have ever known anyone who might be described this way, but I did think of a few characters from novels that might fit this description. My first thought was Jay Gatsby and/or Daisy,the woman of his dreams. Who else? Hamlet? Daisy Miller? Catherine Earnshaw? Heathcliff?

What qualities must a person have to be "utterly, fatally glamorous"? It's late now. I will add some thoughts to this later. Now, I'm going to bed and read myself to sleep with A Wrinkle in Time, which I have found surprisingly interesting and entertaining despite being a children's novel. I know it's a classic, but I don't remember ever reading it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Lion King

Several months ago, I purchased tickets to The Lion King, which I saw Thursday night at the Hobby Center in Houston. I purchased tickets so long ago that it almost felt like they were free. I was so excited about my little niece coming--she's six, and her excitement over the opening number lived up to my expectations.

Despite some opening night lighting problems, I loved the production. The story isn't told very smoothly onstage (it's been too long since I've seen the movie so I don't know if that is a problem in the movie also), but the sets, songs, and choreography are excellent. The opening number was worth the price of my ticket. :-)

My sister called me the next day, and she was still excited about what she had seen. I was kind of surprised because she's not one to go to the theater or watch musicals. She said she had told everyone how much she liked the show and recommended that they should see it if they ever get a chance. It made me feel good to know that she had fun and enjoyed the show that much.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What's up with fireworks?

I went to the Astros game last night and stayed after the game to watch a wonderful fireworks show. Tonight, I heard something that sounded like a gun, but I quickly realized it must be fireworks. I jumped up and opened my door and stood in my doorway, watching the fireworks show from the park near my house. I had a good view over the trees. Before the show was over, I retreated to my living room chair and watched the rest from my window.

Why are we so drawn to fireworks shows? Why do we find them so exciting? So beautiful? I think they are beautiful, but I can't articulate why or how. I know that they make me feel very childlike. I ooh and ahh like I've never seen anything so impressive. So maybe my appreciation for them is nostalgia. Maybe it's the danger--the fire, "bombs bursting in air," but safe, or relatively so.

Two more things before I go. First, the Astros won their fourth straight game today. Woohoo! They are back to .500 and only 3.5 games back (at least that's what Valerie said when we chatted earlier). Hopefully, they are building momentum and will stay on one to the play-offs now.

Second, I read a whole book today. Yea for me!!!! I'm not going to harp on the fact that the book was a YA novel only 186 pages in fairly large print. I'm just going to celebrate my accomplishment. And, I will recommend Stargirl to everyone. It was sweet and sad and poignant, and surprisingly satisfying for a reader who reads mostly literary fiction. The premise: a new 10th grade girl enters a high school in Arizona, and she is not only new to the school but a new personality, completely different from the "normal" students who populate this school. The narrator is Leo, who fell for Stargirl, but learned how hard it is to be "different" and to be connected to people who won't/can't conform to the norm. At one point Leo observes, "We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past 'weird' and 'strange' and 'goofy.' Her ways knocked us off balance." The idea that people need to define other people, put them a box, is so right on, especially for teenagers, I think.

Okay, I need to read some picture books before I go to bed. Later.

Holiday Happenings

I plan to spend the day reading, but before I get started, I have been surfing some of my favorite book blogs. There has been lots of talk lately about the year being half over and how many books have been read so far. I commented on A Work in Progress that I never get in counting contests because I will never win. I am such a slow reader, and I feel like such a slacker when other people talk about how fast they read.

Valerie is a superfast reader, and I am jealous of her speed. She's says that I remember more of what I read and shouldn't be jealous of her. It doesn't help; I still feel slow. We went to the bookstore today, and she kept pointing out books that I want to read like Kite Runner, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and The Time Traveler's Wife. I kept agreeing with her and saying how I had planned to read that book and that book and that book this summer, but my library science classes were getting in the way. Finally, I said that I had the weight of all the books I wanted and needed to read on my shoulders. Literally slumping from their figurative weight, I declared that I would have to quit my job and drop out of grad school and become a bum who lived at the library and read all the time. Wouldn't that be a fine life! ;-)

So, I have this large stack of picture books and YA novels in my floor that I need to read for one of my classes. Of course, I would rather read Sophie's Choice, and I will read some of it today. I did buy one YA book at the bookstore today, Stargirl, which Valerie says is one of her favorites. She read it for an education course that she took a couple of years ago. She said, with a smile, that I could probably read it all in one day--ha! ha! I might include it in a booktalk that I have to do very soon for one of my classes.

I guess I better get off this computer, and as soon as Meet Me in St. Louis is over, I will turn the TV off and get comfortable reading.

I hope you all have a wonderful July 4th, holiday or not. Later.