Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sweet and Vicious by David Schickler

My latest running while reading audio book. Since my teaching colleague Kim has decided I should runa half-marathon with her in November, I have started doing longer runs to see how far this old body can go. Twice in the past week I have run over 7 miles. That means an hour of book!! I am really enjoying this funny book by David Schickler. I had read his collection of short stories, Kissing in Manhattan, a few years back. This book is the story of a jewel thief/thug named Henry Dante who crosses paths with a young, born-again Christian woman who is saving herself for the right man. She convinces him he is the one, but first they must marry and dispose of the jewels. I am laughing out loud.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Desire by Lindsay Ahl

This is a book that I ordered from the library very early in the summer after reading a review of it in some publication. I had almost forgotten about the book when it can in at the library. What a surprise - as I am teaching Heart of Darkness, I am surprised with a new novel set in 1975 in Kenya. Against the back drop of the ivory black market, a woman revisits her youth to solve a mystery that has kept her mind in the past. I liked the book alot. Very poetic sentences. There is a page of facts I will use in class about how many pounds of ivory were needed to make piano keys. I had never put pianos into the ivory equation. It is chilling.

I am also intrigued by the publishing company, Coffee House Press, which is a nonprofit outfit that takes submissions. Again, I should be writing a novel instead of reading so many of them.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Garden State - Movie

This weekend David and I went to see the movie Garden State. Although it has a predictable plot, it is very engaging. The story is about a young man who returns to his home town in New Jersey for his mother's funeral. He revisits old friendships and finds a new chance to love and believe in happiness. And this movie had a motorcycle with a sidecar!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Students often wonder whether I re-read a book everytime I teach it. Because Heart of Darkness is such a slim volume and because I felt like last year I did the best job teaching it that I had ever done, I am trying to do even better this year. It is so difficult to get students into this book. I am teaching from this Dover edition.

Some of the other recent cover art is really cool.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Tonight is bookclub at the home of Mary Brooks, retired teacher friend. We read Atonement by Ian McEwan, a book I had read quickly a few summers back. At the time, I was interested in the first section of the novel, which is about a little girl who wants to be a writer. Then the second section moves to WWII, where the girl is serving as a nurse. I confess, I read the ending very quickly and the book didn't have much of an impact on me. This time, I really enjoyed the ending, which is a sort of writer's alternate ending to the horrible reality of her life.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Danny Deckchair and George Plimpton

We went to see the movie Danny Deckchair which I had read about in the New York Times this summer. It is an Australian movie about a shiftless cement worker who dreams of escaping his boring life. He ties helium balloons to his deckchair in the middle of a backyard "barbie" and takes off for a new life in a new town with a new woman. The movie was a hit with David because it has a motorcycle in it. This story had been on my classroom bulletin board for the first day of school as an example of the American Dreamer. The coincidence is I have taught this story before. I originally read about it in Robert Fulghum's book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It is the story of Larry Walters who really did tie 42 weather balloons to a lawn chair and shoot up 16,000 feet into the air. Now Larry's flight is the cover story of a book of previously published essays by George Plimpton called The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair. We bought this book Labor Day weekend and David read it.