Posts filed under ‘Reading’
Another great Threadless shirt (alas, sold out, or I’d definitely buy it!).
Anyone want a seriously hott library-themed shirt? Try this one (on sale for $10 through Dec. 16!):
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on this blog, but my life is in a whirlwind lately. I’m going to school super-full time, and I’m student teaching, and I’m working part-time. It’s pretty rough; I won’t pretend otherwise. What little time I have for reading is taken up by trying to keep up on class readings. All of my “fun” reading has been sidelined, and I’ve forced myself to put a buffer between myself and any recreational reading so that I don’t get off-task.
Despite this, I’ve had the chance to read bits and pieces of some good stuff. I read most of Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, the summer reading assignment for the accelerated sophomore classes with which I’m working. They did a few days’ work with All I Ever Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, and it was fun to re-read some of my favorite sections of that book. I’m carrying around a permabound copy of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha (ought to read that – they’re about to start working with it, I think) and next week I’ll be reacquainting myself with Antigone.
I’m also reading some interesting nonfiction in my field. Today I picked up a book that deals with a subject I’m pretty interested in: using Web 2.0 in the classroom. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson is a practical guide to implementing this new, dynamic technology in the modern classroom. Not only is it interesting, but it’s good for at least one assignment due this semester.
In guilty moments, I’m reading (about a paragraph at a time) a water-damaged copy of Gail Collins’ America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines. So far it is both fascinating and depressing. I’m in the Puritan part of the book, and I’ve never much liked that time period. What a horrible time to be alive. My husband is taking a class on Colonial America (blech) so it’s fun to compare notes on life as a woman during that time.
Anyway, I guess that’s a quick reading update. I’m trying to scratch together some time to make at least passing posts, but most of the time I’m having to focus on keeping my student teaching blog. I hope that you won’t forget about me this semester!
It has come to my attention there is an ongoing debate about the greatest superhero of all time. Batman. Spider-Man. Wonder Woman, Wolverine. All of them have their fans and detractors, their champions and critics.
Well, I’m here to put an end to this silly confusion once and for all. Because I’m fun, I’m fabulous, and I am the greatest superhero alive. Period.
My name? Fiera. Protector of the innocent. Superhero du jour. And all-around fabulous individual.
My powers, you ask? Superstrength, for one. And I’ve got a temper to match my fire-wielding abilities. I punch and flambe my way through the ubervillains and other evil doers who want to take over the city of Bigtime, New York.
By night, I’m also a member of the Fearless Five, the greatest superhero team ever to roam the streets of Bigtime. Right now, we’re hot on the trail of Siren and Intelligal, who villains bent on taking over the city. Not on my watch, they won’t. Also making a pest of himself is Johnny Angel, who wants revenge on the ubervillains for killing his predecessor. Angel’s not a bad guy, but he should know better than to get in my way. No matter how sexy he is.
In real life, I’m Fiona Fine, one of Bigtime’s premier fashion designers. I’m known for my bold choice of colors, fabrics, and patterns. My couture clothes, of course, are to die for.
You can read more about my adventures and general fabulousness in the latest Bigtime book from Jennifer Estep, appropriately titled Hot Mama (Berkley Trade; Nov. 6, 2007; $14; ISBN-10: 0425217345; ISBN-13: 978-0425217344).
Sweet girl, Jennifer. Although she could so use a fashion makeover. The girl is way too fond of cutesy T-shirts, and she doesn’t even own a pair of stilettos. Poor thing. She’s so misguided …
Fiera aka Fiona Fine
Member of the Fearless Five
Protector of the innocent
Superhero du jour
As dictated to Jennifer Estep (who will never, ever wear a pair of stilettos)
There are some books we read when we are young – transcendent books, books that resonate and reverberate, that hit us as we fly through the outer space of intellectual and emotional growth and forever alter our orbits. Among these books, for millions of people, were Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and The Wind in the Door. (The others in the storyline were tremendous as well, but for me, it was these two that struck and shifted me.) I think maybe everyone has read Wrinkle, with its pantheon of fantastic characters: the madames Whatsit, Who, and Which; telepathic children; bodiless sadistic brains; tentacled caregivers; Happy Mediums; flying centaurs; and the incomparably brave and human Meg. Wind was less widely-read, but to me even more poignant with its “drive of dragons” (the cherubim), mitochondriae, and Echthroi, and the fight to save Meg’s extraordinary little brother.
L’Engle’s books were brilliant, and she utterly refused to treat her readers like little children who required easy ideas and easy words. She is known for having argued that children’s books are literature far too complicated to be understood by adults – and, especially in her case, she was right. Her books are packed with philosophy and science – we’re talking quantum physics and microbiology here, not sixth grade earth science – theology, existential exploration, good, evil, death, and the kind of characters and relationships that we feel lucky to encounter in adult lit.
A Wrinkle in Time starts with “It was a dark and stormy night,” and upon reading it we feel that it is the quintessential dark and stormy night, the one that started it all, the one that started everything. In Wrinkle, it isn’t cliche – it’s reassuring, and breath-taking, and signals you right from the beginning that now things are going to happen.
I don’t think I could possibly explain how these books impacted me. If you read them when you were a child, then probably you understand without my saying. If you didn’t, I doubt I could ever make it clear.
Madeleine L’Engle, who modeled Meg after herself, passed away this past Thursday at the age of 88.
She started writing at five, won an award in fifth grade and was accused of plaigarism. She conceived of her best work on camping trips. She loved her books, her family, her pets, and her characters. Much of her life was not like mine has been, but these things are so like me that I can’t help but feel a kindred, a connection. It is another layer of my admiration for a woman whose words built and shook worlds.
I pull the following quote – L’Engle’s – from the close of the NY Times eulogy:
“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.
“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”
Thank you, Madeleine, for these gifts.
Thanks to Kapachino for posting this extremely telling and true quotation by Mr. C.S. Lewis (emphasis mine):
Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realise the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realise it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented….
[I]n reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.