May 31, 2006

This is M!

I've kept busy lately doing all the usual things; the girls are both doing o.k., though Emily had a nagging virus for a while. The beans are up in the garden. Matt's counting the days until summer, and I'm counting the days until he's back from Nationals and summer REALLY begins.

But I haven't blogged, in large part because my nascent library addiction has had me in its thrall lately. At least I can tell you some of what I've been reading. Here goes:

Nonfiction:
Queen Bees and WannaBes, and the sequel, Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads. Good stuff, though I don't agree with all of her reasoning. I did enjoy the scripts she gives for how to handle obnoxious people, and her inclusion of the incredulous stare as a method of righting the clueless evildoer. It was somewhat enlightening to me as a teacher, just in terms of how evil kids can be to each other and their ways and means as they do it. And I must confess that it explained some things about middle and high school that I didn't really "get" when I was there.

A Death in Belmont (on the shelf, waiting.)

Fiction:
The Codex. Highly touted on the NCTE list, and it does look tasty so far. The writing reminds me of Crighton (that, by the way, is a kudo coming from me), but I'm only 9 chapters in.

Map of Bones. Again, this was recc'd on NCTE by a fellow English teacher, as something one might like if one enjoyed DaVinci Code. It has the same blackmailing plot structure (Matt came up with that phraseology when I told him for the fifth time or so how annoying I found the back-and-forth rhythm in Dan Brown's books--they're all like that!--because after a while, I just skipped ahead so I could resolve each mini-cliffhanger before moving on. While I understand the use of such a plot device, after a while it just feels like...blackmail. A true master--and there are many--resolves at least *some* of the tension before moving back to the ranch. Mr. Brown doesn't, and it gets to be frustrating.) Apart from that, it had too much gore and shoot-em-up violence for my taste. It read like an action movie, not my favorite genre. Your mileage may vary; the premise was cool.

The Templar Legacy. Much more my speed, and another in the same vein in terms of mystical roots in the Christian past, a la DVC. Not much gore, and nothing up close and personal. Suspense was maintained without resorting to cheap reader extortion.

Dark Tort. (on the shelf) The latest Diane Mott Davidson book. They're tasty, in more ways than one.

Who's Sorry Now? (on the shelf) The latest in the Grace and Favor mystery series, by Jill Churchill (who has at least one other very successful series that I know of. I like the "coziness" of these cozies--the focus is mostly on plot and characters to figure out the whodunits, without much gore. Perhaps I am squeamish, though *real* blood has never given me the willies. I guess I just don't like to read about mangulation--my imagination is too vivid.

In between I've been starting to plow my way through James Joyce. He's been on my "things I ought to read before I die" list for quite a while, and while I've seen a few of his short stories in my teaching, I've never really delved into the whole shebang. You can see why I need some cozies to lighten the mood.

There's also been a whole slew of books Laura's been "reading". She's been so into sign language that I added a few grown-up books for me to look through; I figure one way to keep a kid interested in learning is to find what they like, and throw as much stuff about it as you can at them, until they decide to move on. So she's been learning her alphabet in sign (kind of--it's hard for her to get her toddler hands into all the shapes, but she's working on it), and zipping through the various baby sign books, and trying to get Emily to do the signs, too, which cracks me up no end. And the big-person books have supplied me with some extra signs to throw at her when she least expects it! I have to say this process has both a) made me sincerely hope I can retain at least a few signs, in case I again have Deaf students, and b) makes me respect the interpreters I've known that much more. They do amazing work! Meanwhile, a small voice follows me around the house, fist in the air, saying, "M! This is M, Mommy! This is M!"

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