a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Tag Archives: book love

Reading the Stacks 2011

I have a lot of books. I always have. I’m an English teacher and an avid reader, so it makes sense. With all the moves the last few years, my shelves have been going through a lot of changes and I find myself for the first time with more books that I have not read on my shelves than vice versa. This is unsettling. The books call out to me at night when I’m sleeping, begging to be read. When I sit with one book, another flies off the shelf and lands in my lap and whines. I need to quell the voices and buckle down and read the volumes on the shelves that haven’t been cracked since considering their adoption at various bookstores.

So this year, along with blogging every day and knitting solely out of my stash, I issue the challenge of reading exclusively from my stacks all the unread or half-read books. I thought about writing a list, but that would be massive. Instead, I’ll write a list of ten books at a time to work through and as I cross books off, I’ll add more at the bottom.

The following list is comprised mainly of books I’m partway through already and just need to focus in on and finish. I have a bad habit of starting a new book while I’m already reading another and thus spread my attention too thin. I do that with knitting, too.

1. Savage Beauty:  The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Nancy Milford. Current status:  104 of 509 pages.

I began reading this one in the fall and I pick it up from time to time and read a chapter. I’m really enjoying learning more about one of my favorite poets and fellow Mainer.

2. Look Homeward, Angel. Thomas Wolfe. Current status:  69 of 508 pages.

Wolfe is a great and vivid writer but his exposition is thick and takes a lot of effort to trudge through. That’s one of the reasons I’m stuck at under 100 pages.

3. Stress Less:  The new science that shows women how to rejuvenate the body and mind. Thea Singer. Current Status:  11 of 254 pages.

I went to the book talk at Brookline Booksmith when Thea Singer was there. When introducing her book, she said that the tag line was the publisher’s idea and not hers. She wanted it to be “stress is the new biological clock.” The publishers won. The book has good science and great common sense ideas on how to manage stress.

4. Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen. Current status:  120 of 365 pages.

As I expected, I’m thoroughly enjoying S&S. Austen rocks.

5. Swann’s Way. Marcel Proust. Current status:  0 of 444 pages.

This has been on my to-read list and by my bed for long enough. Time to cross it off!

6. Heavy Words Lightly Thrown:  The Reason Behind the Rhyme. Chris Roberts.

Gabe and I have been taking turns reading chapters out of this book out loud. I’m hoping we can finish it up in the next week or two.

7. The Fountain Overflows. Rebecca West. Current status:  0 of 313 pages.

I bought this book a few months ago for a book club. The event was cancelled and I then put off reading the book. I’m still very intrigued by the summaries I’ve read and look forward to my own reaction to this classic book.

8. Wizard and Glass, volume Four of The Dark Tower. Stephen King. Current Status:  119 of 668.

King is a master writer. I love everything I’ve read by him so far and he inspires me as a writer and a reader.

9. Everything’s Eventual:  14 Dark Tales. Stephen King. Status:  0 of 459 pages.

It’s a King book. I can’t wait to crack it open!

10. Azumanga Daioh. Kiyohiko Azuma. Current status:  483 of 675 pages.

This is the entire manga series in one volume. I watched the anime version back in 2005 or 2006 and befriended the characters. Reading the story in manga form is like reminiscing with old friends. It’s been a great experience. Azumanga Daioh is a slice of life manga following a cast of five friends through their three years of high school.

Read the Stack 2011 - Stack 1

Stack 1

* * *

What are you currently reading? What books are on your list to read right now?

Blood Spatters and Updates

So, after typing out my frustrations last night I felt a lot better. I know that I’ll recieve adequate care, eventually. I have an appointment with my PCP tomorrow to discuss the issue and we’ll go from there. I’ll keep you posted on the journey.

In other news, the English department took all the sophomores to see the Portland Stage Co.’s production of Julius Caesar. We were on the bus with fifty-nine fifteen-year-olds for an hour headed to Maine’s most hopping city. It was an amazingly positive experience.

The production was amazing. There were about four schools in the audience watching the drama unfold through big-screen projections, acting, sound effects, and special effects. They were enthralled, they were impressed, and they were intrigued. So many of the students started asking great questions that get at the heart of this tragedy like “why did the play begin with police giving people a hard time in the streets?” and “why did it seem like Brutus didn’t know what he wanted? he went back and forth through the whole play.” and “what did Caesar to do to piss off all those people enough for them to assassinate him?”. Like I said, great questions. I told my class that we’ll be starting this play soon and that answers will come shortly. If only I could begin every unit like this! What better way to inspire true interest in the lessons?

One of the most appreciated scenes was the assassination scene. The actors gave an amazing performance and the house used a thick red liquid to make the scene even more real while Caesar was being stabbed to death. This red liquid made it into several scenes and the students were instantly somber when they saw it.

The students expressed a seemingly sincere interest in performing this and other plays. Seriously, what more could I ask for when teaching Shakespeare?