An awesome travel memoir with historical narratives woven in.
Being that I borrowed this book from my husband who borrowed it from a friend who we needAn awesome travel memoir with historical narratives woven in.
Being that I borrowed this book from my husband who borrowed it from a friend who we need to give it back to tomorrow, I wasn't able to finish the entire book. However, I jumped to the Lake Erie chapters and adored them. This is a book I will own.
I read _The Last Town on Earth_ for the BGSU Common Reading Experience Book Selection Committee. Well, actually I read it twice: first, a very quick sI read _The Last Town on Earth_ for the BGSU Common Reading Experience Book Selection Committee. Well, actually I read it twice: first, a very quick skim and hated, then again very closely and realized it actually could be a pretty good CRE choice.
In terms of exploring values, this book is perfect. Virtually all the main characters and some of the secondary characters are confronted by values choices at some point in this book, and the author writes the book in a clear enough way that even reader who weren't experienced at picking up on undertones could see how the characters' values were being challenged. From Philip to Graham to Mr. Worthy to Frank to Rebecca, each character struggles between what is right and what is wrong in terms of war time choices and choices regarding an epidemic. I've read many possible CRE books, but this one is by far the most direct about clearly exploring values.
Also, _The Last Town on Earth_ is extremely interdisciplinary. Not only could I see academic in the humanities being able to connect to this book but also the hard sciences (there is a lot of medical references, which also explore the different values decisions people in the medical field face in times of need), the social sciences (based on how character interact with one another and themselves), historians (the 1918 setting makes this a perfect lead into discussions on World War 1), folks in business and business administration (there is a lot of discussion about running a mill, which could lead to discussion on entrepreneurship and doing "what's right" for a company), and many more. This book is a strong choice in order to satisfy almost all disciplines.
I wonder, too, if it would be easy to get the author to visit and if he wouldn't cost too much because this book was published in 2006 and it's the author's first book...Does anyone know how this writer is with students?
The one main drawback for me was the last part of this four-part book. I found Part 4 to be over-dramatic in way novels that are written intentionally for the purpose of striking a movie deal are. The author doesn't tie up the loose threads neatly, but some of the action is a little over the top and feels a bit "untrue" to the characters, especially Philip, the main character.
Generally, I'm really skeptical of endings to novels anyways, but this one really fuels my skepticism's fire, which was one reason why I hated the book so much on my first read.
After a closer read, though, I really feel that this book merits the CRE's serious consideration. It is a easy read--few "big" words and really strong images and scenes that most readers can easily visual and understand--in addition to it being values-based, interdisciplinary, and contemporary. I really believe it would be a great CRE choice. ...more
I read this book for the Common Reading Experience Committee, and I think it's a great book selection for the common read and one that I would recommeI read this book for the Common Reading Experience Committee, and I think it's a great book selection for the common read and one that I would recommend to readers interested in the environment.
Like Field Notes by Kolbert, this book tackles the issue of global warming by providing background info, but Weather Makers is much more personable. Flannery gives his own impressions on global warming and its history AND proposes possible solutions to global warming. Kolbert's Field Notes was a saturation of scientific support for global warming, whereas Weather Makers takes scientific facts and makes them very real on a human level.
I wouldn't say this book is a page turner, but it is a lot less overwhelming to those not all that scientifically-minded than Kolbert's Field Notes and it leaves one feeling less saturated too.
I vote for it as next year's common read, and I think it's an important book to read generally speaking. ...more
An awesome book that made me really think the history and evidence of Global Warming. I just wanted it to be more personable. It's almost too full ofAn awesome book that made me really think the history and evidence of Global Warming. I just wanted it to be more personable. It's almost too full of facts and journalistic writing that sometimes I couldn't help to get bored or tired. Yes, Global Warming exists. Now I want to see a book that makes Global Warming more "human." In other words, I want to see a book that meshes the scientific evidence of GW to human life. Anybody know of one?...more
I finished The Curious Incident... in under 24 hours. That is how much I loved the book. I felt it really accurately captured most family life with aI finished The Curious Incident... in under 24 hours. That is how much I loved the book. I felt it really accurately captured most family life with a special needs child, and it really brought autism to light. Christopher's interactions during his adventure reminded a bit of how people treat the main character in Alan Lightman's The Diagnosis. And the talk of math and science make me think it would be a great choice for BGSU's Common Reading Experience. (Check out the CRE blog too for reading suggestions and the next possible CRE book!) I heard a rumor, though, that Mark Haddon doesn't like to travel, which wouldn't work to well, considering we like to have the author come to campus for a reading and meet and greets...
I tried so hard to like Kaufmann's The Sister, but I couldn't. I stopped reading it after page 50. Emily's sister was annoying me. I thought it would be a good esoteric read for my sister project (a collection of essays about my sister that I'm working on--however, it's taking me years to write them) and because I love Emily Dickinson. The Sister just bored me though, and I had to move on. I have to get through a lot of books before the new Harry Potter comes out. I don't have time to waste on being bored, which significantly slows down my reading! If anyone has read The Sister, liked it, and wants to shed some light on it for me, I'd be more than happy to listen. I've found with many books that if I wait a couple of years and to read it again, things click for me and I like it. Maybe I'll try again in 2010.
I'm having a frustrating week (I realize it's only Tuesday). I've been thinking lot and internalizing a lot and I feel like I have something to say, but I don't feel like being verbal, and when I am verbal I end up not communicating properly and sounding like an idiot or a bitch. Today while working out I realized I get like this when I'm starting a writing project and/or writing. I have two ideas I'm working on, and have been taking notes in my head, my computer's post-its, and in my dream journal. But I didn't really realize I was working on anything until last night when I was trying to go to sleep. Tomorrow I plan on writing. I'm hearing some language and feeling "disturbed," which are good things for me, but they may not be so good for people I try to talk with. I thank God every day for FD b/c he's the same way and we can understand each other. It's the people at the grocery store, the bank, etc.--whoever we run into that I feel for. Sometimes I wish I could just wear a fashionable shirt that said, "I'm not mad (as in upset and crazy), I'm just thinking." (It would be a really cute shirt if it had a LV on it or a Lilly Pulitzer palm tree.) And when I'm thinking really hard sometimes I wish every place was automated so I could think and do my chores and not talk and save my energy for writing.
I guess it's a blessing I do have a faculty job and I have the summer off and I don't get like this too much when I'm teaching. Normally, I get it over breaks. Or just in the morning before I teach. So I guess it would be a blessing that right now as I'm sitting here in the Student Athletics think tank no athletes are showing up. Would I sound like a complete ass right now if I tried to talk about writing?
Maybe that's why I like Christopher in The Curious Incident...Maybe because he was a thinker and I'm in that mode today.
I gotta stop. Writing of this thinking while thinking the thinking and thinking of how to write the thinking is driving me stinking crazy.
Sidenote: While here tutoring, I came to find out it is one my favorite people's in the Student Athletics Department birthday! And she called this (June) her "birthmonth" as well. See, I'm not the only one!...more
Today while tutoring, I've met with one student right at 1 and another at 4. In between those times, I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. PerhaToday while tutoring, I've met with one student right at 1 and another at 4. In between those times, I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Perhaps that was not the smartest thing to do...
Sometimes I find the book so funny that I laugh out loud. Which is fine if I had a quiet laugh, but I don't. And I tutor in a common meeting space which is a center room with offices surrounding it. Clearly, everyone in the office knew I was getting paid to laugh at what I was reading. I felt bad; if I was working, I wouldn't want to hear someone who was getting paid to read laughing. In my defense, at least everyone could see that writing matters to me and I appreciate quality literature, which further proves my already-established qualifications as a tutor.
But then I got to the climax of the book, and I was moved by how the climax was written because it felt so "real" to me, because it captured how I feel and think (if those things could be replicated in language other than poetry), and I loved the characters as I love my families, and I loved the twist in the plot and how it came together in a way I didn't think it would come together because I was being skeptical and I thought it would be more trite, so I'm reading in the middle of this common room but I wouldn't call it reading as much as I would call it immersing myself into the novel when I start crying. Once the tears got in the way of my reading, I looked away from the page to wipe them, and realized I wasn't at home. I was in the Student-Athletics Department. I was tutoring. I had to pull my shit together.
What I love is that a book could do that to me. That it could inspire me--to write, to live, to not be afraid, to not be embarrassed when I bawl at work. I love this book so much I'm going to buy a copy of it. I would marry it if I wasn't married to FD. I want to put Kiedrowski's frosting on it and eat it.
I love the multi-genre-ness of it. It's brave and out-there and absolutely gorgeous.
I still have one chapter left. Once I started crying, I thought maybe I should wait until I was home to finish it--just in case I need to sob for a couple of minutes or hours.
It's moments like these that make me happy to be a reader, and even more so a writer...
It's almost 9 p.m., and I finished the book. I didn't cry. I didn't sob. I just finished it while BBQ-ing tonight's dinner (Chicken, roasted potatoes, and broccoli), ate dinner while watching the newest Deadliest Catch, cleaned-up, and talked to Pops. What's funny is, though, all the while I was doing this business, I was thinking about this book. And I have a feeling I'm going to think about this book for a long while. Like when I see a great film that moves me, it sticks with me, such as Dancer in the Dark.
And when I read something so good, like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I believe in God more than any other time in my life. Because without God how could such a great book come into existence? Or such a great author who is able to write such a great book? And then such a great mind? And the food such a great mind eats? And the air such a great mind breathes? (You probably can see where this is going.)
I can't review this book like other books. Mostly because I'm too emotional right now. But I can say if you read this blog, you should this book, if you haven't already.
And before I give my HK rating, a fellow McGuire/Facebook buddy said about Foer's book, "it's seriously chronic. i already bought Everything is Illuminated." Chronic, people! Dr. Dre and Snoop would be up on this shit! C'mon!
For the first time ever and maybe only time ever...5 Hello Kittys....more