Reading Haruki Murakami is like slipping into a warm bath. There is always a stripped-down, naked quality to entering his texts, and then the pleasureReading Haruki Murakami is like slipping into a warm bath. There is always a stripped-down, naked quality to entering his texts, and then the pleasure soaks in as if through the skin. The reader is cared for, pampered. The pace is leisurely. I still cannot tell whether Murakami succeeds at what he does because he is so adept at crafting worlds with slightly altered truths to our own, or if his skill is in the sleight-of-hand he employs to distract us from the mundanity of his subjects. As in most of his work, 1Q84 employs dreams, doubles, aging women, longing, and cats to populate his fantasy. The result is unsettling, sweet, and surprisingly suspenseful. The last section (or in the paperback version, the final book) is as gripping as any thriller, even as its characters drift ever more into the sublime....more
It is becoming ever more tempting to write off the overwhelming emotional, temporal, and - I thought at the time - literary finesse that Niffenegger bIt is becoming ever more tempting to write off the overwhelming emotional, temporal, and - I thought at the time - literary finesse that Niffenegger brought to The Time Traveler's Wife as a fluke, a sudden outburst of long-percolated talent that is now being stretched thin, or perhaps just returning to its natural state, a slightly-better-than-mediocre trickle.
Or maybe I am being harsh. The Adventuress was gorgeous and haunting. She has an undeniable flair for the ethereal weird. Nonetheless, Three Incestuous Sisters left me bored and wanting. Her Fearful Symmetry seemed unfinished, somehow - not in the ending, which was strange and satisfying, but in the overall lack of polish. The entire novel reads as if a deadline had become incontrovertible and was rushed past a small, whining fleet of editors, none of whom had the chance to work their critical magic.
This is a passable ghost story, a creepy love story, and a not-so-decent novel of ideas. I was alternately bored and captivated throughout, and while the oddity of the plot twists did overcome my sense that the pacing was wrong, I left the book feeling clammy and unsettled, and not in a way that I liked.
Read it for the love and research that went into revealing Highgate Cemetery in all of its anecdotal charm, and for Niffenegger's unapologetic flirtation with incest (again). Her frank examination of the intimacy of twins is refreshing. Her caricature of Obsessive Compulsive disorder, however, seemed unnecessary and turned a sympathetic character (and an opportunity to educate people about the illness) into a freakshow. ...more
I was introduced to the work of Augusto Boal by a woman whom I admire greatly. She is a gardener, a writer, an activist, and a performer. She spent tiI was introduced to the work of Augusto Boal by a woman whom I admire greatly. She is a gardener, a writer, an activist, and a performer. She spent time in Brazil studying Theatre of the Oppressed techniques with landless workers there, and now has brought the techniques and skills she learned there back to the States, where she conducts workshops in the practice, among other things.
As an ESOL and writing teacher, I don't always make room in my syllabi for my political work. Many would suggest that I should leave those things at home; the classroom is for skills and content. However, the more I reflect on my convictions and beliefs, the more I come to consider radical practice a fundamental part of what I do, what I should do, what I aspire to do. I have recently been running up against this notion of "practice" - is it really "practice" when it is a way of life? It seems to me that practice, then, is something deeper. It becomes more like a "way," when we think of a "way" as a "Tao." It is one of the paths one can walk - either we walk that path, or we walk another, but we do not pick and choose when to be on it and when to get off, depending on the hat we wear. We simply stay on the path.
In any case, I think that radical practice - a radical path - for a teacher in my position means truly considering my students - in my case, students often considered "at-risk": immigrants, refugees, single parents, first-generation college students, minorities, individuals recently released from prison, workers without jobs - as humans, as valued, reflective, intelligent individuals with interests and a great capacity to teach and learn from one another. It means recognizing their various challenges, and celebrating and supporting their strengths. It also means trying new things.
The techniques outlined in Games for Actors and Non-Actors transformed my understanding of how to relate to a group of people. I have tried several of the games in my classes, and have had nothing but outstanding positive results, ranging from puzzled introspection leading to insight, to shrieking delight and the mad joy of freedom that comes from doing some that feels both very new and very, very natural. I am grateful for the constant reminder that, as a teacher, I must always continue to learn....more
Jaime Hernandez' work has been part of my consciousness ever since my brain emerged from childhood. I think if I had paid more attention to Love and RJaime Hernandez' work has been part of my consciousness ever since my brain emerged from childhood. I think if I had paid more attention to Love and Rockets when I was in my teens, I would have become a very different person. I loved it, of course, but always refused to latch on to the weird yearning it ignited in me, probably for fear of where it would take me. Now, as a woman in my thirties who reads things like Hopey Glass while sitting on the couch in her jammies, trying to ignore a football game, I realize exactly how powerful his illustration and storytelling is, and how he can - with a single panel - refresh my entire take on what constitutes beauty and sex and relationships.
The book is divided between two characters: I far prefer the Hopey stories to the more melodramatic Ray's, but both convey a rich subtext and create an incredibly believable, familiar cast of people. Readers who were devoted to the Locas characters from Love and Rockets(Latinas from the L.A. punk scene) will be spending time with old friends....more