Random Readings

I haven’t had much time to read anything lately that didn’t involve speech anatomy, but I snuck a few oddball books in here and there that I want to mention.

A friend recommended The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan. And it was just as wonderful, if not even better, than his Percy Jackson series. For those of you who are out of middle school, and haven’t heard of these books, they creative and engaging books for younger kids that involve mythology. The first books were so cute, and my students at the Literacy Council loved them. This new series by Riordan is just as fun, but is written with a less broad scope, so that the few main characters can really be developed.  I think this new series may end up being even better. Overall, a very fun read. I also particularly enjoyed this book because my friend Jessi lent it to me via B&N’s LendMe technology, which means I got the book, on my nook, free of charge for 2 weeks.

I also read Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. There are a couple of reasons I picked this book up. The first being that I have tried so many times to read The Remains of the Day, and while I love the idea of the book, I have just never been able to really get into it and usually stall out about half way through. But I was more than willing to give Ishiguro another shot. Also, I had seen that this was coming out on video, and it looked intriguing. Turns out, the video was rather dull and did a pretty poor job, in my opinion, of showing the depth and horror of the book. I found this book to be terribly disturbing, but in a rather Neil Gaiman way. Meaning, you don’t realize it’s scary, until all of a sudden the reality of the entire story crashes around you in a suffocating sort of way. Ishiguro is certainly a master of details, and this is evidenced in his use of the mundane to build something so wonderfully elaborate and characters so unique.

Lastly, I read Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. I got this book from my brother in law, who was reading it last time he was here. Admittedly, I am fascinated by Civil War sites, documentaries, historical fiction, etc. But Shaara took the Battle of Gettysburg and made it more real and heart-breaking for me than any other previous material. So often, when we read Civil War materials, it’s just a straight-forward Good vs. Evil mentality, without looking at  the complexities of the issues at hand, and also the complexities of the familial and community involvement in the war. So often it was a war of friends against friends, and family against family. This book makes that aspect of the war so much more relevant. He turns these historically idealized commanders into what they truly were, regular men with extraordinary ideas. I thought it was a good read. It’s well researched, and has made me want to go back to visit Gettysburg again now that I know so much better the events of that sad and horrible fight.

There have been a few very interesting Linguistics-type things in the news of late, and I’m hoping that with the new summer hours, I’ll be able to post a bit more regularly.


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