April 21, 2009

College vs Elementary School

I had an amusing encounter yesterday walking across the quad after work. There weren't many people outside since it was dinner-time for most everybody, but a student came around the corner with a soccer ball. He kicked it, but it got more air than he was counting on and sailed up onto the roof of the cafeteria. He said "oh man" and for a second sounded remarkably like an eight year old kid who had just got his kite stuck in a tree. Then he noticed me and his demeanor changed. He was the swaggering college kid again and to prove it yelled "sh*t" and walked off. It was very interesting to be reminded that for all the bravado these students put out there, they're not that far off from the kids we see on playgrounds and soccer fields. And, for that matter, neither am I.

April 15, 2009

Vacation Reads

My time in Florida was well spent. I got plenty of reading done and thought I would share my thoughts about the books - I know...what a surprise.

Here Lies the Librarian
by Richard Peck
2006, Penguin Group (USA)
This book is a fun and quick read with substance. Richard Peck is a master at telling stories set during the hard times of the early 20th century, but still very relatable to today's readers. (For more great Peck books see A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
by J. K. Rowling
2008, Scholastic, Inc.
'Bout time I got around to reading this one. Classic J. K. style: creative, humor and whimsy filled, but deeply rooted in the HPverse. Fans of Dumbledore's wackiness will enjoy the commentaries after each story.

Last Days of Summer
by Steve Kluger
1998, HarperCollins Publishers
I picked this book up on a whim and it turn out to be a very good whim. It's a story told through letters over a couple years in the life of a 13 year old kid in NYC in the 1940s. You go from feeling bad for the raw deal the kid is getting to marveling at his ingenuity and laughing your a** off at his schemes.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
by Lewis Carroll
2004, Barnes & Noble Classics
I read both these books one after the other (two for one). The original John Tenniel artwork was a great bonus. These are definitely stories that reflect childhood imagination, the time when everything and anything was possible, but the second book is very, very, very nonsensical, and actually a bit frustrating. But having seen lots of the movie adaptations it was fun to finally read the originals.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
2004, Random House, Inc.
A story told from the perspective of an autistic 15 year old, this is a great insight into his world. Told from his perspective, his logic and his way of thinking are the right ways and the rest of us are doing it wrong, which breaks your heart a little. It was a very interesting way to read a story and I would definitely recommend it especially if you enjoy math.

Murder on the Orient Express
Thirteen at Dinner (or Lord Edgware Dies)
by Agatha Christie
1934, 1933
Two more Agatha Christie classics. How does she do it time and time again? Creative and twisty and never guessable. Genius!

Great American Short Stories from Hawthorne to Hemingway 2004, Barnes & Noble Classics
This book is great for reading in short spurts since it's short stories. I've only read six stories so far, but so far so good. It's fun to be reading stories I've heard of but never actually read myself. I feel very mature. The stories I've read so far are:
Young Goodman Brown - Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1835
The Birth-Mark - Hawthorne, 1843
Rappaccini's Daughter - Hawthorne, 1844
The Cask of Amontillado - Edgar Allan Poe, 1846
The Fall of the House of Usher - Poe, 1839
The Purloined Letter - Poe, 1844

April 14, 2009


I love Florida. I love Anna Maria Island. And I love vacationing there. We do little more than sit in the sun, read a lot, go out to dinner and eat too much. It's marvelous! This year was no exception even if there was a slightly cold day or two.

A bit of rain early in the week.
The Sarasota County Area Transit or "an animal fecal dropping" depending on how mature you are feeling.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge, our view across Tampa Bay.Grandma's house viewed from the edge of the Bay.
Some weird guy in the front yard.