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Reading outside
Posted on Tuesday 15 April 2008 at 9:06 pm

Books and Class

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So far my plan to get off the 'net some and read more is going well. I went to the library on Friday. I had a list of about 20 books and was hoping to find five or so off it. I really wanted at least one of two particular books. Of course one of those was checked out and the other was lost and paid for by a library patron but the library shows no signs of replacing it. Bummer. I got four other books, though.

I started by reading a book I bought at B&N last week rather than one of my new library books. It's called The Search for the Last Undiscovered Animals. Most "popular" works on cryptozoology focus on animals like the Loch Ness monster and Big Foot, but this collection of essays (largely previously published) talked about lesser known but still interesting animals that have a higher chance of being real. It was a decent work and some parts were really interesting but others were kind of boring so overall not an exceptional book.

After that, I read Roma Eterna. I'm a sucker for alternate history. I hate "What if" scenarios in "real" history, but I love them as creative thinking exercises and as fiction (since that's where crazy speculation really belongs). Roma Eterna was again decent but not great. It's essentially a collection of short stories intended to answer the question of "What would the world be like if Rome had never fallen?" Each chapter tells a story from a random point in world history and all the stories put together serve to give the history of Rome and the world over the couple of millennium after Rome didn't fall in the fifth century AD. Some of the stories were really great, but others just kind of dragged and the way the author decided to try to get the reader up to speed on the hundreds of years between stories frequently fell flat.

Next up is The Eyre Affair. This is the first of a series of novels about a detective in an alternate world where books are essentially real and people can enter stories. As the name might suggest, in this first book, Jane Eyre is kidnapped from her story and the detective must rescue her and return her to her story. Should be interesting though I'm afraid my enjoyment will be tempered by the fact that I've never read Jane Eyre. I read wikipedia's summary, so I should be fine, right? *Ducks to avoid being hit by the books the lit fans on the flist are sure to be throwing this way*

Out in the real world, I've been having fun. I still need to upload the photos i took at the Pow Wow on Saturday. My sunburned nose is starting to peel and I suspect the rest of me won't be far behind. Class today was good. I spent part of the class lecturing about Johnson (mostly Vietnam), Nixon (mostly Watergate), and the general counter culture and anti-war/student protests of the mid 60s to early 70s. Then my students and I spent the rest of class listening to some protest songs from the 60s and 70s and talking about the lyrics and the story behind the creation of the songs. It was good. I wish I hadn't been sick last Tuesday and had to cancel class because then we would have had more time for more music. Oh well. Thursday is more on social protests movements (Black Power, Red Power, Gay Pride, Feminism, etc) so maybe I'll bring in more songs. I don't think I'll have time. All those movements are a lot to cram into one class.

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