What is everyone reading?

lubeltri

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The Two Cities: Medieval Europe, 1050-1300, by Malcolm Barber. I've owned the book more than three years (I rushed and had the brand-new second edition shipped from Blackwell's in the UK as the American version was not to come out until two months later). Needless to say, after all my rushing and excitement, I never got to it! I'm going to put things to rights, now.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Happens to me quite often too. In fact, it's happening right now as I'm not reading Harry Potter; I'm instead reading The First Days of School by Harry & Rosemary Wong. I read it every year right before school starts.
 

Ebor

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Your book intrigues me, YA. Would you tell us why you read that? Is it specifically for teachers? Or could it be useful for parents as well?  We have 3 with 1 starting High School, one starting Middle School and the youngest in Special Ed/School Community Based Program.

Ebor
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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Ebor said:
Your book intrigues me, YA. Would you tell us why you read that? Is it specifically for teachers? Or could it be useful for parents as well?  We have 3 with 1 starting High School, one starting Middle School and the youngest in Special Ed/School Community Based Program.
It's a book about classroom management. I use it as a quickie refresher course. It discusses designing seating arrangements, giving assignments, taking roll, keeping records, establishing classroom procedures, etc.

Yeah, it's designed for teachers. It's basically about how to accomplish the clerical tasks with as little resistance from the students as possible. After all, those things are the part of teaching that is specifically for the teachers. Wong's idea is that if you can get these things out of the way quickly and easily, you can have more time and energy for the actual lessons and thus increase student learning.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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I've finally got time for Harry Potter; I've been reading it off and on all weekend. I report to the school tomorrow, though, so it may be a while before I finish.
 

Ebor

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
It's a book about classroom management.
Ah. Thank you.  Sometimes with my kids, I think I could use a book on oh... herding cats management, or cattle stampede management or how to instill conditioned reflexes to pick up their shoes.  ;)

Ebor
 

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Ebor said:
I think I could use a book on oh... herding cats management
Yeah, I could use one of those two for our two wild cats.  One is a four year old tabby who thinks he's one hundred and four and the other is a four month old Siamese.  Talk about chaos at the homestead.

I'm currently reading The Life of the Virgin Mary The Theotokos and Shusaku Endo's The Sea and Poison.  Just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last week.
 

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Yeah, who are these adults that indulge in children's things?  ;D Sorry, couldn't resist.

As far as books go... compared to previous years, I've done very little reading in 2007 for some reason. I'll probably spend most of the rest of the year finishing off books that I've started over the last year and a half but never finished. A couple months ago I was reading Monkey Girl (about the 2005 Dover Intelligent Design case) by Edward Humes, and it was pretty enjoyable, so I'll finish that one next. I've been debating whether to start the Harry Potter books. I've not read one yet, but already have them all sitting on our shelves(because my wife loves them). On the other hand, if I'm gonna go for that genre, maybe I'll just reread LOTR, as I haven't read it in probably 5 years or more.
 

EofK

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As far as reading Harry Potter, it is geared toward children but there's enough meat in the story and characters that I really enjoy it.  J.K. Rowling is a great story teller, too, so she keeps you entertained.  Beyond that, she's well versed in English literature, mythology, and the mindset of children (she's a former teacher) so she draws on all of that to present probably the world's greatest series of books for kids and those of us who are still kids at heart.
 

Ebor

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Heorhij said:
Why do adults read this stuff, isn't it for children?

No sarcasm intended, honestly.
A couple of thoughts.  While they are marketed as children's literature (or maybe the later books should be YA/Young Adult) that doesn't mean bad writing or simplisting stories. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" may have been intended as a 'children's book' but there is plenty there for adults to enjoy and millions upon millions of them do.  From tha that book came the Lord of the Rings which is again enjoyed by people of many ages.

A good story is for anyone who enjoys reading/hearing it, I think.  (I've read plenty of children's books both when I was young and as an adult with kids and I can tell you that I am very glad mine out grew some like that were pedantic, predictable and dull.  The kind of book with "We're Here to TEACH You Something Important! Pay Attention to the Lesson")

Another thing is that over the course of the 7 books, which are 7 years in Harry Potter's life, the characters do not remain the same.  The children become teens and then, as per the Wizarding World custom, adults at 17.  The adults become more complicated.  There are new developements that show that something 2-3 books back has importance. There's alot of clever word play and use that shows a fine touch with the language; some of the names are as descriptive as in a Dicken's novel.  One just knows that someone named "Dolores Umbridge" is not a nice person.  Or in the case of Mundungus Fletcher, I found out that his first name is a British name/slang for cheap tobacco. 

The author, Stephen King, wrote an essay about them that I linked to, I think, in the HP: Spoilers thread.  He read and enjoys them.  If you would care to read some by a person who is EO, there is John Granger who has a blog and books.  There is a great deal of symbolism and history and philosophy in the books that is there supporting the story.

Why do you think that they are only for "children"?  While the US distributor is Scholastic, in the UK there are different covers for the children's and adult's copies. 

Just curious.

Ebor
 

Heorhij

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Nyssa, Asteriktos, EofK, Ebor,

I see your point. Yes, maybe I should not have asked my question without reading "HP" first. I was just wondering: there are so many wonderful books that are considered classic, and the American literature, incidentally, is definitely one of the richest in the world; but it's virtually unknown un-appreciated, untouched in the US (that has been my impression for years), while millions of readers are chained to Tolkien and Rollings.

A few years ago, I was invited for a party in one of our university professors' house (he is now retired). I noticed that he had a rather large collection of books by Faulkner. But when I said something about these books, the host said, "Oh, I bought them some time ago, but I, of course, never read them and never will. They are just stupid. I tried a few pages and became convinced that Faulkner does not know the first thing about men. We are made in the image and liking of God, and in his writings, people are so ugly, so dumb."

Also, I very often hear from people who are considered intelectuals that this or that book should not be read, or that this or that movie should not be watched because they are "depressing."  :eek: I heard that said about, for example, Dickens's novels or Chekhov's short stories. On the other hand, people avidly read tons of the "self-help" literature, masterieces like Phil McGraw's... :mad:

Younger generations seem to be so "virgin" about what every Soviet kid back in the 1950's-1980's knew by heart as classics. For example, Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, Huck Finn - these names ring no bells here. Nobody seems to know, who were T. Mine Reid (sp.?), Fenimor Cooper...
 

chris

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EofK said:
I'm currently reading The Life of the Virgin Mary The Theotokos
An excellent book, highly recommended by me to most people in my parishes/study groups/etc. Definately somethig that should be re-read annually!
 

Asteriktos

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Heorhij

I see your point. Yes, maybe I should not have asked my question without reading "HP" first. I was just wondering: there are so many wonderful books that are considered classic, and the American literature, incidentally, is definitely one of the richest in the world; but it's virtually unknown un-appreciated, untouched in the US (that has been my impression for years), while millions of readers are chained to Tolkien and Rollings.
I think your question was totally fair, no harm in asking when you're trying to understand. As far as American literature, I can only speak for myself, but generally I haven't enjoyed a lot of the fiction that I've tried to read, and it's usually a struggle squeezing a couple "classics" in every year. I agree with your point, but I just sort of redirect it in another way, focusing on the unknown and under-appreciated of non-fiction rather than fiction. Every once in a while a fiction author will catch my fancy (Dostoevsky, Tolkien), but it's not enough to pull me into the fictional literature world completely. My imagination and enjoyment of story-telling gets some exercize in other ways, I suppose.
 

Heorhij

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Asteriktos said:
Heorhij

I think your question was totally fair, no harm in asking when you're trying to understand. As far as American literature, I can only speak for myself, but generally I haven't enjoyed a lot of the fiction that I've tried to read, and it's usually a struggle squeezing a couple "classics" in every year. I agree with your point, but I just sort of redirect it in another way, focusing on the unknown and under-appreciated of non-fiction rather than fiction. Every once in a while a fiction author will catch my fancy (Dostoevsky, Tolkien), but it's not enough to pull me into the fictional literature world completely. My imagination and enjoyment of story-telling gets some exercize in other ways, I suppose.
I understand. I guess I am undergoing an evolution in the same direction (although maybe for a different reason). My upbringing was in an environment where fiction reading was a huge thing, almost a cult. Lately, however, I am usually just too tired, having to read and write so much during my usual day at work. I just cannot focus on fiction. It's getting more and more difficult with age. Yet, reading non-fiction (particularly, biographies and history essays) is somewhat easier, I can concentrate there.
 

DerekMK

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Younger generations seem to be so "virgin" about what every Soviet kid back in the 1950's-1980's knew by heart as classics. For example, Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, Huck Finn - these names ring no bells here. Nobody seems to know, who were T. Mine Reid (sp.?), Fenimor Cooper...
This baffled me about Russians.  Besides what you mentioned it seemed EVERYONE loved Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Poe.  Then in the next breath they go off on how Americans have no culture, no literature, no authors worth reading etc.  When I pointed out how many 20th century Soviet authors lived in the US and that Americans don't send their artists to gulags it didn't smooth things over.  I guess I'm too некультурный to understand these things.   
 

Heorhij

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Dear Nektarios,

Forgive me, I am afraid I hit a nerve. No, I did not mean to imply that the culture I was growing up in was "better" than yours.

Essentially, all I wanted to say was that I personally grew up among books and books and books and more books and more books, and that those kids I socialized with were pretty much like myself. And also that I see quite often that people around me do not seem to know or care about the great American literature. That was all.

Again, please forgive me.
 
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