Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7: Stuff, and Books, and Plans

Well. It has just started raining, and we're due for heavy rain. Am so, so, so glad Michele and I decided that, for different reasons but for both of us, Pilgrim Lodge's Women at the Well was not a good choice for us this year. That felt like good listening to what I needed, not caving to the busy-ness and business of every day life.

We just finished our last full week of classes--where *did* this year go? It has been closer to frantically busy than I like, and I have not been able to do the type of teaching that I like to do, but I have enjoyed my students a great deal and I am very proud of their growth overall. My co-teacher and I have quite a number of our communal kids who stay after on a regular basis for help or just to do homework, and it can be hard to stay focused on work and not chat about music, or food, or movies. . .  I like that family feeling.

As I look towards the summer, I am developing one of my lists of goals. I may consider making a quilt; I definitely want to knit something (and finish the damn never-ending socks for Andy), but right now I am considering this goal: a book and a lunch out a week. Hmmmmmm. Seems fun.

I also just finished an audiobook and, last week, a "real" book that I want to report on, finally, after a long drought. I have put by Life of Pi and another that I have on my "should read" list (can't remember the name right now) because I don't want to do intense right now. I want to do entertaining and, in the words of a former student, "peopley" right now.

So: The Light Between the Oceans. M.L Stedman. Read by Noah Taylor (an odd choice, given his fairly odd lisp? ). Recommended by many people. BUT I am not so sure. The first half of the book or so is absorbing, and the whole thing is well-written, but then, when the conflict truly becomes inescapable and powerful, Stedman lets one of the characters completely off the hook, allowing blame to fall on the other. The internal secrets stay secret, and there's really no meaningful growth--the characters become wooden, I think, and the conflict and suspense feel contrived and shallow. I was swept up in the book, but I was disappointed by the entire resolution. We see only the same thought patterns from Isabelle, no real admission of her manipulation and guilt, and we see only the same secrets from Tom. So: I'd give it a B-. Intense but ultimately unsatisfying. Close, but no cigar. And I'm not really sure where the whole lighthouse theme is going: Stedman spent such painstaking and fascinating detail on it in the beginning, and then: gone.

More satisfyingly:

I sprinted through Heart of Palm, by Laura Lee Smith. It's an interesting, well written story about a fairly regular family with a heightened weirdness factor. Frank Bravo and his dog Gooch are likable from the start, as is Biaggio, the handy man. The story of the family's development/ change/devolution, is well told, and the plot doesn't take itself too seriously, though it does hit on some truisms about family life. An enjoyable book!

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