Pitlochry

I am in the midst of my adventure in Scotland.  We spent about a week on the island of Iona, which is quite a unique place that deserves it’s own post upon further reflection and time on a computer (because right now I only have bits of time). After some more traveling, from ferry to bus to ferry to night in an Oban hostel to a train to a van ride, we arrived in Pitlochry, Scotland.  We’re staying at a center in the back of the Pitlochry Baptist Church and we will be doing work with the church for the next 10 days.  It’s currently raining for one of the first times here, so I now feel like I’m really in Scotland.  The trip has been absolutely amazing thus far and I have tons of stories.  But not tons of computer time.  So we shall see. 

So I’ll leave with a random quote from the day:

During a play of monkey in the middle/keep away with a ping pong ball:

“All’s fair in love and keep away from the short people.”

Oh, and anyone expecting me to come back with a Scotish accent may be disappointed.  It’s more likely that I’ll come back with a Minnesota accent, because that has become the accent of choice for a few of us.  I have no idea why, it just started happening….we’re odd like that.  We’ve been having a splendid time together as a team and lots of funny things have happened.  Don’t worry, there will be stories.

A List

A list of books

One of my favorite nerdy things to do in my life is finding books to read.  When I get stressed by school or other things of life, I go to my library website and request books like a crazy person.  Which is how I have ended up with 47 items checked out of the library right now. My limit is 50, so I could get 3 more….

My library is an enabler.  Its website makes it far too easy to search for and request books.  Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read everything I check out and sometimes I know I miss out on good books because I just don’t have time to finish them before they must be returned or I am not in the mood to read that particular book.  So, I think a list of books I currently possess via a library card is in order.

I am an eclectic and eccentric reader. Hence, the books on this lists are from various genres and recommended or discovered from various places (thank you Barnes and Noble, Borders, NPR, NY Times, Half-Price Books, etc).  If I feel really adventurous, I may write some reviews of these books that I read.  That all depends on the quantity of my spare time in the coming months.  The fact that I’m about to go on what will essentially be 6 weeks of travel makes that idea of writing my own book reviews unlikely.  But who knows, it could happen.

Since these books I am about to list are only on my to-read list, I cannot vouch for their excellence, readability, quality of dialogue, appropriateness, level of heathen activity, or anything else.  I selected these books for reading possibilities based on random factors, which include judging a book by its attractive cover, liking the blurb on the back of the book, and being intrigued by the title.  I make no promises.

A List
You can’t get there from here: a year on the fringes of a shrinking world / Gayle Forman
When March went mad: the game that transformed basketball / Seth Davis
The oak leaves / Maureen Lang
On Sparrow Hill / Maureen Lang
Waiting for normal / Leslie Connor
Musicophilia : tales of music and the brain / Oliver Sacks
The secret of lost things: a novel / Sheridan Hay
Love and other impossible pursuits / Ayelet Waldman
The moon in the mango tree: a novel / Pamela Binnings Ewen
The boy who dared / Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The piano teacher / Janice Y.K. Lee
The shape of mercy / Susan Meissner
Water Street / Patricia Reilly Giff
The girl who threw butterflies / Mick Cochrane
The Penderwicks / Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street / Jeanne Birdsall
Kiki Strike: inside the shadow city / Kirsten Miller
Thirteen reasons why / Jay Asher
The other side of the island / Allegra Goodman
Siberia / Ann Halam
Tamar / Mal Peet
Marie, dancing / Carolyn Meyer
The remarkable & very true story of Lucy & Snowcap / H.M. Bouwman
Airman / Eoin Colfer
The last treasure / Janet S. Anderson
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
A child’s journey out of autism: one family’s story of living in hope and finding a cure / Leeann Whiffen
A universal history of the destruction of books: from ancient Sumer to modern Iraq / Fernando Báez
Gideon the cutpurse: being the first part of the Gideon trilogy / Linda Buckley-Archer
Anything but typical / Nora Raleigh Baskin
Olive Kitteridge / Elizabeth Strout
Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson
In the company of crazies / Nora Raleigh Baskin
Three cups of tea: one man’s mission to promote peace– one school at a time / Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
If I stay / Gayle Forman
The returning / Ann Tatlock
Words unspoken / Elizabeth Musser

So what should I read first?

Summer

This summer has been good.  One of my best.  I worked for free all summer, but figured out what I want to do with my life.  At least for a couple years after I graduate.  And I can’t wait to graduate.  But I don’t want these last two years to go too fast either. Lord let me be content where I am. 

Summer is good and next fall will be good.  It will be.

American Born Chinese

I opened ABC to read without realizing what kind of book it is.  It’s a graphic novel.  I didn’t even start to read because I thought, “Ick, graphic novels are not my thing and I really don’t enjoy them.”  When I mentioned that I had tried to read it in my Young Adult Literature (YAL) class and said that I really didn’t want to read it, I was challenged that that’s precisely why I should read the book.  It’s different and not something I would ordinarily read.  So I tried again.

It was….interesting.  Some parts I liked and some parts slightly disturbed me.  I was never quite sure what audience the author was targeting…sometimes 12-13 year olds, sometimes 16 or 17.  Some of the content was just not appropriate for the younger age.  The book tapped into spiritual themes, but just that: spiritual.  Scripture was essentially spoken by God, but in the context of Buddhism and “kung fu” spirituality.  Some Buddhist deities were depicted, including Yama, the deity of the underworld.  These were all points from the book I disliked that I pondered after I read.  These aren’t highly processed thoughts at all, just some commentary.

I liked the way the author wove together three separate stories of Chinese legend, a Chinese boy, and an Causasian boy.  A main point of the book is how many Chinese (and Asian in general) children  are often teased and ridiculed by others (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not).  Teachers and students alike make rude and unpleasant stereotypes about the Chinese boy, Jin, pronouncing his name wrong and making ridiculous assumptions about his life.  The book also touches on how irritated Jin becomes with his Chinese heritage and how ashamed Danny (the Caucasian boy) is of his Chinese relatives.  The author shows how difficult it can be to struggle with these issues.

Overall, I think I liked it.  And I think I didn’t.  Essentially, I feel in-between about American Born Chinese. I still dislike graphic novels, but I also like the stories about Chinese culture.  I shall have to think on it more.