Monday, February 28, 2011

another death

Word just reached me of the death of a high school English teacher. Reading between the lines, I'm guessing heart attack.

Hindsight, as is so often said, is 20/ 20. I have a hunch that the year I had this teacher, he suffered from a very deep divorce-induced depression, and was very slowly putting his life back together. He taught us well, though not brilliantly, but I'm struck by the occasional flashes of amazing insight into Dickens and Wordsworth that stick with me several years later. A year or two earlier, a year or two later - I can only imagine what he must have been like. Beware the quiet and understated teachers who give you clever assignments...

I regret not having told him that I still quote some of the big classroom mantras years later to my own students. I really need to compile a list of great teachers and tell them now while I still can.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

book club update

I've heard from a few of you and I am much relieved to learn that you have liked the book thus far. :-) As I reread Water one of the pieces that strikes me is how well, IMHO, Goodman sets up descriptions of places, dresses, etc. that don't necessarily carry deep importance to the overall plot, but do give you an imaginary landscape within which to place the characters.

I'm a mystery addict - not necessarily murder mysteries, any kind of mystery - which is probably also why Iris' search to better understand her roots appeals to me; as a history teacher, I am all in favor of knowing and searching for one's roots, but the mysterious aspect behind Iris' background appeals to me as well. I like how Goodman teases them out, throwing in clues, but also some red herrings.

As we get closer to our March 15 "meeting" I'd be curious to know what all of you think about the minor characters; I think Goodman does a great job at filling in just enough details for each of their back stories to keep the reader following them even as they think about Iris.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a death

I didn't know L well. She was a senior, I was a freshman, and the only reason I knew her at all was that we had mutual friends.

I am eternally grateful to L for rescuing me from one of those nasty, "ack, someone is hitting on me and I don't know how to react" situations.

The latest issue of the alumni magazine contains her obit - she was forty-two. No, I don't know what happened, though it sounds like she led a happy life. I hope so, at least. Strange to think of someone my age as dead.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

cars and Water

1) Cars - my car, aka "Phil" is a very reliable Honda. When the "maintenance required" light came on (which it never does) I patted Phil's dashboard and made an appointment to bring him in today. It's been six hours and there's no word from the mechanics. I am beginning to worry...

2) Water For those of you in the book club, or simply playing along at home, here's an opening:

I have a weakness for quirky libraries. (I cannot believe that I'm the only one!) Years ago I used to frequent a small branch of a much larger library system which, though a bit dark and cramped, always had amazing displays of the "you didn't know about this book but you need to read it" variety. (This is how I discovered John Bellairs, but that's another topic for another book club.)

Currently, my local library is quirky mostly in that the staff knows they are balancing several different reading audiences. Vampires hold little appeal for me, and I'm not much for the latest tome by a politician or political commentator. At the same time, the staff are pretty good about putting up interesting memoirs and novels.

This is how I came upon The Seduction of Water. In all seriousness, I picked it up because I liked the cover. I scanned the first page, sat down to read the second, and after fifty pages, read in the library, realized that I should probably take it home.

More on the actual book later. :-)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

blogging again

Yes, I'm back to blogging again - after Sam died, I lost a lost of heart for it, as so many of my posts were about him.

Sam died a very peaceful death after a long and well lived, well loved life, which is not too shabby for a dog whom someone dumped in an area where he really shouldn't have survived. I finally sat down and read through some of the posts I did about him, and that was quite a help.

So, updates: I've joined an on-line book group, and (gulp) my choice is the first one up. I'll post some thoughts about it soon, though I know some of you have already read the entire thing. The book is by Carol Goodman and is titled The Seduction of Water. I found it very compelling and thought provoking.