Here is a list of the paper-based texts I experienced while relaxing over Christmas break:
Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 by Steve Stockman. –> An exhaustive exploration of the U2 anthology, from their genesis to current work. I had surreal moments of listening to Zooropa and reading about the same songs. It was one of those Neo in The Matrix moments of ‘whoa.’ If you are a fan of U2 or just intrigued by them, read this book. It is a strong exegesis of U2’s faith journey, one that makes me want to read more of what Bono has to say (especially on issues like social justice).
Rain, Steam, and Speed: Building Fluency in Adolescent Writers by Gerald Fleming. –> two words: fluency journals. Very cool. I am looking forward to implementing this in my classes. This is a great and practical approach to improving student writing fluency ( I am jazzed that the author spends time and many pages insisting on the importance of using music for this program. Yes!).
Eragon by Christopher Paolini. –> One of my gr7 writing students loaned this one to me with rave reviews. Ok, so it is a tad close to Lord of the Rings at times, but the fact that it was written by an 18 year old (?) is enough to get you through any similarities. Pretty amazing considering his age. This has me wanting to pick up more children’s lit. and immerse myself in it.
Still wading through… My Life as a Fake by Peter Carey. –> Wondering why it is that he is the second author to have won two Booker Prizes, and my only comfort is that neither were for this book! The title says it all, as most of it is a bad ripoff of the plotline of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , which, by the way, is a brilliant text (also written by a teenager!) Carey goes so far in his mimickry as to quote the same lines from Paradise Lost as Shelley did. Apparently he spent three years of his life on this one…ouch. Too many f words for no good reason. Too little originality. I have continually thought of jettisoning my reading of it, but I am still at it. I must admit that the story line improves around half way through, but this text is making me hungry to return to the quality of classic literature.
What’s next? I am not sure. I have a text from a former prof from my undergrad that I had to buy, as I took a creative writing course from him. It will be interesting to see if his writing is as good as his teaching! I have been hungry to read Don Quixote for a while now. A colleague handed me a biography of Ernest Hemmingway and The Politics of Jesus . Perhaps these will come next.
I found life within the pages of some book. (Derek Walcott, Another Life