20 August 2012

Gettin' My Review On

Clearly, my presence around the blogosphere has been even more absentish these past two months. A combination of visiting family, a sleepless wonder for a child, and the upcoming new school year has had me running around in a fashion highly reminiscent of a crack addict in a candy shop (you thought I was going to say chicken with its head cut off, didn't you?). In this time, I have been reading; not as much as normal, but hey, I'm happy to get in a book a month these days.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to do complete reviews (some of these books I've already reviewed, and I've provided the links) but I do want to get some thoughts down on the books I've been remiss in reviewing:

The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman
I read this because I am the faculty sponsor for the Gay-Straight Alliance, and we were putting on the play last Spring. Wow. The play (not in the traditional sense) is a record of the Tectonic Theatre Group's interactions and interviews with people who had a connection to the death of Matthew Shephard, a man brutally murdered because of his sexual orientation. Reading this play was powerful, and I must admit I shed a tear or two (and I am not a crying kind of gal). While the torture and murder of Shepard is certainly the focus, a very strong issue central to the play is the question: how did this horrible event happen in this town, and how do the townspeople come to terms with it? I definitely recommend this play.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
This is a re-read for me; my original reviews can be found here (1, 2, 3). I must admit that I enjoyed them just as much, more in the case of Mockingjay which I was a bit lukewarm about the first time around. The plot, the characters, the setting, and even the themes to an extent, are wonderfully entertaining. And I won't lie, I think the movie version rocks - actually watching the movie is what made me pick them up again.

Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis
Absolutely awesome graphic novel about Bertrand Russell's lifelong obsession with finding the truth through mathematics. Seriously intense and entertaining. For a much better review, and one I completely agree with, head over to Ana's post at things mean a lot. I taught this in my Intro to Lit course last year, and I must admit I will miss it this time around. Alas, time for something new. If you haven't already, you should definitely pick this one up.

Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo
One of the plays I will be using this year in Intro to Lit, Accidental Death is a comical farce about a trickster who pretends to be investigating the death of an anarchist who was in police custody. As with many a trickster, he is the one to point out the absurdities and not only give the audience a laugh but also teach them a little something. The play is based on the story of a real person, but the events are made up. Read it.

Night by Elie Wiesel
Another book I'm teaching this year, I can't say enough about the emotional quality of this story. Personal accounts of concentration camps are bound to be evocative, but Wiesel manages to keep his story very, very personal and unique while still universalizing the experience. And he doesn't shy away from his own wavering: with his duty to his father, his relationship with his god, his understanding of himself. Another one to read - although I'm pretty sure you have. Most people have, right?

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
One of the best books I've ever read written by a man who pisses me off something fierce. In my experience, this is a book even "non-readers" enjoy, and I can't wait to see what my students make of it.

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
My thoughts this time around are the same as my thoughts the first time around, so if you want to know, head over to my review.

And that wraps up my missing reviews for the year so far! Yay! And just so you don't have to look at an all-text post:


  1. For what it is worth, I'm totally shut down over here on my end. Between the start of school and other things, I've got absolutely no time for blogging or reading. Some day I may just disappear into the void. For her Honors English class, my daughter is reading both Night and Ender's Game (and some other good stuff like 1984 and Romeo & Juliet). I'm thinking I'm going to have to steal Ender's Game and read it too.

  2. She's a cutie Trisha!

    And I agree, Ender's Game is amazing. (I actually liked many of the novels that followed that one - really dig Bean!) but boy is Card an arse.

    We've missed you around the blogosphere but totally understand your priorities!

  3. I have heard others say that Ender's Game is a must read, and I will have to give it a try. It seems as though you covered a lot of stuff in these little reviews, and your range is impressive. You've read a lot of different things lately. I also need to read Night. The baby looks adorable, by the way!

  4. I've been on a summer break from the internet and am slowly making my way back. It's good to catch up with your blog again!

    I saw a performance of The Laramie Project years ago. It was very very good and I admit it, I cried me some tears. It is even more moving to see it done. Have you ever read/seen Angels in America? Another really great script.

    I have yet to read Night or The Hunger Games. . .


  5. OH! The look on her face is priceless! Thank you. *smiles*

    I will tbr Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis right away. What fun your students will have this year with this mix.

    Yes, I've read Night but it has been recently... And, I can't wait to watch Hunger Games with the hub (and try very hard not to say 'OH! You'll LOVE this part!') but I still am not sure I want to read book 2 & 3.

    Really? do I need to read Ender's Game?

    Happy Back 2 School!

  6. I really must read Night. I will do it sometime soon.

    And I hear you on Ender's Game. I was surprised to learn about the author -- it made me sad.

    And your little baby is looking more like a little girl.

    And I haven't forgotten our game of tag chicken. I'll get around to it pretty soon!!!

  7. Apostolos Doxia is quite possibly the coolest author name ever.

    And I love that Huh? look. I can totally relate.

  8. I want to reread The Hunger Games sometime. I think I read Mockingjay in such a rush the first time around that I missed a lot and didn't appreciate it as much as I might have. I think a slower, more deliberate read might help me appreciate it more.

  9. Oh hi pretty girl!! :)

    My dad just read Ender's Game on my husband's STRONG recommendation and I was a bit disappointed that he liked it OK. I think this was because he had just read The Stand and Ender's Game was about 1000 pages less descriptive.

    I hear you on the reviews. Hard to get them done, huh? I'll work on pieces here and there but rarely get an entire post completed. In other news--I'm half reading Mockingjay right now. I'm liking it which is surprising since I keep hearing many people say they didn't like it.

  10. Oh dear, I hope the "sleepless wonder" starts sleeping through the night soon. I've always thought that old adage "sleeps like a baby" was so cruelly misleading! Obviously coined by someone who never raised one.

    You have a nice eclectic list of books. I just added Ender's Game to my list.

  11. Well look at that pretty little girl! Hey you! How are ya sweetie?? Driving mommy crazy? Good girl!

    Just kidding Trish. Glad you are well and make sure you get some me time before the semester starts. Love the mini reviews. I need to do more of those. Enjoy your weekend!

  12. Thanks for the link, Trisha! I think it's so cool that you taught Logicomix in your class.

  13. I agree with you on The Laramie Project and Logicomix.

  14. Your lit class sounds like it has a lot of emotional and depressing books in it! Sounds like you've been doing some really great reading though.

  15. I recall reading Night when I was a kid, probably in my early teens. I had no idea what I was about to read, but picked the book up on a whim, and primarily because I liked the mysterious and haunting image of the snow on the cover. I think I ended up finishing that book in a couple of days and I still can remember how powerful that novel is.


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