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Too Much to Handle

Or..rather, too much to write about.
This past week I have been sick, as in throwing up sick; started the first week of school and watched as one of my more insane students got hauled off to Juvie for punching the SRO in the face (well, I didn’t actually watch, I just heard about it later…) on the third day of school; got stuck on Highway 50 when my alternator died and made friends with a woman and her kids who picked me up, took me to the gas station, and let me use their cellphones (the family turned out to know my mom…interestingly enough); gotten my hair done (ooh, my little locs are about 2.5″ long now!); run out of prescription meds and gotten an “emergency” refill; gone to my brother’s birthday party – after getting a migraine and throwing up yet again; and oh yeah discovered delicious crêpes with Alison.

On top of all this, thing I am most excited about (besides repainting and decorating my classroom, that was pretty exciting…) is the completely awesome book I’m reading – The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper a story about the author’s “lost African childhood”. At about the age of 13, she, her mom, and her sister fled from civil war in Liberia. The book is fascinating because it not only includes a look at the events leading up to the civil war from a child’s perspective (as well as from the more clear view of an adult looking back on events) but it also gives an overview of Liberian history, as well as vividly describing familial history.

In short, it’s all good. Especially for non-fiction, which is usually pretty boring to me.
Great book, reads like a novel. If I could buy 20 copies, I think I would teach this book as part of World Literature. Or American Literature – since the author did end up fleeing to Tennessee, going to school at UNC, and becoming a White House correspondent for the New York Times…and Liberia was, at one point, an American colony. Hm.

By the way, what amuses me, the reason it says my mood is “amused” is not the way my skin smells like Fresh Cream due to the new body wash I’ve tried, nor the blue tips on my fingernails that I drew using my new Nail Art Pen, but because The Boy is doing his best Rock Band David Bowie impersonation, and just got to the RAWWWR! part. Which was great.

“I’ll sell my soul for you babe…”

It took me forever to remember it.
I’ve been trying to rack my brains for the title of this book for sometime now.
Ekaterina Sedia: The Secret History of Moscow.  I’m writing it here so I won’t forget it again.
But I really liked that book.

I’ve ambitiously decided to conquer The Modern Library’s (or, I guess Randomhouse’s) list of the 100 Best Novels.  If Jeremy can do it with the AFI and make it through all of those films, surely I can at least make it through the 100 greatest novels.  And then I can be one of those well-read hipsters who talks about likign so-and-so’s earlier works best…  Besides, as an English teacher, shouldn’t I be well-read?  Surely my knowledge of worth-while literature shouldn’t end within the confines of the book room – nor should it be restricted to required reading from undergraduate and graduate coursework.

Of course, I’ve already read plenty of the books on the list because those are, in fact, required reading for literature classes.  And I really like plenty of novels that aren’t on that list…and probably never will be on that list…and I like to think that they have enriched my life as much as the ones on the 100 Best Novels list.  But the thing is, I get overwhelmed when it comes to chosing a book to read.  Especially when it comes to chosing a book to read that hasn’t been recommended to me by someone else.  Unless, of course, it’s like, $1 at some huge book sale.   And I usually don’t really read those.  I put them on the shelves… Anyway, the thing I find most overwhelming about books and bookstores is that there are SO MANY BOOKS that have been published.  With movies, at least, I can read the covers…see if it looks interesting from the pictures…have heard trailers for them…and usually they come out in batches at the theaters, so, you know, my options for new movies are more limited.  But man, SO MANY BOOKS are on the "New" table at Barnes & Noble that I don’t know where to begin.

So, I’ve decided to begin here.
After I finish re-reading (or I should say, actually reading and not skimming) Jane Eyre, Hanging on to Max (loaned to me by a student), and Mr. Timothy.

I’ll let you know how it goes.