Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants by Katy Payne
The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende
The Youngest Goalie by Brian McFarlane
These are the books with bookmarks in them, on my bathroom and beach shelf, partially read, sure to be done in the next few weeks.
I dunno why people like to talk about books they are reading (or haven't even read!!). I would MUCH rather talk about books I have FINISHED reading, as it is AFTER one is done with a book that one either wants it to continue via thought and discussion or else one wants to warn others to stay away from it. I rarely wish to talk about a book I'm actually in the middle of. It's like talking during a movie.
Books I've recently finished:
A Peep into Korea by Kevin J. Hayes. It's on par with Dispatches from the Peninsula by Chris Tharp, both blog-like writing and equally poor book editing. Both written about prejudices and excesses of foreigners in Korea though intended as an outsider's perspective of the culture. Both unworthy of a second thought, full of "impressions", so it would hardly be fair to point out the many factual inaccuracies based on personal experiences. Really, both texts are for those who taught here a year and pine to re-live the inane initial experiences.
I've been re-reading Korea Bug by J. Scott Burgeson, a complilation of zine interviews and stories from the nineties, very interesting and insightful about the history and culture and people one finds in South Korea, both traditional folk like mudang and foreigners like filipinos in Seoul. It's one book I love re-reading about this country. The interview with a bbondegi manufacturer is awesome for advanced classes. The Jesus-came-to-Korea legend is memorable! I recommend this book.
I just finished Shadrin has scored for Russia! by Kevin Sylvester and it's a hilarious what-if take on hockey's future in a world in which the Soviets rather than Canada won the 1972 Summit Series. It's a small CBC publication by the sports reporter of CBC Radio 1. Pretty funny.
I don't recommend Hockey Dreams by David Adams Richards, a memoir by a hockey fan, which is so ultra-nationalist Canadian that anyone who doesn't think Don Cherry is totally awesome would find bothersome. The author has written some reputable fiction but this life account of his childhood is hard to stomach with its continual chest thumping for his country (mine too) and his lament over foreign involvement in what he doesn't see as the "growth" of the game. He's a small town New Brunswickian with a huge chip on his shoulder. A waste of time to read. (The spelling of Steve Izerman and Peter Forsburg really hurt my eyes too.)
I recently re-read How to be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson, a Brit's reflection on a life less busy, more relaxed, chatty, basically an appreciation of life away from work for those who work a lot. He is trying explicitly to support through philosophical and literary historical references a lifestyle that's anti-capitalist, but he comes across as a pub-crawling middle class whiner. The first time I read it I found the ideas awesome, but on re-read a few years later I find him immature and worse, pimping a perspective that is only possible from within the overworked lifestyle he seeks to escape. That is to say, once one gets out of the rat race, his prescriptions seem less applicable. It's a book for those who want to be idle because they are too busy working. That's not me nowadays.
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss. A diappointment on first read as I had thought it would be like many of his other books: a good resource for class lessons. But then as bathroom reading I started re-reading it OUT LOUD and suddenly its rhymes and pacing were magical. I should have known better and read it aloud the first time! I've read it several times and am eager to try it out with an advanced class in the coming week.
The Far Side Gallery 4 by Gary Larson. The wolf driving into the city full of straw towers, thinking "Oh man, I've been away too long."
A bottomless resource of class-starting discussion, especially since one bus is often late, so a couple of minutes of interesting asides to the main lesson is worthwhile.