Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Twilight Part II

My recent post regarding Twilight, by Stephenie Meyers, crossed my mind today. Specifically, I was thinking about the ways in which Edward Cullen has all the qualities the perfect boyfriend would posses. It then occured to me that he has some pretty serious, in fact dangerous, flaws. I fully understand that it is easy to overlook the flaws of a fictional character, but I'm suprised that I am not as troubled as I should be that Bella is keeping Edward's vampire secret and placing herself in harms way.(This is not a good model for the young ladies who think having a man is more important that having a good one.) I get it...she's in love.

Thinking back on some of the men I have dated in the past, I can see that seemingly minor flaws can be a big deal if there is not chemistry between two people. I guess it's true..."Love covers a multitude of sins."

Monday, February 18, 2008


It’s official, I am like every other female who has read Twilight; I'm in love with Edward Cullen! This, first in a series, novel by Stephenie Meyers strongly appealed to my need for escapism. I was captivated on the first page and finished the novel in about four days. Darn those intrusive social and familial obligations! Twilight is a very well told modern day vampire story. It took me back to the first time I read Interview with a Vampire, by Ann Rice. Rice's themes and plot were far more mature, but it was the first time I had heard or seen a vampire story that did not come across as campy. This novel can truthfully make the same claim.

Bella is your run of the mill teenager (with the exception of the vampire boyfriend), who doesn't fit in. Then she meets Edward. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that everyone fits in somewhere. You just have to find the place where the person you are happens to be (no pun intended) the flavor of the month or enough of a novelty to garner attention. In Forks, Bella has found a home. There, even her clumsiness is endearing and unfortunately, more life threatening. All the boys love her, but Edward, with his hypnotic voice and looks to literally "die for", captures her heart.

The suspense sequence is just okay. Am I wrong to look for a Dan Brown level of suspense in a book for young adults?

The sensual scenes, on the other hand, are very well written. They titillate without sending the reader or the characters over the edge. Bravo! They remind me of the novels I secretly read in junior high. Unlike the literature of today, foreshadowing and imagery were the primary sensual story telling devices. Today, they tell entirely too much and take things way too far. I have noticed that this series has an HS logo (for high school or mature content) in the Scholastic flyers. The warning is appropriate, but by comparison this is a tame one.

Rating: 4.4/5

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day of Tears

I recently finished reading Day of Tears, by Julius Lester, as part of the Young Adult Book Challenge. It is a historical fiction novel set during the largest slave auction in U.S. history, "The Weeping Time". The story is told in dialogue format which allows you to hear several perspectives. In addition, you get the characters take on the events as they unfold and as they reflect on them many years later. Lester uses the main character, Emma, and the events of the auction to tie the dialogues together in the least confusing way. Emma demonstrates the emotional and psychological pain which slaves endured and triumphed over. Through this character and others this novel did an excellent job of laying bare the fact that many felt slaves were not human beings and giving voice to the actual depth of their humanity.

True to the historical setting, the "N-Word" appears when many of the white characters refer to or address the characters of African descent. While discussing the use of this term with students, I appreciated the balance of characters represented in the novel. Those sympathetic to the plight of the slaves tempered the cruelty of slave owners and other pro-slavery characters.

Initially, it was easy to put this book aside and not come back to it for days on end. When I finally made a conscious decision to give myself over to the characters, I was able to get through it but still did not feel fully engaged. My use of reading as an escape from the harsher aspects of life is probably to blame there.

I read it with a group of sixth students at my school site and during our biweekly discussion meetings it was clear that this book captured and kept their attention from the beginning. Before passing out novels, I sent home permission slips which gave parents a warning that the text would evoke more emotions than past reads. During SSR in her math class, one young lady began to cry and a classmate, who was also reading the novel, helped her explain to the teacher what brought on her tears. The math teacher was impressed that young people were that engaged in reading, and I was thankful I had been proactive in warning the parents and students.

Rating: 3.5/5


Yesterday, I got together with 13 of my 'sands'. It was the first time we have been together in about 25 years, and I had a blast! It is amazing how we have changed but basically, we are the same as we were back then. The change can best be described as maturity, and the sameness would be our zest for life. We are living life, making positive contributions to our communities, and pursuing our dreams (And whims!).

Living in the past is not healthy, but making peace with it and reminiscing on the good and bad times we've shared with others is energizing.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

What Should You Be When You Grow Up

You Should Be a Doctor

You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.
Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.
You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.
You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.

You do best when you:

- Are always learning new subjects
- Use your knowledge to solve problems

You would also be a good therapist or detective.

I agree with most of this. Oddly, my next career choice was/is being a therapist.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekends are Wonderful!

This weekend I got some much needed R&R. On Friday, I went to see The Bucket List with my BFF. (Yes, women over 40 have BFF'S. They are what keep us from doing serious harm to men over 40! LOL) The movie was great and so was the girl talk. Thankfully, she talked me out of spending Saturday morning at work, so I had a partial pj day. That afternoon I rode down to Del Mar with a friend and saw a Cirque Du Soliel performance (Corteo). It was absolutely wonderful. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner on the beach after the show. Sunday, I just basked in the afterglow of it all...and then there was Monday, which has proven to be pretty good in spite of the budget talk during today's staff meeting.

I think the way one spends his or her weekend makes a big difference in how stressful the week gets. The challenge is finding inexpensive or free activities that are relaxing enough to be stress busters.