Thursday, November 17, 2011

I don't even recognize my life anymore!

Oct. 5th. My good friend's birthday. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Lots of life changing stuff happened in this hour.

(in no sequential order)

First, I received a call from a principal at another high school (Ben's, specifically) officially offering me a job teaching 12th grade English. This meant that I would have to give up my job where I had been working for 5+ years, where I knew everyone and everyone knew me, where I adored the people that I worked with. Ultimately, I made the change--tendered my resignation and broke the news to my kids. And then I spent the next couple of weeks biding my time before the transition happened, an uncomfortable and unsettling period when I knew and the kids knew that my teaching ability was somewhat restricted. That being said--those kids were great. Really. Not a single time did I have a student throw something that I assigned back at me claiming that it was useless since I was "just leaving" anyway. (There was one parent, however...) And now I walk into a different classroom with a different view out of the windows with different kind of desks and a different board and assign different homework. Goodness, I miss many of those people...even the hallway duty and the (idea of) the lounge coffee. Two weeks in and still so much work.

Second, yep, the clan is expanding. Where we're going to put this new one is anyone's guess!! This house--still on the market. 'Bout to come off of the market for a couple of months. So now we're into trying to control nausea just about non-stop and pulling out the boxes of maternity clothes. My super sniffer superpower has returned. My hunger knows no bounds. I can't remember basic info. I must be pregnant.

So the last 6 weeks have been nothing short of tumultuous and exhausting. Just...tired.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet & The Litigators

That's the longest title I've ever used.

I've gotten a couple of books read, and I'll use these as my blogged books for both October and November since I, again, didn't get anything down last month. (Excuses? It was a busy, weird, unsettling month!)

First, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jaime Ford: Howard County Reads book for 2011. Not super impressed. Despite a couple of reviews that I read online before I cracked the cover, this one was overall a let-down. The story itself was okay to above average, but the writing--mediocre at best. At best! I'm not inspired at all to read anything else by the same guy. I even spent some time reading in his blog (a first-time experience for me, reading an author's blog), and I'm even more disappointed after reading the book. I don't know. He seems like something of a braggart on his blog and then his book doesn't live up to that gradiose-ness and importance that he kind of implies. But, he's also apparently going to be in town in a few weeks for an appearance at the local college. That could be interesting to attend for no other reason than to compare yet another impression of him to the other two that I've established. I did like that the story is fairly unique, dealing with a lot of atypical racial tensions (Chinese-Japanese) in Seattle during WWII. Remember, we put all of those people of Japanese descent in concentrations camps then. If this book is to be taken as an honest representation of that, then it paints a uniquely different perception of what a concentration camp is in comparison to what we are most familiar with given that term--Nazi concentration camps. But, that interest factor beside, I read it because I kinda had to for school. Henry Lee, the protagonist, just didn't do anything for me. He's pretty static actually; not a good thing to have with a protagonist!!

Then, I whipped through The Litigators by John Grisham this week. It was absolutely a welcome respite from life at night and during breakfasts throughout the week. I've read every other Grisham book save one YA fiction book that he's done, so I'm obviously a fan. Frankly, his style is just really Grisham-y, and it works, hence his gross level of success. Seriously, who would think that someone could be so famous and successful writing about lawyers and lawyer stuff? Yet the stories are so addictive! It helps that they're easy to read, granted. But, really, the characters are his specialty. He always spends time with the details on the characters, not ad naseum, but in a freakishly insider kind of way. Detailed in the right way. He's pretty expert at creating a fairly developed character in a short amount of time. And, I always think of this when I read his work, he gets a lot (if not all) of his character's names from the obituaries. Fun, right? At any rate, The Litigators is supremely fun, especially the end, but I'm really not wholly buying the storyline. But, frankly, it doesn't matter! How delicious is that! It's a greatly enjoyable read with a fairly ludicrous plot. Sounds captivating, doesn't it?? But read it! Absolutely!!