Monday, October 6, 2014

Random Thoughts - The Books Edition

Little Cuter and FlapJilly have been having a grand time, reading in the little one's bedroom, snuggling on her mommy's brand new upholstered rocker, or curled up in the corner of Cozy Rosie the Couch, my baby reading The Cat in the Hat to her baby .... in Latin ... because she has no Seuss in English in the house.

The high school Latin teacher was informed of this event, and we shared smiles and memories and lots and lots of love.  Whether the baby was amused or not was somehow no part of the story at all.
Facebook told me about the difference between "deep reading" and having your eyes skim all over the page.  The first happens when you lose yourself in a paper book, the second when you read on screen, distracted by ads on the side or the ability to click through to a definition or a map, breaking your continuity, interrupting "linear thought".

The article postulates that learning to read on an electronic device gives you the information but does not access the part of the brain used for concentration and analysis.  Maryanne Wolf, one of the researches cited in the article, wrote this for NeimanReports
The act of going beyond the text to analyze, infer and think new thoughts is the product of years of formation. ....... The reading circuit’s very plasticity is also its Achilles’ heel. It can be fully fashioned over time and fully implemented when we read, or it can be short-circuited—either early on in its formation period or later, after its formation, in the execution of only part of its potentially available cognitive resources.
Just another way we're taking two steps forward and one step back, I guess.
Mr 9 and I have a weekly date for transportation to his piano lesson.  He's been unusually silent these last few week.  Instead of chattering about the Cardinals or the Wildcats or his brother and sisters or the Staffordshire Terrier puppies with whom he shares his mom's house, his face was buried in a book.

"I read 20 pages on the bus!" was the only communication between us.  We hugged hello and goodbye, but his mind was on another world with characters only he was seeing.  I love a kid who trips going up onto the sidewalk because he has to finish the last few sentences before he starts his lesson.
I'm reading European TragiComedies for my Humanities Seminar this semester. Ionesco, Pirandello, Shakespeare, Ben Johnson... all gaping holes in my literary history, now to be filled.  The books were available at the bookstore, but I copied ISBN numbers into Amazon and ordered them on-line, saving the cost of shopping locally twice over.

Unfortunately, my copy of Flautus's Amphytrion was missing pages 63-85 ... and that was the last third of the play.  The seller didn't have another copy to send me, told me to throw it out, and credited my account.  That was fine, but didn't help me with the fact that I discovered this on Monday evening, and class was Wednesday morning.  Amphytrion is not a commonly stocked title, and the campus book store was further than I was motivated to drive.  I got the general gist of the story, and the professor provided what I needed to understand it all. 

Still, I'm wondering if it's the Gods telling me to keep my dollars here at home.
Gone Girl, the movie, is all over the radio and television and newspaper and magazines and I know I read it and I can't remember a thing about it.... not the plot nor the characters nor the setting ... all I remember is that the ending disappointed me.

I guess I must have disliked it more than I realized at the time.  I seem to have flushed it from my memory bank.
Not worrying about ruining my ability to concentrate for long periods of time, I downloaded a collection of eight Tess Gerritsen novels to my Kindle.  I've spent the last week with Rizzoli and Isles, the originals.  They are much more interesting than their tv counterparts.

I have read all these books before, but that doesn't matter.  I've conflated them with other series. I spent a considerable portion of the first two books waiting for the FBI guy to turn out to be the murderer, only to find him happily married to Det. Rizzoli, changing their baby's diaper with a smile on his face. 

I'm having fun laughing at myself.
The Literary Society of Tucson sent me the offerings for the coming season.  Meg Wolitzer is coming in November. 

Her book, The Interestings, is one of the few novels I've ever put down and not picked up again.  Perhaps, after we share a meal and I listen to her speak, I'll find out what amused everyone else.  I just wanted to walk away from every character she put on the page.

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