Monday, September 3, 2007

Back to School With Michael5000

Well, I'm not going back to school. No way. But I wanted to start out this Labor Day by thanking the teachers who are going back into the proverbial trenches right about now. You guys get worked like mules and get way too little credit for what you do, and oh yeah, the future of the civilization is pretty much in your hands. So whip those little punks into shape for the rest of us, yeah? You guys are awesome.

I found this back-to-school write-up by occasional L&TM5K commenter Boo both harrowing and inspiring, and a good reminder of why I'm no longer in the classroom (i.e., I'm a big wuss).

The Reading List

Meanwhile, the votes have been tallied, the chads have all been swept into the dustbin, and the dust settles on Michael5000's official reading list for the next few years. And here it is, in all of its strictly alphabetized glory:

  • Andric, Bridge on the Drina
  • Ball, Bright Earth
  • Blume, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
  • Brown, Louis Riel
  • Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
  • Byatt, Possession
  • Campbell & Campbell, The China Study
  • Camus, The Stranger
  • Cervantes, Don Quixote
  • Chandler, The Big Sleep
  • Chaucer, Cantebury Tales
  • Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent
  • Davis, One River
  • DeWitt, The Last Samurai
  • Diamond, Guns Germs and Steel
  • Donaldson, the first Thomas Covenant trilogy
  • Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.
  • Fforde, The Eyre Affair
  • Greene, The End of the Affair
  • Greene, The Quiet American
  • Hansen, Motoring With Mohammed
  • Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
  • Homer, The Iliad
  • Homer, The Odyssey
  • Ishiguro, The Unconsoled
  • Joyce, Ulysses
  • Kafka, The Process
  • Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies
  • LeGuin, Earthsea trilogy
  • Levin, How the Universe Got its Spots
  • Lucius Apuleius, The Golden Ass
  • McCall, Makes Me Want To Holler
  • Mieville, Perdido Street Station trilogy
  • Moore/Gibbons, Watchmen
  • Nabakov, Lolita
  • Nabakov, Pnin
  • Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas
  • Pamuk, My Name is Red
  • Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country
  • Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death
  • Pullman, His Dark Materials
  • Ramachandran, Phantoms in the Brain
  • Rawicz, The Long Walk
  • Rivoli, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy
  • Robinson, Housekeeping
  • Rossi, What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World
  • Rowling, Harry Potter books
  • Sapolsky, A Primate's Memoir
  • Schlosser, Fast Food Nation
  • Scully, Dominion
  • Singer and Mason, The Way We Eat and Why Our Food Choices Matter
  • Smiley, A Thousand Acres
  • Some Old English Dude, Beowulf
  • Stegner, Angle of Repose
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Twain, Huckleberry Finn
  • Updike, the other Rabbit books after Rabbit, Run
  • Voltaire, Candide
  • Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • Wright, The Moral Animal
Oh my God. What have I done? he asked, a quiver of panic catching in his throat....

Ahem. Yes, well, anyway, one or two of you may be wondering why I haven't come up with a dashing little synopsis and review of the Brothers Karamazov yet, and the answer to that is that a) it proved to be a tough book to read at a high intensity family reunion, and b) it's been hard to get back into since what with the beginning of quilt season and all. Which wimpy excuses do not necessarily augur well for the reading list project. BUT! I'm happy to say that I dove back into the book this weekend, and am making forward progress again. So.

College Football Weekend RoundUp
  • Oregon 48, Houston 27. (The Ducks looked real good. And, at times, real bad. We'll see!)
  • OSU 24, Utah 7. (A nice win for the Beavs; an awful night for Utah as they lost several players to injuries.)
  • McNeese State 35, Portland State 12. (...but I'd still rather live here than in McNeese.)

...and in other games of interest:

  • Washington 42, Syracuse 12. (A nice surprise! Maybe the Huskies are better off than everyone thinks this year.)
  • #8 Oklahoma 79, North Texas 10. (Apparently the Sooner defense got sloppy a few times.)
  • Appalachian State 34, #5 Michigan 32. (Awesome upset. Just awesome. It is for games like this that you have to love college football. Or you ought to, anyway.)
  • Western Oregon 23, Willamette 9. (Michael5000 takes care of his readership.)
Song of the Day

I'm really not going to get all retro on you too often, but Supertramp's "Logical Song" has been going through my head all day, so now it can go through your head too. Interesting song, actually. I think its familiarity obscures what a quirky little piece of music it really is. A smart little gem from the days of big man hair and high man voices.

3 comments:

mydogischelsea said...

Oh my. I do NOT envy that reading list.

Boo said...

That is one amazing list. I don't know how I would cope with it and any time constraints. Is there an established due date you've set for yourself?

The mental digestion alone should burn calories!

Hey, thanks for the shout out. I do not think those who leave are wusses though. I don't plan to stay forever or till retirement even. I figure give it my all and get out when I feel the burn out (or until they kick me out).

Phineas said...

Glad you put a link up for your reading list. Wish I knew about L&TM5K back when you created it in order to chime in.

The difference between the first list and the finished product is a testament to the value of this blog thing, isn't it?

A few comments on Ulysses, which I read annually for about 8 years.
- Read it annually a few times. It's unlike any other book and deserves this treatment.
- After one or more complete readings read one or two criticisms. Not that they'll necessarily enlighten you, just consider their viewpoints. However, I'd NEVER read a crit before getting through it once or twice first. (I've got recommendations if you'd like them)
- The breadth and depth of the English language employed in Ulysses is overwhelming. I think I initially looked up about 10 words per page. And I read dictionaries for fun as a kid. This initial challenge later becomes an enjoyable puzzle to see how many obscure words you've retained.
- Repeat

Ulysses is not cocktail party fodder for me (I go to the wrong parties - my friends wouldn't know Joyce from Grisham). Rather, Ulysses is an old friend that I get to know better each time we meet. As I change over the years (thank god), I swear that Bloom changes with me.