Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Reading, not Cleaning!

Well, my course is finished, my papers submitted and I finally have time to catch up on my reading. If you've been following my growing summer reading wishlist, then you'll know that I'm going to need an endless summer to finish all of these books. I'm getting ready to go digital with e-books (don't cringe, I love the feel and look and smell of traditional paper texts too, but I need to keep my eyes ahead in the digital world), so I'm picking up some of the 200 odd (paper) books I've purchased in the last few years and haven't found time for. Two of these were novels by Adele Geras. The first one I read was Hesters's Story. I loved it. The story takes place over several decades and the cast of characters each have their own story thread. It tugs at your heart, but not in a drippy, overly sentimental way. I'm currently reading Facing the Light. It too takes place over a 70 year time span and has the same formula of hidden family intrigue. Last night, I read until midnight. I think I have predicted "the twist" but that hasn't spoiled it for me. Its the type of book that you race to finish, but then are sad that it came to an end. I think that I must be a fan of contemporary/gothic sagas because this book is similar in format to The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield that I blogged about awhile back. Although Geras is a prolific writer, she has only published four adult novels. That leaves me waiting to read, Made in Heaven and A Hidden Life. The list grows again!

For those of you who enjoy Dan Brown's novels, look for the sequel to The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol (previously reported as being titled, The Solomon Key) to be released this September. It took Brown 5 years to research this next Robert Langdon adventure which takes place over a 12 hour timeframe. The novel is anticipated to be a huge hit due to the recent movie releases of The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons with 5 million copies being published in first print.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Animals are Great Role Models

I'm sure it will not be of surprise to my readers (its my blog, I can pretend that I actually have a following) that I have found yet another book to add to my summer reading list. We forgot to buy a lottery ticket for last night's draw, so I continue to be confined to a summer list. The book is called The Antelope's Strategy: Living in Rwanda After the Genocide. It made me think of a very moving video clip that I watched during a presentation on "Psychic Prisons" in my Organizational Management class (yes, the one I'm still writing a paper on...or as my cousin so beautifully put it, "spending too much time taking those silly, yet addicting facebook quizzes instead of finishing the paper). It seems that the "thing" to do these days in the world of academic presentations is to embed engaging and inspiring Youtube clips into power point presentations. And they are effective. Done well, they are humorous, powerful and thought-provoking. However, many seem to recycle through the loop and you can recite the text as it appears to the music track --- remind anyone of "Geese"?
This weekend, the presenter used a clip I hadn't seen before, about the special relationship between two animals, to illustrate her point on cohabitation and celebrating our differences.
The second clip I'm embedding somewhat follows this theme, except it extends to the bonds of relationships that can occur between animals and humans. I found it in a "most viewed" or "what's hot in google?" RSS feed. It also has a book link, but it didn't make the summer cut.

Two Unlikely Friends!

This clip is the reunion of Christian the Lion with his human friends. Christian's parents were zoo lions and as a cub, Christian was sold to Harrod's department store where the two friends purchased him. They brought Christian to their apartment for about a year before the decision was made to return him to his home, and to freedom.