Two weeks until the Fall semester starts. I am hoping to finish getting ready, and have at least a few days to spare so I can re-focus on the Mimmie book. Once again - it has been languishing under consideration at a publisher for too long. So I must write, and prompt a decision (which is likely to be one more "we really really -- almost -- want to take it...but no thanks.")
The weekend was low-key, and productive. Did some much-needed grocery shopping. In the relaxation arena, we watched two DVDs. The first, Kill Bill (1), just about ruined Saturday night. Ebert gave it a four star rave review. I think that guy is too influenced by the big bucket of popcorn. About halfway through I retreated to the computer (Bob had already been put to sleep by the story-absent, violent monotony) but after a few minutes even the sound coming from the TV became overwhelming and so I turned it off. Ugh. What resources were wasted making that movie, and the hour I invested watching it was wasted too.
The second, Pinocchio, was better. Unlike Kill Bill, I recall the reviews for this movie were not that good overall (and it seems Ebert didn't bother reviewing it at all?), but Pinocchio has always been beloved to me, and I found this interpretation fairly true to the story.
Something else I hope to accomplish before the semester starts is more pleasure reading. I read a couple of Margaret Atwood books this summer, including Oryx and Crake. It was great, as are all of Atwood's novels. Currently I am reading Extravagance, by Gary Krist. It is well-written, but it is taking me a while to get though it. Not that it is long, but every chapter switches between perspectives, but with the same characters, and parallel story lines - going from London in the 1690s to New York in the 1990s. That's an interesting device, but it is interfering with the story being a page-turner. At the end of each chapter, it is really easy to put the book aside for a while.
Next on my list is Educating Esme. (Actually, it may wind up filling the space after this chapter of Extravagance.) It is a journal of a first-year teacher that I have wanted to read for a while, and now I have no choice. As I struggle with revising the syllabi and my courses, it is inevitable that last-minute inspirations overtake the need to plan. I want to add in some accessible books, and change one assignment so that it is based on this new reading, but book orders had to be in months ago. I could add another to the list, and hope the bookstore gets it in a few weeks, but students are already overburdened from buying books, and I am not positive which of the current reading I will pare down anyway. So, I bought multiple copies of Educating Esme (Codell), Up the Down Staircase (Kaufman), Hard Times in Paradise (Colfax), How Children Fail (Holt), Savage Inequalities (Kozol), and Keeping Track (Oakes) on amazon.com, and I will put them on 48 hour reserve in the library.
(If you're wondering whether I'll get reimbursed for the outlay?...No.)