Monday, March 19, 2012

Playing Hooky

You're in Springfield, the capitol of Illinois for two and a half days for a reading conference. Just a few blocks from the old state capitol, and a few more from the current state capitol. What are you supposed to do? Well, skip one of your sessions, of course.

Outside the Old Capitol 

High-fiving a bronze statue

What I wish my handwriting looked like

Outside the Current Capitol
of Illinois.

Inside the new capitol

On the railroad tracks

Down the street from Abe's old house
(that actually looks pretty new...)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Illinois Reading Council Conference

The exhibition room at the conference

Patricia MacLachlan

Blue Balliett

A small part of the line for Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen

Some girls from our group being interviewed about the conference

Dessert and Tea

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Oh. We're leaving 24 hours sooner than I'd thought.
I'd say it was a misunderstanding, but that sort of implies a miscommunication,
 and really I just must not have been paying attention.
But, that's a good thing.
The departure time being sooner than I'd thought.
More reading.

Friday, March 09, 2012


Why have school assignments (high school and college) only required me to read through the first 800 some lines? The story does not end when the fight between Beowulf and Grendel ends.

When you read it like that, you get the impression that the story is more about Grendel than Beowulf. But the last couple thousand lines are just as majestic as the first thousand.

With a rhythm, and cadence to the lines.
With an apparent call to stand up and stand strong, even in the face of a monster that cannot be harmed by weapons, or an impenetrable dragon guarding its treasure.
With an interesting look at manhood.
With imagery, imagination, and impossibilities.
Wonderful impossibilities.

I can't believe the whole work of literature isn't required.
But let this be a lesson:
Just because it isn't assigned,
doesn't mean you shouldn't finish it. 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Return To Modesty by Wendy Shalit

I'd been excited about this book*, but was disappointed.

The book didn't feel applicable, or relevant. It was more of an informational read. With lots of quotes from magazines, and lots of satire. Lots of satire. I just kept rolling my eyes, trying not to get too annoyed at Shalit's attitude. I got the impression that she thought she'd already arrived, and we should follow her wonderful example. She also used a lot of loaded words, when talking about other people's opinions. I don't know, maybe this is ok, but I didn't like reading it. It seemed too condescending.

But really my biggest problem was the attitude Shalit had, her tone. She talked a lot about embarrassment, and shyness, and things like that, but proceeded to talk about anything and everything very openly and without restraint. With no modesty. She says, "When people ask me, Isn't it immodest to write about modesty?" her answer is "yes, of course it is," but argues that its ok because girls need to hear it. But my answer would be no. No, it doesn't have to be immodest to write about modesty, it just matters how you approach it, and how you discuss it, and what tone you use. I think that this could have been a great book, but it would need to be rewritten.

There were good quotes, Shalit did have incredible insights, and most of the information is great. But I found myself skimming the last chapter just trying to be done with the book, instead of being captivated by it as 'last chapters' should be, in my opinion. She had a lot of great ideas, and some thoughts that I'll keep in my mind and quote book, but honestly, I'm glad to be done with the book.

*(usually I'd include a picture of the book cover, but I'm opting out for this book. I don't even suggest finding it on Google)