Monthly Archives: December 2006

So Many Books for Christmas

Wow! People really came through on books as gifts this year. Thanks to all of you. These are the titles I found under the tree:

  • Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
  • Under The Skin by Michel Faber
  • Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam
  • Londonstani by Guatam Maliani
  •  A Perfect Night to go to China by David Gilmour (not of PF fame)
  • Disgrace by JM Coetzee

Not bad loot at all…

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Work

The best thing about working in a bookstore is that I get discounts on books.

The worst thing about working in a bookstore is that I get discounts on books.

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We Need To Talk About Kevin

Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin, is the reason why I walked into work yesterday bleary eyed and unfocused. Once into this book, it is impossible to put down and I think it was about 3am when I read (and re-read) the last paragraph. Shriver had great difficulties placing this novel — most publishers thought the story too dark and the topic too sensitive to sell. “Who would want to read this?” they asked. Lots of people, it turns out. It won the Orange prize.

What happens when a women who doesn’t really want to have children, decides, in a moment of impulse to get pregnant? And what happens when the child she gives birth to grows up to be a teenage mass-murderer without a conscience? Who is responsible for his heinous actions and what is the impact of his crime on his family, and on the people surrounding him?

Does an ambivilant mother create a monster child, or are their people in the world who are inherantly evil? This book does not answer these questions, but it does get us thinking about them. There is a completely unexpected twist toward the end that makes the story even more gripping and thought-provoking. Recommended.

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Math Solutions

My son announced last week that he could not see the point of math — it was a comment made out of frustration after he received a low mark in a math 11 test. I completely empathize — math as a process is a mystery to me as well, but I know it has a point and I wanted him to understand this.

So now, every night we sit side by side on the couch and I read to him from Paul Hoffman’s amazing book, Paul Erdos: The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. Our German roommate is also taking turns reading aloud and perfecting her English.

And the results? Paul Erdos was an eccentric and brilliant man who searched for and found truth and beauty in mathematics and his passion and enthusiasm is infectious, even for those of us mere “trivial beings,” who are not math inclined.

So suddenly, there is a purpose to grade 11 math beyond getting a decent mark on a test. And sometimes we talk about concepts that actually make our brains ache — last night it was transfinite — ouch…

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The Old Guys Rocked

Last weekend, I accidentally ended up at the Rolling Stones concert — the last place I wanted to be on a snowy Saturday night, but when a friend dropped a floor ticket in my lap, I agreed to go. Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting much from the senior citizen rock and rollers of times past, but I went with my “brain open.”

I’ve been engaged in an ongoing battle with a friend who swears that the Stones remain “the best band of all time.” He never misses a performance if it’s within a day’s travelling distance. It’s odd to me, considering that he was barely a toddler when they were at the peak of their careers. Anyway, we made a bet that I would enjoy myself and he won.

The fist highlight of the night was finding myself planted beside Keith Richards, (and I mean about a ruler length away), and he didn’t look good. Still, it was Kieth and he is a legend and he can play guitar, so I smiled at him and we stood there for about ten minutes and watched the crowd. I suppose I should have said something, but it’s not like we are friends.

The second highlight was the floor. We had great seats, but we didn’t sit down — I’m a dancer at heart, but knowing we had such great seats for a mere $50 was a good feeling. And the Stones were great. I’m happy I saw them, and I know (after being so close to Keith), that I won’t be seeing them again.

When the concert ended we spent almost two hours searching for a cab, and my other friends didn’t find a ride for three hours. I almost resorted to calling Sam Sullivan and asking him for a ride, since he’s the guy in charge of cab licences.

Sometimes, it’s the events we don’t plan for, don’t look forward to that morph into the really good times. I guess I needed a reminder of that.

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