Monday, April 20, 2009

Waves and Radiation

White Noise by Don DeLillo

"TV is a problem only if you've forgotten how to look and listen," Murray said.  "My students and I discuss this all the time.  They're beginning to feel they ought to turn against the medium, exactly as an earlier generation turned against their parents and their country.  I tell them they have to learn to look as children again.  Root out content.  Find the codes and messages, to use your phrase, Jack."

"I've come to understand that the medium is a primal force in the American home.  Sealed-off, timeless, self-contained, self-referring.  It's like a myth being born right there in our living room, like something we know in a dream-like and preconscious way...You have to learn how to look.  You have to open yourself to the data.  TV offers incredible amounts of psychic data.  It opens ancient memories of world birth, it welcomes us into the grid, the network of little buzzing dots that make up the picture pattern.  There is light, there is sound....Look at the wealth of data concealed in the grid, in the bright packaging, the jingles, the slice-of-life commercials, the products hurtling out of darkness, the coded messages and enless repetitions, like chants, like mantras....The medium practially overflows with sacrad formulas if we can remember how to respond innocently and get past our irritation, weariness, and disgust." (50-51)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


For My Daughter in Reply to a Question
David Ignatow

We're not going to die,
we'll find a way.
We'll breathe deeply
and eat carefully.
We'll think always on life.
There'll be no fading for you or for me.
We'll be the first
and we'll not laugh at ourselves ever
and your children will be my grandchildren.
Nothing will have changed
except by addition.
There'll never be another as you
and never another as I.
No one ever will confuse you
nor confuse me with another.
We will not be forgotten and passed over
and buried under the births and deaths to come.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Go Forth and Read! But first...

(This is how I feel now.  Except my abs are not as well defined...)

I can honestly say I've never read this many books in this short amount of time.  Here are my picks and pans:

Thumbs Up:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Maus II by Art Spiegelman
The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
American Born Chinese by Gene Leun Yang
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Sold by Sharon Draper

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
The Misfits by James Howe
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
The Skin I'm In by Sharon Flake
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Uglies by Scott Westerfield
The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein

Thumbs Down:
Tyrell by Coe Booth
Gender Blender by Blake Nelson
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

The Tray

from 19 Varieties of Gazelle by Naomi Shihab Nye

Even on a sorrowing day
the little white cups without handles
would appear
filled with steaming hot tea
in a circle on the tray,
and whatever we were able
to say or not say,
the tray would be passed,
we would sip in silence,
it was another way
lips could be speaking together,
opening on the hot rim,
swallowing in unison.

Radiation Burns=Not Pretty

The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein

"...David's ambitions were becoming increasingly grand--and reckless.  No longer would nuclear models built from marshmallows, pill bottles, and Ping-Pong balls satisfy.  As Barbara Auito, the scoutmaster's wife and Troop 371's treasurer, later put it: 'The typical kid [interested in nuclear energy] would have gone to a doctor's office and asked about the X-ray machine.  Dave had to go out and try to build a reactor.'" (114)

For an update on what David Hahn is doing now, check out:

(But beware--semi-gruesome facial burns caused by radiation ahead!)

Monday, April 13, 2009


from 19 Varieties of Gazelle by Naomi Shihab Nye

"A Single Slice Reveals Them"

An apple on the table
hides its seeds
so neatly
under seamless skin.

But we talk and talk and talk
to let somebody

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A light at the end of the tunnel

This semester my reading life has been consumed by books that I HAVE to read. Which is fine--most of them I really enjoyed. But there's nothing quite like finding a book that you WANT to read and reading it, without worrying about finishing by a certain date or leading the book discussion that week. So, without any further hesitation, here are the books that I am looking forward to reading once I scrape together a bit of free time:

  • Disquiet by Julie Leigh
  • What Happened to Anna K. by Irina Reyn
  • The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
  • The Book of Dahlia by Elisa Albert
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • College Girl by Patricia Weitz
  • Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies!