Review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

For mature audiences only and for those that can handle tough issues and graphic portrayals.

The copy of this book that I found contains notes and a lot of highlights.  I’m wondering if someone, or two, used this for a class or book group, or both.  Finding scribbles and highlights is fascinating because it shows what other people reading the same thing latched onto during the reading.

In today’s day and age, Michael’s relationship with Hannah would be treated as a major crime, the setting for a show like Law and Order’s Special Victim’s Unit.  Olivia Benson would be on the case of a woman having an affair with a teenager half of her age.

This book could only take place in the setting that it does.  Everyone has secrets to hide yet justice is being handed out on a continual basis.

I just wonder for a country like Germany that has forced and compulsory state sanctioned education, just like the United States and a few other countries, how someone like Hannah would have fallen through the cracks and would have never learned to read or write, even functional literacy.  That is the major gap that is left by having the story from only Michael’s point-of-view.  He says that Hannah would never answer his questions.

Having worked with English Learners and with clients who can read barely beyond a second or third grade level as adults, Hannah’s complete lack of anything really makes me wonder.  Did the system just pass her along, so to speak, as happens today even though not many people are willing to discuss the subject.  Did she come from a poor family that the system missed somewhere?  Who knows?  It is left to the reader’s imagination.

Hannah preyed on Michael and the feeling seemed to go the other way as well.  No one is a good guy in this story.  Heartbreaking in some ways, yes, but these are two imperfect human beings.

Daily Prompt: Snack

via Daily Prompt: Snack

Snacks are good.  Snacks are bad.  What makes a snack good or bad?  When it takes the place of a meal?  When it becomes a meal?  When you use snack food to count as a meal?

I hate all of the snack food packaging more than I hate the idea of a snack.  The British have it right with a 4 p.m. tea time.  How did earlier societies and cultures do without snack food and this idea of a snack?  Was the concept always there but in different forms?  Maybe I’ve read too many books and stories about war time, yet no one makes mention of snacks and snacking.

Some people say small meals are the way to go, others say no.  Even doctors and nutritionists can’t seem to make up their minds about meal vs. snack.

An apple to take the edge off of hunger is my view of a snack.  A bag of chips is not.  Yet chips are always cheaper than a single apple in some stores.

“I’ll have a snack” seems to be a very deadly thought and statement in the English language.  Cutting out the sugar, the ice cream, and the late eating helps curb the want for snacks in my experience.  When I say sugar, I mean the processed, the natural sugars in fruit and vegetables that our bodies are made to absorb.  Exercising helps as well.

And sometimes snacks seem to make you more hungry.

I still vote for tea time.

Strawberry Moon

The full strawberry moon is out tonight.  A full moon is always awesome to watch as it rises in the sky every 28 days.

The superstitions surrounding full moons are many yet I find working two or three days after a full moon are usually worse than the full moon itself.

All creatures seem to stir more with a full moon.  The moon tugs at the Earth more than we as humans seem to realize sometimes.

Someone I know has been watching for the horseshoe crabs coming up on shore.  I wonder if the Native Americans watched for them.  In all of the research I’ve done, I’ve never found anything about native Americans and horseshoe crabs.  Are there any stories or legends that have been preserved about them in Native American mythology and oral traditions?  Horseshoe crabs were named so by the colonists due to their shape. What did they think of these creatures as they came up on the beaches?

These are some of the questions I’ve been pondering watching the full moon rise.

Review: The Wave

This book may be one of those unknown gems.  I found this in the nearby Little Library.  I’m going to put it back there for someone else to find and read.

Margaret Hodges is the author.

The plot of the book is about how Ojisan, who lives in a small fishing village, notices something is wrong and saves everyone’s lives by extreme personal sacrifice.

Great storytelling and great use of language.  Appropriate for ages six and up and adults will enjoy it as well.

Review: The Light at Tern Rock

This is a Newberry Honor Book I have never heard of.  It is appropriate for ages 7 and up.

The plot summary is that Ronnie and Aunt Martha are asked by the lighthouse keeper at Tern Rock to take care of the lighthouse while he goes to visit family.  Ronnie hesitates because it is near Christmas and he is afraid of missing Christmas with his family.

Older readers may be able to guess the outcome.  However, I understand why this book received the Newberry Honor.  The plot is very tight, characters well-described, and the language is middle to high school level.  There is a great lesson taught as well.

Find a copy and read it especially if you have older children.

Bedtime

Bedtime.

The word itself makes me shirk.  I’ve had no regular bedtime since high school, if that, and that was only because I had to be at school for 7:35.  Ah, memories.

I have come to accept that I am a night owl.  My best time is after 5 p.m., usually.  I’ll sleep all day if you let me.  I just need about one hour of sunshine and fresh air and I am good to go.

Right now I work evenings: paid, volunteer, my own business here, and I enjoy it.  It is my time of day.

Being an EMT (emergency medical technician), I started watching the show “Nightwatch.” I love that shift of 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.  Those are my perfect hours and I want a job with those hours.

This morning I woke up early and was thrilled to hear the birds singing outside and catch the first glimpses of sunshine.  Yet I crawled back into bed for a couple of more hours until life called.

Bedtime?

I do have my routines and I try to read before going to sleep.  I also found a video on YouTube recently of Dr. Wayne Dyer about “setting” your brain for the next day before you go to sleep.  I totally understand this and try to do this every day.

 

Review: The Secret Life of the American Musical by Jack Viertel

This is the book to read if you want a great introduction to Broadway and how and why musicals are written.  This book will open your eyes to a lot of things you may have never thought of before and has some interesting tidbits about the history of Broadway.  It will also save you the tuition money for NYU.

Mr. Viertel breaks down the structure of musicals, the songs, and why there is an order to the musical.  Basically, the formula.

I believe even Broadway fans will enjoy this book.  He even has a list of recommended soundtracks.

This is interesting from the first word.  Enjoy!