Sunday, September 19, 2010

Siren song of summer

There are unequivocal signs that summer is waning (has waned?), you know, small details such as going back to work, procrastinating and not grading students' weak analytical essays, but it isn't officially the end of summer. Almost, I know, but it seemed like a good opportunity to give one last, dying shout-out to summer months. Friday night's "adventure" has inspired this, and I finished my last summer book last week. These are the final nails in summer's coffin, I suppose.
Not to be too morose, because summer has gone out with a bang. On Thursday night, a friend called and asked what we were doing on Friday. Not much, since my preferred Friday night involves a lazy and an early evening. She, however, offered us tickets to a Dodgers' game, and since we hadn't gone to a game since June '09, it seemed like an opportunity that I/we couldn't refuse. By 6:00 pm on Friday night, I was regretting my decision - Netflix and my bed both called to me. However, a commitment is a commitment.
It ended up being a fabulous experience, of course! First of all, it was fun to go with our friends, and I always forget how much I love attending baseball games. While I'm not much of a baseball fan, the experience at the ballpark is definitely unique and the energy in the crowd is contagious. I may be a bit partial, but I do think that it's a treat to go Dodger Stadium, which is old-school. Plus, I love the palm trees that are all around it! The added plus for us on Friday was that these tickets were crazy, amazing seats! I've never experienced such an "up close and personal view" of a sporting event. We were right by the Colorado Rockies' dugout, and the players were 20 feet away from us! Finally, the food... When isn't food a part of the baseball experience? I'm not a huge "Dodger Dog" fan, but the spread to which we had access was definitely NOT 'regular' baseball food, and Michael and I must have had a bite of everything! We ended the evening in a food coma, a bit sad that the Dodgers lost, but very happy to have shared the entire experience with good friends. We also decided that we must remember to attend at least one baseball game every year!

And now, summer reading. It wasn't, to be honest, a very reading-heavy summer for me. Perhaps the Internet has eroded my ability to focus on longer texts? I doubt it, but it seemed like a lackluster summer reading-wise. That said, I did enjoy the books that I read, and there was a trend amongst them - travel and adventure. Ha! It was completely unintentional, but perhaps some unconscious, 'id', part of my psychic apparatus dictated this connection?
A few highlights:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel by Susanna Clarke. I must say that I was quite envious of her when I finished this book. It was SO good! I had started it years ago, when it was toted as "Harry Potter for adults". While it does involve magic, it is so much more! That was a fun read.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. My parents gave me this book which I then left for my fried Sara in Paris. Not the "best" book I've ever read, but it was an entertaining read. Part personal reflection/experience on running, part treatise on running, part science, and a great chronicle of adventure and athleticism and some amazing athletes, this book did make me want to run an ultra-marathon. I have yet to do that, however!
The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn. A memoir about attending the Cordon Bleu in Paris. It was a quick read after our trip, and I wanted to enjoy it, but I felt that it lacked much substance. The stories/experiences shared were quick, and I somewhat identified with the writer, but it was a poorly-written book. It actually annoyed me that she was/is a professional writer and could be so lazy in her writing.
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene. I thought that I had read this book years ago (like 15 years ago), but my memory of the book differed starkly from my experience of reading it this time. Funny how that happens. I thought that it was a bit more light-hearted, but I found it much darker this time. It was, however, a good read, full of surprises, and Greene is an excellent writer. I'll actually leave it at that.

And, while the siren song of summer calls to me now, I absolutely MUST grade these papers!


Kim said...

Ooh, I'll have to add some of those books to my to-read list! Can I just say how much I'm loving Murakami, by the way?

I love baseball games too! I haven't gone to a game this season, sadly :( There's still a little time left, I suppose...

Anonymous said...

I love all the new books you mentioned...I wish I had more time to read. Seriously, I need to find a way to get paid to read all day. "The Sharper The Knife..." sounds really good - too bad the bad writing got in the way.

I haven't been to a Dodger's game in forever! I remember how fun they were though.

Jaya said...

Oooh, looks like there are some goodies in there! I had a very reading-heavy summer and some of the notables were "Nasty Bits" by Anthony Bourdain, "Mountains Beyond Mountains" (journalistic account of Paul Farmer's PIH projects) by Tracey Kidder and lots of others.
You know, we never really got much of a summer here. I only wore my summer clothes twice: both times I was out of town! But I will say this: cruddy weather is the best motivator to stay in and get that nose to the grindstone! As luck would have it, now that school is really picking up, we are having this super sublime Indian Summer. I'm doing a major imaginary fist shake at the weather-powers-that-be!

Kristina said...

Glad that you are liking Murakami - I'd love to know what you think of the book when you've "wrapped it up".
I can't decide if I would like to get paid to read all day or not. I mean, it would be one thing if I were michiko kakutani, the NYTimes book reviewer. But I don't think that I am that smart. In fact, I know it.
We've ended up having a HORRIBLE heat wave here, so it's definitely summer again!
I read "Mountains Beyond Mountains" a few years ago and thought it was pretty inspirational. It made me wish I were doing something to change the world.