Saturday, June 09, 2007

Book Challenge - Update 1

Well, I actually read for about 5 and a half hours last night. It would have been 6, but we needed to take 30 minutes to read bedtime stories. Too bad picture books don't count, as I'd have another 6 books to add to my list.

I finished two books before I went to sleep last night, Project Mulberry and Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire. I was up again at 4 am, so I turned on my book light and started title 3, Class Matters. My reading will slow significantly with this one.

After many years of studying Latin, I have a soft spot in my heart for Greek and Roman mythology. However, I do not remember ever reading the story of Cupid and Psyche. Julius Lester is a masterful storyteller and I found my self lost in the little philosophical moments interjected throughout the tale. Here are two of my favorites.
"In love, and perhaps only in love, are the finite limitations of self dissolved and we merge, not only with the beloved other, but with wonder itself. In love, whether it is love of another, of music, art, or whatever, we belong to someone or something and we are no longer alone (p. 35)."

"Love happened. Love came to show you that you could be more than you ever imagine, because love forced you out of the narrows of yourself and thrust you into a vastness that stretched from one end of time to the other (p. 185)."
Okay, this is where I tell you that I've never considered myself a romantic, let alone a hopeless one, though I suppose my yearly reading of Pride and Prejudice belies this belief. I'm also a sucker for happy endings, so, there you go.

As for Project Mulberry, I'm not sure why this book was off my radar screen for so long. I loved Julia and found her early struggle with the roots of the silkworm project to ring true. One of the topics that consumes our work in social studies is identity and how to help students living between cultures acknowledge, celebrate and feel proud of their roots. The real challenge is helping students do this while they wrestle with finding their "American" identity. I found her relationship with Patrick to be well-developed, and will continue to think about the issues raised by their interaction with Mr. Dixon. Perhaps most interesting for me was the series of ongoing dialogues between Julia and author about the writing of the book. Overall, I can't say enough good things about it. This will surely be one I consider for my next Integrated Curriculum Methods class.

Okay, between errands, fixing meals, a birthday party for two 6-year olds, and getting my glasses fixed (yes, I broke them this morning), I'm going to keep reading. It will be interesting to see how far I get.


  1. I read yesterday that you were planning on reading Cupid. I loved, loved, loved that book. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well. As far as literary style goes, that is the BEST of the year, that I've read so far.

  2. Yes, Tricia, I liked Cupid a lot as well. I do a lot with fairy tale retellings but I think I should expand that, especially since the Cupid & Psyche myth resonates so deeply with Beauty & the Beast..