Read in August

I read fewer books in August than I have previous months of this year for a couple reasons.
I tried to read more nonfiction, and nonfiction slows me down.
I started volunteering at the high school every day. I work in the library and supervise the study halls, which are mostly in the library. To get there in good time, I need to be walking out the door with the Cherub at 11 a.m. with our lunches packed and my backpack organized with the lunches, a water bottle, a pull-up and change of clothes for the Cherub just in case, diaper wipes an umbrella, my notebook, change for transportation in case I get it, crochet, and a couple handkerchiefs and/or hand towels, plus, sometimes, a change of shirt for me. More often, I wear a cotton t-shirt under whatever I am wearing and take it off when I get to school.

Then we walk. If we are lucky, I can flag a trike after walking for about ten minutes, and I am only sweating enough to use one handkerchief to wipe off my face and neck and one hand towel to pat my hair dry, and we’ll pay 15 to 20 pesos for the ride (.30 to .40 cents). If we are not lucky, we walk all the way. I open up the umbrella for portable shade which drops the temperature from being fried like an egg on an overhot skillet with a blowtorch to finish off the top down to being steadily and aggressively poached. The humidity here is no joke. It takes 20-25 minutes, including a harrowing couple of minutes on a curve with no side-walk so we are in the road and it is a very, very busy road and yesterday a motorcycle came too close for comfort twice. We’ll avoid the water buffalo poop on the sidewalk and the Cherub won’t stomp in a puddle or two or three and splash me with muddy water, if we’re lucky. When I arrive at the school I will have a face like a tomato (No exaggeration, I took a selfie once and posted it and the next week at church a ten year old asked me what was wrong with my face in that picture, why was it redder than a tomato? I-love-children-they-are-so-honest). The sweat is unspeakable. Tropical climates are killer. My hair will be soaked all the way through. The t-shirt I am wearing under my light cotton top is drenched. I look like I’ve been hosed off with something greasy. The Cherub, who has poor circulation and never sweats and is normally cold will be warm to the touch. I take her to the teacher’s lounge and we go in the bathroom, where the air con doesn’t reach, and I take off that wet t-shirt, splash my face, wipe myself down with a diaper-wipe and then the face towel and get dressed again, then I drink 16 ounces of water in a gulp and refill my thermos, and then we go to the library, which is deliciously air conditioned because of the books, and I stay there for the next 4 hours enduring the steady resentment of the majority of the students, with a half hour to 40 minute break when my husband comes and keeps an eye on things while I take the Cherub back to the teacher’s lounge and feed her, and myself if there is time, and take us both to the bathroom and rehydrate.

I could catch a cab after about two blocks, when I am only moderately sweaty, and I can catch a cab pretty much every time, but that costs closer to .80 cents, and occasionally a dollar, for a very, very short ride and it’s hard for me to justify that.

About the resentment: The school had a change in directors this year and some new policies have been implemented for study hall, and none of them are popular, and since I am the face of the enforcement, I am in the direct line of the resentment. I was told I’d be able to read while I worked there, and I tried that the first week, but I really can only do some light skimming because the resentment is a constant distraction as it takes the form of various requests to flout the rules, attempt to surreptitiously break the rules, and so on. It’s honestly not very fun, and I am not getting paid and so I don’t know how long I’ll be willing to keep this up. The funny thing is, I like the kids. I like the kids a lot. They are amusing, interesting, adorable, intriguing. I understand their resentment, but it’s misplaced and burdensome and I do not love all the new rules any better than they do, in fact, in a couple instances I find the rules misguided. So there we are. Less reading.

But on the plus side, a wider selection of books, that, um, I don’t have time to read.

What I read:

Culture Shock! Korea– interesting but since it was published in the 90s (this edition I linked to is newer)), a lot of things have changed.

D.E. Stevenson’s Listening Valley– I really love Stevenson. She writes sweet romances, but she wrotes mostly of home and heart and makes me think. This one has been published in Kindle, which is nice. For a long time it was hard to find any of her books. She’s in a class with Goudge, Miss Read, and Janice Holt Giles. Also, learned a new word:
‘I was a thrawn little devil. I don’t know why.’
“He would not know of the queer thrawn streak which runs right through the British character–the dogged streak, which does not permit the Briton to admit the possibility of defeat.”

John Scalsi’s Collapsing Empire– Scalsi badly wants an editor who will actually edit him. He also needs to work on his characters. They are not real people. They act in ways that real people do not act. He is pandering so hard to the gender is a social construct crowd that to anybody else it’s like his characters are just silly cardboard stereotypes of things the gender is a social construct group wishes were true, but are not. It’s a shame, because he’s not without talent. From time to time I’d find myself reaching a place where I could enjoy the story, he seemed to be in his groove, and then suddenly, he’d push the ejection button and break the story with something ridiculous, like a three to five page long internal soliloquy a main character has with herself while she is in the middle of a private, one on one, politically tense meeting with the most powerful contender for her position, somebody who has attempted to assassinate her and one fraught with potention mis-steps, and this super powerful killer supposedly just sits there twiddling her thumbs while her would-be victim is in a brown study for half an hour. Nothing in the internal monolog of the main character was important to the story, either, it was just a heavy handed political message to the readers and vanity preening. He also ends the book abruptly, churlishly expecting his readers to buy the next 10-12 in the series before they get a completed story. Sequels are one thing, but sequels which don’t solve any part of a plot at all are basically theft and disdain for the reader in my opinion.

Two more Flavia de Luce mysteries- these remain delightful and amusing.

Developing a Worldview Approach to Biblical Integration by Martha McCullough, Amazon doesn’t have this, they have a similar, longer book she wrote. I like what I’ve read of her work. She kind of reminds me of Ruth Beechick, although she is writing for private Christian schools more than homeschools.

A Patricia Wentworth mystery, Lonesome Road

Stranger in a STrange Land by Heinlein. I’ll review this elsewhere but I was disappointed.

The Light Fantastic, by Terry Pratchett- I was disappointed. I found it hard to get into, that puns were a substitute for plot, and there really wasn’t any ‘there’ there, and I wondered if it was me or the book. I think it’s a bit of both. I was relived to discover this was only the second book in the series. That explained a lot.

The Last Dragonslayer by Fforde, this is the first of Jasper Fforde’s first juvenile series. I like it, it was fun, quirky, and amusing.

100 Days of Real Food– not really worth the time. Maybe if you’re totally new to the idea this would be helpful. I found it lightweight and learned nothing new. And this was not her fault, but I find that American recipes are currently essentially useless to me. I don’t have access to many of the same foods, or to the majority of cooking methods. If it’s not made on the stove top or in a rice cooker or possibly wrapped in foil and put in a very, very, very tiny toaster oven, I can’t do it. Nor am I interested in turning on any heat source in my kitchen for more than about fifteen minutes, so ‘simmer an hour’ is right out.

Started by did not finish yet:
Eternity in their Hearts, a reread
How to Read Literature Like a Professor- there’s one chapter I really like. The rest, so far, isn’t that useful.
Lilith by George MacDonald
A Meaningful World, by Wiker
Victory of REason
Proust and the Squid

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