My Library Stack

Have I mentioned that I am back in school? I may have, because… my life is consumed by readings and articles and discussion posts and papers. And except for this delightful weekend, it has been hard to think about much during this damp gray dreary rainy month.  Thankfully I still have the Rochester Public Library to provide me my amazing and fully legal escape. READING.

So what’s in my books stack right now? Well, on the nonfiction side we have Just  a Nurse, a book that is definitely from the 80’s, when there actually was a nursing shortage… when HMO’s were big… when AIDS was just hitting the scene…  Then we have The Father of Forensics, a delightful look at the life and labors of Sir Bernard Spilsbury, a redheaded pathologist solving murders and playing the expert witness, very a la Sherlock Holmes.  Highly recommended especially if you like CSI and obscure early 20th century celebrities.

Then we have Something to Prove by Yvonne Thornton. I have not read her first book, The Ditch Digger’s Daughters, which is about how her father, a poor African American ditch digger, inspired most of his daughters to become doctors.  I have to say, I was not a fan of this book. She is, without a doubt, an inspiring woman – one of the first successful African American doctors. But she comes across as pushy, in her life, in her work, in her parenting. Obviously, you need to be somewhat pushy to succeed at all of those… where do you draw the line?

Then we have my Idiot’s Guide to Learning French, which I liked so much I bought.

Then we have my Melody Carlson books, my new favorite YA Christian authoress. Very inspiring. Her books are mostly in the form of journal entries, and I love first-person novels.  And speaking of first person novels… the Halo series is on my stack, although the last two books are with a friend.

I thought this series was very interesting. It was like  a heaven ‘n hell version of Twilight down to the bad boy’s name (Jake).  Bethany is the needy, angelic heroine – at least she has some heavenly powers and wings!  Xavier is her human Edward, although (spoiler alert!) he turns out to have a special destiny of his own.  And Jake is the very bad boy, downright demonic, and not above dragging a girl into Hades to win her over. The authoress is relatively young and Australian and her imagining of American small town life is delightful.

As far as religion goes, I don’t think this series is blasphemous so much as confused.  If only Bethany had taken her concerns and love for Xavier straight to God, I’m sure things would have been… better. At least love comes across as paramount. On the “uplifting” scale, this series is below C. S. Lewis and Frank Peretti, but far far above Phillip Pullman. I just felt bad inside after I read the His Dark Materials series.

Well that’s my current stack of books!! Happy reading everybody!

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Renaissance Fun

Last Sunday we waded through a severe traffic jam and made our way to the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee. I’ve always loved renaissance festivals as a “liminal space” where weirdness is celebrated (or perhaps a two-month-long Ritual of Reversal).  The ancient, magical, and the downright strange can all be found in myriad permutations. My first couple RenFests were in Houston, although to tell the truth I don’t remember much except jousting and disgusting turkey legs, and the fact my band teacher played trumpet there
We knew one of the street performers and therefore went for many years in North Carolina. We enjoyed watching the juggling show “London Broil” and the irreverent comedy duo of “Hey Nunny Nunny.” At one London Broil I had the rare privilege of being called up on stage while they threw machetes around me.
We have attended the Minnesota RenFest for 4 of the last 5 years, once in the pouring rain. The Minnesota RenFest is different. The shows are more serious, the food is better, and there are dogs – a lot of dogs. We toyed with idea of bringing ours but we didn’t want our arms jerked out of our sockets as they enjoyed the plethora of smells. Also, I was a little concerned that they would chase down one of the little tortoises pulling a cart (donations benefit the herpetological association!) and try to eat it.  So, dog-less, we enjoyed mead and hair-braiding, looked at snakes and turtles, watched people play chess, watch a sheep -herding demonstration, and generally enjoyed being away from Roch for a day.
We wanted a picture, and naturally you can’t take a picture at a Renaissance Festival without a photo bomb. I thought it was icing on the cake personally 🙂
Can’t wait for next year!!!