I got out of school exactly one week ago today and so far I've been to Coushatta for vegetables, to Minden for antiques, to Belcher & Gilliam just cruising around. I've joined the American Legion Auxiliary and attended two Memorial Day services. I've cleaned out the fridge, the pantry and my closet. I've taken two huge bags of clothes to Goodwill. I've worked in the yard a little and blogged a little and read a little.
I need to slow down.
Summer lasts more than a week.
I have lots of things I want to do this summer but I don't have to do it in a single week. So today (after the Memorial Day service) I just sat. I forced myself not to do anything. I didn't go to the store. I didn't go anywhere. I sat on the couch and blogged a little and I sat on the deck and read some. I played ball with the dog. I grilled steaks. I watched Gunsmoke.
So maybe now I can settle in and enjoy my downtime without this gunshot approach to relaxation. I have a piece of furniture I'm dying to start refinishing and restoring. And I have a huge stack of things to read.
Speaking of ADHD, I'm reading at least three books right now. Why do I do that to myself?
What am I reading, you ask? Well, I'm about a hundred pages from finishing The Fountainhead. I've never read it before and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'm pulling for Howard Roark. No spoilers, please.
I'm also about halfway finished with Marcus Luttrell's Service. I became a fan after Lone Survivor and am proud to own a personally signed copy of that one. Service has held me riveted just as Lone Survivor did, and I continue to be thankful for people like Marcus Luttrell and his brothers in arms.
The third book I'm currently reading is Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System. I'm only 41 pages into that one but so far I'm filling pages with Post-It Notes. Ravitch is a former assistant secretary of education who has repudiated her earlier views that a national curriculum and charter schools are the way to solve the woes of public education. She now advocates leaving education to educators rather than business models and encourages family involvement in education. While I think she's still for a good national curriculum, she has modified her views on the best way to achieve that. I'm only 41 pages in, as I said, so I'm not sure yet where she's going with this.
Waiting in the wings on the reading list?
The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg - the third in his family trilogy. I loved All Over But the Shoutin' and Ava's Man. Bragg has a lovely, Southern style voice to his writing that reminds me a little of Pat Conroy. He was raised by his mom while his father was out drinking somewhere and ended up becoming a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. His family stories are sad, funny, and poignant. Reading his words is like sitting under the magnolia tree listening to your great aunt and your grandma tell family tales.
I also have Bragg's Somebody Told Me which is a collection of his favorite articles that he's written.
Also in the stack, Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys. It came out in 1995 and there's a movie version but it was recommended by a fellow English teacher whom I admire very much so I'm going to read it. She tells me I'll see some "familiar" characters. I'm looking forward to it!
If I ever finish The Fountainhead I still have We the Living and Anthem to read by Ayn Rand. I know Anthem will only take a couple of hours, but I've never read it. And once I've done that then it would just be silly not to read We the Living so I can say I've read all the major Rand works. Why not?
I'm not a fan of Chick Lit but I do like to read Mary Kay Andrews and she has a new book coming out next week which I've pre-ordered: Spring Fever. I like her books because she talks about antiques and vintage finds that interest me. Plus, sometimes you just need something rather mindless that you don't have to concentrate too hard on or make Post-It Notes.
I also have a copy of The Help; never seen the movie, never read the book. No spoilers. I'm going to read it.
I've done a lot of reading on the war in the Pacific during WWII (and still don't consider myself an expert, by any means), but have three more tomes on my stack in that subject area: first is On The Canal which tells the story of the Marines storming ashore on Guadalcanal. Also sitting there is Into the Rising Sun which tells the story of the Pacific War through the men who were there. And finally, The Long Road of War by James Johnston - a very personal account of one Marine's experience in the Pacific.
I have a couple of other books I want to re-read. I've been thinking about Ira Stoll's book on Samuel Adams and while I know it has nothing to do with beer (sorry - just had to say that), I want to go back and re-read that. I don't think I gave it due diligence the first time. I had just read David McCullough's book on John Adams and Stoll's book on Samuel was not as riveting at the time. I'm thinking I need to give it another shot.
I also want to finish reading Empire of Liberty which I started and never finished. It's been on the shelf for at least two years.
That's enough to keep me busy for a little while, but I'm sure I've overlooked something. I'm going to finish the three I have in progress before I start another one, though. I swear.
What are you reading?