odds and ends

A is cramming in Algebra 1; we have decided it would be a great idea if A took a Math class over the summer. A would also like to row, so rowing summer camp is in the works.

I have been busy with the B-M.

I have been reading a lot on the subway, as well. Three weeks ago it was The Secret Life of Bees. I thought it was good. Like the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Or Fried Green Tomatoes. Nothing like a story set in the South, where you understand how sad or promising riding a Trailways bus can be.

The following week, it was The Kite Runner. WHAT a novel. It was heartbreaking to read the first 100 pages, but I could not put the book down. Should I continue reading it? No, I can't. Yes I can. It's a novel, LaMai. Novel. As in, fiction. But no, it's too much. I finished it two days later just reading it on the subway. When suddenly, a man glanced over my shoulder while I read the last 10 pages on the 6 train:

Man on Subway: How is that book? Everyone seems to be reading it.
Me: It's a gorgeous story. Gorgeous, tragic, and...
MOS: What's it about? Iraq? Iran?
Me: It takes place in Afghanistan, mostly.
MOS: Yeah, it's all the same, right?
Me: Well, that's just where we get into trouble. Assuming that it is all the same.

I am glad that I did read it to the very last page. It is a powerful tale of the human ego at its worst, of self-effacing loyalty, and of self-redemption.

Then I read Blink. It was okay. Okay, I thought it was sort of stupid. Mostly because the author attempts to correlate everything with everything. Meh.

A has actually talked about boarding school. I am not against it; I myself am a product of a boarding school education. But it does require a certain rigor to literally live in school. Oh wait: we do that already. Heh, heh.


Andrea said...

I just read The Kite Runner a couple weeks ago. GREAT book.

No subways here for miles around. I read it in bed at night.

Calletta said...

I read whatever book I'm currently reading aloud to my Alexander. The pediatrician says it doesn't matter, so long as I'm reading to him. We're doing "A Long Way Down" by Nick Hornby, and I do all the accents. But Alexander mostly wants to be able to see the words as I read.

Of course, I read him plenty of more age-appropriate things as well.

la Maitresse said...

So glad you read it, Andrea!

And yes, Calletta, keep reading to your little one! Would be great if you could make it out to NYC!

There will be *ahem* drinks on the patio.

wendy said...

I liked The Secret Life of Bees. I think I'll have ti check out The Kite Runner soon.

Princess Ennui said...

I will pass on book commentary for now to say I highly champion the boarding school idea!

Oh yes. And boy am I trying to figure out how to come to NYC for A's Bar Mitzvah.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Secret Life of Bees was racist - as in all the black characters were caricatures. It reminded me of the offensive "noble savages" caricatures of Native Americans. The author is white and had a black nanny. Do you think black people read this book? There's some interesting stuff online about how African Americans view this sort of "white guilt" fiction if you take the time to search for it.

la Maitresse said...


I personally do not think the Secret Life of Bees was racist. In the end, the lead white character chooses to live with a caring African-American family instead of her abusive white father. [Abusive white hick single father with a loaded gun - hmmmmm...could that be a stereotype?] It is about safe choices irrespective of the color of one's skin. So I am not exactly certain what is being referenced as racist.

For many years, I lived in a mixed white/black Cuban neighborhood where santeria/voodoo was the order of the day among many. I think I saw a semblance of so many characters, white and black, from the Secret Life of Bees story in my old neighborhood. People come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of quirks and issues. That's what makes humanity so lovable.

That said, I would be very interested in seeing the online discussions on race in The Secret Life of Bees. If you could provide a link, I would be grateful. Peace, LaMai

liz said...

Math Question:

Before you started doing algebra with A, had he mastered middle school type math? For example, can he do problems with fractions, percents, other stuff they do in middle school? just wondering. Is he particularly adept at math?

la Maitresse said...

Liz: Yes.