This Week: Easter is upon us, and my little one -- Trisha -- has been busy praying to the Easter bunny. Yes, you read that right. This child has a creative understanding of theology. She is skeptical of the notion that the son of God rose from the dead, but she seems to put complete faith in her prayers to the Easter bunny. :-) Go figure.
I haven't been reading, watching, or blogging as much as I'd like. Happily, my co-blogger has been picking up the slack, writing plenty of film reviews.
Spring break will soon be over and I'll be teaching and volunteering at Trisha's school, along with carrying out my calling in life which, as we all know, is to chauffeur my kids around all over Central/Western Virginia. I really wasted my time paying off all those student loans for graduate school. Once I had my ovaries and my driver's license, I was fully prepared for my life's purpose. :-P
Spring soccer also started this week, so I'll be held hostage to the soccer mom gig until June. :-) Plus I have a few other projects in the works. So my presence on the interwebs may be smaller for a while.
Wishing For: A long, temperate spring before the heat of summer sets in.
Reading: Last night I finally finished A Clash of Kings, in the Song of Ice and Fire series, and started A Storm of Swords. I'm finally getting past the part of the story I've seen in the television adaptation, and I hear this is where things get really effed up.
So I 'm anticipating this book with both excitement and trepidation. By the way, my family has thoroughly enjoyed Seasons 1 & 2 of the HBO series (except the little one, who's obviously too young for GoT), although 14-year-old James is probably still in shock from overexposure to naked breasts.
I've also downloaded several other books for my Kindle, which is a bane to people with low impulse control when it comes to buying books. People like me.
We have constant access to a device which will instantly purchase and deliver a book, sucking money out of our bank accounts and into the ether, as we speak. If you think about it, it's one of the most brilliant money-making inventions of our era.
Books I've downloaded:
Because I love a good mystery
An eight-year-old boy is found dead in a playground . . . and his eleven-year-old neighbor is accused of the crime. Leading the defense is London solicitor Daniel Hunter, a champion of lost causes.
A damaged boy from a troubled home, Daniel's young client, Sebastian, reminds Daniel of his own turbulent childhood--and of Minnie, the devoted woman whose love saved him. But one terrible act of betrayal irrevocably shattered their bond.
As past and present collide, Daniel is faced with disturbing questions. Will his sympathy for Sebastian and his own memories blind him to the truth? What happened in the park--and who, ultimately, is to blame for a little boy's death? Rethinking everything he's ever believed, Daniel begins to understand what it means to be wrong . . . and to be the guilty one.
Because Asperger's Syndrome, and how it shapes families, is a subject dear to my heart
Misfit, truant, delinquent. John Robison was never a model child, and he wasn’t a model dad either. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of forty, he approached fatherhood as a series of logic puzzles and practical jokes. When his son, Cubby, asked, “Where did I come from?” John said he’d bought him at the Kid Store and that the salesman had cheated him by promising Cubby would “do all chores.” He read electrical engineering manuals to Cubby at bedtime. He told Cubby that wizards turned children into stone when they misbehaved.
Still, John got the basics right. He made sure Cubby never drank diesel fuel at the automobile repair shop he owns. And he gave him a life of adventure: By the time Cubby was ten, he’d steered a Coast Guard cutter, driven a freight locomotive, and run an antique Rolls Royce into a fence.
The one thing John couldn’t figure out was what to do when school authorities decided that Cubby was dumb and stubborn—the very same thing he had been told as a child. Did Cubby have Asperger’s too? The answer was unclear. One thing was clear, though: By the time he turned seventeen, Cubby had become a brilliant chemist—smart enough to make military-grade explosives and bring state and federal agents calling. Afterward, with Cubby facing up to sixty years in prison, both father and son were forced to take stock of their lives, finally coming to terms with being “on the spectrum” as both a challenge and a unique gift.
By turns tender, suspenseful, and hilarious, this is more than just the story of raising Cubby. It’s the story of a father and son who grow up together.
Just because it piqued my curiosity
This quirky, appealing YA novel turns formulaic teen fiction on its head as funny, feisty fifteen year-old Mary-Magdalene Feigenbaum (otherwise known as Maggie) suddenly faces more than the usual typical YA concerns: a voice in her head that is telling her to kill people. Not just anyone—each time the target is someone who has done something terrible to a person Maggie cares for. You know what you have to do, the voice commands. Maggie struggles to resist, but the voice is relentless.
With rising suspense, this story of psychological horror introduces a narrator whose own unique voice and irreverent humor are unforgettable—an unlikely hero fighting a desperate battle against incomprehensible evil.
In Our Homeschool: The usual stuff. We are moving apace through our vocabulary enrichment. At his first soccer practice, James made a point of using the word "grandiloquent" when speaking to the coach. Because he wanted to speak with grandiloquence. Or as he put it, "I was just trying to show off."
My teens and I are continuing to watch and discuss movies about Africa, highlighting certain aspects of African history.
This week we watched Hotel Rwanda, about the 1994 holocaust in Rwanda when Hutus massacred Tutsis. We discussed the history in advance -- going back to the bitter legacy of European colonialism -- to give the movie some context. However, the script provides enough information for the viewer to navigate the events it portrays. In fact, the movie felt a bit didactic to me. There were times when I felt a character was looking directly at the audience to deliver the film's message: that the West unconscionably stood by while a million Rwandans were murdered.
However, this didn't diminish my appreciation of Hotel Rwanda. This message is a powerful one. More to the point, this movie is well crafted and quite moving, with excellent screenwriting and acting. I especially loved the lead performances and the portrayal of the relationship between Paul and his wife.
The movie's account of the genocide seems accurate. It's certainly disturbing but not nearly as brutal and devastating as it could be. I think the filmmakers deftly walked the line between shirking realism and being too harsh for mainstream audiences.
Don Cheadle was brilliant here. Like the protagonist of Schindler's List, his character -- Paul Rusesabagina -- finds a way to offer hope and save lives in the midst of a holocaust. Many films show "ordinary" people becoming heroic in devastating circumstances. It's a powerful topic -- one I never get tired of. And while many of these films give us quick glimpses of the toll this takes, this movie does it better than most.
There's one scene, after Rusesabagina has persisted in being strong for his family and the others relying upon him, when the simple act of fastening his tie undoes him. It's a beautiful scene. If I needed to be convinced that this was more than a "message film," that laid my doubts to rest.
Also Watching: I also saw This Film is Not Yet Rated. This documentary explores the inconsistent and often covert process by which the Motion Picture Association of America rates films and discusses discrepancies in how the MPAA views sex and violence.
I'm an easy sell for anything taking a go at the MPAA, and I've been looking forward to this documentary. However, I didn't like it as much as I'd expected to. It did raise some intelligent points. And when I say "intelligent points," you know what I mean -- points that I agree with. :-) As in, Yup! That's what I've been saying for years. And there was some interesting and thought-provoking stuff here. But I really thought the film lost its focus -- it could have been much better.
I started a review, of sorts, but I haven't gotten around to finishing it yet. Stay tuned.
Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey