August Reviews- Please Let it Be Over

If only I could grade as well drinking wine...
I feel like August has been, well August, for sixty or seventy days, rather than thirty-one. Between several days over 100 degrees and starting work I'm in a definite hurry for this tedious month to be over and September to begin. Oh, and the mountains of summer work papers I've had to grade have really put a damper on things. Work will still be work, and the temperatures will still be high, but at least September is closer to October, which is then closer to November. November is where it's at- cooler weather, hoodie wearing, leaf crunching, tons of days off, pumpkin fro-yo, and the beginning of vacation season. So close and yet so, so, so effing far away. 

In through the  nose, out through the nose.

August reviews:

Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs
336 pages
I read this one for work, which, as it turns out, was unnecessary. I had planned on teaching an AP course (for which this book was needed), but they had to redo my schedule to add another IB class, therefore taking away the AP one. Basically, unless you're interested in rhetoric and organizing arguments this book may not be for you. I do feel like a learned a lot about my own personal arguing style from this book (I'm a tad heavy on the pathos...), though. I know it will come in useful as I teach, I just won't bore everyone here with talk of fallacies, logos, and other such exciting argumentative terms.

Verdict: Only if you want to write better arguments...

Antigone by Sophocles
70 pages (just the play)
I remember reading this in high school and maybe seeing the play (or did we see Oedipus?), hating both. While I'm still not in a huge hurry to load up on the ancient Greek tragedies I definitely have much more appreciation for this play now that I'm older. I've really enjoyed watching my students debate Antigone's status as a hero and battle the language (I'll probably be singing a different tune when I read their essays this weekend). If all else fails, the incest factor surrounding Antigone's family is always cool. Oh, and by the way- if I hear one more person pronounce it Anti-Gone I'm going to flip out. 

Verdict: You probably should.

"Master Harold"... and the Boys by Athol Fugard

64 pages
First of all, hold your tongue and say "asshole"- it kind of sounds like the author's name. And no, I did not have the kids do that. Anyway, I am terribly, terribly ashamed of the fact that it took me two-thirds of the way through this play to realize I had also seen the play in high school (my IB classes went to San Fransisco once or twice a year to see plays). I really enjoyed reading it and look forward to covering it with my students... next spring (damn late program change). Race, knowledge, ballroom dancing, kite flying and father figures galore.

Verdict: It's a really quick read that's packed full of symbolism and theme- if you want something quick, yet substantial go for it.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
544 pages
The Art of Fielding is reminiscent of John Irving's older works- there's just this way about it that makes you feel like your holed up in some rich person's library on the East Coast sipping a hot toddy and talking to a wonderfully smart older man that has a tweed jacket with elbow patches. Oh, and a pipe! Although his first novel, Harbach has the voice of someone much more mature, but at the same time manages to allow his youth to infiltrate the text. Anyway, the book is about a young man who's an amazing baseball player- he gets swooped up to play for a small liberal arts college where he is mentored by an older player who has all the answers. His roommate is gay and ends up having an affair with the college president, who's daughter becomes involved with the mentor. So, so much happens in terms of plot and character development, but I don't want to give anything away since you should all go read it (like right now).

I guess Vanity Fair did a mini eBook on the publication process of the book, which I of course am quite interested in. I find myself on the horns of a dilemma (I heard that phrase for the first time in third grade and thought it was incredibly intellectual; this may be the first time I've ever used it)- do I download the effing Kindle App so I can read it or stay strong? It's not published in paper form since it's really a glorified article- this may be my loophole. 

Verdict: Please. Now.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
232 pages
My second graphic novel! I really enjoyed this one, but felt bad that it didn't take me long to read. Fun Home is autobiographical- Bechdel grows up living with her dysfunctional parents (her dad is a homosexual who she eventually learns has affairs) and must come to terms with her own sexuality (she is a lesbian). The pictures are simple compared to the Craig Thompson's Habibi (my only point of reference) but the coming-of-age message for the main character is extremely complex.

Verdict: If you're trying to find a graphic novel to read, this may be a good one to start with. It is definitely controversial, though, so if things like homosexuality, puberty, naked male corpses, and suicide bother you, maybe pass. 

Here's to September and October flying by. 


  1. I think we actually saw a different Greek play...I want to say...Hecuba? Regardless I probably either slept or flirted my way through it. Teenage Megan...such a nimrod...

  2. I love this list. Alison Bechdel is so honest. Not for someone who is just dipping their toes in the queer world or unfamiliar with it. But, a great graphic novel :-) I'm looking into The Art of Fielding.

  3. OH, forgot to mention. Download the Kindle app!!! You are your harshest critic! I don't have an e-reader, but I certainly won't judge you :-)

  4. I've heard so many good things about Art of Fielding, but it's the focus on baseball that makes me hesitate about reading interest in baseball. I wonder how important that is to the story.