Friday, September 14, 2007

the obligatory reading update

tender is the night
-f. scott fitzgerald

fitzgerald may have taught me a few things about perspective. as the tale begins, i hate dick diver passionately. i can't get over his unfaithful heart. by shifting the narrative to diver's point of view, however, fitzgerald gets me into a more sympathetic mood and i struggle to maintain my dislike for dr. diver. his slow descent inspires empathy but allows me to despise him again. by the end, i am glad nicole turns against him, amused at the plot's unexpected intersection with a legendary sporting event, and genuinely happy that the divers didn't mend back into one like the buchanans.

six minutes to freedom
-kurt muse

i read books about the military because i think i might actually join. it's a long shot, but a long shot that i take seriously. i can't turn down a good war story, and the removal of noriega was a war i knew little about. i just remember something about the americans surrounding him and playing loud rock music to annoy him. muse is an american citizen jailed for his role in an underground radio station broadcasting denunciations of the panamanian ruler. his story is interesting, has some issues with narrative voice, and has a happy ending. the story is worth it, but there are moments when i find myself thinking 'the character who seems to be telling the story right now wouldn't talk like this.'

-joe miller

the kansas city schools stink, but there's a storied debate program at one of the worst, and miller is telling that story. i didn't know anything about high school debate before, and here i found a reasonable introduction to this world as well as the world of central high school in the aforementioned city. the unfortunate thing about this book is i began to think of myself as somewhat similar to these kids - i'm feeling a bit lost and it's probably because i'm not particularly happy with the obvious path ahead of me. i feel like my attitude is a bit self-indulgent. the book, however, gets personal for miller as he grows intensely loyal to the central debaters and finds his eyes open and opinions shifting through the course of his time with them. the last page of the book is probably my favorite ending of a work of nonfiction.

class 11
-t.j. waters

government-approved tale of a post-9/11 spy's training experience. a bit macho, but in a lovable way. interesting subject matter that is related carefully; there's a good mixture of background and plot. waters gets a bit personal and self-righteous at times, like miller, but the good thing about this is that he cares. it's a pretty gung-ho book, but people who spy for our government should be enthusiastic about it.

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