Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What I read -- August 2012

“YMCA Basic Theory For Fitness Leaders”. By the Y. I took this course there, and so I had to read the book so I could do the take-home tests. First, I took the course because it fit in a slot in my summer, and every once in a while someone will say to me “you should be a yoga instructor” which I don’t know about, but whatever. My sister is doing a program in that stuff, and sounds like she’s mostly having fun with it. And I do a fair bit of helping out with karate, so knowing more about the Y and their ideas, rules, etc., can’t hurt. The book was kind of self-help. I left it kind of late, but did all the stuff I had to do in the proper time frame. There were ten chapters, and I would set a goal to do a chapter and then put the book aside because I’d met my quota. I went on at great length about this to the boy, whose study skills are useless, but it probably had no impact. I think I spent more time with this book than I saw him studying all last year.

One thing I learned doing the exercises is that I’m more a proactive/ person than a process person. I need to find a way to implement that as a writer probably.

The anatomy and physiology section was rudimentary, but after reading it I went to karate and thought more, while I was moving, about the muscles involved in each thing we were doing, and where they inserted and originated. The back especially was pretty interesting.

“Kim” by Rudyard Kipling. 7th Sigma had so many references to Kim that it seemed remiss not to read this, since I had it lying around. Sometimes I have anxiety surrounding reading “classics” because they seem like they might take too long, which is stupid because it makes the reading metric “books finished” take precedence over everything else. Though, metrics are like that, they ruin everything.

So I finished this, and it was  charming and everything, but I went on Wikipedia when I was finished to see if I’d missed something important. I hadn’t, apparently. Not sure what I was expecting.

“A Confusion of Princes” by Garth Nix. Based on a game, which I could kind of see because I knew, but probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. My initial reaction was that I liked the Abhorsen trilogy better. That’s probably due to the fact that Khemri is pretty unlikeable at the beginning. Also, there was a lot of background information needing to be conveyed. I was happy with the fact that a prince could be a girl, and that there were as a matter of course a lot of women in the military and in command roles. I think I started liking things when I realized how Prince Khemri was being played by the Emperial Mind, and especially when he said “before you get all jealous that I’m being promoted ahead of you, know that I’m being sent as a clerk to a minor manager of a garbage dump in a backwater corner of the universe.” Or some such thing. He just embodied everything it is to be an arrogant teenager taken down some notches, and the voice and unreliability of it was all beautiful. I guess there’s a challenge at the beginning to having an unlikeable character who grows into a likeable one.

“The PMS Outlaws” by Sharyn McCrumb. I bought this at a flea market because of the title. It looks like the last book in a series, and not the one the author is best-known for. It seems a little under-edited (there’s one spot where I’m sure a scene is in the wrong place – Elizabeth is painting a picture of the house in one scene, and then something else, and then back to the house again, and the switch makes little sense). 

The ending wrapped up the mysteries, but the main character spends almost the entire book in a mental hospital not doing much. I've never been in a mental hospital, even to visit, but it didn't seem like how one ought to be to me. The other patients didn't seem like the sort of people I'd expect to see there. But then, I've never been in a mental hospital, and I haven't been in Virginia in a very long time either. A painless read, not as funny as I'd hoped.

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