Well, it’s been a week since our last Reading Rocks meeting, enough time to process the many wonderful conversations that resulted from our reading of In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler. This is a book that is unique in the world, I think. It is a memoir that is all encompassing, but centers around one event in the author’s life, a self help book that reveals the author’s self-harming past, a political statement about feminism that acknowledges women’s weaknesses, and a book that is really about love in its many forms. There are SO MANY places in the book that I want to quote in this post, but I will stick with just one for the zero readers of this blog that I think sums up much of the author’s life philosophy:
“What if we embraced the messy, evolving, surprising, out-of-control happening that is life and reckoned with its proximity and relationship to death? What if, instead of being afraid of even talking about death, we saw our lives in some ways as preparation for it? What if we were taught to ponder it and reflect on it and talk about it and enter it and rehearse it and try it on?”
This resonates with me, but other Rocks took other places in the book to heart and THANK YOU to Emily and the Rock Island Public Library Foundation for getting copies of this book to the Reading Rocks so they can highlight it and underline stuff at will. This is a little book with absolutely HUGE ideas.
In other news: our next title is Bone Gap by Laura Ruby and marks a return to fiction for the Reading Rocks. We will meet in the library this coming Thursday, February 23rd for some more book conversation, join us, you know you want to.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7TH IS THE KICK OFF FOR THE RIPL YOU TUBE CHALLENGE!
At the last meeting of the Reading Rocks, we discussed at some length the book In the body of the world by Eve Ensler. Many of the Rocks haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but those that did held forth persuasively about the quality of the writing and the great value of the ideas presented. One of the most uplifting comments at the meeting was from the Rock that originally recommended the book. She said that she learned from this book that “you can only feel real joy through having gratitude.” That’s a paraphrase, but a powerful recommendation for any book is that it changed the way you think, and this one did exactly that for at least one Reading Rock. I suspect at our next meeting we’ll find out that more of us were moved and motivated by Ms. Ensler’s little book.
Emily was here and not only looked but was fabulous, as usual, and wants us all to NOT FORGET that the public library has MANY MANY AWESOME THINGS TO DO. Anime night will be February 16th at 5:30, Chill Out & Read, the winter reading program is going on until February 17th, the wrap up party is on Saturday, February 18th from 1:00 to 3:00 AND TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7TH IS THE KICK OFF FOR THE YOU TUBE CHALLENGE! Be there from 5:00 to 7:00 to learn how to make and enter your video into the contest. Deadline for video submission is February 28th.
See you in the library!
The word of the week has inspired us to write yet another largely unreadable post about the most recent meeting of the Reading Rocks, which occurred right here in the library last Thursday morning.
The rocks concluded their discussion of the memoir Laughing at my nightmare by Shane Burcaw not with a bang but with a blank look and some general silence that made the “adult” in the room just a little nervous…
Anyway, regarding Mr. Burcaw, I think those of us that read the book, and/or his many hilarious blog posts agree that this was a stellar choice for the book club’s first foray into non-fiction. We agreed that he opened our eyes to what it’s like to live with a debilitating handicap, and that he may have gone too far with the scatological references. But since we are either teenagers or think like them, we were totally entertained by the low-brow-ness of the humor as well as moved by the introduction to life from a wheelchair. Kudos to Shane for his charity and for his just nice guy-ity.
In other news: We don’t yet have copies of our next title, In the body of the world by Eve Ensler, which will be our SECOND non-fiction book ever, and also something completely different. Oh, the wonderful variety of options for those of us with a predilection for non-fiction!
Also, EMILY wore tights with the Death Star on them! Oh, and said things about the public library! Like WINTER READING and POKEMON GO NIGHT and ANIME night AND YOUTUBE CHALLENGE! Make a video by March 1st and submit it! She recommended a book that I will be putting on my hold list right now…To Stay Alive, poetry about the Donner party. Awesome.
No one is sure exactly how it happened, but the Reading Rocks conducted an unexpected and unintentional experiment during the book club meeting yesterday. The results were: some gender specific body parts are just more giggle worthy than others. The meeting started with a pretty lively discussion of the book Laughing at my nightmare by Shane Burcaw. Due to his physical limitations, Mr. Burcaw has to have other people help him out with basic bodily functions, leading to some pretty hilarious and embarrassing situations which thankfully he is more than willing to share with his readers. But nobody really laughed too hard about that during the meeting, we were all kind of respecty about it maybe because we didn’t want to, you know, laugh at this handicapped guy, even though he totally wants you to laugh because he writes EXTREMELY funny things. One of the Rocks filled us in on how Shane raises money so other people with severe physical handicaps can get stuff that helps them live, which arguably isn’t funny but is more poignant, but hey, life is more than you know what and giggles.
Full circle! So, then we had a time of nomination and voting for the books we’ll be reading next semester and among the recommendations was a book called In the body of the world by Eve Ensler who also wrote a play called…”The Vagina Monologues.” NOW with the giggling! All over the place!
Sooo…yesterday’s Reading Rocks meeting was purple but not clairvoyant. Things like this happened:
“Time is a social construct.”
“Yeah, and we just decide to comply with it.”
“Wait, are we letting that go as fact? ‘Time is a social construct,’ because I don’t think that’s accurate. I mean, doesn’t the earth move around the sun and stuff?”
“Well, yeah, but we decide that time is important in our lives when we don’t really have to, there are places in the world where they don’t keep track of time like we do, months, weeks, etc.”
“So…I’m never really late to work?”
“Yes! But you’re never really on time or early, either.”
“Oh. Time is a social construct created to oppress the masses.”
This was bookended by a pretty great conversation about our current book, Welcome to Night Vale, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The book itself doesn’t actually exist on this astral plane, but somehow Emily was able to fight through and get a few copies back to our dimension. Thankfully she returned intact with just a few more maws and brought these to the meeting:
Many of the answers to questions on this bookmark are of course, “Yes,” as Emily did hand one to each of the Reading Rocks before launching into a terrifying book talk about the manga “My Love Story” and a screech-inducing plug for the library’s Dr. Who Party coming up on December 15th. You should go!
Also read this:
In other news:
Our next title, Laughing at my nightmare by Shane Burcaw, will arrive at the library sometime on Monday, December 5th! If you are in the vicinity Monday or Tuesday please stop by and irritate the librarians by asking over and over again if the book is here yet until they finally relent and hand you a book, or maybe two, depending on your twin sibling status as it relates to book club.
This morning the Reading Rocks book club and shape shifting team either met or did not meet in the presence of the glow cloud. This is an example of the absurdism and existential crises introduced by our current book, Welcome to Night Vale. Some of the reading rocks have read and finished the tome, with a mix of results. Jada has become clairvoyant and luminous, Riana is now a sentient purple mink, and Will and Matt have traded consciousnesses and become one large pole.
In other news: The public library was represented today by Nick Cage disguised as our own Emily Tobin. Nick talked up a book about a REAL mystery, the eerie death of 9 Russian hikers that has remained unsolved for over 60 years. The book is Dead Mountain: the untold true story of the Dyatlov Pass incident, and although our online catalog says we have it here at RIHS, it has mysteriously disappeared….hmmm.
There will be a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them party at the public library next Thursday from 5:30 to 7:00! Games! Snacks! Scavengering! Prizes! Sores! Pestilence!
Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still. Do not run away. Try to make yourself bigger than the librarian.
Also, Squirrel Girl.
See you in the funny papers. Or maybe in the pawn shop (library), under the Dog Park sign, on December 1st. Try not to morph into a Harry Potter charcter before then. Thanks.
The Reading Rocks met last Thursday to finish our discussion of the heartrending novel All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This was realistic fiction that dealt with some extremely real and difficult issues: mental illness, grief, child abuse, divorce, and suicide among others. How can you pack all that heartache into one book, you might ask? Well, you take two characters that are in high school and throw all the horrible situations that middle class American teenagers might experience you can think of on them. The fact that they meet and fall in love is secondary to the tragedy of their lives, IMHO.
For the most part, the Rocks enjoyed this book immensely, the characters were very relateable and most readers found some parallels in their own lives. Thank you to Myah for the recommendation and for keeping it real during the discussions.
Emily Tobin recommends the book Ghostland: an American History in Haunted Places, not just the ghost stories of America, but why they become ghost stories and why we believe them. Perfect for late October/early November reading…
Our next book is here, it’s Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink. This novel is based on the EXTREMELY STRANGE podcast of the same name, and should be a rich well of discussion topics for book club. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, come to the library! See you on November 10th!
This morning in the little theater, a small pile of Rocks discussed the literary devices and biological imperatives of Red Queen, the book by Victoria Aveyard, and “the Red Queen Hypothesis” sometimes used in evolutionary theory to explain extinction, I think…
Anyway, loosely translated, the book could be an example of the theory since the “Reds,” are thought to be less evolved than the “Silvers,” based on the superhuman abilities displayed by them, UNTIL, of course, our heroine Mare arrives and effectively blows that idea sky high with her electrifying powers. The Reading Rocks seem to be in agreement that the book is pretty brilliant, with MANY twisty parts and betrayals and shifty love interests and unexpected lightning bolts. It can be read just as a pretty good take on the YA dystopian craze sweeping high school libraries across our great nation, or you can look just a little deeper and see the metaphorical comparisons it has to our own situation regarding our segregated past, our world’s obsession with money and power, our assumptions that a person’s economic or social status defines their potential, and stuff like that. Needless to say, this is a book that we will all be thinking about for a while, and what a treat to read something that has a whole lot to say and says it all so entertainingly. Oh, and pretty much everybody that’s finished the book hates Maven.
Emily was here! She is amazing and will bring us our next title All the Bright Places (stbammp) next week! She is hosting another Anime night next Thursday, September 15th, you should go! And check out the other two Thursdays at the RIPL, there’s a scavenger hunt coming up! You should go to that, too! And gaming night! Go!
See you in the library!
COPIES OF THE RED QUEEN ARE HERE FOR THE READING ROCKS!!