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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Love Learning

In my 9th and 10th grade English classes my teacher Mr. Holm used to give out little stickers that said "I love Learning" to the highest scoring papers in class. One of the toughest writing assignments was our papers on "The Old Man and the Sea" (and I still like to argue with people the possibility that Hemingway was simply writing a story about a guy and a fish with no deeper meaning). A perfect score was 75/75, so he started at the top asking, "Anyone get a 75?" Nope, no one had. "A 74?" Nope. "73?" 1 person, maybe. He kept working his way down the line, giving stickers to the few people who had those scores. Finally he gets to "67?" I hesitate, then raise my hand saying, "I got 67%" The class cracked up, as did Mr. Holm, and I did get my sticker.

I'm not completely shallow (as the 67% might suggest). I wrote my senior paper in college on the topic of death and dying in two Russian short stories (Tolstoy). My Russian advisor Prof. Jahn was very knowledgeable, and I loved the couple Russian literature courses I took with him.

Taking all that info in stride, however, my blog book reviews will probably always remain short and to the point.

The first weekend of August I started reading "Touching the Void". This was a very fast, easy, interesting read. I actually bought the book and movie for my dad several years ago, so I was familiar with the story. I admit to skimming some sections at the end when the guy had almost saved himself because I knew how the story ended and time is precious.

Right now I'm reading "No Shortcuts to the Top". This is VERY good, and has again been a very fast, addicting read. All these mountain climbing books have been very gripping.



If you liked Joe Simpson first book you should check out his others. Try "This Game of Ghosts" It's not as gripping as Touching The Void but an entertaining account of Simpson's life and will give you insight into why he climbs and why he nearly dies so often.

Diane said...

Thanks for the recommendation; I'll put his name on my to-read list.