Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This work never fails to move me. Today, it is these lines:

Macbeth: How does your patient, doctor?

Doctor: Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies
That keep her from her rest.

Macbeth: Cure her of that.
Cans't thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?

Doctor: Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reading Lately

Here's the roll call for January, all of which I'd recommend:

First, pair the novels Wench by Dolan Perkins-Valdez and Property by Valerie Martin for a chilling look at slavery from two very different female perspectives. Eerily, these novels could be twins of each other.

On a lighter note (er, not really), throw in some Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This I read with 30 adorable teenage girls who were obsessed with Harry and his quest. As dark as this book is, we had to lighten the mood with a chocolate wands, cauldron cakes, butterbeer, and a Quidditch match.

Then make a radical swing into Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, my new favorite novel. I read this in grad school when I didn't have a clue about what life held in store for me. Older, wiser, and weathered, I have to say that Janie Crawford's story resonated in a new way. Loved it. I think my kids were 50/50 on it, but just give them time.

Revisit Kate Chopin's The Awakening with another class. This, too, gets better every time I read it. My students had absolutely no sympathy for Edna this time around. Ruthless!

Make an almost impossible segue into Macbeth. But Nature has fouled up January and early February, so if for that reason alone, it seems like a fitting choice.

Delve further into the dark side of humanity and friendship with John Knowles's A Separate Peace.

And on that note, why not go even further into the darkness with Freedom, Jonathan Franzen's disturbing and brilliant new novel? This I read in snatches, usually when I can't sleep. Not that reading this novel helps with that problem any.