Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Oh, what a delight… booklists (here, here, here (Dec. 18th entry), and here (Dec. 18th entry)). Maybe a bit late to put on the Christmas list for this year, but definitely worth browsing through and making a choice selection for the long, dark, cold winter. My toes get all tingly just thinking about all the good reading waiting ahead.

Dorothy of the Books and Bicycles blog wrote an interesting article on Dec. 19th about how blogging has changed what and how she reads.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

charlotte of charlotte’s web blog

Charlotte of Charlotte’s Web blog very kindly allowed us to reprint this entry of hers in the Redt Tent blog Book Corner.

I’ve come over all warm and fuzzy, and it’s not only because I’ve been overdosing on the Christmas chocolates. It’s really because I’ve just finished reading Mark Haddon’s A Spot of Bother. Haddon is the author of the hugely successful The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a tale of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who has to work out how there came to be a dead dog with a fork in it in the neighbour’s garden. It was marketed to both adults and children, won a slew of awards, was the book everybody was reading and talking about for a couple of years, and was voted best book-club book of all time by the Swindon Swingers’ Alternative Reading Group (okay, that bit I made up, but it was very, very, VERY successful, even in Swindon, where it is set).

Haddon is a prolific writer (and cartoonist and artist), and has written many children’s books and scripts for children’s TV. Although Curious Incident was intended for an adult audience, his publishers also marketed it to young adults. So A Spot of Bother, his recently published second novel, is arguably his first book for adults. It is immensely readable; like Nick Hornby, he has an ear for dialogue and how different kinds of people speak. The narrative rockets along in short, sharp bursts, during which he alternates between the points of view of the four main characters. I have read novels where this doesn’t work too well and you’re always struggling to work out who’s speaking next, but with Haddon this is crystal clear... (more).

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The up-and-coming year is going to bring about a lot of changes. In particular, I will be looking for new employment. The present work contract with the university runs out in February and, unfortunately, the possibility of receiving extra funding for a new research project does not seem likely. In all likelihood, I’ll not only be changing employers, but I’ll be changing career direction as well.

From ballet dancer, to electrical engineer, to scriptwriter and project coordinator for e-learning modules, to researcher and project coordinator for interactive multimedia school projects: doesn’t quite make sense if listed on paper or in my CV, but in the grand scheme of things, the changes were logical. I never would have thought that I’d do so many different jobs once I “grew up”; yet in the near future, I’ll be facing my fifth career change.

Having to establish myself in a new work field at Almost Fifty is, in those dark early morning hours, a rather daunting and bleak prospect. Yet, in the more positive moments like this one, I see that this situation is not unique among people of my generation, nor am I without optimism.

It is odd, but at the time I was studying, it was the university graduate who did the career planning and not economical circumstances, company restructuring, or new social political trends. We were taught to make astute career changes by considering calculable financial gains and potential promotion. Yet, what has occurred in many of my friends’ and acquaintances’ professional lives has been anything but this. We have learnt to cope with the strain on personal relationships through long workweeks: how to dodge financial disaster when companies restructure or fold: how to battle with the responsibilities of having to accept handed-down responsibilities from other less fortunate, those who were made redundant even though the work they did still needs to be done: how to accept the inevitability of certain (hopefully brief) periods of unemployment: and how yield a tenacious, yet creative, will in finding new employment.

For some this means holding on to jobs that do not fulfil them, but they bring in the necessary income to keep a roof over their heads and a meal on the table. For others it means immigrating to far off countries, where the job perspectives are better, though family and friends must be left behind. And others, like myself, it means trying to find new employment, new direction, every few years or so.

It is not easy to appear calm and I don’t wish to give the impression that I’m without fears; for this is certainly not the case. But this present situation is, unfortunately, the same one that our children will face over and over again. And so, maybe, in some skewed but brilliant way, my present journey has meaning.

Been trying to think of what to write this month on the media safe 101 page. Unfortunately, nothing has hit me as yet. I am presently doing a virtual Advent calendar on my other blog. So, feel free to check out the various links.

I’ll be back, the gods willing, at the end of the month with something new and fresh.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Caterina von Luebeck, Deutschland

Caterina has written (in German) up a book list for all of you looking for something nice to read... (more).

Letzte Reise, Anna Enquist (here)

Meine Frauen-WG im Irak, Susanne Fischer (hier)

Tag und Nacht und auch im Sommer, Frank McCourt (hier)

Lesen, Isolde Ohlbaum (hier)

Aminas Restaurant, Michael Lüders (hier)

Östlich der Sonne und westlich vom Mond, Die schönsten Kindergeschichten
Hrsg.v.Paul Maar, Illustr.v.Philip Waechter (hier)

Die kommende Welt, Dara Horn (hier)

Lob des Golfstroms, Erik Orsenna (hier)

Mutige Menschen, Frauen und Männer mit Zivilcourage
Hrsg.v. U.Kühne, Vorw. V.Ulrich Wickert (hier)

Leihst Du mir Deinen Blick?, Eine e-mail-Freundschaft zwischen Jerusalem und Gaza (ab 14 Jahre), Valerie Zenatti (hier)