Monday, March 16, 2009

March Madness...and My Own Madness for Sun!

I know...kill me for counting down, but I have 5 DAYS until I leave for Hawaii!!! I can't remember the last time I was this excited to get out of Dodge...ever. All I'm praying for is a nice hot sun, and lots of rest. Man, do I need it. It's been a great school year, the best yet, but I NEED to take a breather and feel the sun on my face for a little while. I'll deal with skin cancer later. :) (Okay, I realize that's not a laughing matter, but I am being facetious.)March Madness is also on it's way!!! Yes, I switched allegiance from NBA to college ball sometime right after my mission about ***muffle, muffle*** years ago, and haven't gone back since. Last year KU won, and I really thought I'd have a stroke getting them to the NCAA championship. I still have faith in them, but it wavers ever so slightly with the loss of so many players. Sigh..., so I filled in my brackets this morning and have Conn. & Pitt. facing off. We'll see. I know people are saying it will be Louisville this year, but I have to have faith that KU will beat them, and upset that little plan. :) Anyway, let's pray that I find a way to teach on Thursday and Friday. I usually take those two days off (or at least the one that has my favorite teams playing), and watch the first round. With my trip to Hawaii (and yes...I'm FLYING during games on Satuday...BAH!!!), I couldn't get off the first two days of tournament. I'll be OK...right?!? I'll get to watch three days of games in Hawaii. I know that sounds crazy, but what a GREAT vacation. :)

All right, so back to what I normally discuss--books. I actually started and finished Sherman Alexie's National Book Award winner, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Doc gave me this book for Christmas, and I'm so glad that I shoved aside all those library books coming due and dove into Alexie's novel. In keeping with the style of several of his other novels, Alexie writes his narrative about the ins and outs of a young Native American teenager on the "rez." Having studied Alexie as part of my Master's thesis, I readily fell back into the world of ideas and philosophies that surround Native American fiction. Filled with ideas about identity, loss of language and culture, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and emotional abuse, lack of education, and mind-numbing poverty, Alexie manages to create this "Ramona Quimby"-like tone with his main teenage character that makes you believe the topic is light and funny. That somehow, this is just another story of teenage angst and coming of age. However, this light-hearted (seemingly), loaded tale, takes on the dual nature of being a native person today, of walking that line between culture and progression. It's a sad idea that one has to feel as if they are abandoning their people by trying to better themselves, but you easily see why in this novel. To try to get ahead feels threatening, as if you want to abandon the people that are like you and want to preserve every last bit of what little they still have. Laced with a certain sadness, Alexie's novel still manages to be a "typical" teenage novel of growth and change, but an amazing, more clear tale that asks the reader to grow as well. Excellent messages and complications introduced in this novel, and I see why Alexie won his award. (Just as a warning. His material is not light, and he openly adresses life in the way I'd expect his character to. Yes, swearing and casual sexual references--not scenes--are part of the character. Still, very raw and emotional, and not gratuitous--at least not in my opinion.)

Well, I need to be doing some grading before I bomb out for the night. Happy March Madness to you all, and happy reading in the meantime! :)


  1. How come I never knew you were into March Madness? I love basketball. How did I miss that? :) Have fun in Hawaii!

  2. I lost interest there for a little while during our time at the Y, but soon picked it back up again. I'm getting a bad rep. at the school for being a little nutty...must calm down about it. :)