Sunday Salon: Back-to-School Night #26

It was hot this week.

People in many parts of the world are right to scoff at Northern California when we complain of temperatures in the 90’s, but that’s hot for us.  And it’s been hot for weeks.

And the temperatures in the 90’s were in my classroom. 92 degrees on Wednesday. with the doors and windows open and the fans on.

That’s hot.

Now imagine a teacher in his early 50’s trying to keep 28 twelve and thirteen-year-olds focused on the study of Europe’s “Dark Ages” using DBQ (data based inquiry) methods a la the Common Core.

It was a rough week.

Thursday night was back-to-school night and a little cooler, just 86 degrees while I stood in front of 20 parents trying to be professional in my school t-shirt.  There was no way I was going to  do the coat and tie this year.

But, I made it through, we all made it through.  The parents were pleased, and most of the children got the basic idea that the “Dark Ages” were not really “dark” after all.

My reading, however has suffered. Both from the heat and the great length of Hanya Yanagihara’s new book A Little Life .   I was loving the book, in part because of its length to be honest, up until about page 500 when an already tragic series of events took a turn that was so horrible it crossed the line into self-parody as far as I’m concerned.   It’s hard to keep reading a book once you’ve stopped believing in the story’s believability, but I really do like the characters.  There have been times when I hated the characters so much that I read the book all the way to the end hoping they would all die painful deaths.   That’s the only reason why I finished The Secret History years ago.  For the record, two of them did.  I really liked that part.

I’m hoping for the opposite this time around,  though I don’t have much hope.  A Little Life is not going to have a happy ending, I just know it.  That’s probably one reason why it’s taking me so long to finish the book.  But it will be over soon, hopefully some time later today.

It’s finally cooled off enough that I can sit in my favorite chair reading again.

That’s just what I’m going to do.

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9 Comments

  1. Jeanne says:

    You made me laugh out loud at the part about The Secret History!

    1. I’m assuming you felt the same way I did….

      1. Jeanne says:

        pretty much.

  2. tracybham says:

    I sympathize about the heat. In Santa Barbara it has been horrendous the last week, seems to never cool off. We do have air conditioning at work, but not at home. Impacting my sleep and my energy a lot. Today is pretty nice so far though.

    1. Both Home Depot and Lowes are completely sold out of air conditioners. We looked Wednesday night. They’re sold out of fans as well.

  3. Probably not a good time to mention we’ve had the central heating on and off here in London over the past few weeks *shakes fist at the jetstream*

  4. Both my home and my classroom have central heating. We’re never too cold, not even a little cold.

  5. Teresa says:

    A Little Life turned into self-parody somewhat earlier for me than it did for you–for me it was shortly before the halfway point, and I kept reading because I was hoping it would turn around. There were some nice bits toward the end, but I eventually stopped liking several of the characters. But I liked enough of them (and was curious about enough of the others) to finish the book and then rant about how ridiculous the plot got. There’s some satisfaction in a good rant.

    1. I will be ranting about it in tomorrow’s review. Possibly later tonight on Twitter. The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am with it.

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