Sunday Salon: It’s Going to a Scorcher. Too Hot to Work or Too Hot to Read?

Yesterday, we had the English department, or most of it, over for a barbecue.  Fun times, but it sure was hot.  We had a couple of cooler days this week, but the forecast says the heat will be returning again this week, which means there’s a chance we’ll break the classroom record of 92 degrees.   The kids get a prize if we do so they’ll be excited.

Today we expect the heat to kick in by noon.

C.J. and I are going to the Vallejo Symphony this afternoon.  They are featuring three new conductors this year, one per performance.  At the end of the season they will decide which one will become the new permanent conductor.  It’s made the symphony something of a sporting event.  They’re concerts are always top-notch but our main concern today is that the auditorium be cool.

I may make another attempt at buying an air conditioner later this morning.  The last time we went shopping for one both Home Depot and Lowes, the two big chains, were completely sold out.  Air conditioners and electric fans both.  But they may have gotten a new shipment in the meantime.

There’s money in them thar air conditioners.

So my question for the remainder of the day is do I work on the lesson plan I owe Stanford university or do I spend the day reading.   I have to turn in a lesson plan for this set of classes on East Asian history this past year but I still have just under two weeks to complete them.  I’m going to do mine on The Pillow Book which I’m fairly familiar with.  If you’ve never read The Pillow Book you should, it’s wonderful.  Lots of inside gossip and observations out court life in eleventh century Japan.

The Pillow Book is known for the lists of things its author Sei Shonagon wrote like elegant things, annoying things, surprising things.   These lists plus the general gossipy nature of the rest of the entries make The Pillow Book a sort of eleventh century version of Buzzfeed.  So I think it might be fun as an introduction to the topic to have students look at several random lists and try to determine if the list is eleventh century Japan or Buzzfeed.

I have some other, more academic ideas as well.

Or I could just kick back and read a book all day.

I could knock out an Art of the Novella edition or a Simenon mystery or just see what the online randomizer picks from my TBR list.  I do have 232 books on my TBR list.

Lets see what the randomizer picks:

J.G. Farrell’s The Seige of Krishnapur.    I don’t think so. Too long and too serious for a hot Sunday afternoon.  And after finally finishing A Little Life it’s going to be while before I go over 450 pages again.

Try again randomizer:

William Kotzwinkle’s The Bear Went Over the Mountain.  You probably have never heard of William Kotzwinkle before, but he’s very funny and slightly strange.  Maybe.  Let’s try one more time randomizer:

Alexander Kuprin’s The Duel.  Sounds good.  It’s an Art of the Novella edition.  I have no idea what it’s about so it will be a surprise and maybe I can even finish it by the end of the day.

I may take a break at lunch time to look for a few good lists on Buzzfeed.