Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Summer Book Review

As some of you may recall, at the beginning of summer, I was quite excited about the prospect of reading for pleasure. I have made it through three of the six books I bought, and now must start some pre-school reading (not to be confused with preschool reading). I read, in order, Therapy by Jonathan Kellerman, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Call me a product of my generation, call me shallow with a short attention span, but I have to say that I by far enjoyed The Da Vinci Code the most. I loved this book - clever, fast-paced, enough fact mixed in that you could believe you were reading non-fiction, and in fact, I wanted it all to be true. Gotta love a good conspiracy theory mixed with worship of the divine feminine. Therapy was like taking a walk with an old friend - enjoyable, reliable, comfortable, and though not entirely predictable, I never felt that I HAD to read the next page. I HAD to keep reading The Da Vinci Code, especially since the whole book is essentially one huge chase scene. (No, I'm not a big action movie fan.) The Time Traveler's Wife, which was recommended by many folks, was good. It was a creative, bittersweet love story. I'll put it in second place for the summer, but must admit, I did not love it. I liked it. I really liked the main characters and felt for their situation, but in some ways (this may seem wrong to those who have read the book) nothing happened. Maybe it was read too quickly on the heels of the much faster-paced Da Vinci Code. The two cannot and should not be compared. It is literature versus pop fiction? Yes, perhaps.

A friend since high school and I have a long running joke that I will become rich and famous for writing pop fiction and she will write good literature. This is reflective of our tastes in just about everything - books, movies, music. I don't seem to have the temperament to appreciate the beauty of art that exists more for art's sake, art that is crafted and textured with subtlety. Deliver the message in a straight-forward manner and if there are complexities for me to investigate at my leisure, wonderful, but don't make it necessary to enjoy without making the extra effort. Maybe this "deliver me my entertainment" mentality is a weakness I should explore. Maybe it addresses why I don't like to play chess, or any games that actually involve strategy and planning ahead. Let me shoot things (thought not realistic hunting games) and rack up points and not have to engage my brain too much. A weakness, perhaps, or maybe some of us just need a break from the mental gymnastics of life when we have the time for recreation.

Now, I am on to my fourth book of the summer: Family Law in Perspective by Wadlington and O'Brien. It is a prerequisite for the Family Law seminar I'll be taking in the fall, since I have not taken the actual prereq class. Should be interesting - deals with issues of adoption, divorce, and gay marriage, among others. Still, it won't be any Da Vinci Code.


Holly said...

impressive summer reading.
Number of "fun" reading books I read during my entire law school career = none.

Mieke said...

Totally off topic - which bag do you use for law school? Did you bring your lap top?

LawSchool Mama said...

You must send me your real email address since I've lost it. Here's mine:

So, you did get in and this is Project L/Plan B, eh? Good for you! Congrats. Excellent plan - getting all of your big stuff, surgeries and such, over with before school starts. There's no time for life once law school begins :)

I used a rolling backpack because I thought if the wheels ever broke or I was on non-wheel-friendly terrain, I could use it as a backpack. I have not and probably would not/could not as it would be heavy and uncomfortable. The narrowness of the bag was good for the bus that I have to take up and down a hill to work because there is no parking and almost everyone buses up. If it weren't for that, I'd say one of the wheeled cases that is more like a wide briefcase might be better than the backpack shape. You will have lots of heavy books - get a wheeled bag! I always have my laptop with me. I bought it for school, actually.
(Here is the laptop backpack I found new on ebay. It is from Active Gear - It is very sturdy and great for the price, but the handle sometimes gets stuck in or out. It takes a "special touch" to get it to work sometimes. Not sure if I just got a defective one, or if that is typical.

OneNote is a great program for note-taking and there is a free trial version available, at least there was a year ago. Best part is it's searchability across days of notes.

There are those that say taking notes by hand and then putting them into your computer later is better. It probably is, but since I work full time, go to school at night, and have a family, I just don't have the luxury of time that would take. I would say about a third of my class went to hand-written notes after the first round of finals just before Christmas. Some stayed with it, some did not.

Ask me anything, anytime.
Good luck!!

Mieke said...

I tried to email you at the address you wrote but it got kicked back.

Thanks for the info on your bag. I am still looking around. Just bought a new IBM thinkpad. Should be arriving any day. I heard about One Note. Which version do you use? I haven’t looked at all. I will probably start hand writing my notes and then putting them in – only because I’ve read that you retain more handwriting than typing, not to mention going over the info twice. But I fear, like you, with a job, children, a spouse, and law school, I will not have the time to do that all the time.

Any secrets or tricks during school you want to share? Study hints? Advice you got that was vital to your success?


LawSchool Mama said...

Mieke -
A lenghty treatise has been sent to your private email address filled with tips, tricks and general advice for surviving your first year of law school as a working mom. Good luck!

Gandksmom said...

Found you cause I read Casey! I have read all those books (except for the law one) and loved them! If you are interested I have a blog that I do of the books I have read -