“… by any means necessary…”

to-read list of books…

here are some books others have recommended to me, or others have enjoyed. i want to get to them some day. (thx for the recommendations):

  • tess of the d’urbervilles, by thomas hardy —–> T.S. (listed dec.2006)
  • the picture of dorian gray, oscar wilde –> K (listed jan.21.2007)
  • the importance of being earnest, oscar wilde -> K (listed jan.21.2007)
  • biographies of the rightly-guided caliphs -> D (listed jan.2007)

Tuesday, January 9, 2007 Posted by | 800 literature and rhetoric | Leave a comment

BOOKS/A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles.

mini-reflection: i liked this book a lot. i didn’t want to put it down. (of course, i did, but my point is that i didn’t *want* to.) it was very interesting. a page-turner, no doubt.

i liked the characters in this book. i liked the things they did, the thoughts they had, and so on. they had fun, they discussed things (although briefly), they argued, they fought.

the setting was awesome. my bro went to dartmouth college, which is in new hamphire, and that’s where this novel took place. (you can see a live webcam view of the dartmouth college “green” at this link, if your internet browser supports it.) i visited my bro several times while he was there in nh, and i could relate to the snow and ice and all that that was mentioned in the novel. (speaking of dartmouth college, dr. seuss went there. dr. seuss wrote “the cat in the hat” and “how the grinch stole christmas.” (speaking of which, the jim carrey movie, “how the grinch stole christmas,” was awesome. very funny, especially the one scene where the grinch (jim carrey) is whizzing down the slope on his sled-thing, and he’s scared and screaming something like, “I want my Mommy!” and then when he reaches the bottom of the slope, he acts all cool and all, and he says, “Phew! Almost lost my cool there!” but i digress. besides dr. seuss, the other person who is an alumnus of dartmouth college is robert frost, the guy who made every middle school student read “the road not taken.” i’m sure every student wished robert frost’s life was “the college not attended,” because then maybe he wouldn’t have been educated enough to write such a celebrated poem, and students wouldn’t have to write *about* such a celebrated poem.

more about dartmouth college: i’m pretty sure my esteemed colleague, Teacher Ahmad, would approve of the school, because when my brother was entering there as a freshman, the policy was that *every* student had to have a macintosh computer. then again, at duke, in the spring of 2004, all entering freshmen were given a free ipod. this link takes you to the article i’m quoting here.) the article reads: “The number of Duke University students using iPods in the classroom has quadrupled and the number of courses incorporating the devices has doubled in the second year of an effort to mesh digital technology with academics. According to the university’s Center for Instructional Technology (CIT), 1,200 students are expected to use iPods to enhance classroom materials, lectures or assignments in 42 spring 2006 courses. Last spring, 280 students in 19 courses used iPods as part of the Duke iPod First-Year Experience, which has grown into the Duke Digital Initiative (DDI).”

duke supports ipods for education? OH NO THEY DIDN’T! trying to educate students. who would ever think to do that?

then again, if my daughter ever got her hands on an ipod, i’d take it away from her. why, you ask? because, well, i want an ipod, too. (please see my blog on Islam…..Hadith…..Justice. after all, if my daughter has an ipod, why can’t i?)

on a side note, i want to slip in a shameless plug for Brighter Horizons Academy (BHA) in Garland, Texas. the school is just phenomenal. when i went to visit BHA a few months ago, with my colleague Teacher Ahmad, everyone at BHA was extremely kind and hospitable. Principal Adnan Omran took time out of his busy schedule to meet with myself and Teacher Ahmad, and he even asked us to pass on a gift to one of his former students at BHA, Nida Safdar. (Nida is currently at Mercy School Institute, and she recently won First Place in the Overall Mercy School Science Fair. Nida took home a winner’s trophy and an envolope with $150 in cash. Oh, I got so excited about the money I forgot to mention Nida’s topic: her topic was on bacteria in kitchens. It was a comprehensive, three-part project that was very impressive.) We also met Vice-Principal Muhammad Diwan, and he was extremely helpful in showing us around the school and sharing with us his knowledge and wisdom. He even helped give us directions on our way back to Oklahoma City! and it’s no doubt that the hard work of these two individuals, along with the hard work of the parents, teachers, staff, administration, and the students — is much-appreciated, because whenever i go to an Islamic conference and something about islamic schools comes up, “brighter horizons” is always mentioned in the same sentence as “one of the best islamic schools in the united states.” Mashallah.

why did i take that little diversion and talk about BHA? because BHA has a program for its students who do really well. these students can participate in duke university’s talent identification program (tip). and when i think of duke, i think of ipods, and i think, “bad.” but it’s weird because when i think of BHA, i think “amazingly good,” and i still think of duke. so duke is a two-faced entity, “amazingly good” on the one hand, but “bad” on the other. go figure…

Basil, if it’s okay with you, i’ve taken the liberty (the declaration of independence says “life, liberty and the pursuit of happyness –ahem — right?) to post a picture of a U2 ipod video like the one you own.

back to the novel. “a separate peace” reminded me of catcher in the rye, not least because the cover of the book said something about catcher in the rye. but they both are about fun school-age stuff.of course, this book was recommended to me by an awesome pal (no, it wasn’t timmy, MERCY 8TH SCHOLARS!), so i already was biased to liking this book before i even read it!
overall, i’d give the novel a 10/10.

for all you math whizzes out there who are wondering why i gave the novel a 10/10 — and my bro majored in math at dartmouth college, and i taught him this also — a 10/10 means your eyesight isn’t normal, cuz normal eyesight is 20/20.

Sunday, January 7, 2007 Posted by | 800 literature and rhetoric | 2 Comments