Saturday, June 21, 2014

Having Fun

It's the first day of summer.

And I love this song.

It's Arthur, so it's supposed to be about learning, and reading, and making the world a better place. But it's Arthur, so it's fun to watch anyway.

I'll be driving to the library soon enough. I'll be going back again and again and again, because I love that place. Arthur is right. It's easy to read the days away, play on computers, browse for movies, explore the world.


What do you plan to do this summer? And who's Dewey?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shoulda Did

“You don’t want to die, but you don’t know how to take a life. Give it to me; these men would kill you, and take it anyway. Give it to me. You can tell ‘em I took it by force. Give it to me, and I’ll do what you shoulda did ten minutes ago.”

He doesn’t even get a name. The “tattooed prisoner.”

via Adam Bailey on Flickr
I don’t remember the first time I watched The Dark Knight, but this scene has always given me chills. The Joker sets up a “social experiment,” two boats crowded with people: one full of convicted prisoners, the other innocent civilians. They each have the detonator to explode the other boat. The boat that explodes the other will be allowed to live. If neither boat is detonated, then Joker will do it for them.

No small distress for the passengers onboard.

The civilians decide to take a vote, the majority ruling to kill the prisoners. The prisoners are restrained from any complaints—and still neither party knows what to do. The civilian boat feels strongly that they should live and the others should die: “They made their choices!” “Why should we die, too?” But no one wants to turn the key.

The tattooed prisoner takes it. He decides to do what they “shoulda did ten minutes ago.” And he tosses the detonator out the window.


I never got why I loved this scene so much, and then while in the idea sanctum (aka “the bathroom”) it occurred to me: I know this story.

There was a woman, caught with a guy who was not her husband and dragged naked to the temple courts. She was made to stand in front of Pharisees and teachers and a rabbi they intended to trap. “In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

And Jesus, for he was the rabbi, wrote in the dirt. And they continued to question him. And finally he said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” And then he wrote on the ground again.

Two boats. Filled with “innocent” men and women who kept the laws, who prided themselves on not wearing orange jumpsuits but rather pantsuits and pinstripe suits and other tokens of their righteousness. Filled with condemned men, stripped of their rights and respect, doomed to shame and punishment and possibly death.

Batman (who I occasionally think of as a Christ figure) was too far away to write in the dirt for them, but he was still there, watching. Those middle class civilians weren’t as “innocent” as they seemed. And even though he was “condemned” the tattooed prisoner still made the right choice.

John 8: 1–11.

Not a perfect match, I grant you. And yet.

He didn’t get a name. His role was small. But somehow, I think that tattooed prisoner is one of my favorite characters in the series. He got it.

He refused to throw the first stone.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Am I right? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Looking Forward: An Update

In January, there were 47 books next to my door, now there are 37, and many books-in-progress scattered around my room.

Since my last post, I’ve finished the following from my original list: Unsouled (Neal Shusterman), The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (John Flanagan), Deadlock (Mark Walden), The Artemis Fowl Files (Eoin Colfer), and The Atlantis Complex (Eoin Colfer).

I enjoyed them all. In fact, all of them are on my Favorites shelf right now.

But what will it take to make that 37 a 27? Take a look:

1. Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

This was on the last list—but this time I am going to force myself to read it. I really will. I will be on a vacation, isolating myself from any other books which could possibly attract my fancy, and then nothing will prevent me from getting to the end of Aragorn’s story. And the hobbits, too. I guess they’re important.
Image via Goodreads

2. Mothership, by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

I’ve already posted about Mothership, and I liked it so much that I bought it and its sequel, A Stranger Thing. Usually I’m not the kind of person who reads books about girls with babies and sexy aliens taking over the planet, but it sort of sucks you in and you can never leave it because it really is that funny. I can’t wait.

3. The Throne of Fire, by Rick Riordan

I have actually read this one. I have no recollection of how I obtained it, or what I was thinking when I bought it, but I recall it to be mildly amusing and slightly disappointing. We shall see what I think all these years later.
Image via Goodreads

4. Lady Thief, by A.C. Gaughen

If we’re going to be completely honest, Scarlet completely enveloped me in its emotional trauma and action scenes and lonely female character. So I anticipate I will enjoy Lady Thief just as much. (By the way, yesterday was the anniversary of King John signing the Magna Carta in 1215, which limited his power, on account of desperation that led to all this Robin Hood business.) (Funnily enough, there have been no other King Johns since then.)

5. Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

I love the fake-Russia this world takes place in, and I love the story that surrounds it. The third book comes out in just a few weeks! I got the book free from the library, and even though I have a love-hate relationship with the Darkling (whose villainous merit I doubt; he should not put his emotions in such danger) I cannot wait to read it again. It’s a beautiful story. Surprising, sometimes. Amusing. You should check it out.
Image via Goodreads

6. The Girl, the Apprentice, and the Dogs of Iron, by Dave Luckett

I seem to recall buying this book with my father, perhaps in first or second grade. It’s the sequel to The Girl, The Dragon, and The Wild Magic. It’s 115 pages. For a younger audience perhaps, but I try to do the honor of rereading a book before I decide to get rid of it.

7. North! or Be Eaten, by Andrew Peterson

It’s a funny series, better for kids, but also deep and dark and mysterious. Mom originally found On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness in one of those buy-Christian-stuff-for-Christmas magazines, and it was humorous and engaging for a sixth grader. It’s a little less fascinating six years later, but I still want to get through it, so I can read the third book (also in my pile): The Monster in the Hollows.
Image via Goodreads

8. The King Must Die, by Mary Renault

I have no idea what this is about, but my copy has a minotaur on the front, and such an imposing title begs for a read. We’ll see what happens.

9. The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe

This is perhaps the one book that I’m most afraid of reading. I got it as an award last year—and though I’m curious to actually read them all, it is also an imposing book. It’s like, four inches thick and has a big black raven on the front. I’ve read the short stories for school, the ones everybody knows, like “Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” “The Pendulum.” My grandpa sang a rendition of “Annabel Lee” once when he was visiting, and we got it on video. But I don’t wonder what else Mr. Poe has stored in that big black book of his.

Image via Goodreads
10. Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

I don’t know whether I’ll like this book or not. I believe it was bought for me because I asked, but I’m not convinced it shall enthrall me. It turns out that about 60% of my books are about the same thing, and so we shall see how well I accept it.

The goal is to get rid of these book piles before I go to college—we’ll see how well that gets accomplished.

What do you look forward to reading in the near future? Share below!