Saturday, January 3, 2009

52 Books in 52 Weeks

In a euphoric fit of feeling like an integral part of the Well Trained Mind homeschooling-forum community, I joined the Book a Week club. There weren't any solemn oaths we had to pledge to join, so I'm not going to violate any codes of conduct by not keeping up, but I do feel a sense of duty with my reading now.

For that reason, I've been plugged into my iPod for most of the day listening to Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. I love the ability to enjoy a book while doing mundane housework, although my kids find it disconcerting to hear me burst out laughing in the next room. And I'm laughing quite a bit with this book. Bill Bryson has a very dry sense of humor, uses the most unexpected adjectives when describing ordinary things, and best of all with this audio book, he is the one reading his book aloud.

So much of his 1950s childhood reminds me of my 1960s childhood -- the Dick and Jane books, the cloakroom in the classroom, kids having lots of unsupervised time roaming the neighborhood. I think things in my hometown stayed rooted in the 50s until the hippies at the University became a force to be reckoned with, probably not until 1968 or so. I also am enjoying all the history he weaves into this memoir, things that had no bearing directly of him but are part of the history of the time.

But what really has me laughing out loud is that my 13yo son has already listened to this book, and I now understand why he had told me somewhat cryptically that he only really liked parts of it and the rest hadn't been so great for him. I realized today that what he didn't like was when things turn toward girls, nudity and anything slightly sexual. Nothing is graphic or pornographic, and there is nothing I regret him hearing. I also figure much of it probably went over his head as he has had a rather sheltered life thus far. But after I finished one chapter in particular, I had to pull out my ear buds and comment to my son, "My but you got quite an education with this book!"

"Yeah," he said with a disappointed look on his face. "That chapter was one of the parts I didn't really like."

"Well," I replied. "You can look at it as a sort of an introduction to the health course you have next semester. You've got to learn some of the nuts and bolts of things sooner than later."

He groaned in disgust, then mentioned something about the section in the book where Bryson talks about his teen years.

Oh my.....I can't wait to find out what more he learned from this book!

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