Posts

Showing posts from 2010

52 Books 2010 Wrap-up

Robin at the 52 books challenge posted these questions for a wrap-up: Did you reach the goal of 52 books? : Yes. I didn't blog about all of them, but I certainly read at least that many. If you didn't, how many did you manage to read? : N/A What was the last book you read? : The last book I finished was War in Heaven, by Charles Williams. I'm in the middle of 3 or 4 right now. Did you read from a list and fly by the seat of your pants choosing a different book each week? : I had some books that I wanted to read, but mostly I picked up whatever looked good at the library. When it comes to books, I'm a butterfly. I flit. Did you learn something new about yourself, an author, an topic? : I learned about a whole lot of things--North Korea, the Crusades, Malawi, and patriarchal Christianity were a few. How many classics did you read? : I think about 15, but you have to count some kind of minor and odd things as classics. But hey, the canon is not closed, and

Week 52: John Bidwell

Image
I wasn't going to write more posts until the new year, but as long as I did last week's I might as well finish off the year with the best, most exciting book of 2010, a middle-grade biography-- John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer , by Nancy Leek . Unless you live in Chico, you probably won't have heard of Bidwell, but he was one of the first Americans to get to California by crossing over the Sierra Nevadas in 1841. From then on, he was involved in everything interesting that happened in California; he worked and traveled for John Sutter, joined the California Rebellion, nearly started the gold rush a year or so early, took the news of gold to San Francisco, served in Congress, ran for California governor, and founded the city of Chico. He even ran for President on the Prohibition ticket in 1892 (the platform was temperance and women's suffrage--he never had a chance). This biography is 10 chapters long and full of interesting and funny stor

Week 51: Growing Up Bin Laden

Image
Growing Up bin Laden: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World, by Najwa bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, and Jean Sasson I've read several of Jean Sasson 's previous books about the lives of women in Saudi Arabia with great interest, and when I saw that this book was written by her, I knew it would be a worthwhile read. (When I first heard of the book I thought that it would be pretty sensationalistic.) Najwa bin Laden is Osama's first wife, who no longer lives with him, and Omar is his fourth son. Najwa and Omar both tell their stories from their own perspectives. The text moves back and forth between the two, staying fairly chronological, so Najwa's life dominates the first half of the book, and Omar becomes more prominent in the second half as he grows up and starts to understand what his father is doing. Najwa starts off with the story of her childhood, but she married her cousin Osama when they were both still teenagers. At the time, he seems

A Year of Feminist Classics

Image
OK, clearly my eyes are bigger than my stomach (brain?) when it comes to reading challenges. But this Feminist Classics Challenge is so cool! I have to do it too. This is another one that I can pick and choose from, but they all look interesting. At first I was happy because they had chosen The Feminine Mystique, which is one of those books I've always meant to read, but then they realized they needed more worldwide literature, which is also excellent. Anyway: The project will work a little like an informal reading group: for the whole of 2011, we’ll be reading a book a month from this list of classic feminist fiction and non-fiction , and each of us will be in charge of the subsequent discussion for three months. These discussions will be structured as follows: at the beginning of the month , the host in charge of that month will write an introductory post on this blog, reminding participants of what we’ll be reading and providing some historical context. Then, later

The Take a Chance Challenge

Here's a funny one that appeals to the part of me that always chooses a mystery present instead of stealing a known one at a gift exchange, even though I lose out every time . The Take a Chance Challenge gives you 10 different ways to randomly choose a book to read: The concept of the challenge is to take chances with your reading by finding books to read in unusual or random ways. I’ve listed 10 different ways to find books below. Feel free to complete at many as you want. However, anyone completing all 10 challenges by December 31, 2011 will be entered in a prize drawing to win a book of their choice from Amazon. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 until December 31, 2011. Crossover books from other challenges is fine. You can read books in any format. On January 1, 2011, I will post pages for each of the 10 challenges so you can link up your completed posts. The 2011 Challenges 1: Staff Member’s Choice: Go to a bookstore or library that has a “Staff Pi

Victorian Literature Challenge

Image
The next challenge I've selected is the Victorian Literature Challenge. The rules: This challenge will run from 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011 . Participants can sign up at any time throughout the year. Read your Victorian literature. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837-1901. If your book wasn't published during those particular years, but is by an author considered 'Victorian' then go for it. We're here for reading, not historical facts! Also, this can include works by authors from other countries, so long as they are from this period. Literature comes in many forms. There are so many Victorian reads out there, including novels, short stories, and poetry. One poem doesn't count as a 'book': pick up an anthology instead! Choose your books. List your books before you begin, or pick up titles along the way. It's up to you! You can review them if you choose to, but it's not necessary. If you don't have a blog, that's fine! Link t

52 Books in 52 Weeks, 2011 edition

Image
Here's the information for the 52 Books challenge for next year. She has included a bunch of mini-challenges, but I don't know how many I'll pursue. The rules: A new year, a fresh slate. Time to discover some new friends and rediscover some old friends. Make the challenge as easy and casual as you want or spice it up and challenge yourself. Explore a bit, but most of all have fun. The rules are very simple and the goal is to read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday. Participants may join at any time. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2011. Books may overlap other challenges. Create an entry post linking to this blog. Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post. You don't have a blog to p

If at first you don't succeed...

I'm going to try again. I've read lots of great books in the past couple of months, but I just ran completely out of blogging energy! I'm going to give it another go with a new group of reading challenges for 2011. A few of the titles that I have completely failed to blog about are: Growing up Bin Laden, by Omar bin Laden and Jean Sasson Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs Nurtureshock, by Po Bronson Death and Taxes, by Susan Dunlap The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett The Place of the Lion and War in Heaven, by Charles Williams A bunch of C. S. Lewis The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson (it's an ongoing project, since it's 1000 pages long)

Week 42: Two Books With Long Titles

Image
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind , by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer This is the Book in Common for Chico colleges this year. It's the story of William Kamkwamba, a Malawian boy living in poverty. After a famine that hit the whole country very hard, his family cannot afford to send him to school, so he tried to keep up with his classmates by studying books from the tiny library stocked with donated books. Books on science and physics especially interested William, who had always been a tinkerer. When he came upon a book about energy that showed how windmills work, he realized that he could build his own windmill to bring electricity to his family. The story of how William built his windmill out of scrap metal and old pipes, and what happened afterwards, is really interesting. There's also a lot of good stuff about life in Malawi. I'm glad I read the book. In Search of England , by H. V. Morton A few months ago, I read In Search of London and loved it. This bo

Week 41: Stories from the Faerie Queene and Sam I Am

Image
Stories from the Faerie Queene , by Mary MacLeod I ordered this several weeks ago and am hoping that my kids will enjoy reading the stories in it. It's quite long--over 400 pages--and has a complete retelling of every story in the original Faerie Queene. It's quite Edwardian in tone, and a good way to become familiar with the stories without actually having to read the epic poem. This book is available in full-text online. Sam I Am , by Ilene Cooper Sam, a 7th grader, is having trouble figuring out his family this Christmas. The dog destroyed the Hanukkah bush and that has uncovered a whole lot of family tension around the subject of religion. Sam's dad is Jewish, but not at all active or willing to talk about it. His mom is Christian and goes to church sometimes, but Sam feels guilty going with her, feeling that it might upset his dad. The grandmothers don't get along. For years, the parents have avoided talking with each other or their kids about religion, and t

Week 40: Red Odyssey and more dystopia

Image
Red Odyssey , by Marat Akchurin In 1990, the USSR was staring to fall apart. Perestroika wasn't going all that well. And there wasn't a lot of news coming out of Central Asian countries, so writer Marat Akchurin, a Tartar, decided to take a road trip to see how conditions were. He visited every Central Asian country--Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and so on--talking to friends and strangers in every place he went. Like most Americans, I know next to nothing about the Central Asian republics, so I learned a lot from this book. I had no idea of the devastation and misery the Soviets brought to these countries--economic, environmental, and cultural. Though the book was by no means all depressing--there was lots of good stuff too, don't be turned off by that. My online friend Amira, who is about to take her family to Uzbekistan to live, recommended Red Odyssey on her blog. Thanks Amira! I'm really glad I could read Akchurin. Incarceron , by Catheri

Week 39: It's Dystopian YA Novel Week!

Image
Everyone likes a good dystopian novel, right? The Maze Runner , by James Dashner Thomas is dumped into the Maze with a wiped memory. He joins a crowd of boys who spend every day trying to find a way to escape their prison, which changes every night and has killer monsters as well. They've been trapped there for a couple of years, but just after Thomas' arrival, everything changes. I really enjoyed this one, it was exciting and fast-moving, with a substantial plot. The sequel comes out in October! Unwind , by Neal Shusterman The Second Civil War was fought over the issue of abortion. In order to end the fighting, everyone compromises with the Bill of Life, which makes life inviolable from conception to age 13. However, from 13 to 18, a teenager may be sentenced to Unwinding--which isn't death, because every part of the body is preserved and transplanted. Connor's parents have signed the order to have him Unwound because he's always in trouble, Lev's pare

Week 38: The Sari

Image
The Sari , by Mukulika Banerjee and Daniel Miller I'm always interested in anything from India, and I've been wanting to read this study of the cultural meaning of the sari for quite some time. When I started working at Butte College, I was happy to find it in their collection. It's a great book, really interesting. It addresses the difficulties and pleasures of mastering the art of sari-wearing (and it really is not easy), the different ways it can be used, and the meaning of the sari as a somewhat political garment which has come to represent an ideal of Indian unity. Wearing a sari well is difficult enough that being able to do it well lends you an image of dignity and power. So women in business wear what you could call 'power saris' which project their authority. At the same time, saris are standardized into uniforms all over the country; hostesses at hotels, policewomen, and even soldiers wear them. And again, most poor women wear saris to work as cleaner

Week 36: Cousin Kate and The Machine's Child

Image
Cousin Kate , by Georgette Heyer This is one of Heyer's famed Regency novels, and it's one I enjoyed. Kate is, of course, a poor and independent orphan of gentle birth. She is trying to earn her living as a governess, but her old nurse writes off to an estranged aunt, who sweeps Kate off to a country manor for a reluctant life of luxury. But the aunt has a sinister plan... The Machine's Child , by Kage Baker Another installment in the Company series, which is still going strong.

Catching up a bit...

Image
Spenser's Images of Life, by C. S. Lewis and Alastair Fowler Near the end of his life, C. S. Lewis moved to Cambridge University. There he planned to produce a book based on his lectures about Edmund Spenser, but it was never written. He left lecture notes, which Alastair Fowler turned into this book--you can tell that it wasn't really written by Lewis, but that the ideas and certain turns of phrase were his. I always like to read Lewis' literary criticism, and while I don't know if this happens to everyone, he always makes me want to read the works he writes about. Every time I read Lewis on The Faerie Queene , I want to read it myself--and then I look at the actual poem and wilt. It's too hard! I can barely understand what Spenser is even saying, much less what message he's trying to convey! You want me to read how many cantos of this?? Anyway, even if I can't quite read Elizabethan epic poetry, I can enjoy this book that explains a lot about what Spe

Week 35: A Rulebook for Arguments and Five-Minute Marriage

Image
A Rulebook for Arguments , by Anthony Weston This little book is recommended for 9th-graders in The Well-Trained Mind . It's a useful collection of 45 specific rules for writing or arguing correctly. It's clear and interesting, with good examples of common mistakes or good strategies. I wish I'd read it when I was in high school! Five-Minute Marriage, by Joan Aiken Joan Aiken is on my Favorite Authors list, and she was one of the few writers who could produce a really good Regency novel (Georgette Heyer is the other one that I know of). This one features Delphie Carteret, an impoverished and independent young woman with a slightly dotty mother to support who is forced to apply to her mother's estranged family for help. She is promptly dropped into an adventure featuring villainous conspiracies, imposters, a counterfeit marraige that may not be so counterfeit, and a whole pack of aggravating relations. Aiken wrote several Regency novels, including some Jane Auste

Week 34: Heat Wave and Children of the Company

Image
Heat Wave , by Richard Castle Who could resist reading this piece of fluff? My husband and I are fans of Castle , so of course I had to read this tie-in. (If you aren't familiar with it, Castle is a show featuring a mystery novelist who tags along with a New York City detective, and they solve murder cases. The writer then starts a new book series inspired by the detective, and this is supposed to be the book.) It's not wonderfully written, but what did you expect? Heat Wave is exactly like an episode of the show; all the characters are there, they just have new names. Castle is turned into Jamieson Rook (ha!), a magazine writer. And Kate Beckett's character, the detective Nikki Heat, is written the way Castle would like her to be in his imagination. The device was both amusing and irritating, since I ke pt thinking that a real mystery writer would never just copy over every single character like that. The story does actually take place during a New York heat wave (whi

Classics Interlude: Aristophanes!

Image
I've never read any of Aristophanes' plays, not even one, not even when I was taking college courses in Classics. So I decided to fix that and read The Clouds, Aristophanes' satire of Socrates--and the rhetorical schools that Socrates did not actually belong to. This play shows Socrates as a loud atheist, denouncing Zeus and all other gods, and it was apparently influential in getting Socrates put on trial for atheism and corrupting the youth, which of course led to his execution. The story involves a father whose son's extravaga nt spending is ruining his fortunes. He decides to send his son to the Thinkery (the Phrontisterion) so he can learn to talk his way out of the debt collectors' clutches. The son refuses, so Dad goes himself and meets Socrates and the other philosophers. He is too stupid, however, to learn and gets thrown out; his son then goes in. But the son learns his craft too well... I also read Lysistrata, one of Aristophanes' most famous plays

Week 33: The Little White Horse and The Core

Image
The Little White Horse , by Elizabeth Goudge We are on an Elizabeth Goudge kick around here! The Little White Horse is one of Goudge's children's books, and evidently it was one of her favorites. It is a lovely story, and what really stands out is the quality of the writing. It is just beautifully written, and makes most modern children's books look cardboardy and mass-produced by comparison. The story itself is not unusual--a young orphan arrives at her ancestral home and finds that she has a mystery to unravel and a quest to solve. The difference is in the writing; it is done so well . I don't understand why this book isn't at the top of lists of children's classics. The sad thing about this particular edition is that it does not include the illustrations or cover art, which were done by C. Walter Hodges (an eminent writer and illustrator of children's books, especially historical fiction)--and the book is actually dedicated to him! I will be searchin

Week 32: The Vicar of Wakefield

Image
The Vicar of Wakefield , by Oliver Goldsmith I hadn't read this book since college, and I found a neat edition illustrated by Arthur Rackham for cheap! This antique book has the same cover illustration, but mine is a paperback. This is a comedy of sorts, narrated by the good Vicar Primrose himself. He and his family are very nice people, and very silly, though they do not know it. They do absurd things, and the vicar preaches at everyone all the time--in a very well-meaning way--and their fortunes get lower and lower until you think it isn't a comedy at all. But it is, so hold out for the happy ending. The Vicar of Wakefield 's popularity lasted for generations. It's one of the early novels of the 18th century, and it's not at all difficult to read, so if you're looking to get into those first classic novels but find them intimidating, this is an excellent place to start.

Medieval Madness!

Image
I finally finished both the medieval literature books I've been working on. The first is the Nibelungenlied , a long poem written at the very end of the 12th century. It's based on German and Scandinavian legend, and served as a source for Wagner's Ring cycle. The story is in two parts: the first half tells the story of Sifrid (Siegfried in Wagner), a great hero and dragon-slayer who owns a magic treasure. He helps his friend to win the maiden Brunnhilde, so that he can marry Kriemhilde. But after the two queens have an argument, Sifrid is betrayed and murdered. The second half of the story tells of Kriemhilde's grief and quest for vengeance, which destroys pretty well everyone. I think Hamlet had more survivors. I also read The Book of Margery Kempe , a sort of autobiography by a 14th-century woman who had religious visions. After raising a large family, she dedicated herself to worship and went on some pilgrimages. She constantly wept and sobbed--for hours a

Week 31: Composition in the Classical Tradition and Lilith

Image
Composition in the Classical Tradition , by Frank J. D'Angelo This is really a high-school level textbook on writing, but it's quite different from what you would find in most schools. D'Angelo follows the classical system called the progymnasmata , which is a systematic graded series of exercises in rhetoric, meant to develop one skill at a time. Those of us used to the modern way of teaching writing find the classical system to be rather strange; who knew that rhetorical techniques could be mapped out on a graph and strictly classified? But that is exactly what the progymnasmata do. I think that aspect of it would really appeal to more analytic types who find it difficult to wade through the frustratingly indefinite discipline of writing, so if your child is that sort, I recommend giving this system a try. The exercises start with the simple fable, and work their way up to arguing cases of law. At all times, the exact use of each type of rhetoric is explained. This b

Week 30: An Alcatraz book and a Goudge title

Image
Alcatraz vs. The Knights of Crystallia , by Brandon Sanderson I like Sanderson's writing, and this is his series for children, starring Alcatraz Smedly. The first book is Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians--it turns out that evil librarians run our world, denying us all truthful information. So obviously I like the premise. This series is also where Sanderson lets himself be as silly as he wants to be, which is very silly indeed. It can get a little grating at times, but mostly it's quite funny. This third installment in the Alcatraz series is, I think, equal to the first two. For the first time, you see something of the other free countries of the world which are not under Librarian control and there's some good action. Sanderson is one of the best and most original fantasy writers out there, so I recommend his books ( here's a list !). He is always taking common tropes and playing with them--for example the most evil librarian of them all is called She Who Cannot Be

Week 29: Nothing to Envy and Duplicate Death

Image
Nothing to Envy , by Barbara Demick Demick profiles six people who lived under the North Korean regime in this description of ordinary life in the most closed society on earth. It covers a good bit of history before getting detailed during the famines of the 1990's. It's a good book worth reading, but not exactly cheerful--if you're looking for information about North Korea it's a good overview. Duplicate Death , by Georgette Heyer I always enjoy He yer's historical fiction, and have been wanting to read some of her detective novels, so I was happy to run across this. It's very much in the mold of the Christie/Marsh/Sayers tradition. Heyer puts in lots of her trademark slangy dialogue and the story is reasonably well-written, but the plot has an unfortunate minor sideline about homosexuality that modern readers won't care for. So perhaps a different title would be a better choice if you're looking to read a Georgette Heyer mystery, but if you lik

Week 28: The Bird in the Tree and Road to Serfdom

Image
The Bird in the Tree, by Elizabeth Goudge I discovered Elizabeth Goudge last year, and this is the 4th or 5th book of hers I have read. I really enjoy them, and if you like somewhat old-fashioned (30's-50's) books set in England which evince a deep faith, you will probably enjoy them as well. Many of her books are out of print, but they are worth hunting down, and she also wrote several well-regarded children's books that I wish I could find. This book turned out to be the first in a family-saga type of trilogy (which I do not usually go for), and I had already read the second one without realizing there were others. In order, they are: The Bird in the Tree, Pilgrim's Inn , and The Heart of the Family . The drama revolves around three generations of the Eliot family; the grandmother, Lucilla, establishes a home in the country that she intends as a haven of peace for all of her descendants. The Road to Serfdom , by F. A. Hayek This one took me quite a while; it&

Week 27: In Search of London and a children's book

Image
In Search of London , by H. V. Morton I am so glad my mom found this book for me. H. V. Morton is the latest addition to my list of all-time favorite writers, and I must find more of what he wrote. Morton was a popular writer and broadcaster who won fame as a young man when he scooped the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922. He did quite a bit of travel writing, and I plan to read the rest of it. In In Search of London , Morton simply wanders around the great sights of London narrating history and fascinating little tidbits of information. He ranges from the City to the West End to Hampton Court. He visits the Romans, the Cavaliers, and everyone else. There are stories about Nelson, scholars, pensioners, Madame Tussaud (who had a much more interesting life than most of the people she modelled), and Anne Boleyn. The book dates from 1951; Elizabeth is a princess and London is recovering from the war, with burned-out shells of buildings still standing and rationing yet in force.

Week 26: The Making of Americans and Unseen Academicals

Image
T he Making of Americans : Democracy and Our Schools, by E. D. Hirsch Hirsch is a famous critic of American educational practices and promoter of common standards. I've already reviewed his older book The Schools We Need; this is a newer book with quite a lot of the same message, but shorter and much easier to get through. Here, Hirsch concentrates on the development of American citizens, and how a common curriculum would promote egalitarian schools and a stronger public culture. I agree with much of his message, so I haven't got a whole lot to argue with here. Unseen Academicals , by Terry Pratchett This must be something like number 35 in the Discworld series, but Pterry is still going pretty strong. Discworld started off as funny fantasy, poking a bit of fun at the standard tropes, and has matured into social satire that is both entertaining and insightful. Here's hoping that Discworld will continue as long as possible. And, this marks the halfway point in t

Week 25: Beautiful Girlhood and Mistakes Were Made...

Image
Beautiful Girlhood , by Mabel Hale, revised by Karen Andreola This rather romantic growing-up book for young teenage girls was first written in 1922. It is very much something you imagine Anne Shirley reading and taking to heart (it may have been old-fashioned even when it was new). Karen Andreola, who is best known as the major name in Charlotte Mason education, kept the flowery Victorian language but took out anything that had dated particularly badly and added a few updates. It was not usually easy for me to tell where she edited. Much of the basic advice in the book is still quite applicable today, even if most modern girls would balk at the tone. Quite a lot of it is about honesty, consideration for others, popularity, getting along with your parents, and so on. If you take the spirit and not the letter of the advice, it's just fine. I rather enjoyed reading it and gave it to my 9-year-old daughter to read as well, thinking she would like reading something Anne would have

Week 24: Quiverfull and The Red Pyramid

Image
Quiverfull , by Kathryn Joyce I don't think that many people in my area of the world know very much about the Quiverfull movement. Lately I've been interested in understanding it, and the tragic Schatz case made me feel more strongly that this is something more of us should be aware of. Quiverfull is one term for a growing movement among very conservative Protestants, which emphasizes wifely submission, male headship, and "openness" to children, which can frequently translate to having as many as physically possible because it's a sign of righteousness. Adherents also homeschool, try to live as self-sufficiently as possible, and are usually quite isolationist. Women bear the heavy burdens that go with the lifestyle--but wives are also frequently the ones who are attracted to it in the first place and who pull their husbands in. Joyce explains some of the history behind the movement and the major players. This was very helpful to me since, as a homeschooler, I

Week 23: The Aeneid

Image
The Aeneid , by Virgil, translated by Sarah Ruden After reading Paul Among the People, I thought I'd see what Ms. Ruden's translations are like. It's a long time since I read the Aeneid, though. The story is only half-written; Virgil meant to write a 24-book epic, but only finished 12 before his death. I felt that the translation was quite clear and readable, and I enjoyed going back to the story and refreshing my memory. I need to tackle some more ancient classics this summer, not to mention the medieval books that have been put on hold lately...

Week 22: Death from the Skies!

Image
Death from the Skies !: the Science Behind the End of the World, by Phil Plait Phil Plait has a really enjoyable writing style and is very good at explaining difficult scientific concepts clearly. In this book, he explores several different possible ways for the world to end, each less probable than the last (or at least, very very far in the future). It's a great book for anyone interested in astronomy; the explanations of the Sun and supernovae are the best I've read. I plan to require my kids to read it as part of logic-stage astronomy.

Week 21: The Graveyard Game and Thomas Sowell

Image
The Graveyard Game , by Kage Baker I think this is book 4 of the Company series, and it's the first one that really concentrates on the central mystery of just what Dr. Zeus is up to--before this it's been part of the background. Joseph (formerly a resident of Lascaux, more recently a Roman centurion and Spanish Inquisitor) and Lewis, a literary document preserver, set out to find information on what happened to their friend Mendoza. And whatever happened to Budu, who hasn't been seen for about a thousand years? I'm really getting onto this series and am looking forward to the next one. If you are the least bit interested in SF/history, you should read these books. The Housing Boom and Bust , by Thomas Sowell Sowell, an eminent conservative economist, came out with this short book pretty quickly after the housing market bust of 2009. It's his explanation of how we got into this mess and what we need to do to get out of it. It's an interesting--and d