"Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"

   My textbooks and course materials arrived today, my excitement grows and grows. On January 1 I can begin submitting assignments and doing school proper.
  • HIST 215 Europe: Ancient to Early Modern
  • PHIL 252 Critical Thinking
  • CMNS 301 Communication Theory and Analysis
  • CMNS 302 Communication in History 
   Course materials include: How To Lie With Statistics, the 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds, readings on Charlemagne, and a documentary about Marshall McLuhan.

   I've hung a lamp above my desk. Space has been made for textbooks on my shelves. A chipped mug holds necessary writing utensils. Course pages are being bookmarked. I'm very much looking forward to being in school again.

   On December 23 I have my last shift at the Jubilee.



   Here is a helpful hint for any conversation you might have with me: if you even vaguely mention something I am interested in and am currently reading about, I will talk your ear off without really meaning to. It is sometimes hard for me to fathom that Antarctic explorers aren't absolutely riveting to everyone I know.What do you mean you don't want to hear about Douglas Mawson? He survived a trek of hundreds of miles in the Antarctic! Alone! With very little food! He cut a sledge in half with a pocket knife! He's a hero is what he is. Let me tell you all about him and some of his expeditions, with some back story on Shackleton thrown in. This may or may not take over an hour.

   Needless to say, while I was reading Alone On The Ice /David Roberts, many of my friends and several members of my family were regaled with tales of the far, far South. Are they still my friends? Only time will tell. The book is based largely on Douglas Mawson's diary, and is one of the best reads on Antarctic exploration and survival that I have yet read.

   One of the best things about books like these is they provide endless fodder for internet research and reading. For example, Frank Hurley (photographer and adventurer) was on the AAE and later on the Endurance expedition with Shakleton. He took some truly amazing photos of Antarctica, including the one at the top of this post, and went on to be a war photographer in WWI. Trust me when I say that it is well worth your time to spend an afternoon reading up on Hurley, not to mention the rest of the men who figure in the book.

   As soon as I finished this book I wanted to pick up another Antarctica-focused tome, but in an effort to spare my remaining friends some exasperation, I've postponed my plans to read up on Shackleton (again).



   Have you heard of Guy Delisle yet? He is a writer and cartoonist from Quebec who often lives and works in unstable countries and keeps a record of his time there in comic form. His latest book is about Jerusalem and I am half way through it and it just might be his best yet.

   Jerusalem : Chronicles From the Holy City is somewhat difficult to explain. Here's a book that gives space to playground visits with Deslisle's two children as well as a day-by-day account of the role of Doctors Without Borders in the 2008-2009 Gaza War, what it's like trying to access different religious sites in and around the city, and the traffic. It's a hefty 336 pages, and takes more time to read than your usual comic fare. There is a lot packed into Deslisle's drawing,  


   If ever you are desiring to get out of a reading slump, there's not much better for it than YA fiction. Don't concern yourself about it being for youth. You can read it. It's okay. I promise. If you just can't bring yourself to delve into the wonderful world of imagination that YA offers, then I suppose you can grab a quick murder mystery and call it a day.

   Even if you aren't in a reading slump, I highly recommend the occasional foray into the gems offered up by YA fiction. I found one such treasure in reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and I've been all agog with love for spooky/creepy stories since. Well, that's not entirely true; I've always been smitten with spooky/creepy stories. Multiple times while trying to sell a friend on a book, I've used the phrase "it was so creepy, I loved it." (The Phantom of the Opera / Gaston Leroux being the most notable of these. If you haven't read this book, you are messing up big time on an ongoing basis. I have two copies, come borrow one immediately.)

   If you are even slightly interested in vintage photography, time travel, adventure, or remote islands in Wales, grab yourself a copy of Miss Peregrine's Home and get reading.