Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Three Brothers by Peter Ackroyd


Three Brothers by Peter Ackroyd is about the Hanway Boys. They shared the same birthday, May 8, but ne year apart from the other. Each was born at the same time of day. That was all they shared. They were in order of age, Harry, Daniel, Sam. Their father, Philip, aspired to be a writer, but ended up with a dead end job as a nightwatchman then a long distance lorry driver. Their mother was arrested for soliciting and ran off with some bloke. Harry was very popular, Daniel had two friends, and Sam was a loner.
Six years later, their paths cross in a rather strange and bizarre way. This is a stranger and more bizarre novel.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah


Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah is about women, a beautiful topic and about storytelling; another beautiful topic emerged in a horrendous scene. “Imperi was attacked on a Friday afternoon when everyone had returned from the market, from farms, and from school, to rest at home and pray.” Imperi is a town that was wiped out, caught up in its nations strife and warfare led by child soldiers. Imperi may be short for Imperial. Three elders, two men and a woman return to the carnage many years later to gather the bones and rebuild their homes and remember those lost, which is nearly everyone. Seven years later survivors return to Imperi from all over and travel for days to make the homeward journey. Tragedies are seen but not talked about. Orphans become the family of the childless elders. New families are made and original owners or new ones occupy the old homes when the building remains unclaimed. Even some child soldiers are among the new community and join the new guardians of the village.
“Good morning was sleep generous to you and your family? Has the world greeted you kindly this morning…?” was a morning greeting recited by two young children as they walked with their father around the village. Things had changed and this old greeting was met with silence, unlike the old days, before the war when it began stories of dreams and expectations. When we have to rebuild a village, we must start with education. This is the great lesson we have learned from war-ravaged lands and about the refuges. There must be a school to provide stability, consistency, safety, and learning for displaced children and to guarantee the future of that village. That is what happens in Imperi, a school and even an after school is created to help the village rebuild.
The village changes because of the mine and Imperi is lost to the mine. Going the city isn’t any better. This is a story of hope in a country that is hopeless. The people are lost to the corruption and to those who sell themselves. And no one is there to help. What a sad tale of woe.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer


Sutton by J.R. Moehringer is historical fiction about Willie Sutton. We meet Willie when he is released from Attica to a reporter who has exclusive rights for his story. Willie begins at the beginning as he revisits all the key points of his life with the reporter and his photographer starting with where he was born in Brooklyn. Willie explains to his temporary guards that it was the media who made him a myth, not him and here we go again with keeping that myth alive.
As they drive around Brooklyn and stop at each location, Willie spends time talking to his two companions as he relives the life he had as referenced at the place they have stopped. Willie has tried to be moral and good and do the right thing. But as his buddy Eddie tells him, “It’s all fixed against them.” Eventually Eddie succumbs to crime.
Certainly a question has to be raised, “Who exactly are the crooks?” The story weaves in and out of Bank Board Rooms in a sort of circuitous way. So many different versions of the same events, Willie’s POV, newspapers’ POV, cops’ POV, publics’ POV. Which is the truth? Moehringer leaves it to us to choose our own truth, which is telling about us the reader as to which story we believe, which truth we choose.  Sutton’s story is like ours about love and truth with money being the distraction.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert


The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert is about how we are destroying ourselves. The previous five extinctions involve the mass loss of life on earth in the past. The key to remember is that life forms die off and the earth survives to generate or house another life form. So we shouldn’t really be concerned with saving the earth, we should be concerned in saving ourselves, cause as we have seen the earth will survive no the living forms on it. I am reading this book at the same time I have been watching the new version of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson on TV. Tyson refers to the five extinctions regularly without really explaining them as Kolbert does. Each fills in gaps the other provides.
A man named Cuvier from France was the first person to record extinct animals. This was in late 1700’s and early 1800’s. This is incredible how short our categorizing and naming of extinct animals is. He was conflicted because he was religious and based much of his theories on Biblical events, especially the Deluge. He reconstructed extinct animals and bone gathering became a career, “fossilists” and supplied the wealthy with bones.
Darwin argues that extinction is as slow and painstaking as evolution. In a sense he is correct, until you figure Man into the equation. Man is most responsible for modern extinctions and Kolbert chronicles the fate of the Great Auk as a prime example as well as the tortoises from Galapagos Islands.
Extinctions are curious anomalies in that there seems to be a pattern in cosmic interference caused by a dark star and how the ocean reacts in temperature change. By studying the past, especially the extinctions we are able to better understand why we are hurrying the next extinction along at a rather rapid pace. The discover and studies at the ocean vents at Castello Aragonese off Naples, Italy provide a glimpse of what we are doing to us on this earth that will survive us as we go extinct by our own doing more than by any cosmic or natural cause for the previous extinctions. Comforting isn’t it?
The good news is that the sixth extinction won’t be as bad as the previous five, and the bad news it will be worse than all the “lesser” extinctions. We have entered the Anthropocene.