The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

team spirit

It feels like there is really some team spirit among the teachers--fulltime profs, grad students, part-timers--in the freshman writing program. I'm not going to take much credit for it; they're a nice group of people and I think they play well together for the most part. I do like it, though.

I forgot earlier to record that I've now read FREAKONOMICS. I enjoyed it, but I've been in academia so long that books like that seem half-assed. Throw in a clever insight or two, flesh it out with a few anecdotes, and you're done. The interstitial pages consisting of excerpts from an article about the author, though, really showed that he had a hard time filling the requisite pages. I was a little surprised at that.

I'm now reading the new Harry Potter. The wife warned me that, contrary to the good reviews it's been receiving, that it's a tough slog--it's a "get on with it, already" read. I liked the first hundred pages, and told her that I thought she was wrong, but it turns out she's right. I'm going to finish it tonight, finally. Rowling can plot, sure, but I'm not sure we needed all the cutesy set pieces, character development scenes, etc.

Looking forward to reading Bret Easton Ellis' LUNAR PARK next. I like him: I think he's genuinely good, and even AMERICAN PSYCHO had its moments. I'm still waiting for the inspiration to hit for me to get back into THE PICKWICK PAPERS, which I started on a recent plane trip. For me, the Dickens bug is... fleeting.


  • At 10:37 AM, Anonymous binky said…

    I read harry potter while traveling through turkey. It made for good vacation reading, not very brain intensive -erase all of the above work thoughts- and entertaining. By now I'm used to the harry pottern pattern, it's always like this, most of the book is a set up to the last couple of chapters where all the action is. I actually enjoy hanging out with the familiar characters, following them along with their normal teenagerish but sometimes otherwordly preoccupations. I guess I learned to adjust my expectations.
    About harry potter I suggest a post on a science related blog :

  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger Anne said…

    Well, ya know, I LIKE the descriptions and the endless character development.

    On the other hand, I'm reading a chapter a night to the child, and practicing my wickedly good Hagrid voice.

    So I don't mind dragging it out.

    I read ahead, though.

    Some bad stuff in a couple of nights.

  • At 11:13 AM, Blogger zp said…


    Did they make an argument in there that legalizing abortion dropped the crime rate? I heard that they did.

    And if they did, what on earth did they use as evidence for this claim?

    Just curious . . .

  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger mantooth said…

    It was less an argument about cause than one about correlation—the author suggested that because so many children who would otherwise have been born into the kinds of circumstances that correlate highly with an eventual life of crime (poverty, neglect, drug use, etc) were never born, they were not committing the crimes we would have statistically expected once they hit the ages 18-25 (18-25 years after Roe). Obviously he knows that this is a very provocative/insensitive/horrifying argument, so he doesn't make any concrete claims about causation.

    This gets all the press, but I liked his chapter about why drug dealers live with their moms best.


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