Friday, September 21, 2012


Most of this week was spent trying to keep track of which students haven’t turned in their homework, had to skip class because of a runny nose, and which ones can’t figure out where my office is despite both the sign on the door and me saying, “It is room 2. 3. 0. 9” in mounting tones of frustration.

But in between the joys of teaching Koreans—who are old enough to be adults, but act like American twelve-year-olds because, too busy studying, they were never allowed to be twelve years old—I’ve indulged in quite a few books, movies, and t.v. shows and, rather surprisingly, I have not been disappointed. Here’s the line-up:

     1.      Avatar:the Last Airbender (2005-2008)
This has nothing to do with James Cameron and everything to do with sweet writing, excellent plot, and all things geeky. The opening 30-second-narrated montage says it all:
“Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the fire nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years past and my brother and I found the new Avatar—an Airbender named Ang. And although his airbending skills are great, Ang has a lot to learn before he’s ready to save anybody. But I believe that Ang can save the world!”

     2.      Avatar:Legend of Korra (2012)
Okay, okay, okay. It’s the same thing, but the new avatar's a girl with tattoos who has a giant polar bear. Shoot me.

     3.      Redeeming Eve by Heather P. Webb
This is a book about counseling that I mentioned a couple posts ago, but I consider it a must-read for Christians. Saturated with equal parts empathy and practicality Webb’s stories and advice after years of counseling are full of wisdom on how to live and love fully within God’s redeeming love.

     4.      Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
“Women hold up half the sky” is a Chinese proverb proven true by the tales of women’s strength and rebirth told in this book. Kristof and WuDunn (a married couple) have traveled extensively and interviewed many women from different cultures so as best to depict the status of women everywhere and what can be done to give women a fighting chance.

     5.      ToKill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
If you only read this book as a kid, seriously. Read it again. It’s a riot.

     6.      BattleRoyale (2000)
I’m sorry—you thought Hunger Games was a bloodthirsty idea? The Japanese had it way earlier and way diabolical-er. In this alternate future, the government passed a law that said because high school students were getting too rowdy, one 9th grade class every year would be sent to a secure location where, given various weapons and survival supplies, they battle each other to the death. If they refuse to play or disobey the rules in any way, the metal collar secured around their neck blows their head off. I liked Hunger Games, too, but it is small potatoes folks.

     7.      HardCandy (2005, Ellen Page)
Brutal, in every way. A tiny fourteen-year-old lures a man back to his own home, drugs him, and ties him up in an attempt to prove he’s a pedophile guilty for the recent disappearance and subsequent death of a young girl. The dialogue and the dynamics between the two actors is breathtaking.

     8.      BattlestarGallactica (2004-2009)
Frack, yes. It’s like Firefly but more episodes, and if you haven’t watched Firefly, stop what you’re doing and watch Firefly. Don’t be stubborn; you’re only hurting yourself. And once you’re in love with that show, try Battlestar Gallactica to ease the pain of it getting taken off the air. An 8.8 on imdb, if you recognize that rarity of that.

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