Archives for category: Imperfect Reads

My husband, the dear man, shared with me a TEDtalk video yesterday, which just blew my socks off. It was of Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert on innovation and human resources. Here, he speaks of the flaws of today’s archaic education systems worldwide that focus on providing human capital for the present (or the past?) instead of the future, and how creativity is being educated out of our children. He is an articulate, hilarious speaker. Entertaining and enlightening.

As some of you may know, TED is the yearly Technology, Entertainment and Design conference for 1,000 of the cleverest people in the world. Tickets are always sold out. Thankfully, we can now watch some of these luminaries speak online.

So sit back, watch, and learn.

 

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Growing up with a pair of English teachers can be trying, not so much because of the ‘English’ but more the ‘teachers’. My life was full of rules and schedules and times tables (you read right. The timeS tables, as in multiplications!). My dad also taught math.

I remember very clearly that my father, being the gadget freak that he was even then, had recorded a tape with his voice reciting the times tables from one to 12 and he would play it on that chunky boombox of his (top of the line in the 80s, of course) during mealtimes to somehow subliminally program them into our heads (my sister’s and mine). Is it any wonder why I prefer total silence when I eat these days?

That said, one of the most valuable lessons imparted from this somewhat austere upbringing, was the love for reading. To this day, whenever he visited (or at least back home when I was simply two hours’ drive away), my dad would check out my little library and spend whatever days he had with us reading at least a book every three or four days, while cramming in our Star Trek: The Next Generation DVDs as quickly as he can because he did not have a DVD player back in Batu Gajah.

It’s a multitasking (task is not the right word, perhaps multi-entertain is more apt?) skill trained from having one’s telly hours severely limited during one’s childhood. Ask my husband. I’m able to do it too, watch TV and read at the same time. But only Star Trek, oddly.

Anyway, so reading. Need I tell you how marvellously important it is? Even as a writer – or especially so – reading is how I learn words and styles. Without reading, I would be dried out. And I was, for a very long time, ironically when I needed to be professionally filled up, and I wasn’t. Today, because of nap times and quiet times and early bedtimes (for the kids), I am able to refill that well of words and expressions and thoughts and dreams, to my hearts’ content.

Words I learnt from Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children (such an elegant read, almost like a 21st century, New York-style Austen, Messud is):

  • tchotchkes: As in, “she abhorred tchotchkes“. 
  • interlocutor: As in, “…and found his interlocutor was young, female, and attractive,…”
  • autodidactic: Having the characteristics of someone who is self-taught, aka, an autodidact (I lost the passage that contained the word).

 

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Copyright © 2006 The I’mperfect Mom. This blog is for non-commercial use only. If you’re reading the entirety of this entry on another website (excluding your RSS aggregator), please email me to report copyright infringement so legal action may be taken. Thank you.

Thanks to Starbucks, I will be meeting Mitch Albom on 16th Oct 2006!

He’s having a book signing of his latest, for one more day, which I got out of coincidence at a Starbucks I frequent ‘coz I’s completely forgotten about it, lordy lordy.

For fans, Albom will be at the Starbucks @ Madison Park in Seattle Oct 16th 2006 5.30pm – 6.30pm. Address:

Madison Park
4000 East Madison Ave
Seattle, WA 98112

There will also be a Conversations discussion of the book on Oct 26th for two hours from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at the same Starbucks. Join the Starbucks gather.com forum here.

If there is one thing I love about being here in the US, it’s the chance to meet celebs. Woot!

I’ve started reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte two weeks ago (for my Lit Appreciation Class) and so far, have reached Page 52 – largely due to lack of toilet/nodding off to sleep time. I’ve discovered a huge number of strange words. Beautiful, but strange – words I think we should start using again!:

1. Cavillers ~ jesters, people who like to play the fool

2. torpid ~ lethargic, slow and always tired

3. bilious ~ nauseous

4. exigency ~ the need for urgent attention

There are plenty more, too many to state here. I observe that Bronte put a very mature mind into the 8-year old Jane Eyre. Seems a little unrealistic an adolescent, although of English descent, knows such words!