Saturday, March 02, 2013


This week brought me one week closer to the decision I've made not to return to the classroom. You might get tired of hearing about that but since it is a huge decision for me, I will allude to it until it comes. The week also gave me a few gifts.

Early this week, a student was talking to me about books. He loves books, loves to read, and reads a variety of subjects. When I had him in the eighth grade, for instance, he begged me for my copy of The Gulag Archipeligo after it was mentioned in our history class. Something in our conversation this week made me decide to bring him my copy of Island of the World. I wondered what he would think of this life-changing book. I first asked him if he thought he might be interested in it, and he said sure, just as soon as he finished reading Bonhoeffer.

You see, a teacher usually doesn't have many of these students. Maybe only a few is all one could handle. The eagerness and inquisitiveness is delightful. 

Before homeroom, I handed him my copy prefaced with some comments about the setting and how I thought it was a book that changes the reader. He came to me after homeroom and said he had already begun (what, ten minutes later?) and wished there was a map in the book. I commiserated; I think all books about real places should have maps included in them. 

I look forward to seeing him in two weeks and hearing his reaction. Students like these are gifts.

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The end of my week was easy; all tests graded and posted. So, I brought *nothing* home with me. Nada. No work. Another gift. All my lesson plans are complete for next week, and I look forward to the following week of spring break.

So, I piled up in the bed this morning with strong creamed tea and Ireland. What a book! I had hoped to get to a particular point by the end of the weekend, but the story captivated me so that I exceeded that goal before even getting up. So happy! Now I'll press on to a new page goal. 

This book gifted me with more words and phrases to relish. A later post, or maybe two, about the grandness of Delaney's Ireland will come. The story is wonderful,, and the similes are rich.

I love reading about some of the places we visited this past summer and hearing the history of them. Now, I'd love to go back and revisit with all this history in mind. Maybe again one day. 

Today's reading mentioned Reginald's Tower which we had seen in Waterford (but not visited inside because it was closed). In fact, we stayed at a charming hotel right down the street, the place that served the best table tea in the world. So much so that I emailed the hotel when I got home to inquire about it. They kindly told me it was Lyons Original. I've developed an addiction to this best-ever-tasting tea and was drinking it while reading about the attack of Strongbow on this tower in Waterford. What a fine synchrotism!

Reginald's Tower
The quay at Waterford in early morning


Carol in Oregon said...

What a delightful post, Janie! The student, the tea, the free weekend, the book, and all of it received with a grateful heart.

I read/listened (both) to Ireland recently and really enjoyed it. If you get a chance (online library, audible) to listen to Delaney reading this book: swoon.

We're having a leisurely Saturday with my brother and his wife visiting. My youngest son was over and Beowulf came up in the discussion. We paused to listen to Seamus Heaney (swoon, again) read his poem "Digging" and a sample of his reading of Beowulf.

Something glorious happened in Ireland. Such a rich heritage.

JSD said...

Ah, Carol...I *love* Ireland! That book has been my saving grace of late; my retreat to relish after these difficult days. After your post about the audio earlier, I located a used copy and it's in my shopping cart. What a treat this will be on a roadtrip!

And Seamus Heaney...ah, yes. Beowulf was tremendous, as was Inferno.

So far in Ireland, my favorite story has been about the Book of Kells. :)


Robin said...

Janie, do you mean Island of the World by Michael O'Brien? I read several of his novels years ago and found them extremely powerful, but somehow lost track of his work. Now I'm tempted to get back on track and read through them again, adding his more recent works.

And by the way, I'd love to go to the British Isles with you someday! : )

JSD said...

Oh, Robin, yes, yes, yes. Island is the O'Brien work. You must read it. It is powerful. I've got his newest, A Father's Tale, ready to start this summer.

And a British Isles trip, oh yeah! Wouldn't that we fun! You could teach me so much.