Sunday, 28 January 2007

Sunday, January 28th

Finished today

Grayson by Lynne Cox
This short memoir of a specific morning in Lynne's life is a touching one.
She was out for a swimming exercise in the ocean near Santa Catalina island early one morning and experienced a deep unheaval in the ocean, causing other marine life to behave erratically. She discovered that she was being followed by a baby gray whale that had been separated from its mother. While other boaters searched for the mother, she stayed with the baby and experienced a wonder of sea life and connectedness with the young whale.
It was a very moving experience for her that she still looks back on with wonder.

Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York by Adam Gopnik
Journalist Adam Gopnik reflects over a period of a few years on his return to New York from Paris with his young children. The reflections cover his personal life, cultural trends, and the changes to the city.
His children experience imaginary friends, chess, Yu-Gi-Oh!, baseball, heelies, fantasy games, goldfish, and IM. He tells of his good friend Kirk as he declines with cancer, and yet coaches a flag football team of young boys as well as giving a series of lectures on modern art.
He touches on experiences with specific New York City places and experiences such as psychoanalysis, Central Park, Times Square, The Listening Post, switch hotels, noise, and the reaction to 9/11.
He also brings in more general cultural trends like the decline of department stores and independent specialty stores in favour of chain boutiques like The Gap, Victoria's Secret, and Starbucks. He touches on the way parents get involved in their children's school activities like plays; on the exercise trends: running for men and yoga for women; and on the adult's social interaction through a game called Mafia.
I enjoyed all aspects of this book, and even though I have only visited New York and never lived there, I appreciate both its uniqueness and its similarity to other places.
Highly recommended.

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