Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More Reading = Less Writing

I am currently in the middle of Rana Mitter's Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, reviewed well in the Wall Street Journal. It winningly attempts to give China its due for the role it played in World War II. Having loved Barbara Tuchman's collection of essays that included a counterfactual piece entitled If Mao Had Come to Washington, I may pick up her Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45. After Mitter's book, Stilwell needs some rehabilitation.

In the last two or three months, I have just read John Irving's Cider House Rules, Dan Brown's Inferno and Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, which all deal with the population crisis and/or sex.

Since getting my Kindle, I have also breezed through:

The Heart of Haiku
Jane Hirshfield

Dear Life
Alice Munro

The Luminaries
Eleanor Catton

The Art of War
Niccolo Machiavelli

Guns
Stephen King

Bunker Hill
Nathaniel Philbrick

43*: When Gore Beat Bush—A Political Fable
Jeff Greenfield

The Way of Chuang Tzu (Second Edition)
Thomas Merton

This rediscovered penchant for reading has meant that I have spent considerably less time writing for this blog. While I do not intend, entirely, to abandon it, my posts will continue to be less frequent. I have some vague sense from the site stats that people do actually read this blog, but the number of subscribers to its companion Facebook Page has remained static (around 110) for over a year and only two people subscribed to the email version in 2013 and nine in 2012. I have not written anything Upworthy or viral. I am weary of going to places as a sort of reporter with my camera and, in addition to reading, want to turn my energies back to studying Chinese so, I am afraid, there will be fewer posts here than in the past three years. 

I will also be commencing a job search for the next chapter of my life, possibly back in the United States of America. 

My job responsibilities are finally picking up. I work at New Oriental in the Elite Program which prepares students in middle school to go to the USA for middle or high school. I am designing general science (earth science, life science, physical science) and social studies (American history, geography, and civics) curricula for the spring. I am using the Common Core Standards and would love any teachers reading this to be in touch about reviewing my two 64-hour (32 two-hour class) offerings. 

Finally, in February of 2013, I stepped up and rejoined the board of Project Laundry List. If this "life work" of mine is to bear further fruit, it will take a fair amount of dedication and stamina. Two years of mismanagement by a single board member and his hired hand have left the organization in rather dire straits. Managing a board from the other side of the world is proving difficult, particularly given the vagaries of the Chinese Internet and the range of time zones that must be accommodated for meetings. For instance, I will do a workshop at 3 AM Beijing time next week, which is 2 PM Eastern Daylight Time. 

All of this is by way of excuse for why you may see fewer posts in 2014. Still, if you wish to learn about something in particular, please let me know.