A Great Idea at the Time by Alex Beam

A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books Here’s what I want to know: Why did Mr. Beam spend so much time and energy researching a subject he clearly despises?

In the final chapter he finally admits that many people’s lives were positively affected by the Great Books phenomenon. For the rest of the book, he basically derides the whole concept and bashes the creators as ego-maniacal shysters.

My parents have a set of the Great Books that they bought before I was born. I remember using them in college. And, yes, they were very hard to read, but so are half the things I had to read for class. Beowulf, anyone?

Anyway, this book would have been infinitely more readable if the author had had a positive attitude about his subject.

About Us

I stole this from Open Mind Insert Book.

What are your middle names?
Mine is Lee. Mike’s is Eric.

How long have you been together?
We started dating in November of 1995

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
About a year. He lived in the fraternity house across the street from my sorority house. We were both dating inappropriate people and we used to walk to class together and commiserate.

Who asked whom out?
Um… I’m not really sure. That was a really long time ago.

How old are each of you?
I am 35, Mike is 34.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Well, I see his sister more than he does because she is in my book club. My siblings live out of town, though.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Um. Dividing the parenting duties when we’re both exhausted and just want to crawl in a hole.

Did you go to the same school?
We went to college together.

Are you from the same home town?
Sort of. I grew up in Tulsa and he grew up in a suburb of Tulsa.

Who is smarter?
Depends. I have the quicker tongue, but he is the one with the head for processes.

Who is the most sensitive?
That would be him. I am more like a bull.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We don’t eat out as a couple that often, because we have kids to feed, too. We like Indian restaurants and steak places.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
England where he proposed.

Who has the craziest exes?

I have two dead exes and one in jail for murder 1. His was just crazy.

Who has the worst temper?
I am the easier to anger, but when he has had enough it’s kinda scary.

Who does the cooking?
Me. Mike can cook, but he can’t do more than one thing at a time, so he can only cook one dish. That’s not entirely true, he can do bacon in one pan in eggs in another.

Who is the neat-freak?
The closest either one of us gets to neat freakishness would be me. I get freaked out by visual white noise.

Who is more stubborn?
Depends on the subject. :)

Who hogs the bed?


Who wakes up earlier?
He does on week days because he has to be at work on the other side of the county at 8. I don’t have to leave til 8:40 to take the kids to school. On weekends, it’s all I can do to get him up before brunch.

Where was your first date?
His dad took us to the Oklahoma State Vs. University of Oklahoma football game. His brother went too. I tease him about this still.

Who is more jealous?
Probably me. But he’s way hot, so…

How long did it take to get serious?
We waited til we’d both broken up with our significant others. ha!

Who eats more?
Probably me. :( He’s lost weight recently.

Who does the laundry?
Me. He helps out sometimes, though.

Who’s better with the computer?
That would be him. This WordPress thing I’ve got going on here? I have noooo idea how it works. That’s all him.

Who drives when you are together?
Usually me. I love to drive, and he really doesn’t.

And there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know.

I have no news.

I am currently wading through The Mill on the Floss, so I have no new book news.

The library branch I work at shares a copy of Publisher’s Weekly with about 6 other branches. The Nov. ’08 issue just made it to our branch this week. I look at it over my lunch today and read a very interesting article about who buys what books where. It had the demographics divided by age. 12-17, 18-25, 25-40, and so on. Anyway, the thing I found interesting about the results was that across the board, about of the third of the books bought were hardcover!

Who buys hardcover! I don’t know anyone who buys hardcover. Maybe I’m just po’, but the money you could spend on one hardcover could be spent on TWO paperbacks. Three if they’re the mass market kind.

I can think of very few books that I can’t wait for the paperback.

What’s your stance on this?

Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya

Alburquerque: A Novel I read this because my sister Edis sent me a copy of New Mexico magazine that had an article about Rudolfo Anaya’s Albuquerque and how it had changed since he wrote this book over 15 years ago.

The style reminded me of Ernest Hemingway in that the sentences were short and to the point. Except for the parts where people talk to people/characters who aren’t really there (e.g. Coyote the Indian trickster legend, and Dona Loneliness). It didn’t remind me of Hemingway in that Anaya is sympathetic to the indigenous peoples of New Mexico and the Mexican folks whose families were there long before the anglos. Hemingway would have been dismissive, at best.

The story is about Abran. He is a 21 year old college student who was once a Golden Gloves boxer. He finds out he was adopted by his Mexican family and his real mother is a famous New Mexican artist who is now dying of cancer. He gets to her bedside before she dies, but he doesn’t get her to tell him who his father is. The rest of the story is about him trying to find out who his father is, and find his place in the world.