By Laura Grimes
Oregon Battle of the Books didn’t disappoint. It was nerve-wracking. And it wasn’t just me.
After the Ninja Unicorns’ sudden-death face-off among three teams for the eighth and final position to move on to the elimination rounds in the regional competition, I poked a dad who graduated from the Naval Academy.
“Tell me that didn’t get to you.”
“Are you kidding? Of course it did.” He slouched all his muscles as if to show the staggering weight. “I’ve been trying to be restrained. I’ve been calling my wife constantly to give her updates.”
I overheard one adult say to another, “I had no idea this could be so intense.”
Continue reading OBOB: It’s all about the stories
By Laura Grimes
Today is the big regional competition for Oregon Battle of the Books. As we say in the Scatter household: Go Ninja Unicorns! Kick book!
The Small Large Smelly Boy has been reading and studying for months. Really, the plotting for this competition started a year ago when the team lost a late-round nail-biting battle at regionals by, well, a hangnail. It was a heart-breaking defeat, made more so because they had given the right answer. But they had to prove it. In an official challenge, after two minutes, they were off by two pages. The other team got to advance to the next round. That’s just the way it goes, though it turned my head about how a quiet, erudite book competition could be incredibly thrilling.
A year ago, we had to drive to (hell and gone) Estacada (motto: “We’re in the boondocks … just keep driving”). I was simply the schlepper. Water, lunch, reading material — I was good to go all day. I was happy to support my kid and all his hard work, but I didn’t take it too seriously.
Then the competitions started.
Continue reading Books and the greater share of honour*
By Bob Hicks
Just a year ago, in this post about his reading adventures in 2009, Mr. Scatter confessed that he is a lousy keeper of lists, and therefore couldn’t report with any certainty on what he’d read in the previous twelve months. Some books, he was sure, had simply slipped in and out of his mind without leaving much of an impression. Others might have left a deep impression, but by the end of the year he couldn’t recall whether they’d made that impression in the previous calendar year or in, say, 1994.
If this seems odd, bear in mind that most of Mr. Scatter’s reading tends to be not from publishers’ current lists but from that great deep river of bookmaking that extends back through the centuries, constantly refreshing itself when anyone dips in. Books are like that. At some point they’re new, but after a certain point the good ones are simply current — or in the current. If someone reads, for instance, The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini for the first time in the year 2011, the experience throws that person into parallel universes: It is both 450 years old and current events. With that sort of time-traveling, no wonder Mr. Scatter gets a little scattered.
Continue reading Between the covers: reading in 2010