Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summer Reading

This summer looks to be substantially more laid-back than last summer. Last summer I had two summer classes at a community college, two week-long trips, and work. This summer, all I have on a rigid schedule is work (I am once again working in pool operations for the Park District of Oak Park). As a result, I have substantially more “free time” to pursue personal interests, see friends, and relax (and practice). Knowing that I would have more time on my hands at the outset, I decided that the first thing I should do is to find a good book.

I have only been home from school for thirteen days, but already I am in the middle of reading four different books. Allow me to mention each and explain why I am reading each.

Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church
Earle E. Cairns
I made some adjustments to my course schedule for the fall semester last week, which resulted in the addition of an elective course, Introduction to the History of Christianity. I had been looking around for an interesting elective course to make my schedule a little fuller, and when I came across this one and saw that it had several seats open, I quickly registered. I have never been a particularly strong student in history courses, so in preparation for taking a college-level history course, I picked up Cairns’ book to familiarize myself with the material before actually studying it. Thus far, I am finding it to be an excellent survey of the history of Christianity.

Economics for Dummies
Sean Masaki Flynn
Yes, I am a nerd. But I like to use my summers to obtain a cursory understanding of some disciplines that interest me but will not fit into my four-year plan at school. I am a big fan of the For Dummies series, so if ever I have an interest that I am unable to pursue as a student, I see what For Dummies has to say. I now have a basic knowledge of macroeconomics, and am looking forward to learning about the particulars of microeconomics.

Non-Profit Kit for Dummies
Stan Hutton and Frances Phillips
In my last post, I mentioned my new career interest of performing arts management. I figured that I might want to invest some of my leisure time this summer into familiarizing myself with that industry and related disciplines. I was browsing at Borders last week (armed with a Borders Rewards 40% off coupon!) and struck gold with this For Dummies book. It covers everything: starting a non-profit, management, and fundraising. The authors probably did not write the book with a performing arts organization in mind, but nonetheless many of the principles and certainly most of the information about nonprofit law will apply to whatever future career I might have. (Additionally, nonprofit law applies in some ways to schools, as well, where I will almost certainly start my career.)

The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett
Of the four books, Pillars is the only novel. I picked it up last summer and used it as reading material on the four different plane flights in July and August. I decided to read it again this summer, but in the comfort of my beanbag chair. It is a fictional account of the building of a cathedral in twelfth century England, set against the backdrop of the political drama of the time; most notably, the Anarchy. It is a long novel, covering a period of some forty years, and the follows the adventures and interactions of five characters, rotating perspectives.

And I still have some twelve weeks left before I return to school: plenty of time to read a few more books. Once I finish The Pillars of the Earth, a little British history might be next. Or maybe I will see about getting a head start on the teacher education course I have this fall: Introduction to Special Education. No promises, but I might publish another blog entry later in the summer on this same topic.

This is Rubio, over and out.

P.S. Happy Memorial Day!