Rash

rash cover

Everyone gets wanderlust every once in a while.  I know I have.  I believed that if I just went somewhere else, tried a new job, went on a life-changing vacation, then things would be better.  I’d feel normal.  I’d feel fulfilled.

This is a lot like how Lisa Kusel feels at the start of her memoir, Rash.  Lisa is a published author with two novels under her belt, but when her third novel fails to find a publisher, her agent suggests she work on something else.  Lisa herself feels she needs a change of pace.  Her husband Victor, a middle school teacher, is also feeling the urge to do something more, something meaningful.  The perfect opportunity presents itself when Lisa learns about a new eco-friendly school opening in Bali.  Victor can go teach in a brand-new top-of-the-line school, Lisa can write in an exotic new locale, and their six-year-old daughter Loy can get a top-notch education. Victor secures a position as the 7th/8th grade teacher, they make their arrangements, and off they go to Bali. Continue reading “Rash”

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Walden Two

walden two coverThanks to finally opening up on my Twitter account about my book blog (sorry, I’m not comfortable linking my twitter handle here just yet), one of my followers recommended the book Walden Two to me.  After a few false starts and distractions, I finally buckled down and took the book out for a half hour per night until I finished it.  It’s certainly not a book I would have picked on my own, which is perfectly fine.  After all, expanding my horizons by reading outside my comfort zone is something I’m working on all the time (well, not all the time, but at least little by little).

Walden Two, by B. F. Skinner, is a terrible novel.  If you are looking for something with good plot, engaging dialogue, and fully realized characters, do not pick up this book.  Though set up as a novel, it is more of a novelized version of Skinner’s treatise on the optimal Utopian society based upon behavioral science and behavioral conditioning.  I kept reading, thinking that someday, sometime, the exposition-via-dialogue would end and Skinner would show us how Walden Two (the fictional utopian community) worked instead of telling us.  After all, the book started promisingly enough, with our introduction to Professor Burris pretending he remembers two of his old students, who have returned from war and hope to find a place to live not dictated by the ever-shifting ever-hazardous environments created by warring politics.  It was humorous, intriguing, and just the hook that I needed to be drawn into what I thought would be engaging lessons via prose.

Alas, it was not to be.

This review shall be split in two parts: critiquing the novel, and critiquing the ideas presented. Continue reading “Walden Two”