Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What a hectic last few days it has been, but great fun getting to know the other new faculty at ECU. We even made the 1/2 day long endurance test of having to fill out all the forms for HR somewhat enjoyable. I love being around the energy that stirs the air on a university campus. Today is the first day of classes for the students, but they have been all over campus and town for the last week or so. Greenville is certainly a less quiet town now than during the summer. I ordered a rolling backpack from last night as I am on the waiting list for the close to the library parking and have to walk a bit from the next tier parking lot. The walking is not a problem - I actually enjoy it - except I typically have a bag of books dragging my left shoulder down.

Along with all the no so exciting orientation materials, I read Ally Kennen's Beast. It is several chapters into the book before you realize what the beast is that Stephen has had in a cage for the last few years. It has grown in size and strength and he is terrified of it, but he keeps spending what little money he makes on food for it - sometimes a pig that is so large he gets himself in trouble with his foster family while cutting it up in the garage. They don't know about the Beast and they buy his story that he is bringing the pig to his deadbeat father as he hasn't any money or food. Stephen's father was in prison but now lives like a hermit out in the woods. At seventeen, Stephen has been in and out of foster homes for years, but he has been with the Reynolds for three years and likes them all, except for teenage Carol. She goes out of her way to get him in trouble, from the first day he arrived. Of course, it is Carol who figures out what he is up to and has seen the beast with her own eyes. They recruit the blacksmith Stephen has begun working for to help them trap the escaped beast. In a way this novel reminds me a bit of "the boy who cried wolf" as Stephen has gotten into so much trouble and lied so much during his time in foster care that no one believes him, including Eric the blacksmith, until Carol assures him she has seen it. This book is as much about the beast inside of Stephen as it is about the physical beast he has kept alive in the woods, both fearing and loving it in his own way. This is one of those guy books that will make the rounds as soon as you introduce it to them. The cover also lends itself well to booktalking.

All for now.