Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Assignment #1

The first assignment for spring semester 2011 is....order, read, and take detailed notes on 2 books before you arrive in the Galapagos...oh, and be ready for a test on them when you arrive. It would have been better if we had a bit longer notice in order to order the books and maybe get a head start on the reading over the past month when I've been sitting around scrapbooking, catching up on TV shows, and all around wasting time. Now during my last week I am reading and taking extensive notes. Not to mention packing, trying to figure out what to do this summer, and spending time with my family and dogs.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is actually a pretty good book, but I went about reading it in a way that is not conducive to overall understanding. Before I knew that we were going to be tested I decided to just read the first couple chapters and then only the chapters that focused on Ecuador. I assumed the other ones would not be focused on during the course. So I began reading and highlighting only to get an email saying we were going to be tested and it was not open-note. We needed to have detailed and complete notes on both books for the open-note essay based test. I restarted the book from the beginning and went through each chapter (there are 34) and started highlighting and transferring these into notes. I planned to have the book done tonight, but I am only about 1/2 way done. Hopefully I can finish the majority of it tonight. So far I am really liking it. It reminds me of some of the books I had to read for the anthropology class I took last summer, but this is a lot more entertaining. Normally this kind of reading bores me to tears because international politics and relations is one of my least favorite topics, but John Perkins is a very good writer. I always laugh when I see the name Perkins because I had a teacher in high school with the last name Perkins. That was an experience. I am coming to realize that very few of my high school teachers were sane. Anyways, read this book if you have the chance. I'm not sure if I believe everything he says, but I am starting to open my eyes to what he is saying and am finding myself siding with him a lot more with each argument he makes. This book reminds me of Persepolis, another awesome book. They both comment on life in developing countries and how the U.S. is impacting life of the citizens of those countries. I know that doesn't sound exciting, but Persepolis (1+2) is one of my favorite books. AND it's a graphic novel...how could you go wrong?
The second book, My Father's Island, is no longer in print, so I had to order a used copy from a company book seller in Maryland. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow, but with the snow that is gracing that area anything is possible. I am looking forward to that book more because it focuses more on the biology of the Galapagos, which is why I am going in the first place, right?
Already we have plans to go diving, snorkeling with sea turtles, interview locals, camp, and other fun things. We received the syllabus for our first class today and it seems like A LOT of work. Exciting, but crazy!

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