Daily Archives: August 28, 2009

Reading Rainbow, Eternity, and Benjamin Button

‘Reading Rainbow’ Reaches Its Final Chapter : NPR:

Grant says that PBS, CPB and the Department of Education put significant funding toward programming that would teach kids how to read — but that’s not what Reading Rainbow was trying to do.

“Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read,” Grant says. “You know, the love of reading — [the show] encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read.”

Linda Simensky, vice president for children’s programming at PBS, says that when Reading Rainbow was developed in the early 1980s, it was an era when the question was: “How do we get kids to read books?”

My first reaction was that it’s sad that we’re moving away from appreciation of books. Wouldn’t it follow that if we engender a curiosity for books, kids would want to learn to read? But, from a results point of view and putting aside nostalgia, did Reading Rainbow keep kids wanting to read? Quoted statistics on the matter are often out-of-date and grimly self-interested.


Book #15 – The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov

I read an article the other day about people photoshopping their family pictures. And I know how this goes: you start out removing the red eye, then maybe lighten it up a little, then sharpen the image and make the colors less faded… And what you end up with is something that might look better on its own, but lacks a certain spark that the original had. The premise of this book is like that: if we had the ability to tinker with past events–removing war, famine, social-ills–would the human race become a smoother, yet sparkless version of itself? If you remove all those terrible yet challenging things, is there impetus to improve? Eric and I have discussed this often in regard to writing. If I would have been published ten years ago, would I have worked as hard to become a better writer?

In light of many of Philip K. Dick’s novels becoming movies, I spent most of this book wondering why it hasn’t been made into a movie. The overarching plot (a love story!) is fairly compelling. My question was answered in the last 20 pages: the last 20 pages are a massive info dump. It’s not a dry, uninteresting info dump, but it is two people talking for an extended period of time.


We’re starting to work our way through last year’s Oscar contenders. First up was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Earlier in the month I encountered the first Clint Eastwood movie I didn’t like. Now David Fincher unpleasantly surprises me as well. Alas. My problem is that any emotional involvement was overwhelmed by the scope of the movie. The heart of this movie is Benjamin and Daisy. During the section of the film when they’re together I had the feeling of “THAT is the movie I want to see.” I could say that the problem was with the effects, but a movie like What Dreams May Come will emotionally bowl me over every time I see it. Wondering about the chronology was distracting, mainly because it didn’t seem like they did a rigorous job of keeping track. Really, I think it would have been a better, simpler story from Daisy’s point of view. We don’t need to see everything Benjamin does in his life, and it might have been better to be surprised by the changes in him. (I have not read the source material, but I am now…curious.)