Birthdays & Books

I turned 39 last Monday, although the main celebrations occurred the previous day–seven hours reading the new Harry Potter book and a family BBQ featuring our lovely neighbors the Gs, the Fs and the Ps!

Due to some poor (forgive the pun) family planning, my daughter Becky’s birthday arrives a scant five days after mine. So yesterday, for her tenth birthday celebration, I took her and four of her friends (two school, two gymnastics) to Six Flags Great Adventure for a day out. Now I like Amusement Parks, as this entry will attest. Being the responsible adult in charge of five excited ten year olds, however, is quite another matter. We managed okay, but one of the gymnasts hit her head quite badly on Rolling Thunder and we spent a jolly half an hour in First Aid. Although we were released eventually I continued to be concerned she might have sustained a concussion and we ended the day early, with me piggy-backing the exhausted child out of the park.

Needless to say she perked up when we got home and insisted on staying for the sleepover, for which we were joined by two more of Becky’s friends.

Demonstrating my enviable talent for shutting out screaming children I spent the evening reading another excellent book, Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, (better known for the book/movie The Remains of the Day,) which Keba had given me for my birthday (along with the Complete Poems of Langston Hughes.)

I think the last time I read a book which moved me in a similar way to this beautifully written, understated yet frightening, barely science fiction novel, I was twelve and the novel was Brave New World. The social issues it brings into focus are highly relevant both from a moral standpoint, and from the perspective of anyone concerned that no group of humans should suffer prejudice because of their origins or circumstances. I recommend it highly.

Now the house is peaceful once more, with Keba and the children at the Simpsons Movie. My fortieth year. Time to think.

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