What I’m Reading – The Mysterious Benedict Society

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I thought I’d take some time to tell you about a book I’m currently reading, and really enjoying. I picked this one up the same day as my trip to the library. Actually, on the way home from the library my daughter fell asleep in the car and when we got home I asked my wife if I could head down to the library quickly to get a book for myself. She of course said yes. Since my NaNoWriMo is shaping up to be a “Young Adult” or Kid’s book (I find all these genre classifications confusing) novel, I figured should actually read something in the genre. The book I chose is The Mysterious Benedict Society.
I’m fifty or so pages into the story, so I suppose it could take a turn for the worse. At this point, however, it is very entertaining. The plot of the book follows the protagonist as he has to take this test to determine the answer to the question: “ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES?”. It turns out the test is more than just something done with pen and paper.
The book contains puzzles throughout the text. For example, the three characters have to cross the room without stepping on a blue or black square, even though the floor is almost entirely made up of blue and black. One characters walks across on his hands, one uses a tightrope type setup, and the third simply walks across the room. All three characters pass the test. It’s not revealed for a few paragraphs why they all “passed”. I found myself trying to guess why.
Anyhow, I can’t wait to see where the story is headed. It seems like it is going to be great fun. As I read I’m making mental notes of why I’m so into the story and plan on incorporating these techniques in my book.
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Now onto something completely unrelated. During my lunch hour at work yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear a man speak about “the viscous cycle of poverty” as part of a monthly luncheon series my office attends. The luncheon series works as follows:
(The luncheon) is event that is open to the general public. The luncheons, modeled after the National Press Club Speaker Series, include a presentation by an invited speaker, followed by audience questions.

Here was a man who came from poverty, became a physician, and is now working with a foundation he created to make sure all people have a chance to see a doctor if they need it (think free clinic). Not only do they help people when they are sick, but they also play a role in preventative medicine. Anyhow, it was a great talk and was of course eye opening.

One of the things he said was that America is #1 in the world in being able to wage war and to kill people, but only #37 when it comes to health care and helping people stay alive.  This really stuck with me. What a sad, sad, state of things, especially in a “Christian society”.