Supposedly about literature, mostly about grading

The estimable therapydoc listed my blog, in her monthly Back Atcha post of blogs that link to or comment on Everyone Needs Therapy, as being “about literature,” and I felt a twinge of regret that I haven’t written about literature, really, for quite some time.

When I picked the title for the blog, I was thinking about how my love of literature had gotten me into the life I had then, which was about, as I say in my “Blog and I” page, the life of a crazy adjunct.  I think probably the blog is mostly a journal of picking my way through the odd but not unheard-of career path I’m slowly blazing, and of my thought processes and habits about working, managing my time, and living my life in and outside of work.  

(This was my first post. Then I wrote about why I wanted to start blogging and why my husband picked the pseudonym Stubb.  This post about getting an adjunct gig at NCC gives a taste of what my work life was like then–that is, nuts.)

I thought I’d be writing more about what, in my TimeTracker project list, I call “Writing biz”–all the stuff you do as a writer that isn’t writing, like sending work out to magazines, going to readings, giving readings, teaching at conferences, and developing irrational animosities toward other writers.  But I don’t do much of this on the blog.  I think I don’t want to write about it too specifically because I feel sheltered by my anonymity, and if I can’t write about it specifically, the writing biz doesn’t seem very interesting, even to me.  

I do read all the time, yet I don’t often feel driven to post reviews of what I read.  There are lots of reviews around.  Sometimes I just link to good ones. 

However, over winter break I read through the archives of the wonderful mimi smartypants.  Why I never stumbled across her diary before, considering she has been at it for ten years, I do not know.  Mimi reads like a demon and frequently drops titles and brief, idiosyncratic comments on the books she’s read into her blog-that-she-doesn’t-call-a-blog, and now half my library pile consists of books that she has commented on.  I like the casual generosity of her passing along those titles, so I’ll close here (before I go back to the stack of final exams) with a few things I’ve read recently:

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan.  The movie comes out in February, and I wanted to read this book about a boy who finds out that the Greek gods are still in the world and that he is a demigod himself.  Very popular among the fourth- to seventh-grade set right now.  Pretty decent–I liked how fully and cleverly imagined the fictional world was, but was irritated by that popular-fiction way the book sometimes seemed to read like a treatment for its own movie. 

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, by Kazuo Ishiguro.  No such shortcuts here, however.  Ishiguro commits to fiction.  The stories are about music, but they are also about art (meaning Art, including the writing of fiction) and the ways it moves in our lives and how artists’ lives are shaped by the pursuit of it.  (I don’t remember whether I wrote about Never Let Me Go a year or two ago.  That is a stunning novel; but sometimes what you want is five thematically related short stories instead.)

The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker.  I said to someone at SA a while ago that though my admiration for individual works varied, I would always be interested in a new book by Nicholson Baker.  Maybe I was wrong.  I got this from the library, became intensely irritated, and abandoned it.  And yet one or two of the things that Paul Chowder says about poetry have managed to stay with me.  It was just everything else he said about poetry that made me nuts.  I’ll probably try this one again sometime.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke.  Another middle-school book.  A better “piece of literature” than The Lightning Thief, for sure–more complex, closer to the heart, more “timeless”–and yet something seemed dead about it, and I fear that it’s the translation.  It is so highly competent that I would forget that it’s a translation, but the prose didn’t seize me, and since I’m a grownup and could see where the narrative was going, I found it very easy to put the book down.

SA’s new semester starts Tuesday, and all the exams have to be graded and semester grades entered by then.  And, of course, new material will be taught!  I’ve already prepped Monday’s classes; in fact, I’ve plotted out the rest of the year in terms of what we read when and what the major assessments are, which is quite an accomplishment for me, since I am not usually a big-picture person.  Now I just have to get through the last 35 exams.  And I won’t have the end of the day on Tuesday to fine-tune the grades, because I need to hurry off after my last class to get to a meeting at NLNRU.  The rest of the week, though, should be pretty straightforward.  (Famous last words.)


2 responses to this post.

  1. The great thing about blogging is that it’s YOUR blog! Do whatever you want with it, just enjoy.


  2. […] read a lot over winter break 2009 and decided to share some of what I had read, inspired by reading through […]


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