I apologize for the sparse posting lately, but it’s been kind of a rough week, despite the general glory that is Halloween.

This evening the wonderful Anne Panning did a reading from her book Butter.  Although I felt my arteries clogging as she read, it was highly entertaining, and when the reading was over, I bought a copy and got it signed.  We all know that there is no resisting when it comes to books.

Settling in to watch the last two episodes of Game of Thrones, Season Two.

Talk to you tomorrow.


20 Questions

  1. Will Dicaprio’s performance as Gatsby be better than Redford’s?  

    Admittedly, I’ve never seen the Redford Gatsby, but as you all know my opinion of Leo, and as I spent time stalking Mr. Redford at Sundance over the summer (and eventually settling for an enormous reuben sandwich from the lodge restaurant instead), I’m going to say no.

  2. Narnia or Middle Earth? 

    I loved Narnia first, beginning in fifth grade.  I didn’t read Lord of the Rings until eleventh grade.

  3. Hemingway or Joyce? 

    Hemingway, that crazy genius bastard.

  4. Favorite font? 

    I haven’t thought about this one much, truthfully. I usually stick to Cambria, which is the default on Mac. Times New when forced.

  5. What’s your ideal book length for reading? 

    If the book keeps me engaged, than I don’t care how long it is.  The average length of the books I read is probably about 250 pages.

  6. You have to go a year without a book (all forms) or a week without food. Which one do you choose and why? 

    Well, obviously I’m a fan of food.  Training for a 5K, not to mention basic functioning, would be rather difficult without it.  But to go without intellectual stimulation would be torturous as well; one can watch The Wedding Planner on TLC only so many times.  I’m going to say I’d skip the food, but someone had better bring me Chipotle at the end of the week.

  7. Best concert you’ve ever been to? 

    Concerts I’ve been to: Paul McCartney, Neil Diamond, Cloud Cult, Flogging Molly, Rooney, Coldplay.  The Rooney was the only one I legitimately didn’t enjoy, despite the fact that MIchael from The Princess Diaries was singing lead.  Paul McCartney has to take the prize on this one, mostly because he’s Paul McCartney, but partly because he’s still got it, and because I went with my mom in ninth grade, and because I brought back more souvenirs from that concert than most kids bring back from Disneyworld.

  8. Star Wars or Star Trek? 

    Star Wars.  I first saw it in my neighbor’s basement.  We stole the VHS’s from her older brother and then sat for hours, eating fudgsicles and holding the everlasting debate: Leia buns: chic or earmuffs?

  9. Best compliment you ever received from a teacher/professor? 

    In sixth grade, I wrote a book report on The Diary of Anne Frank.  In the margin, my teacher scrawled, “Is this really you writing this?”  Thinking I was being accused of plagiarism, I confronted him at his desk, ready to defend my honor.  Then he told me it was a compliment.  And I sat back down.

  10. What’s your one piece of writing advice? (don’t be shy!) 

    How about this?  The best writing advice I’ve ever received: “The best essays are written by those who ask ‘why’ one more time than anyone else does.”

  11. Mountain reading or beach reading? 

    I hate beach reading.  Not only is it hot and blinding, but sand gets everywhere.  I think I’m more of an indoor reader.

  12. What’s one novel you think is awesome that everyone else thinks is bad? 

    Gone With the Wind.  It’s a magical book, despite its length and its sentimentality.  But Scarlett O’Hara is a b.  That is all.

  13. Conversely, what’s one novel you think is bad that everyone else thinks is awesome?

    Invisible Man.   Wicked.  The Red Badge of Courage.

  14.  Amazon: Good or bad?

     Amazon provides me with cheap textbooks every semester, so I’m going to say good.

  15. Most famous author you’ve ever met?

    I haven’t met many authors, sadly.  Maybe Michael Perry at the literary festival last year?

  16. What percentage of books on your bookshelf have you actually read (estimate)? 

    80%.  I do buy a lot of books, but I also go through them fairly quickly.  Nothing bothers me more than the presence of an unread book on my shelf.

  17. Favorite reading beverage? 

    Water.  I’m trying to make myself into a tea drinker, but so far that isn’t happening.

  18. A hypothetical: Print and digital books are no more and audio books are the only form of literature remaining. One catch: All the audio books are read by Gilbert Gottfried (who has indeed recorded an audio version of 50 Shades of Grey). Are you done with literature? 

    The story is what matters to me, not the form it’s in.  I will not be denied my Virginia Woolf!

  19. One novel every teenager must read? 

    I believe every freshman in college should read Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise.

  20. Who inspired you to become an avid reader? 

    I don’t know that anyone specific inspired me; I’ve loved to read ever since I learned.  I’m sure it helped, however, that my mom is a reader, and that both of my parents kept my bookshelf stocked.  I’ve also been under the wing of several gracious librarians, who have wavered overdue notices and allowed me to check out past capacity and offered book suggestions before I even asked.

Young Adult

I had a thought last night, after briefly abandoning Anna Karenina so I could reread Boston Jane for the fifth time.

Since I spend so much of my time drooling over literature that is written for twelve-year-olds, and since I happen to think that said literature is much better than any other kind because it’s so unpretentious, so solely focused on expanding young minds with fantastic stories, what if I tried writing a story like that myself?

Well, I’m trying, starting as soon as I get some spare time.  Believe it or not, the current inspiration is a certain moon orbiting Jupiter.

I work with what I have, I guess.

Why I Am Not Chilling With Sherman Alexie Right Now

Dear Mr. Alexie,

First of all, I’ve read your book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.”  Twice.  Second of all, we had an entire unit on you in American Literature last year.  My professor told us that you’re sensitive about your big head (I think it looks fine on Google Images), and that you often get marriage proposals during book signings.

But to reach my point, there was a ticket waiting for me in the Multicultural Center.  I could have driven down to St. Cloud with a group of other students, I could have chatted with students from other schools at a reception, I could have listened to you give a lecture, and then I could have made a fool out of myself asking for your autograph.

Instead, sir, I’m sitting on campus like the boring, scholastically responsible person that I am.  You see, in order to meet you, I would have had to skip two classes, work, and a meeting.  And I just couldn’t do it, not even for one of my favorite writers.  I’m telling myself right now, as I prepare to take an online statistics quiz, that I’ll have another chance to meet you.  I’m telling myself that if I truly do go to graduate school and become a professor and a writer, then I’ll surely run into you somewhere down the literary line.  I hope so.

In the meantime, please don’t accept any marriage proposals.



First Day of Classes

The thing about taking an 8 a.m. class is that usually, you have to wake up before 8 a.m.

Since it was the first day of classes, and since I’m slow in the morning, I set my alarm for 6:30, which I thought would give me plenty of time to shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, gather my books, and arrive in my statistics classroom early.  What actually happened was that I spent a next-to-sleepless night tossing and turning.  Over what, I couldn’t tell you, although I suspect that I was simply excited about school starting, and worried about sleeping through my alarm.  Which is, ironically, exactly what happened.  At some point in the early morning, I have reason to believe that I turned off my alarm, thinking that since I was already awake, I may as well not wake my roommate with the blaring of “Bell Tone No. 1.”  Then I promptly fell asleep, not to stir until 7.

I still managed to get ready in time, and was even fifteen minutes early to class, but it was a shaky way to start the day.

Besides stats, I also had Gender and Sexuality in Literatures of the American Tropics this morning.  Although I’m still a little incredulous at the specificity of (and my unfamiliarity with) the course topic, I really like the professor.  He’s a young guy, sent over from the graduate department of the Twin Cities campus.  Additionally, during his introduction, he encouraged everyone in class to come “shoot the shit” with him in his office sometime.  Gotta love student teachers.

The rest of my day, as it currently stands, will be filled with napping, dinner, Politics and Film class at 6, and then work at the Information Center/Cafe from 10 until goodnessknowswhen.

I’ll see you tomorrow.