Archive for the ‘books’ Category

“The Next Big Thing”


I know I haven’t shown my face around here for over two years, but a couple of weeks back, the wonderful Luisa Igloria invited me to participate in “The Next Big Thing” (a “book tour” survey meme of sorts in which writers reflect on their own books using a series of questions and then refer their readers to other blogs) and I figured that now might be as good a time as any to make a (sheepish) reappearance on this blog.

So here I am. (Hi! I’m—sort of—back!) And I have a published chapbook now, that’s coming out in February! It’s called Periodicity (you can pre-order it here, or read an excerpt here), and it’s based on that middle section of my MFA thesis, the one I wrote about here, when the project was still very much in-process (seems like forever ago now). So here’s a little bit about Periodicity. (N.B. I’ve changed the wording of some of the questions slightly to make the survey more applicable; for the original questions, please see Prof. Igloria’s “Next Big Thing” post).

1. What is the title of your book?

Periodicity. After the principle around which the periodic table of elements is organized. (It’s also the title of one of the poems therein).

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

My father was a chemist; he lived and breathed his passion for science, and as a result, I grew up steeped in it—from the impromptu lesson on boiling points he once gave me when I asked about making soup to the time he was developing a saliva pregnancy test and asked my mom to freeze vials of her spit every morning as a control! In middle school, I developed a deep fascination with science of my own accord, a fascination that followed me into college. Though I ended up majoring in English rather than in Biology, my interest in the natural sciences never waned. I remember writing a few poems in college using imagery from things I was learning in my biology courses, and my professor (Bruce Snider) encouraging me to continue writing about science, as he observed that it seemed to be a fruitful source of creative inspiration for me. The real seed of the project that became the women scientist poems, though, was planted during the Levinthal Tutorial I took with Andy Grace during my senior year. One week, Andy challenged me to write a poem using the sonic structure of Charles Wright’s “Clear Night” as a form. For some reason, I found myself writing about Marie Curie. When that poem was written, I thought about the women scientists I’d grown up learning about in high school biology: Rosalind Franklin, and the terribly unjust treatment she was given by Watson and Crick; Barbara McClintock, who always seemed like such a wise and lovely, but incredibly lonely, soul; Rachel Carson, whom so many people accused of being crazy at first. I thought that it might be interesting to try writing some poems about these and other women in science—women whom I’d grown up seeing as heroes and role models as my own interest in science had developed. So I did.

When I began my MFA program the following year, I brought a couple of the women scientist poems into my first semester workshop, and was very surprised when people said that they liked them. They encouraged me to write more. So I did. And the women scientist poems became a project. I researched more women scientists, experimented with ways to distinguish and differentiate their voices from one another on the page (some of my strategies included trying out different forms, borrowing language from their own writings, trying to shape the arc of the poem according to a particular force or principle that was important to their work, etc.). I even began writing about women who weren’t scientists themselves, but who, like me, has a close, loving relationship of some sort (as wife, daughter, sister, etc.) with a well-known scientist. I found that what drew me to these women was not just the force of their stories (the importance of their research, the misogyny they often they struggled against), but the way in which science became for them not just an intellectual passion, but a way of life. They were wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, lovers; and their drive, the thing which they loved and lived and breathed (or which, in some cases, their loved ones lived and breathed)—was often inextricably inflected in these relationships.

Eventually, my handful of women scientist poems expanded into a whole sequence, and that sequence became first the core of my thesis, and later—in revised form—my chapbook.

3. What is the genre of the book?

Poetry, of course!

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I don’t think my chap would lend itself to film very easily, unfortunately. It’s not narrative in nature; nor is it meant to be. (A filmmaker friend who’d asked to see my work a few years ago once gently confirmed this!) Nevertheless, because the book relies heavily on persona and other forms of dramatic monologue, it’s interesting to imagine it performed in another way, maybe as an audio piece. If I had to cast actors, though, I’ve heard that Renee Zellwegger’s film portrayal of Beatrix Potter was phenomenal, and I think it would be interesting to see Eve Curie as a sort of Anne Hathaway / Sutton Foster type figure. I must admit that I’m not too sure about any of the other figures in the chap.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Periodicity weaves together the voices of 15 different historical women whose lives and relationships were inextricably entwined in the world of science.

6. Who is publishing your book?

I’ve been lucky enough to have been taken on by Finishing Line, a small poetry press that’s local to the Lexington, KY area (where I moved in January to work at the University Press of Kentucky).

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This is bit of a hard question to answer: I’m not sure that the manuscript (as a chapbook) ever had a complete first draft at any given time. But the poems in it have all been in process, at one stage or another, since my senior year of college (2008). Those first couple of woman scientist poems did not turn into a project until 2009. And that sub-project did not become a chapbook until 2011, when I decided that the focus of the full-length project needed to change, and that the women scientist poems probably deserved to be a separate manuscript of their own. (You can read more about my process in the last question of this interview, which the folks at The Collagist were kind enough to run earlier today, or hear about it in this radio interview I gave).

8. What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

I can tell you what books I looked to for guidance and inspiration, or which drew my interest while writing: Louise Gluck’s The Wild Iris, Jill McDonough’s Habeus Corpus, Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocq’s Ophelia, M. Van Jordan’s Quantum Lyrics, and to some degree, Jeffrey Yang’s An Aquarium. I’m not sure I’d say that the result is comparable, though; I admire all of their work too much to consider mine anywhere near equivalent!

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

[See question #2].

10. What else about your book/your writing might pique the reader’s interest?

Most of the poems in the book are persona poems. That is, I’m often writing from the perspectives of the women whose voices I’m exploring, in the first person.

I was also privileged to have had a talented artist friend, Killeen Hanson, design the cover of the chapbook. Killeen read through the manuscript and was inspired by the cyanotype prints that figure in the poems about Anna Atkins (a british botanist, who’s also thought to be the first woman photographer). Killeen went out and created her own cyanotypes of a variety of botanical forms; the final image that we chose for the cover features one of her prints of a lilac. I love the lush blues and ghostly whites of cyanotypes, and Anna Atkins’ poem was one of the most personally resonant for me to work on, so I feel very grateful indeed to be able to have Killeen’s gorgeous print for my cover.

* * *

I am not very good at memes, and I’m afraid that I did not plan far enough in advance to inform anybody that I was interested in tagging them. So instead of explicitly tagging anyone, I think I’ll just list five poets who blog and whose recent books and/or chaps I think you should check out (and if you’re one of those poets and you happen to stumble across this, feel free to pick up the meme thread yourself on your personal blog!)

Timothy Yu15 Chinese Silences

Rachelle Cruz, Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood

Barbara Jane ReyesFor the City that Nearly Broke Me

Kristen EliasonYours,

Henry W. Leung, Paradise Hunger [n.b., Henry blogs at LR]


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Now that the ridiculous “25 things about me” meme (which I refused to participate in, on principle) finally seems to have died on Facebook, an old booklist meme, which I did on Livejournal sometime during the Christmas season, appears to have resurfaced.  I thought it was a sloppy list the first time I did it (there’s redundancies, as well as a deplorable absence of several extremely important American prose-ists), but now that I’ve seen it show up again, I think it’s time to make a change.  Please, let’s use a better list – one that represents a more accurate cross-section of great English literature.  The more specific the time period, the better (so that you don’t end up with funny imbalances and gaps).  And it would be nice if there could be more poetry on the list, as well.  I actually went out and looked for a list that I thought was more fair and balanced, and came up with this one, developed in 1998 at the request of the Modern Library Editorial Board.  It doesn’t have poetry, but at least it doesn’t claim to cover “all” literary greats from every genre; and it also confines itself to the 20th century.  Which i think is more feasible than trying to cover all of Western literature in a list that tops out at less than 100.

With that said, let’s see how I do . . .

Bold titles = Read
Bold, Italicized titles = Begun, but never finished
Italicized titles = Read or seen in an adapted form (film, stage, abridged version, etc.)

(+) = I liked the book
(-) = I wasn’t a fan
(!) = I’ve been meaning to read this for a while, and should have been locked up a long time ago for claiming to have a B.A. in English without having done so

The Radcliffe Publishing Course’s Top 100 Novels & Nonfiction Books of the 20th Century:

On July 21, 1998, the Radcliffe Publishing Course compiled and released its own list of the century’s top 100 novels, at the request of the Modern Library editorial board.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (+)
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (+)
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (!)
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (+)
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (-)
6. Ulysses by James Joyce (I should’ve read it, of course, but don’t intend to; I can’t sit through Joyce)
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison (+)
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding (-)
9. 1984 by George Orwell (-)
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (-)
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov (!)
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (+)
13. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (+)
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (-)
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (+)
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (+)
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell (-)
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (!)
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (- I don’t like Faulkner)
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (+)
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (-)
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (+)
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (+ One of my all-time favorites)
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (+)
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (!)
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright (!)
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (!)
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (+)
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (+)
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (+)
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (!)
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (!)
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin (!)
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (+)
40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (!)
41. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally (Film)
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (- I can’t stand Howard Roarke).
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (-)
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (+)
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (-)
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (!)
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin (+ Another all-time favorite)
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather (+ Yet another favorite; maybe that’s why I like this list…)
52. Howards End by E.M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger (+)
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (+)
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (+)
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (- Hopelessly depressing; the movie is even worse . . .)
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor (+ I’ve only read the title story in this collection)
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (!)
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (+)
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles (- Ugh; I hated this book)
68. Light in August by William Faulkner (-)
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (+ He’s coming to ND to speak this semester)
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (+)
72. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (+)
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Tokias by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (!)
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (+)
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (!)
85. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (! Even though I hate Conrad)
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (!)
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (!)
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (+)
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (- I was bitterly disappointed; I loved Gatsby)
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (!)
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling (- My mom made me read this when I was small and I remember being bored with it)
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (!)
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike (!)
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (!)
100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (+ I read the stage adaptation)

My score:

Read: 38
Read or watched in an alternate form or adaptation: 2
Begun, but not finished: 8
Yet to read: . . . sheesh.  I’ve got a lot of reading to do!

38/100. Could be a lot worse.  But I like lists that motivate me to read.

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Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus by Jill McDonough
(c) 2008, Salt Publishing
$11.96 at Amazon.com

(Review follows post intro).

I’ve accomplished scandalously little in the way of schoolwork today.  I blame part of it on the infernal deluge of snow that keeps pouring out of the sky.  All this snow makes me cranky.  And fidgety.  The rest of it – is simply my (very stubborn) short attention span at work.

Yesterday was quite productive, all in all.  Did a lot of reading for my 20-25 pager, ventured out to the post office, went grocery shopping and just about froze solid while waiting for the (very late) bus, helped my roommate cook her yummy Spaghetti Bolognaise for dinner.  Attended a performance of Handel’s Messiah (which was fabulous – beautiful venue, great seats, great performance, great acoustics – and only $3 a person).  Worked on my Botanical Variations long poem (BVLP), blogged, did reading for my 10 pager until 4 am in the morning.

Today, by contrast I have accomplished very little.  Woke up late, and grumpy.  Slogged through the 6th section of the BVLP, ate lunch, procrastinated, took a nap, had tea and baked apples courtesy of N, wrote 1 paragraph of my 10 pager, procrastinated.  Cooked homemade tortilla soup for dinner (even roasted my own vegetables and made fresh tortilla chips!)  Procrastinated (aka watched craft video podcasts).  Organized the kitchen cabinets.  Am procrastinating yet further by blogging.

I might as well, while I’m at it, share with you the awesome book that I’m writing about for my workshop class (the 10 pager assignment).     Habeas Corpus is Jill McDonough’s first collection of poems, and it’s an absolutely formidable project.  The work consists of 50 sonnets, each of which tells the story of a different legal execution that occurred in United States history.  It is intended to be a subtle examination of the death penalty and its disturbing national legacy.  One might think that such a project would be didactic, heavy-handed, and gratuitously graphic.  But actually, McDonough’s verse is masterfully controlled — unflinching in its honesty, but beautifully crafted, and meticulously researched.  McDonough has spent years dedicating herself to teaching college courses to incarcerated women, and she has a compassion for the prisoners that she writes about that comes through in every sensitively-written line.  She has no illusions about the crimes that some of her subjects committed, and yet she is able to render them as vunerably human — no more monstrous, and for the most part, no less, than the average Joe Reader.

I have much admiration for Jill McDonough’s work.  I actually first met her last year, when she TA’d my section for a Renaissance Lit class that I took.  Jill is a tough cookie.  She is smart, sharp-tongued, and very humorous.  She actually really cares about her students’ academic and psychological well-being, but has heard pretty much every excuse in the book and will accept almost none.  One time she noticed me dozing off at the back of the room during lecture (I had just pulled an all nighter in order to finish a paper), and, hawk-eyed, she walked over and tapped me on the shoulder.  I was utterly embarrassed at the time, but I definitely never fell asleep in that class again!  When I had Jill as a TA, I knew she was a Stegner Fellow, but I wasn’t familiar with her poetry.  It wasn’t until later on in the year, when my Levinthal Tutor (Andy Grace), recommended her work as something I might want to look at to help me figure out how to develop my own historical series projects (Cannery Row, Women Scientists), that I began to look out for it.  I quickly ran into a couple of her Habeas poems in lit magazines (the book itself was not yet out), and was utterly fascinated.  Later in the year, one of my professors asked her to come in and speak to my Geography, Time and Trauma lit seminar, and we had the very special opportunity to read through some excerpts of the galley.  Jill told us that she had spent many years working on the book, in between teaching stints, and often in the car — and that a lot of her research had been done at the NY Public Library, when she was able to take time off to work on the manuscript thanks to an NEA grant.   She apparently wrote hundreds of sonnets, but ended up choosing only 50 to include.  (0.o!) Now, after having read the final, published collection, I remain extremely in awe of it — this project was an enormous undertaking.  Every individual incident and historical figure was meticulously researched, and the poetic language of the sonnets themselves is seamlessly interwoven with quotations from eyewitnesses, newspaper articles, and confessions written by the accused, themselves.  And no two sonnets are alike in approach.  Truly, this is an accomplishment of astounding scale.

I’m actually really glad I chose (at the last minute) to report on this for my paper (in which we have to respond to a recent collection of poetry and reflect upon how it might shape our own work).  The successes and failures of craft that result from various decisions that McDonough has made (e.g. how much information to give the reader – how much is too much, how much not enough?  How much to deviate from form?) have given me some insight into what might / might not work for me.  For example, I’m definitely of the school that one should not explain TOO much to the reader, or risk explaining away the poem (and having an epigraph half the length of the poem, to boot) — but I kind of like her use of end notes to provide additional historical background on each person profiled, though I might use them a little differently for a series like Women Scientists — for which the contexts of my poems are more varied, and sometimes difficult for someone who’s not familiar with science history to place.   One scary thought, however: If Jill McDonough, a seasoned poet, took 5 years to produce this collection, imagine how many more years it will take me, a complete greenhorn, to complete my Cannery Row project! (Which is fictionalized, but still very much relies on authenticity of mood and detail).  Yikes! I think we’ll stick to Women Scientists (which seems more doable) for now . . . Cannery Row can wait till the summer (when I have more time to trawl the archives in the Monterey Public Library).

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It’s a new day, America!

Watching the emotion of the crowd (on TV) after Barack Obama’s victory speech yesterday was an amazing experience.  History was made last night!  I’m so excited for our country – and can truthfully say that I’m proud for the first time in a long while.

A friend of mine posted a link to this article the other day: “How to Read Like a President.”

I was quite interested to discover how very (classically) literary the candidates’ tastes are.  Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Morrison, Steinbeck, Faulkner…not a side of politicians that one normally hears about.

It got me thinking:
What are my “most important”/most influential classical texts?

I thought maybe I’d make a stab at it here (n.b. I’ve listed titles in no particular order):

Fiction/Creative Nonfiction

The Woman Warrior (Maxine Hong Kingston)
Cannery Row (John Steinbeck)
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
The Awakening (Kate Chopin)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Catcher In The Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
Farewell to Manzanar (Jeanne Wakutsuki Houston)


Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
Henry IV, Part I (William Shakespeare)
As You Like It (William Shakespeare)
Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)


Paradise Lost (John Milton)
Candles in Babylon (Denise Levertov)
The Wild Iris (Louise Glück)

Spiritual / Philosophical

The Bible
Walking on Water
(Madeleine L’Engle)
Bird by Bird (Anne LaMott)

This list is a rather unfair list, I realize.  Many of my favorites are not listed (e.g. Haroun and the Sea of Stories or Le Petit Prince), but this is not because I do not feel that they have impacted me. For the most part, I was trying to list texts that have had an unusually deep-felt impact on me for one reason or another – and while, for example, I love My Ántonia to death, my relationship with it is simply that – I love it, but reading it has not moved shaped my internal or artistic life in a discernably large way.  Still others, such as More than Serving Tea or In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens – did not make the list because while they are important to me, and were particularly so at the time I first read them, I do not find myself returning to them again, and again, and again.  And in yet other cases (especially with poets!) – I could not decide on a particular book of theirs to put on the list (e.g. my favorite poem – at the moment – is “Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop, but I’m not familiar with her collections of work).  I’ve actually surprised myself at how many 20th century writers appear on my list.  Perhaps it’s a good thing that I didn’t decide to continue with my 19th century prose concentration in college . . .
* * *

Life has been so crazy lately that I’m surprised that I’ve found the time to post this morning.  So here’s a few food photos by way of catch-up (sorry, no recipes; I’m too lazy for that)…

Banana-Walnut Bread Pudding:

Chocolate Pear Upside Down Cake (you can’t see it, but it has a sliced-almond “crust”):

A bento from a couple of weeks ago:

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What I’m Reading

My current reading pile:

Little Girls in Church (Kathleen Norris), The Paintings of Our Lives (Grace Schulman), The Wild Iris (Louise Gluck), Quilting (Lucille Clifton), Journey (Kathleen Norris). All poetry collections, plucked from the $1 book table at the main library.  I’m currently in the middle of the first Norris book.  I’m finding it particularly frustrating so far, because she has these absolute gems of moments tucked in amongst swaths of very didactic or tired language.  I want to go through with a red pen and just cut away all of the editorializing her speakers do.  Leave me with all of your gorgeous imagery and resonant scene-painting, and intriguing characters, and get rid of all that other stuff, please! It’s not doing any service to the great talent that you clearly have! Sigh.

* * *

In other news, I actually packed a bento today.  On Wednesdays, I have class from 6:00-8:30 and I’ve discovered that neither the eating-before-class thing (too rushed), nor the eating-after-class thing (I get too hungry!) work – so I’ll be bringing bento from now on:

Contents: cold somen noodles tossed in sesame oil and pepper, pork & veggie jiao xie, carrots, cucumber flowers (more hidden under the jiao xie), Kasugai grape gummy, individual-sized packet of Chinese dried fish & almond snack, soy sauce in the piggy.
Not pictured: single-sized bottle of “simply orange” orange juice.

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Ribbit!I’m heading off to Manzanar (the former internment camp) for the weekend. It’s a trip I’ve been looking forward to for a while – not necessarily “fun,” but rich in cultural importance. My poor camera has been limping around without a functional lens for the last week, and the company from which I ordered the new one has been having difficulties processing my order (frustration! frustration!), so in the meantime, a friend of mine has been very kind and allowed me to borrow his own 18-70mm lens. This morning I took it out and put it through its paces. I looked up the manual online and figured out how to attach and detach the filter and the lens hood, and I cleaned some smudges from the filter’s surface. I also took a few test shots to get the feel of it – pictured is a little plastic froggie toy (it’s one of those plastic bath toys) that some friends gave me as part of a “welcome-home-from-oxford” gift last year. He is sitting on top of a pretty container of Korean star paper that I received as a Christmas gift one year (I’m a very slow star maker, since I have a short attention span and get bored quickly, so I haven’t made more than a few dozen out of the kit so far!) You also get a sneak peek of the “reference section” of my bookshelf (or, rather, the writing-related section; I have a whole other section for htm, css, and web design books…). May I point out some of my favorites — the St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, Barron’s Painless Grammar (mostly useful for tutoring/teaching), and of course, one of my two MLA style books (I have both the Manual and the Handbook, 6th Edition). Unfortunately, my current favorite – my copy of Jump Write In (a book of creative writing prompts that appeal to kids but which I find are perfectly useful for college students who are nervous about writing poetry, as well…) is not on the shelf, since I pulled it earlier this week to bring to a write-in that OT had. Which means it’s probably somewhere on my floor, which means I ought to put it away.

And now I really must do my laundry and run errands, if I ever want to have clean clothes for my trip.

Make up posts and Manzanar post to appear sometime after I return.

– s.

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2007 and 2008 Book lists

Listing the books I’ve read in the past 365 days has always been something that I like to do to start off the new year. Definitely better than making a list of resolutions I may or may not keep, if you ask me. Here’s a list of books I read in 2007 (including ones read for class, in no particular order except as I remember them off the top of my head), as well as a list of ones that I’d like to read in 2008 (including what I expect to read this quarter for classes; also in no particular order).

The 2007 Read List:

  1. Barker, The Brontes (1/2 of it, at least)
  2. A. Bronte, Agnes Grey
  3. A. Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  4. C. Bronte, Jane Eyre (reread)
  5. C. Bronte, The Professor
  6. C. Bronte, Shirley
  7. C. Bronte, Villette
  8. E. Bronte, Wuthering Heights
  9. A., C., and E. “Bell” (Bronte), Collected Poems
  10. A. Gurr, The Shakespearean Stage
  11. J. Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare
  12. Shakespeare, Hamlet (reread)
  13. Shakespeare, King John
  14. Shakespeare, As You Like It
  15. Shakespeare, The Tempest (reread)
  16. Shakespeare, Henry IV part1 (reread)
  17. Shakespeare, Henry IV part 2 (by mistake)
  18. Shakespeare, Henry V
  19. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
  20. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
  21. Shakespeare, Richard III (reread)
  22. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure (reread)
  23. Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Drem (reread)
  24. Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew
  25. Shakespeare, Othello (reread)
  26. Shakespeare, King Lear
  27. Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale
  28. Shakespeare, A Comedy of Errors
  29. Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (partially reread twice)
  30. N. Toyama, et. al, More than Serving Tea
  31. A. Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens
  32. L. Kipnis, The Female Thing
  33. H. Mullen, Recyclopedia
  34. V. Chang, Circle
  35. A. Van Jordan, Macnolia
  36. B.H. Fairchild, The Art of the Lathe
  37. N. Sabra Meyer, The Anatomy Theater
  38. N. Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables
  39. T. Morrison, Beloved (reread)
  40. M. Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (reread)
  41. C. Brockden Brown, Wieland
  42. M. Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey
  43. E. Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diaries
  44. C. Divakaruni, Arranged Marriage
  45. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  46. W. Faulkner, Light in August (partial)
  47. S.J. Hale, Northwood (for research)
  48. S.J. Hale, Manners (for research)
  49. R. and L.I. Wilder, A Little House Sampler (for research)
  50. A. Romines, Constructing the Little House (for research)
  51. R. Finley, The Lady of Godey’s (for research)
  52. T. More, Utopia (reread)
  53. B. Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier (partial)
  54. C. Marlowe, Tamburlaine
  55. E. Spenser, The Faerie Queene (partial)
  56. J.S. Wong, Fifth Chinese Daughter (reread)
  57. The Politics of Life: G. Lim, Bitter Cane; V.H. Houston, Asa Ga Kimashita; W. Yamauchi, The Chairman’s Wife
  58. B. Roley, American Son
  59. J. Okada, No-No Boy
  60. M. E. Galang, Her Wild American Self
  61. J. Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies
  62. Mong-Lan, Song of the Cicadas
  63. P. Triplett, The Price of Light
  64. M. Kim, Commons
  65. S. Kwock Kim, Notes From the Divided Country
  66. L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (reread for the umpteenth time!)
  67. P. Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Wow. I think that’s a record. I totally blame Oxford, with all those Shakespeare plays and Bronte books I had to read, heh.

The 2008 Want-To-Read List:

  1. B. Englewood, The Poisonwood Bible
  2. (don’t know the author), Eat, Live, Love
  3. M. Hong Kingston, China Men
  4. J. Steinbeck, East of Eden
  5. V. Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
  6. V. Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  7. L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
  8. O. Goldsmith, the Vicar of Wakefield
  9. more works by T. Morrison
  10. more works by Z.N. Hurston
  11. A. Walker’s poetry
  12. Shakespeare, Love’s Labor’s Lost (for class)
  13. Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor (for class)
  14. C. Churchill, Top Girls (for class)
  15. Barnes, England, England (for class)
  16. T. Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead (for class)
  17. S. Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (for class)
  18. Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller (for class)
  19. H. Pintor, Party Time (for class)
  20. A. Bennett, The Uncommon Reader (for class)
  21. L. Samantha Chang, Hunger (for class)
  22. M. Alexander, Raw Silk (for class)
  23. D. Strom,Grass Roof, Tin Roof(for class)
  24. When the Emperor Was Divine (for class)
  25. The Hyphenated American (for class)
  26. The Fruit N. Food (for class)
  27. When the Rainbow Goddess Wept (for class)
  28. Skirt Full of Black (for class)
  29. This Many Miles From Desire (for class)
  30. Child of War (for class)
  31. For Dust Thou Art (for class)
  32. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (for class)

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