Thursday, May 23, 2013

what's happening around here? why it snowed this morning, thank you very much

I've been working on a post since Sunday and still can't figure out what I'm trying to say, so I'm bagging it for now and doing an update.

Anybody have a good book recommendation?  Anything except not depressing.  Actually, I don't think it's lack of a book that's the problem-- I have stacks of them around, another dozen or so on my Kindle, and I brought home six from the library yesterday.  I just can't settle on anything.  I've been re-reading old favorites, which is fun but not very satisfying.  I signed up to take two six-week online courses, one on PHP programming and one on copyediting, and I just finished the first week.  They're both interesting.

Job news:  the community college decided it didn't need any new teachers this fall, so that's out.  But there's still a chance that I could teach one or two non-credit continuing ed classes, so I turned that application in last week.  You had to completely map out the course in the application, with lesson plans and reading lists. It was a blast.  I suspect I had more fun thinking it up than actually teaching the course will be (if they even accept my ideas).

I did "What's Happening in YA Lit" (four weeks, 90 minutes each) and "The Art of the Short Story: The American Short Story since 1900" (five weeks, two hours each).  Since I have nothing else interesting to tell you, here are the proposed reading lists.  The idea is there will be a "required" reading assignment (as required as anything can be in a non-credit class), and several suggestions for people who have already read the required one or who want more to read.  Let me know if you have other reading suggestions.

YALit:  Week 1 (discussion), Week 2: [Realistic Fiction] The Fault in Our Stars (req), other suggestions: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, The Perks of Being aWallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Looking for Alaska by John Green. Week 3: [Fantastic Fiction] Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (req), How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger.  Week 4: [Non-Fiction, Humor, Graphic Novels]  Teen Angst? Naaah by Ned Vizzini (req).  Additional suggested books: Non Fiction- Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Last Breath by Peter Stark, Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, Following Atticus by Tom Ryan, They Call Me Coach by John Wooden, The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw. Humor-Dave Barry Slept Here by Dave Barry, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.  Illustrated novels- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Maus series by Art Spiegelman, Sandman series by Neil Gaiman.

Short Story:  Week 1 (discussion)  Week 2Discuss three short stories from acknowledged masters of the form.  Possible selections include “Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton, “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, and “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield. Other possibilities include Faulkner, Fitzgerald, O’Connor, Katherine Ann Porter, or Richard Wright.  Week 3:  Discuss three short stories published from 1950 to 1990.  Possible selections include “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.  Other possibilities include Alice Walker, John Cheever, John Updike, or Tobias Wolff.  Week 4Discuss three short stories from the last twenty-five years.  Possible selections include “People Like That are the Only People Here” by Lorrie Moore, “Travels with the Snow Queen” by Kelly Link, “We Others” by Steven Millhauser.  Other possibilities include Junot Diaz, Amy Hempel, Molly Giles, or George Saunders.  Week 5: Montana Writers “Wild Plums” by Grace Stone Coates, “Days of Heaven” by Rick Bass, “Wilderness” by Rick DeMarinis, “Ranch Girl” by Maile Meloy.  Other possibilities include William Kittredge, Thomas McGuane, David Long, Melanie Rae Thon.
I'm doing OK re: Cinder but waves of sadness still catch me by surprise 2-3 times a day.  We've had beloved pets die twice before, so I thought I knew the drill and it wouldn't be so bad.  And it's not as bad as it was the first time, with the border collie who was our first child.  But still it's worse than I was expecting.

The snow in the post title has already turned to rain, but it was pretty dang depressing to wake up to snow falling this morning.  I don't think the temps got below 32, though--at least I sincerely hope not since we have all kinds of flowers and veggies planted now.

Oh, and an update on John Shore (the blog I mentioned a couple of posts back).  I thought if I was going to directly address his blog in my post, I should let him know, so I sent him a brief e-mail.  He actually read the post, and wrote back to let me know that he does have a good understanding of the Evangelical mind.  So, I thought I should pass that along.  Since I only know my own (formerly) Evangelical mind, and since I left it behind I'm by definition atypical (thank God), it's entirely possible that he has a better understanding of it than I do.  But then he wrote a post this week (about how logical Christianity is) that was so smug and weird that I'm considerably less enamored of him already.  I still love the discussion in the comments on several posts, though, so I will probably keep reading.  Everybody deserves an off day and a boring/strange/weird post or two, as this one certainly attests.  Hugs to everybody, and if I don't get around to finishing that post by tomorrow, have a great holiday weekend.


  1. I know that feeling when you have many books around but you keep rereading favorites because you just can't settle on a new one.
    With me it's because sometimes I can accidentally be bruised by a new one and I just am not ready for that.
    Don't have any recs because I know your reading habits a little and I don't think I've read anything lately that would be your thing. I just finished reading the latest Marian Keyes and it was excellent but not if you want to stay away from depression.
    The good thing is, like all feelings, this one generally moves on through eventually. Here's hoping yours doesn't last long.

    1. I've only read one Marian Keyes and I keep forgetting to look for the next one when I'm at the library. Maybe I will do that tomorrow-- I know some of her early ones are really funny, aren't they? Hope you had a nice holiday!

  2. I found out that Katherine Mansfield was a New Zealander. not sure why I had her in the States! Not to worry there are plenty of other choices.