Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Puppy.

Avoidance is one of my specialties. In fact, that's what I've been doing for the last few hours. While Sean is working, I'm here, supposedly working on "homework". And in all honesty, I haven't been doing as much as I should. Before the new semester begins, I need to read a few more books, type up and send out some very important emails concerning said books, and undergo preparations for my final semester in college.

So here I am, 9 am, and what have I accomplished?

- Showered.
- Cleaned out the puppy's kennel.
- Cuddled puppy.
- Ate yogurt.
- Cuddled jealous cat.
- Watched YouTube subscription videos.
- Rediscovered Twitter while cuddling puppy.
- Went on LT - puppy not interested.
- Checked all of the every-day sites to be visited.
- Cuddled puppy more.
- Took off puppy's sweater.
- Cleaned out puppy's kennel again.
- Made some Pumpkin Spice Latte (delicious!).
- Watched puppy play around while surfing 'net.
- Read 2.5 pages in the book which I wish to finish by lunch.
- Logged into the Blog.

So there you have it. 'What's this puppy,' you ask? Good eye, sleuth! Last night, Sean and I took in a puppy from the Capital Area Humane Society. She, Lucy, is the most adorable little underweight runt I've had the good fortune of meeting. Later, I'll borrow a friend's camera and post pictures.

Needless to say, the puppy has thrown a wrench in my good-scholar plans.
Not that I consider this to be a bad thing, really...


Lucy has hiccups, and therefore needs more cuddling. That's all for now!

Monday, December 29, 2008

50 Books in 2008!

Well, 52, actually. And over the next few days, I hope to reach 55 books, read in the span of one year.

I think it's on heckuva accomplishment!

Which brings me to my New Year's Resolution - 75 Books in 2009.

While I'm not entirely convinced that it's possible (since my life will flip upside-down, come graduation) but I'd still like to try. LibraryThing has been my best friend this year, and I've been able to keep track of almost everything I've read!

A quick-list of some of the most memorable:

The Boleyn Inheritance
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
< (Just finished this last night.) The Tale of Despereaux
The Thirteenth Tale
The Writing Life
Writing with Style
A Room of One's Own
Writing Down the Bones
Cutting Down the Vines of the Past
Blessing the House (poetry)
Cranford
Basil
Paper Towns
Neverwhere
Twilight
The Gatecrasher
Finn
The Other Boleyn Girl
Bird by Bird
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose
Franny and Zooey
Year of Wonders
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Deception of the Emerald Ring
Looking for Alaska


It's been a good year. Sean has fallen into Zombie Madness, preparing for the imminent apocalypse. Strange, but it's caused him to read far more books than past years. School has gone well, and I've found myself fortunate to make a truly great friend. At times, I'm pretty sure that we're the same person, we're so alike. I (finally) met my youngest cousin, Carlynne (Carlie). She's absolutely adorable. Over the summer, Sean and I fostered two dogs from CAHS, and hope to bring in another sometime today or tomorrow. That is, if they ever email me back! My sister is doing exceptionally well at her art college, pulling in all kinds of awards and opportunities. My little brother has suddenly become a pre-teen, complete with peach fuzz on his upper lip. Strange.

I got to spend an entire day with my Grandma and cousin Claire last week, going through all of her old books. Now, I have a 3 page list of books to look up on Alibris and other sites, to try to determine the value of these precious tomes. Some might be worth something. Others are full of crayon and memories. Grandma and Grandpa are weeding, you see. They plan to have a huge yard sale this summer, and then sell the house. THE HOUSE. I'll be so distraught to see it go. I love that house. Anyway, Gram and Gramp want to move into the retirement community just across Burcham. And I want to buy their house (haha)!

Alright, this is enough internet-ing for now. I've got to make lunch, and then hit the books.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

This weekend I've finished two "pretty good" books. Since January 1st, I've read 48 books.

First was Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, a wonderful novel with a charming heroine. I very much enjoyed it, and plan to pass it along to my good friend. Lots of references to Dickens, Collins, Austen, and the world of rare books and manuscripts. Throw in biography, and you've captured my heart!

Then, I plucked The Bookshop (Penelope Fitzgerald) from my stack of TBRs. It was alright, but certainly not as good as The Thirteen Tale. 1960s England, a lonely woman, a bookshop, and so much passive aggression in her small town, that I felt nervous throughout the book. The characters were interesting, and there was a bit of mystery until the end. Still, I don't think I'll recommend or return to this novel any time soon.

Mitch Albom has a stirring editorial in the Freep today, shaming the senators who fight against the Big 3 Bailout.

I think I may have lost a bit of weight.

Time to go pack up and head back to HTP, after an extended weekend with Sean.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Personal Essay - Fanning the Flames

Essay written by me, for Prof. McCloskey's Advanced Writing (ENG 380) course, Fall 2008.

Want to take a gander? Currently, The length is hovering between 10 and 11 pages. If you have a few moments, would you mind giving it a once-over? I'm most interested in your personal reactions to it (but any typo/error spotting is excellent). It's an easy read, and you might even learn something from it!

The essay is still, obviously, in progress. Although the style is somewhat non-linear, the transition breaks serve as signals to keep readers from feeling to jostled. If you like or dislike the organization of the essay, please let me know! If it parts seem unresolved, that's because this essay feels as if it'll never end! Let me know what bits bother you, and I'll focus on them, first.



Fanning the Flames

We roamed the field behind my house in a pack of tanned, rowdy neighborhood children. Our sun-bleached hair and browned skin served as natural camouflage amidst the golden prairie grass, and in the dusty drainage ditches. We were field children, running wild under the great Texas sky. Hot, dry winds made the grasses bend and dip, itching at our legs. After a snack and a glass of cold water, we brave four ventured into the wildness of the field to play out the afternoons of late spring.

Acres of field stretched for to the left and right, down to the shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard. To the left were the drainage ditches. Dusty crickets hopped up and down their walls, which served as army trenches during warfare and various dining rooms and bedrooms when we played house. Behind us, up the hill, houses were perched and watchful. My mother peered down at us from the porch, sipping her special extra-tart lemonade and solving crossword puzzles. We were bound to only the parts of the field from which we could see her, and no further.

Trees were rare, but the small grove to the right offered enough shade from the bright, stifling sun. They also functioned as the perfect fort. There was a passage between the tall pine and the few other prairie trees, all stunted by the drought-like conditions. A scabby-kneed seven-year-old could crawl between the broken branches with ease, to find our secret hiding place. We were not the first to find this oasis of imagination. The packed dirt floor was accessorized with an old kitchen rug, and candy wrappers served as decorations around the perimeter. Old beer bottles littered the dusty ground beneath the pine tree. In our third summer, we found an abandoned motorcycle wedged into the prickly holly bushes. These lost treasures were carefully stowed away within our fort’s recesses.

Our countless days of adventuring created a network of paths through the tall grasses, as we civilized our lands, creating a world of our own. Past the original fort, we discovered the remains of a forgotten hideout at the end of a little-used trail. Our own fort paled in comparison when we found a rickety bench and a broken walkie-talkie. Under our ownership, this new outpost became a favorite part of our expanding civilization. With each summer, our boundaries expanded to conquer new areas, such as the old storm drain, the rusted box springs, and finally, the abandoned Buick. The world was ours for the taking.

At the end of each day, we tramped back over the paths, and stretched out on the porch’s wooden planks. Dusty socks peeled away to reveal clean white ankles and feet. Our pale toes wiggled freely in the evening light.

With June came the fire. Dad usually spotted the smoke first, a few miles down, away from the subdivisions. From our safe roost, we climbed up onto the porch railings to peer at the jumping flames. We never knew what sparked the field fires, and did not bother guessing as we watched the dark smoke billow up into the blindingly bright blue sky. What the fires took would grow back anew each spring, and they never spread close enough to our forts, our lands. When the licking flames came each summer, we sipped tart lemonade and watched the field turn to ash.
- - - - -
“Five! Four! Three! Two…”

Detroit’s Hudson Building has turns to dust before our eyes. We count down as if it were New Years Eve, but why? Rather than the beginning of something new, we watch the demise of a beautiful treasure with baited breath.

“It’s a real shame, you know?” Dad sets aside the paper to watch an instant replay of the implosion, muting the chatter of the news anchors on television. “They should have done something with it. A hotel, or something.”

“And who would have stayed in it?” My mother sips her coffee, eyes glued to the footage. “No one comes to Detroit, anymore. No one would pay to renovate it.”

The footage runs on the television a third time. Where once stood a retail monument is now a heap of rubble. Plumes of dust rise like smoke, obscuring the grey Detroit skyline.

“Still,” Dad sighs as he shakes the paper back to its upright stance. “Somebody should have done something.”
- - - - -
I wish I could go back to the days of playing in the field. Worries were few and far between, and the world was comprised of the grasses before me, and the hours before dinner. The field is 1,000 miles and a lifetime away, and however hard I try, I will never be able to return. Distance and time are not the barriers keeping me from revisiting my childhood. Simply put, the field no longer exists.

Through a system of satellites, cameras, and the Internet, Google’s map website can show an aerial view of any place on Earth. Earlier this year I found this website, and was thrilled when the search for my old address in Texas took me back, virtually, to the old neighborhood on the hill.

“What the hell?!”

With my nose only a few inches from the computer screen, I clicked the mouse to zoom in and out, not able to get my bearings. “Where is it?”

The old brown roof of my house blinked blankly at me. I knew I had the right address, but something was horribly wrong.

“Mom?” I leaned toward the open doorway, calling into the kitchen. “Mom, there’s… there’s something wrong with Texas…”

Together, we toyed with the map, puzzling over the unfamiliar landscape. Our house stood in the same place, as did the houses of our old neighbors. Lake Ray Hubbard sparkled in the sun a few acres away. But the space in between, what should have been our golden field, had been replaced by rows of cookie-cutter houses.

Dozens of gray roofs stood in orderly lines, the perfect specimen of a new-age Dallas subdivision. Every third house has a chlorinated swimming pool in the fenced-in back yard. Their driveways were inhabited by fuzzy grey blobs – SUVs, most likely. Everything was blue and gray, and unnatural.
- - - - -
From the safe roost of the suburbs, Detroit seems like a dangerous, decrepit pit. Suburbanites have spread out in the surrounding empty spaces, leaving behind a grand city for a subdivision within commuting range. Detroit is a donut city, empty and struggling in the center while suburban pseudo-Detroiters watch from the sidelines.

If left alone for too long, Detroit’s forgotten factories and other abandoned buildings will be reclaimed by nature. In some places, it has already begun. Traditional urban wildlife creatures – squirrels, raccoons, rats, and pigeons – are now joined by less traditional urban animals that call Detroit home. Pheasants have taken up roosts in the old boat yard along the Detroit River. Their presence, in turn, has brought suburban hunters downtown with silenced rifles and a hunger for game. Factories and other complexes open to the elements are often overgrown and unkempt, serving as an oasis for animals in the city. Additional echoes of wildlife and nature can be found within forgotten parts of Detroit. Urban explorers frequent the more popular abandoned buildings, like Michigan Central Station, as well as the National Theatre and the Metropolitan Building. Decked out in sturdy boots, cameras, and flashlights, these city-styled hikers are as clever as squirrels when intent on exploring and abandoned structure. Various websites contain a dazzling array of photographs taken during these excursions into “forgotten Detroit.” These architectural treasures from yesteryear are left to crumble.

Fires burn in Detroit, consuming the abundant kindling made that is wayside factories and houses. These blazes are commonplace, and often go unmentioned on the nightly news. The remains of a neighborhood’s blight smolder and drip morning light. The City, an ambiguous group of government people, will clear away what was left of the deteriorating house. Once, it was someone’s home. It was part of the American Dream of prosperity and love. Now, it is another empty, scorched lot. This empty space could become so many things, like a community garden or park. More likely, though, the vacant space will become the dumping grounds for dead Christmas trees and old refrigerators.
- - - - -
Progress destroyed the field. They sold parcels to strangers, like so much of America, without the understanding that it already belonged to someone – to all of us. To an uninformed person, the coming of a well-maintained and populated subdivision is a welcome replacement to an old and eroded field full of rattlesnakes and mold. The field was simply a place to be bought, cleaned up, and built upon. No longer would the field fires threaten those houses too close to the lake, because manicured lawns have replaced the kindling prairie grasses.

From an aerial view, what is left of the field is a strip of dull beige around the perimeter of the new subdivision. The few trees that had struggled for life in the unforgiving climate were gone, replaced by swimming pools and basketball hoops. To the field’s newest residents, the field was a dangerous wasteland, not suitable for children to use as a playground. Chunks of cement, scrap metal, box springs and dead Christmas trees littered the drainage ditches, serving as an ignored dumping ground of unwanted junk, hidden by the unkempt grass.
- - - - -
Detroit is in a perpetual state of autumn. In nature, death is merely part of the cycle of life. Spent leaves blanket the ground, and become food for the following spring reawakening. Through the decomposition of dead leaves, or burnt grasses, come the nutrients needed for the next year’s growth. Detroit lacks this decomposition and new growth. Death is not an end, but a necessary part of the circle. This idea is what Detroiters need to understand, invest in, and believe in order to save the city.

Not all of Detroit, however, has been left for dead. In fact, pockets of the city are bustling with life and excitement. Greektown hosts a myriad of landmark restaurants, as well as the new Greektown Casino. The nearby MotorCity Casino found a home in the renovated Wonder Bread Factory. The renovation of Campus Martius, in the heart of Detroit, is a beautifully revamped centerpiece where Detroiters gather to ice skate, watch parades, and enjoy other downtown events. This creation was funded in part by a handful of Detroit-based businesses that saw the merit in bringing visitors (and customers) back to the downtown area.
- - - - -
The fires of Detroit come and go, but life does not flourish in their wake, as a field might. Without intervention, this epidemic of decay will spread beyond America’s major cities. Even now, not only the city center suffers. Metro-Detroit’s sprawling suburbs have shown signs of struggle. Public libraries throughout the area have closed in droves, boarded up and left to crumble. Admission prices were raised by the Metro Parks to make up for lost profits and increased maintenance costs. The Detroit Zoo, the setting of countless childhood memories, has struggled to meet ends for years, only managing to keep their doors open through surges of generosity and public interest.

Detroit is one of numerous 20th century “donut” cities whose hey-day is now seems to be a mere memory. We cannot sit and wait for some extraordinary stranger to swoop in and save Detroit. Our great city can set an example for others, finding ways to rebound from this slump. We are the masters of our own histories, and our own futures. Community involvement is the necessary component to reviving Detroit. Preservation with a purpose can and will restore prosperity to the city and its inhabitants. Individuals came together to found and propel this city into the spotlight. Now, people are again needed to help right what has gone wrong.

Tiger Stadium is another casualty of progress. Last year, a portion of this celebrated stadium was demolished, after the city government’s unsuccessful attempts to find a more suitable use for this Michigan Historic Site. Prior to demolition, valuable parts of the stadium were sold to fans as memorabilia. Those willing to spend a few dollars for a tangible piece of history were rewarded with stadium signs and seats. One less traditional buyer was a man building a new home in the neighborhood, just across the street from my own house. His purchase was not folding seats or posters, but the actual bricks of Tiger Stadium. His impressive home’s shell is comprised of these bricks, and he proudly tells each passerby the story of his own great moment in preservation. Although that portion of Tiger Stadium no longer stands, the reuse and resale of usable items from the stadium is a great example of preservation with a purpose.

These are our American ruins, similar in some respects to the iconic Coliseum or Oxford’s redeveloped Oxford Castle. To many, Detroit’s sleeping giants are blights in the public eye. While still young when compared to other cultures, America is undeniably aging. Unfortunately, Detroit has not aged as gracefully as other tri-centennial American cities, and wrinkles are deepening.
- - - - -
The most telltale sign of urban decay is Michigan Central Station. Once the bustling hub of Southeast Michigan, the abandoned train station now sits empty and derelict. The website ForgottenDetroit.com and a handful of other online urban exploration photo galleries offer an astounding selection of images. The old train station is decayed decadence at its finest, and these city adventurers return to the Michigan Central repeatedly (and illegally) for amazing “urbex” experiences. The turn-of-the-century Romanesque plaster work appears to be beyond repair. Once stately and refined, the décor is now graced by graffiti and debris from years of vandalism. The station’s most valuable accents, such as copper and marble, have been looted in the twenty years since the station was left empty.The longer Michigan Central sits waiting, the more work will be necessary in restoration.

Detroit’s beautiful old theatres have also fallen into disarray. Although the destruction seems irreversible at first glance, these cultural facets of Detroit can and must be saved. The 1912 National Theatre, for example, has been stripped of its beautiful plaster statues and moldings. However, the entrance hall is covered in beautiful Pewabic tiles, another Detroit cultural icon. These pieces of history, once the pulse of the city, suffer from years of neglect and abandonment.
- - - - -
There are multiple groups (mostly nonprofit organizations and government programs) working in hopes of returning Detroit to its former glory. Their hope is to rejuvenate the city and bring people back into urban center. With the increasing interest in “green,” environmentally friendly living, there are plenty of untapped job sources waiting for the right entrepreneurs. Purposeful preservation is spreading throughout the city in the form of living and working lofts, storefronts, clubs, and galleries. Community gardens are sprouting up in and around Detroit, as well as populous across the nation. On the fringes of the city center, a few empty lots have been converted into public vegetable and flower gardens. These select neighborhoods buzz with interest and involvement, and the gardens bring together generations of Detroiters looking for food, friendship, and entertainment. Thanks to volunteers and sponsors, groups like EarthWorks, the Greening of Detroit, and Michigan State University work to improve the quality of urban life by establishing a growing number of community gardens.

Eastern Market, Detroit’s sprawling farmers’ market shopping destination, overflows with people each weekend. Eccentric shops line the old streets, and the sidewalks overflow with wandering shoppers and vendors. The area is home to a growing community of neighbors living in rehabbed and refurbished loft-style apartments, such as those in what was once the fire department’s repair warehouse. New and old intertwine in special areas of life within Detroit, and people with a keen eye are bound to stumble upon something special. The pheasants and have the right idea. Today’s Detroit is a fertile field of forgotten dreams and future successes.
- - - - -
I can almost feel the hot Texas sun warming the back of my neck as we trundled down the beaten paths of the field, on what we thought would be the next great adventure. What’s gone is gone, though, and I can never return to my field. In order to retain its identity, Detroit must come together to regain and protect their history from its greatest enemy – itself.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Reading List

Well over a year ago, I compiled a reading list. Then, it fell by the wayside as I not only became busy, but also abandoned the old blog in which it was posted.

Now, it's back - in all it's glory. It's rather outdated, but I plan on adding to it and revamping it.

And a side-note: I'm 42/50 for my 50 Books in 2008 Reading Challenge! I think I can do it, but it really depends on the days after final exams. We'll see how chaotic December is...

If it is italicized, I've read it.
If it has been crossed out, I've decided not to bother.
This will be continuously updated. ((A bold-faced lie! - Me, in 2012))
If it seems a bit disjointed, it's probably because I have a lot of weird books.
Now that I think about it, I should really make this on LibraryThing. Oh, well.

Achebe, Chinua
Things Fall Apart (read 2008)

Adams, Douglas
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Adams, Richard
Watership Down

Addams, Jane
Twenty Years at Hull House

Aide, George
The Girl Proposition: A Bunch of He and She Fables

Albert, Susan Wittig
The Tale of Holly How (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Mysteries)

Alcott, Louisa May
Little Women (again)
Little Men

Alexander, Robert
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar

Ambrose, Stephen E.
Band of Brothers

Armour, Richard Willard
Twisted Tales from Shakespeare

Ashley, Jennifer
The Queen's Handmaiden

Atwood, Margaret
The Handmaid's Tale
Oryx and Crake

Austen, Jane
Emma
Mansfield Park
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility

Babbitt, Natalie
Jack Plank Tells Tales

Baldwin, James
Go Tell it on the Mountain

Barrie, J.M.
Better Dead
My Lady Nicotine: A Study in Smoke
A Window in Thrums + Auld Light Idylls
Tommy and Grizel

Bawdin, Nina
Carrie's War

Beagle, Peter S.
The Last Unicorn

Bennett, Alan
The Complete Talking Heads
The History Boys
The Uncommon Reader

Berendt, John
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Berry, Steve
The Templar Legacy

Bilston, Sarah
Bed Rest

Blume, Judy
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret

Botton, Alain De
How Proust Can Change Your Life

Bradbury, Ray
Farenheit 451

Braddon, M. E.
Lady Audley's Secret
Trail of the Serpent

Bradley, James
Flags of Our Fathers

Braffet, Kelly
Last Seen Leaving

Bridge, Andrew
Hope's Boy: A Memoir

Brokaw, Tom
The Greatest Generation
Boom!

Bronte, Charlotte
Jane Erye

Bronte, Emily
Wuthering Heights (read 2008)

Brooks, Geraldine
Year of Wonders (read in 2008)
March

Browne, Hester
The Little Lady Agency

Bryson, Bill
A Short History of Nearly Everything
At Home: A Short History of Private Life (read 2011)
I'm a Stranger Here, Myself

Burgess, Anthony
A Clockwork Orange

Burton, Tim
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: and Other Stories (read 2008)

Caldwell, Laura
The Year of Living Famously

Calloway, Colin
Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America

Cameron, Julia
The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size

Capote, Truman
In Cold Blood

Charyn, Jerome
Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution

Chaucer, Geoffrey
The Canterbury Tales

Chevalier, Tracy
Burning Bright
Girl with a Pearl Earring

Chopin, Kate
The Awakening (again)

Clancy, Tom
The Hunt for Red October

Clinch, Jon
Finn (read in 2008)

Coelho, Paulo
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

Colt, George Howe
The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home

Collins, Wilkie
The Moonstone
Mr. or Mrs?
Woman in White
Basil (read in 2008)

Conrad, Joseph
Heart of Darkness (again)

Cusk, Rachel
Arlington Park

Daniels, Jim
Blessing the House (read in 2008)
M-80  (read 2011)
Places/Everyone
Detroit Tales
Show and Tell
Blue Jesus
Punching Out
Revolt of the Crash-Test Dummies
Niagara Falls
Digger's Blues
In Line for the Exterminator

Davies, Peter Ho
The Welsh Girl

Dawesar, Abha
Babyji

De Botton, Alain
The Architecture of Happiness
Status Anxiety

Dessen, Sarah
Dreamland

Dew, Robb Forman
The Evidence Against Her

Diamond, Jared
Guns, Germs, and Steel (read in 2008)

Dickens, Charles
A Christmas Story
A Tale of Two Cities
Bleak House (read in 2008)
Great Expectations (again)
The Old Curiosity Shop
Oliver Twist (read in 2008)

Didion, Joan
Year of Magical Thinking

Digges, Deborah
Fugitive Spring

Dillard, Annie
An American Childhood
The Maytrees
The Writing Life
Teaching a Stone to Talk (read 2008)

Doctorow, E. L.
Billy Bathgate
Homer and Langley (read 2010)
The March
Ragtime (read 2009)
The Waterworks
World's Fair (read 2011)

Drabble, Margaret
The Peppered Moth

Du Maurier, Daphne
Frenchman's Creek
Jamaica Inn
My Cousin Rachel
Rebecca (read 2011)
The Scapegoat

Egan, Timothy
The Worst Hard Time

Eliot, George
The Lifted Veil + Brother Jacob
Middlemarch
The Mill on the Floss
Silas Marner (read in 2008)

Ellis, Joseph
American Creation

Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man (read 2008)

Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Self-Reliance (again)

Ephron, Amy
A Cup of Tea

Erickson, Carolly
Alexandra: The Last Tsarina

Eugenides, Jeffrey
Middlesex: A Novel

Faludi, Susan
Backlash

Faulkner, William
As I Lay Dying
The Sound and the Fury

Filipovic, Zlata
Zlata's Dairy

Fischer, David Hackett
Paul Revere's Ride (last read in 2009)
Washington's Crossing

Fitch, Janet
White Oleander (again)

Fitzgerald, F. Scott
The Great Gatsby (again)

Fitzgerald, Penelope
The Bookshop
The Blue Flower

Foer, Jonathan Safran
Everything is Illuminated

Follett, Ken
The Pillars of the Earth

Forester, E. M.
A Room With a View
Howards End
A Passage to India

Fowler, Karen Joy
The Jane Austen Book Club (read 2010)

Sarah Canary (read 2010)


Fresan, Rodrigo
Kensington Gardens

Gaiman, Neil
Neverwhere (read in 2008)
Stardust (read 2010)

Gaskell, Elizabeth
Cranford (read in 2008)

Gibbons, Kaye
Ellen Foster

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
The Yellow Wallpaper (read in 2008)

Goldberg, Natalie
Writing Down the Bones (read in 2008)

Golden, Arthur
Memoirs of a Geisha

Goldman, William
The Princess Bride

Golding, William
Lord of the Flies (again)

Goodman, Susan
Children of War

Gopnik, Adam
Paris to the Moon

Green, Jane
Second Chance
Spellbound
To Have and to Hold

Green, John
An Abundance of Katherines (read in 2008)
Paper Towns (read in 2008)
Looking for Alaska (read in 2008)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson  (read 2011)

The Fault in Our Stars

Gregory, Philippa
The Constant Princess (read 2010)

The Other Boleyn Girl (read in 2008)
The Queen's Fool (read 2010)


Gruen, Susan
Water for Elephants (read 2009)


Haddon, Mark
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Hagen, George
Tom Bedlam

Halberstam David
The Coldest Winter

Hamilton, Jane
When Madeline Was Young

Hansberry, Lorraine
A Raisin in the Sun

Hardy, Thomas
Jude the Obscure
Tess of D'Ubervilles

Harris, Joanne
Blackberry Wine
Chocolat (read 2011)

Gentlemen and Players
The Girl with No Shadow

Hart, Lenore
Becky

Harte, Bret
The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Writings (again)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The House of Seven Gables
The Scarlet Letter

Heller, Joseph
Catch-22

Hemingway, Ernest
A Farewell to Arms
For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Nick Adams Stories
The Sun Also Rises

Herbert, Frank
Dune

Hitchens, Robert
Green Carnation

Holden, Wendy
Farm Fatale
Gossip Hound

Hopkins, Bonnie
Seasons

Hosseini, Khaled
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The Kite Runner

Howells, William Dean
The Rise of Silas Lapham (read in 2008)

Hughes, Thomas
Tom Brown's School Days

Huxley, Aldous
Brave New World

Hyde, Catherine Ryan
Becoming Chloe

Irving, John
The Cider House Rules
A Prayer for Owen Meany
The World According to Garp

Isenberg, Nancy
Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr

Jacobs, Kate
The Friday Night Knitting Club

Jaffe, John
Thief of Words

James, Henry
The Aspern Papers (read 2008)
The Bostonians
The Portrait of a Lady (read half of it, 2009)
Washington Square

James, William
Pragmatism and Other Writings (again)

Jewett, Sarah Orne
The Country of the Pointed Firs

Joyce, James
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The Dubliners
Ulysses

Kagan, Robert
Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order

Kauffman, Donna (collection of short stories)
Merry Christmas, Baby

Kelby, N.M.
Whale Season

Kendrick, Beth
The Pre-Nup

Keniston, Kenneth
Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth

Kerouac, Jack
On the Road

Kesey, Ken
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (read 2010)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Kheridan, David
The Road from Home: The Story of an Armenian Girl

Kidd, Sue Monk
The Mermaid Chair
The Secret Life of Bees

Kingsley, Charles
The Water-Babies

Kingsolver, Barbara
The Bean Trees
Homeland, and Other Stories
High Tide in Tucson (read in 2008)
The Poisonwood Bible
Prodigal Summer

Kinsella, Sophie
Remember Me? (read 2008)

Kipling, Rudyard
The Jungle Book
Kim

Knowles, John
A Separate Peace (again)

Kostova, Elizabeth
The Historian

Kramer, Mark ed.
Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer's Guide

L'Engle, Madeleine
A Wrinkle in Time

Lalwani, Nikita
Gifted

Lamb, Wally
She's Come Undone

Lamott, Anne
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (read in 2008, 2011)
Blue Shoe
Crooked Little Heart (read 2011)
Rosie
Traveling Mercies (read 2011)

Larsen, Nella
Passing

Larson, Erik
Thunderstruck

Laski, Harold
The Strategy of Freedom, an Open Letter to American Youth

Lee, Harper
To Kill a Mockingbird (again)

Levine, Gail Carson
Ella Enchanted (read in 2008, 2011)

Levy, Ariel
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture

Lewis, Matthew
The Monk: A Romance (read in 2008)

London, Jack
The Call of the Wild

Loos, Antia
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady

MacAlister, Katie
Improper English

MacLachlan, Patricia
The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt (read in 2008)

MacLaren, Ian
Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush

Macomber, Debbie
Lonesome Cowboy

Maguire, Gregory
Lost
Mirror Mirror
Son of a Witch
What-the-Dickens
Wicked (read 2008)

Malhotra, Deepak and Max H. Bazerman
Negotiation Genius

Man, John
Gutenberg: How One Man Remade the World with Words

Mansfield, Katherine
The Collected Stories

Marr, Maggie
Secrets of the Hollywood Girls Club (read in 2008)

McCafferty, Megan
Sloppy Firsts (read 2009)
Second Helpings (read 2009)
Charmed Thirds (read 2009)

McCann, James
Maize and Grace (read in 2008)

McCarthy, Cormac
The Road

McCourt, Frank
Angela's Ashes
Teacher Man: A Memoir

McCullough, Colleen
The Ladies of Missalonghi

McCullough, David
1776
John Adams
Truman

McEwan, Ian
Attonement
The Cement Garden
On Chesil Beach

McFadden, Maryann
The Richest Season

McGinn, Daniel
House Lust

McInerney, Monica
The Alphabet Sisters
Family Baggage

Mcmahon, Katharine
The Alchemist's Daughter

Meyer, Stephanie
Twilight (read in 2008)
Breaking Dawn (read in 2008)
New Moon (read in 2008)
Eclipse (read in 2008)

Middlebrook, Diane
Anne Sexton: A Biography (read in 2008)

Milford, Nancy
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Millay, Edna St. Vincent
Conversation at Midnight

Miller, Arthur
Death of a Salesman (again)

Milton, John
Paradise Lost

Mintz, Steven
Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood

Mitchell, Margaret
Gone With the Wind

Montefiore, Simon Sebag
Young Stalin

Montgomery, L. M.
Anne of Green Gables series (again)
Kilmeny of the Orchard

Morgan, Judith
Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography (read in 2008)

Morrison, Toni
Beloved

Mortenson, Greg and David Oliver Relin
Three Cups of Tea

Murakami, Haruki
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Murray, Annie
Chocolate Girls

Nabokov, Vladimir
Lolita

Nelson, O.T.
The Girl Who Owned a City

Nemirovsky, Irene
Suite Francaise

Niffenegger, Audrey
Her Fearful Symmetry (read 2011)
The Time Traveler's Wife

Norris, Frank
McTeague (again)

Notaro, Laurie
Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood
We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive

O'Brien, Tim
The Things They Carried (read 2006)

Olson, Lynne
Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England

O'Reilly, Judith
Wife in the North (read in 2008)

Orwell, George
1984 (read 2011)
Animal Farm

Packer, Ann
The Dive From Clausen's Pier (read in 2008)

Parks, Tim
Italian Neighbors; or, A Lapsed Anglo-Saxon in Verona

Pearl, Matthew
The Dante Club (read 2009)

Perrotta, Tom
The Abstinence Teacher
Election
Joe College
Little Children

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth
Catch Me If You Can

Plath, Sylvia
The Bell Jar (read in 2008)

Prince, Peter
Adam Runaway

Rakoff, David
Don't Get Too Comfortable

Rand, Ayn
Atlas Shrugged
The Fountainhead

Reid, Van
Cordelia Underwood
Mollie Peer

Rice, Luanne
Silver Bells

Rivenbark, Celia
Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom
We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle

Robinson, Elizabeth
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

Robison, John Elder
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's (read in 2008)

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (read in 2008)

Rotundo, E. Anthony
American Manhood

Rubio, Gwyn Hyman
Icy Sparks

Russell, Mary Doria
The Sparrow

Russo, Richard
Bridge of Sighs
Nobody's Fool
Empire Falls

Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de
The Little Prince

Salinger, J. D.
Catcher in the Rye (again)
Franny and Zooey (read in 2008)

Sartre, Jean-Paul
The Devil and the Good Lord

Schocket, Eric
Vanishing Moments: Class and American Literature

Scott, Sir Walter
Ivanhoe
Waverly

Sebold, Alice
The Lovely Bones

Sedaris, David
Me Talk Pretty One Day (read 2009)
Naked (read 2009)
When Your Are Engulfed in Flames (read 2010)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (read 2009)

Seton, Anya
Avalon (read as a girl)
Dragonwyck (read 2010)
Green Darkness
Katherine
The Winthrop Woman (read 2010)

Setterfield, Diane
The Thirteenth Tale

Sexton, Anne
The Complete Poems

Shaw, Bernard
Pygmalion

Shelton, Sandi Kahn
What Comes After Crazy

Sinclair, Upton
The Jungle

Smith, Sarah
Chasing Shakespeares

Steinbeck, John
East of Eden
The Grapes of Wrath (again)

Tarr, C. Anita
J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan In and Out of Time: A Children's Classic at 100

Terkel, Studs
American Dreams: Lost and Found
Coming of Age: Growing Up in the 20th Century
"The Good War": An Oral History of WWII
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression
Touch and Go: A Memoir

Tillyard, Stella
A Royal Affair: George III and his Scandalous Siblings

Tobin, James
Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II

Tolkien, J. R. R.
Lord of the Rings

Tolstoy, Leo
Anna Karenina

Twain, Mark
Pudd'nhead Wilson

Updike, John
Rabbit, Run

Valdes-Rodriguez, Alisa
Dirty Girls on Top

Vivante, Arturo
Truelove Knot: A Novel of World War II

Wachtel, Eleanor
Writers & Company

Walker, Alice
The Color Purple

Walls, Jeannette
The Glass Castle

Warren, Robert Penn
All the King's Men

Wasserstein, Wendy
Bachelor Girls (read 2009)


Waters, Sarah
Fingersmith

Waugh, Evelyn
A Handful of Dust
Brideshead Revisited

Weiner, Jennifer
The Guy Not Taken (read 2009)
In Her Shoes (read 2009)

Welsh, Irvine
Trainspotting

Wharton, Edith
The Age of Innocence
The Custom of the Country
The House of Mirth

Whiteley, Opal
Opal: The Journal of an Understanding Heart

Whitman, Walt
Leaves of Grass (again)

Wick, Lori
The Princess

Wickham, Madeleine
The Gatecrasher (read in 2008)

Wiesel, Elie
Night (again)

Wilde, Oscar
Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wilder, Thorton
Our Town (again)

Willig, Lauren
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (read in 2008)
Seduction of the Crimson Rose (read in 2008)
Masque of the Black Tulip (read in 2008)
Deception of the Emerald Ring (read in 2008)
Temptation of the Night Jasmine

Winsor, Kathleen
Forever Amber

Wolf, Naomi
The End of America
The Beauty Myth

Wood, Gordon S.
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin

Woolf, Virginia
A Room of One's Own
Mrs. Dalloway
To the Lighthouse

((This list was last meddled with on February 23, 2012.I have amassed quite a different sort of library, as my interest have changed and matured. This list does not include the hundreds of books I have read and/or acquired since landing my dream job, at a book shop. So... yeah.))

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now, this is Reality TV. I have a feeling that this epic presidential campaign is far from over. Both candidates have their legal teams in place, ready to contest and protest anything which has even the slightest reason to bicker over.

Student Congress is hosting an election night party tonight, from 8pm until 11pm. Sundaes and a big-screen TV, and more banter and debating than the average person can stomach. Great. Just what adamant political hot-shots need - a sugar high.

Still, I think I'll go. I work until 9, and it's hard to turn down free ice cream. Plus, it gives me an excuse to avoid my homework.

Speaking of work - my boss was rather mean. I went out of town for the weekend, and came down with food poisoning Sunday night (lousy pledges... or lousy shrimp - not sure). Come Monday, I'm bed ridden. My shift at the library began at 2pm. Ordinarily, it would go until 7pm. But I had already bribed someone to cover from 4pm until 7pm. I knew no one would take 2 to 4, but I tried, anyway. Needless to say, I couldn't find a sub. And furthermore, my supervisor didn't believe that I was sick and stranded out of town. Bah.

I can't wait to leave this job behind. I've been here since the fall of 2004, and it's driving me nuts. December is the end of my time here at the front desk, but I'm not going far. The Archives department is just downstairs, but it far exceeds life as a student employee deskie. I. Can't. Wait. No more cleaning up after less responsible employees. No more running back and forth, dancing for the various supervisors. No more crummy schedules. Freedom!

Now, to figure out the latest conundrum - to settle down, or to go to graduate school .

Monday, November 3, 2008

I've been slacking.

I'm behind on homework. I have one paper to write for tomorrow, and then a few others after that.

I'm behind on Swap-Bot, which has become a small but painful thorn in my side.

I'm behind on NaNoWriMo. And by behind, I mean that I have yet to begin.

Fail.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Journaling for Life

For well over a decade, now, I've kept a journal. What began as a place to rant about mean teachers and dwell upon true love has, for the last few years, become one of very few outlets for my ideas, opinions, and ramblings. Although I usually stick to pen and paper, I've tried to blog in the past. In fact, since 2000, must have started at least 15 online journals/blogs. They've all been abandoned and forgotten, for various reasons, and yet I'm sure to begin at least one more before the year is out.

I don't know what draws me to the blogs, exactly. Perhaps it is the anonymous feeling of voicing concerns, telling secrets, or just blathering on and on without the likelihood of any “real life” people recognizing you within the words on the screen. Then again, I've also harbored the small hope of being recognized not for my mindless spewing of words, but for my raw genius, and becoming a celebrity of the blogosphere. The chance is slim to none, and even more unlikely given my blogging track record.

Still, I return again and again to my journal. The style of my entries vary. At times, all I can manage to scribble down is a loosely related list of ideas, happenings, and things I'd like to discuss further but for some reason or another never do. Other entries become long, drawn-out, letters to no one in particular. These different types of entries are intertwined with phrases, ideas and quotes I've come across and hoarded away, in a sort of copy-book way. Some entires have month-long gaps between them, while others are only a few hours apart.

On occasion, I've used my journaling habits as a weapon. The strange man at the coffee shop will bother you far less if you're engrossed in your writing. I hope my fellow coffee consumers think I'm an up-and-coming writer, of sorts, whose words are unmatched. Lofty hopes, I know.

It could happen, though, if I really dedicated myself to the cause. In the last year or so I've chanced upon a few very nice, personalable American authors, whom I now consider to be members of my circle of friends. It's both inspiring and degrading to be friends with published writers. Both motivating and embarassing (which are not as opposite as I first thought). I'd like to “try my hand” at writing once life slows down a bit. For years I've been telling this to myself and anyone else nearby, but life seems to become busier. I'm beginning to realize that it will never actually make room for my other interests, and that I need to force aside less important “needs” in order to reach my goals.

If only I could live off of crumbled bits of paper and old pens. I'd just quit my job and secure a permanent place at the coffee shop.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

“I go to Rockefeller Center Tuesdays at rush hour to watch money walk out of the buildings. I went to Tiffany’s too. Stood out front a chick in a limo pulls up hops out in a full black mink with diamonds like rock candy hanging from her ears and enough rings to use her hands as silverware. Damn.”

- Darryl Stawinski to Jim Daniels October 2, 1975, NYC

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nerdfightopia is Jokes, Totes.

So I'm a YouTuber, and I watch the 5AGs a few times a week (Girls, Guys, and Gays). I just had a truly thrilling moment (and I'm still in it, actually). I'm talking to Kayley from 5AwesomeGirls! Woot! She's leaving for London in a few hours. Oh, and how did I chat with her? Through the 5AGuys live chat happening on BlogTV. I'd much rather talk to Kayley than watch Alex/Nerimon ramble on about Animal Crossing.

That's all for now. I need to blog-stalk a few more friends and subscribe to them. Ta-ta!

Introductions are Old Hat

Some of the websites I've used as blogs in the past few years:
eBlogger
WordPress
LiveJournal
Gaia
Myspace
the Ning
YouTube (vlogs)
LibraryThing


This is getting ridiculous. Really, now. I keep starting blogs and then abandoning them. Or, just partially abandoning them and feeing guilty when I log on once every other month to make a quick post about how guilty I feel. Bah.

But, I re-joined eBlogger (is it still called that?) because my sister (katezila) began a sketch blog and I want to be able to comment, or just find it without searching for an hour.

I like to think that I'm a creative person who writes, thinks, etc. But, since I haven't been doing much of that lately, I'm not sure if I can still claim that bragging right. Hell, I've been reading the same book for about a month, now.

Why am I so unproductive as of late? Miley the dog. I'm the foster mother for a dog from the humane society, and I've realized that she's a wonderful excuse to ignore the boring book I've been trying to choke down.

Oh, and Magic the Gathering. I know, lame. But really it's a ton of fun. I get together with about 15 guys every Tuesday night and we play for a few hours. Plus, I've been organizing Sean's collection (which exceeds 5,000 cards) and inputting them into a ramshackle database.

Oh, and I have no money. Not even enough to go buy coffee, which would in turn force me to sit and read sans-dog.

She's a really cute dog, though! I'll post pictures.