Saturday, August 29, 2009

Can We Stop Here for a While?

Oh, school. I've missed having my weekends to myself and not having to share them with homework. Today was less than eventful, but I am starting the semester off on the right foot by staying caught up. I also made great strides in finishing my study abroad application so that I can officially be going to Spain rather than just thinking and talking about it.

At this point it's hard to gauge what kind of free time I will have. I was hoping that dropping the honors program would have a positive impact on my leisure activities, but so far I don't have a solid read on all my classes and the amount of work that will be required. It has hit me that I'm half way finished, mostly because I'm planning to be gone next semester and therefore am on 1 of my last 3 semesters on Belmont's campus. Weird. When you break it down to number of semesters it gets a little scary because the real world is lurking behind that last one.

Speaking of the real world, I'm taking a seminar for junior English majors that's all about finding jobs. The first day of that was enough to put some fear in me. It's not really acceptable to tell people you want to work at Starbucks after they equip you to get a real job. I'm hoping those questions about the future are as hard for some of the other students to answer as they are for me. Why can't college just be a permanent thing? I just want to learn forever and never let my student loan debt come up for repayment.

The positive thing I've noticed so far: junior year is hands down the best. You know more people on campus than you will know at any other time because you know the people above and below you, for the most part your friends haven't all graduated, and for the first time you're finally comfortable with college and being yourself. I would be a junior forever if that were possible.

Here's to a new semester with its own experiences, assignments, and crises.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer Reading

Summer reading lists are always a pleasant way to pass the class-free months, and a normal person would make that list at the beginning of the summer. I, however, do not like to set myself up for failure, so for posterity's sake and possibly your reading pleasure I have compiled a list of the books I've actually read this summer that might prove helpful in the future if you prefer to work from a list rather than make your own. The links will take you to Amazon where you can read a description of the book and buy it if you just can't wait until next summer to read it. I'm not critiquing them in-depth, so don't expect a full-scale review, or even summary (that's why I linked them to Amazon). While I enjoyed some more than others, I think they're all worth reading.

The Pirates Daughter: A Novel by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
I didn't know who Errol Flynn was before this book, but that knowledge isn't necessary for full enjoyment. Read his Wikipedia page, then dig into this book. It's not about swashbuckling seamen, but it is set in Jamaica.

Ancient Highway: A Novel by Bret Lott
You get the same old Hollywood feeling from this book as Cezair-Thompson's. I've raved about Bret Lott before. I think he's wonderful, and I think you should read about these three generations so heavily impacted by the movies.

The Difference Between Women and Men: Stories by Brett Lott
I just couldn't get enough of this guy after I started reading. This is a collection of his short stories. I'm not so big on short stories because they make you think too hard when it seems like they should be so simple, but I really like the way he writes, and it's worth trying to figure out where he's going.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This book is nothing but beautiful. After I finished I wanted to read it again so I could have some more time to soak up the story.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
This one is not as plot-driven as East of Eden, but every character is fascinating. Even if you're unconcerned with his social criticism, you'll enjoy getting to meet Steinbeck's characters.

Jewel by Bret Lott
Obviously there was something about Bret Lott that kept me coming back for more. This is the one Oprah liked, but don't let that influence your decision either way! I wrote a little more about this one here.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
Murakami keeps the brain on its toes. I really like his work even if I finish the book with a ton of questions.

The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
These books are hilarious. I have finished the first 6 in the series so far, and I can't stop. Stephanie Plum is a female bounty hunter who hasn't quite got the job figured out yet, and the people she meets make her life (and the reader's) much more interesting.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Make sure you have an edition with the 21st chapter and read Burgess' introduction explaining its initial removal. The dialect he comes up with is difficult to read, but the book itself is very funny. It will make you think, too.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
This one disturbs me a little, but it's definitely worth a read. There's some very well-done humor as well.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I'm not into post-apocalyptic literature, so this one is not at the top of my list; however, I did enjoy this book overall, and it's a very quick read. Now I need to check out the movie.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
I don't know what I expected when my friend told me to read this book, but whatever it was I got something different. This one is a quick read, and I can't say I loved the end, but I do think it was worthwhile. This one is also a movie, and I just put it on my Netflix queue, so we'll see how that goes.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

and I'm not talking about the impending school year. It's almost time for fantasy football!

I started playing fantasy football in high school in the statistics club (if you think we did anything else with statistics you're all too confident in public education), and I fell in love. I wasn't much of a football fan until I found a way to make every single game worth watching. Whether it's my favorite team playing or not, I want to know what's going on in the entire NFL because I have a stake in how well the players are doing. Some would argue this causes fans to cheer for a specific player rather than a team and subtracts from the football-watching experience, but I say why not have a reason to watch every game? I'm sure the television networks don't hate it either.

The preseason is already under way, and I'm hoping watching football will help me survive this school year. To be honest, I'm still having trouble looking forward to classes starting; summer has just been all too comfortable.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


It may appear I have dropped off the blogging universe, but it's tough work reading every book I want to read before school starts. Speaking of school, it's swiftly approaching, and I'm just not ready for it. Last night I moved into my new apartment which makes summer's end seem a little more real, but I still have a couple weeks to enjoy before the next marathon semester begins. And now that I'm not in the honors program, maybe it will be more fun and less work. A girl can dream.

Although I haven't been very consistent, I learned this morning that Online Schools put my blog on a list of 100 Best Blogs for Career-Minded Students. I never thought of myself as career-minded, but I guess if you are the things I write might be helpful (at the very least in a what-not-to-do sense). Either way, I appreciate the shoutout.