Dear March Madness: I win!

Image result for i win gif

March Madness,
YOU HAVE BEEN DEFEATED!

I had a collection of images selected for this post, but I edited it down because I feel that the one below captures the true essence of how I feel right now: proud and sweaty.

Image result for victory dance gif tumblr

March Madness is OVER as of tomorrow when I hand in the last assignment I have due this month! Seminars? Check. Proposals? Done. Papers? Written. Books? Read ’em all! Micro-Teaching Session? Nailed it. Mini-Lecture? Delivered. Guest Lecture? Slayed. Essay Marking? Well…I’m still working on that one…but it’s started! The rest of my marking is done so I’m calling it a win!

Only two more final papers to write and I will be finished all of my coursework for my English MA. Bananas.

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Why Moby Dick is a Classic – from someone more qualified and on a roller coaster

Back when I was reading Moby Dick, I attempted to answer why I thought this novel is considered a classic. I did this mostly in response to the question’s popularity; whilst reading the book, most interactions I had with onlookers went something like this:

Person: Oh, I see you’re reading Moby Dick.
Me: Sure am (*inside voice* and I’m totally understanding it too, not overwhelmed at all)
Person: That’s cool…cool, cool, cool…So. let me ask you something, why do you think it’s a classic?
Me: Well…
Me: You see…
Me: It’s a classic because…
Me:  Image result for bullshit bullshit bullshit sarah marshall

And now, Fine Readers, I am pleased to present you with a much more defensible response to the question, brought to you by Stephen Colbert and Andrew Delbanco, a Melville author and scholar, on a roller coaster:

Go forth and impress people at parties with your new found knowledge!

gif source: https://media.tenor.co/images/d5229344a3a5da8306ecbd42d26bf414/raw

March Madness is real, it just has nothing to do with football.

UPDATE: My husband informs me that March Madness has nothing to do with football, ever. Apparently, it’s a basketball thing. So, shows what I know. Sports, Go Sports!

It’s been a busy month since I last posted…11 1/2 books busy, and I’m behind in my reading. Add to that two weeks of almost zero progress because I was sick, which is just coming to an end now (thank god) and you can see why I’ve been absent (I hope, please don’t leave me, I love you all)

Here’s what I’ve read since we last spoke a month ago:

Sadly, none of the above are on The List. Happily, many of them were awesome. Highlights in this batch included Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid, who is a treasure, and Olive by Dinah Craik, which I had never heard of before but which was surprisingly easy and quick to read for a 19c novel. A little too pious for my personal predilections, but if you read past the “God will save you” and “The only thing standing in the way of our love and happiness is your lack of faith – Convert! Repent! Then all will right with the world” narrative, then I think you’ll enjoy it.

So that was a pretty busy kick, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. If anything, it’s ramping up.

March Madness is going to be a real thing in my house this year, but for grad student reasons, not football reasons. Because I don’t watch football. I’m talking about book things.

March Madness = two seminars, two proposals, three papers, five books, one micro-teaching session, one mini-lecture, one guest lecture, and essay marking.

It’s okay, I’m not scared. Let’s do this, Lemon.

Image result for i got this gif

source: https://naiomiblogs.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/resolutions.gif?w=676

 

 

Perspective

Thank you,
For the perspective
of what it feels like
to have an entire country vote

to hate
discriminate
subjugate

To rally behind vitriol
RT your hate speech

I thought I knew
sexism
fear

I thought I understood
discrimination

I thought I had experienced it
and could empathize.

Thank you
For the perspective
the correction.
For showing me how wrong I was.

I had not yet
had a whole country
chant that I am unwanted
I did not know

that I am less than my beauty
that I am not enough
that I am crooked
That I am not trustworthy
because I bleed.

Too bad Bernie
didn’t run.
He would’ve won.
A man with a plan,
that’s what was needed.

Not a (wo)man who (over)prepared
Wanted it too much
We’re always so desperate.
It’s pathetic, right?

right?

She smiled too much
or not enough?
She was too cold,
corrupt,

But pay no attention to the migrant workers
immigrants
accountants
behind your iron curtain

Pay no attention to the lies
they are #alternativefacts
Disregard my doublespeak
It’s doubleplusgood

Take it in stride
Take it as blind
as real
as truth
as locker-room talk.

I am not a politician,
I can feel hate
and make mistakes
and contradictions
like you

that’s why they voted for you,
you’re their man.

I’m scared; I’m brave

They Said

Fear is for the weak,
Don’t be scared,
They said.

Women are too emotional,
Don’t cry,
They said.

Fear is the mind killer,
It leads to hate,
They said.

Take a different path home
Each way,
Each day,
Don’t be scared,
They said.

Smile more,
You seem cold, unfeeling
Women are too emotional,
They said.

Check your drink,
Be safe,
Don’t be scared,
They said.

Sticks and stones,
Words can’t hurt you.
Don’t cry,
They said.

It’s your body,
Keep your legs closed,
Don’t be scared,
They said.

It will never happen,
Don’t worry,
Don’t be scared,
They said.

It will be fine,
You’re reading too much into it,
Don’t cry,
They said.

It’s not happening here,
You’re safe here,
Don’t be scared.
They said.

I am scared;
I am brave.
I cry;
I am strong.

She said.

She says.

She will say.

 

Emma: I bite my thumb at you

threepanelbookreview:
“EMMA by Jane Austen.
”

Another intersection between List and MA, can it be? YES IT CAN! I’ve recently finished reading Emma for one of my classes this term. This is my second foray into Austen, and, if I’m being honest, Northanger Abbey was better.

Perhaps that’s only because it was shorter, though…there are a lot of parallels between the two novels — NA could almost be considered Emma junior. In both novels, a young woman is woefully unable to correctly read those around her, and hilarity ensues. Everyone gets married, the end.

In Emma, however, the main title character is awful. I spent a good deal of the first half of the book yelling obscenities at her, and throwing the book against the wall. Okay, I didn’t literally throw the book against the wall (what kind of a monster do you think I am?), but there was fair amount of eye-rolling happening on my part. As the kids say, I was throwing some serious shade.

Emma’s saving grace in the novel is that Austen saw fit to write in a character we would hate more than her heroine – Mr. Frank Freakin’ Churchill. What a useless piece of human flesh he is. Current theory: Frank’s function in the plot is to highlight the ridiculous impotence and lack of agency women have in their lives – by feminizing Frank and placing him in the predicament of many middle-class women of the period, Austen highlights the ridiculousness of the position. She is saying: “See – if this is a man, suddenly it’s not okay, but this is what you are doing to your daughters. Check your double-standards, people!”

Maybe – that’s one theory. The other theory is that she wanted to a have a foil for Mr. Knightley. This theory is just as credible.

Favourite Moment: That time when she was directly responsible for her BFF’s heartbreak TWICE and then when her friend FINALLY moves on, Emma goes “hmmm actually…Imma marry him…can you not come around here anymore? K, thanks, BYEEEEE”

Other observations:

  • Having a carriage was a big deal – but you had to have a carriage at the right time. A carriage too early was an invitation for public scrutiny. Check your carriage before you wreck your carriage.
  • Gypsies will rob you if you’re nice to them.
  • Doctor wars are intense. Pick your side and don’t back down!
  • Bath was the Las Vegas of 19c middle-class England.
  • Never trust your brand new friend if they tell you someone is in love with you – they are wrong and it will ruin your life.
  • If a lover sends you a surprise anonymous piano, he’s probably not good enough for you.
  • If a lover wants to keep your engagement secret, he’s definitely not good enough for you.
  • Always make sure you have enough apples.

QUESTION: In a contest between Mrs. Elton, Miss Bates, and Anne of Green Gables – who speaks for the longest without pause?

Austen comic source: http://once4511.tumblr.com/

It *Finally* Happened

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For the first time in my graduate career, my class reading and The List have aligned and I can cross another book off The List! *cheering* *the crowd goes wild*

Thank you, Professor Awesome, for including Anne of Green Gables on your syllabus this term. It was hilarious and has gotten me one step closer to my goal.

That’s 65 down, 80 to go!

I Read All the Books: My Reading List from My MA Fall Term

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Some 6,923 pages and 30,584 words later, the first term of my English MA has come to a close (nailed it).

I thought, in case any of you were interested, I might provide a list, for your perusal, of the books and short stories I read for my classes.*

Below is the list, in the approximate order in which I read them.

  1. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
  2. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (selections)
  3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  4. Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? by Anita Rau Badami
  5. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  6. Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje
  7. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
  8. No New Land by M.J. Vassanji
  9. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  10. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
  11. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
  12. Black by Thomas Dekker (selections)
  13. Epic by John Eldredge (selections)
  14. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Culler (selections)
  15. All Inclusive by Farzana Doctor
  16. The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin (small excerpt)
  17. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  18. Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (selections)
  19. The Hungry Ghosts by Shyam Selvadurai
  20. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
  21. Tell: Poems for a Girlhood by Soraya Peerbaye
  22. Maus by Art Spiegelman
  23. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

And now for the short stories:

  1. “The Demon Lover” by Elizabeth Bowen
  2. “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe
  3. “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. “The Sandman” by E.T.A. Hoffmann
  5. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  6. “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James
  7. “The Signalman” by Charles Dickens
  8. “The Dead” by James Joyce
  9. “The String Quartet” by Virginia Woolf
  10. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  11. “The Conscience of the Court” by Zora Neale Hurston
  12. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
  13. “When Mr. Pirzada Comes to Dine” by Jhumpa Lahiri

*Not included are the books I read for research; their name is Legion for they are many.

Apparently, M. Paul supposedly dies.

Being a grad student also means that you read books alongside others who are (a) literarily-inclined (it’s my blog, I get to make up words here), (b) intensely smart, and (c) who are PhD’s.

This means that when you discuss Villette as a group and someone casually mentions M. Paul’s death, and nobody else seems confused by this statement, and you say “Wait, what? M. Paul dies? When did that happen?!” Everyone else looks at you with their smug, accusatory “you obviously didn’t finish the book” faces. Like this:

Image result for j'accuse! meme

And then you go in to objection/defence mode and start raving: “No, seriously, I thought he came back and they got married. IT SAYS HE COMES BACK AND THEY GET MARRIED! It was all arranged. Look, right here, on page 545, it says ‘Mr. Emmanuel’s return is fixed.’ SEE! IT WAS FIXED!”

But everyone is still looking at you like

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And they try to plead with you “but the storm, Catherine,” “He couldn’t have survived, Catherine,” “it was implied, Catherine.” And now YOU start looking at THEM like

Image result for you tryna tell me blank

And you remind them that it says “Let them picture union and a happy succeeding life” at the end of the book, and that is exactly what you’re doing!

That, my friends, is how you become the dreamer, the optimist, the desperate hopeless romantic in a room full of intellectuals.

I’m going to sit in a corner with John Lennon and we’re going to talk about how Paul made it through the storm.

Plus, the book does not definitively  say that M. Paul dies. Ambiguity was Bronte’s thing. It was her calling card. It was what she did, people! This whole book is a giant ambiguous mess! That was literally the point! But, oh, the only thing that apparently was not ambiguous is the death of M. Paul? Nope. Nope. I’m nope-ing all over that.

IN FACT, it was conceded that there is a reading which supports M. Paul surviving the storm and coming home (read: my reading) AND THAT Bronte admitted to her publisher that there were two possible readings of her ending (HA!). HOWEVER the general consensus, and the author’s intention is that M. Paul dies.

Apparently the way Bronte originally wrote it, M. Paul does die. 100%. None of this “there was a big storm that probably killed him but I’m not going to say that it definitely happened, only hint to it and let my readers draw their own conclusions” bullshit. As the story goes, Bronte’s dad didn’t like this ending, he thought it was too sad, and so Bronte changed it to leave the door open for the possibility of M. Paul surviving the storm.

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I’m just saying, is all. Hasn’t anyone seen the ending of Dexter? Even if M. Paul doesn’t make it back to Lucy (which, let’s be honest, is not the worst thing, the man is kind of a jerk), it’s still entirely possible that he survived the storm and is off being a logger somewhere.

dexter

J’accuse Pikachu: https://cdn.meme.am/cache/instances/folder616/49397616.jpg
You tryna tell me kid: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BvBEVInCcAAYa1k.jpg
Dumb and Dumber: http://i.memecaptain.com/gend_images/cg_TpQ.jpg
original Dexter image (unedited): http://uproxx.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/dexter-finale-death.jpg?quality=90&w=650&h=356

6 years ago today…Oh, Facebook, it’s so sweet of you to remember…

It turns out that six years ago today I posted the Facebook chain-quiz (note? post? thingy? what do you even call those things) that started this all. Little did I know at the time that six years later, I would not only still be working on that list, but I would have a blog dedicated to the effort, and I would be upgrading my English minor to a Master’s in English.

Life is pretty awesome, I’m a pretty fortunate person.

reading-challenge

SIX YEARS! And I haven’t given up yet. I’m coming for you, List.