Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Books a Plenty

I decided I would follow Christine's lead and make my excuses for not updating as regularly as usual. As I mentioned in my last post, the thesis exam is quickly approaching and I need to start reading large quantities at a quick pace if I want to be prepared. I have also made an appointment at the eye doctor so I can actually read the words I stare at. The glasses will not only help with exam preparation. I assume the glasses will also remove me as a lethal threat during night driving. I have always been loath to wear glasses, not because I think I will look dorky but because once you start wearing them, you can never go back. I've needed glasses since high school, but it is amazing how rapidly my eyesight has deteriorated over the past two years. I think what it really is, is that my eyes are allergic to pedantry. I did wear glasses briefly in high school before they started to annoyed me. Then, I wore them again for about two months as an undergraduate, but I found that they got in my way when trying to kiss David. Finally, I switched to contacts and those were fine for about two months until my left eye started rejecting them. I could either never get the contact in my eye, or after about fifteen minutes the contact would pop out of my eye. Always. So now I'm going to get glasses and just stop kissing David.

Well, what books could possibly be so important that I need to become bespectacled to read them? I'm glad you asked. Prepare your eyeballs for the literary pageantry you are about to see. The following is "Monica's M.A. Thesis Exam Reading List." If you want you can read them with me, and we can form a book club entitled "Reading the Greats: Books That Will Never Ever Help You Receive Employment. Ever." We'll start now and finish a week after spring break. Here goes.

Ovid, Metamorphosis
Aristotle, Poetics
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
Euripedes, Bacchae

St. Matthew, Gospel According to St. Matthew

Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales - "The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale"
Malory, Morte D'Arthur

Shakespeare, King Lear
Sidney, An Apology for Poetry
Spenser, Faerie Queene
Milton, Paradise Lost

Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Henry Fielding, Tom Jones
Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Emily Dickinson, Collected Poems
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Virgina Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Philip Larkin, Collected Poems
William Falkner, The Sound and the Fury
Toni Morrison, Beloved

Thank God I've already read about half of this list. I'll still need to review the texts I've already read, but it'll be a big help. All in all, this is a pretty good list of books. People always criticize Purdue's English department for being liberal, but this list is extremely canonical. I mean, almost all of these books are written by dead white men: Shakespeare, Milton, Alexander Pope, Virginia Woolf. So I don't want to hear about it. Anyway, that's what I'll be doing until spring break. I'll try to update at least once a week, but if I don't, you'll know why.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Back on the Blog

Well, after a little more than a month off, I'm back on the blog. My apologies to anyone who's been checking my blog and had to see the picture of the peanut butter for so long.
I guess it's been such a while that I should give some sort of recap or at least let people know what's been going on since this semester has started. If you know me at all, you know that I hate blogging about day-to-day stuff. It just bores me so much, even though I'm not bored by reading the day-to-day stuff of someone else. I usually blog about stuff that angers me or is funny to me or most likely both. But a synopsis or something is in order, and I'll get back to the witty stuff shortly. I would like to say that I am saddened by the fact that I have now been classified as a blog delinquent. I will try my hardest to regain my readership.

Nothing much has been going on since school has started. I'm just in a spring semester, perhaps my last spring semester ever, funk. My classes seem fine but not overly exciting. I'm in a John Donne seminar, a Shakespeare in critical perspective class, and the history of English language class. I constantly find myself angered in my Donne class because I never know where Donne is coming from religiously. He was raised in a staunch Catholic family but also wrote invectives about Papists while still Catholic. Then, when he supposedly converted to Anglicanism, he wrote some very Catholic material. It makes me think the guy was an ambitious fence-sitter who only committed to certain beliefs when they could keep him out of trouble. Maybe he really was conflicted and I just don't have the patience right now to understand his ordeal.

The Shakespeare class is cool and almost all of my Renaissance buddies are in the class, and that makes the class easier to get through. It's funny how such a small department like Comparative Lit becomes even smaller when you can locate who are the Renaissance, Medieval, Classics types and the Post-colonial, modern British and American Lit types. I have to say that I've always gotten along better with the first group undoubtedly because we have the same literary interests and that might say a lot about our other interests and ways of life. I've noticed that many of the first group are either married or engaged. The second group, not so much. Ultimately, I'm not sure if micro-departmentalization in academia is good. In fact, I'm sure it's not. Yet, I do like the people in my area and that's fine with me.

I also like my history of the English Language class because it is taught by a very devout nun who also happens to be an extremely respected scholar in her field, which is Medieval Lit, language, and history.

My Latin students seem very nice and capable this semester. That fact will make this semester go by a lot faster.

My thesis exam is looming and I'll have to take that the week after spring break. Part of me wants to rock the test hard core and get a distinction. The other part says that they'll give me my degree even if I just get a pass. Of course, it will look better on my resume if I get a high grade. Then I think, "resume for what? Having babies?" I know I shouldn't think like that, but that's how I feel at the moment.

This post is kind of depressing me. I think that's why I've put off posting for so long. I just really want to finish school. Yet, I'm always careful when I say that because things could be a lot worse. I'm sure if a coal miner, deep sea fisherman, sweatshop worker, mother with young kids, or anyone else with and actual hard job were reading this they would all want to punch me in the face and tell me to stop my whining. And that is valid. So, let's move on to the good things that I've got going on right now. This list is by no means comprehensive.

I guess I should start out with David. He's my favorite. I like to watch documentaries that we've checked out from the library with him. I also like to tell jokes with him and just be around him in general.

Then, there is Blue Jacket Night, the Neuliebs, and friends in general. It's nice to go out on Thursdays and have drinks with friends even if my amazingly low alcohol tolerance shows itself through my bright red cheeks and embarrassing interjections. No one has barred me from the place though, so I don't think people mind too much. I hope not anyway. The Neuliebs are great and I'm sad that we haven't seen much of them this semester. The fault probably rests mostly with the O'Neils.

Speaking of Mary, she's got me hooked on this NBC drama called Heroes. I would tell you who my favorite character is but I can't because they are all so cool. I'm leaning toward Claire, but I just don't know. David actually watched last night and said his favorite is Hiro. I think my favorite power would be the power of persuasion, which Eden had until she shot herself to prevent Sylar for stealing her power or Sylar shot her. (There's a big debate) The persuasion think is funny because I don't see myself as manipulative and I certainly don't want to be. I seriously don't know if I could choose a favorite power from the living characters because they are all neat. Maybe Claire's Wolverine-like regeneration, or the mind reading cop whose name escapes me at this moment.

Another good thing I have is Pilates. I've found a really good Pilates DVD that Claire (Claire Freeman not save the cheerleader, save the world Claire) and sometimes Elisabeth do with me. Claire and I have made such progress. Before we started We couldn't touch our toes. Now we can touch the floor. There are other great benefits to Pilates too like much better balance, better posture, stronger core muscles, greater sense of relaxation and less stress, and shapelier physique.

Last but not least- I've been getting up about 20 minutes early every day to fix a cup of Suisse Mocha coffee. I can't tell you how much easier it is to get out of bed when I have coffee. And not just for the caffeine. I really enjoy it. I have to be careful though or I would drink about three cups a day and I really want to limit myself to one. David says I'm already addicted and it's probably true, but damn if it doesn't make getting up to go to school easier.