readingredhead: (Professor)
I should be doing important things, like reading up on the history of conduct books for my essay on Evelina but instead I'm getting ready to go to the Globe and watch a fabulous production of Midsummer Night's Dream.

I'm also thinking a lot about the fact that I'm going to spend Friday and Saturday turning a piece of fiction that I (co-)wrote into an actual (experimental) film (though when I say I'm going to be doing this, it really means I'm going to do what my film major and co-writer friend tells me to do). It should be completely awesome; we're filming on location throughout London, but the actual acting parts are small-scale enough that Oren and I are actually just playing the characters that we wrote, which for me will be all kinds of amazing. I'm starting to think about how my character would dress, and do her make-up, and wear her hair, and all kinds of stuff (and the best part is that none of these answer are hard for me to figure out...I just know her, y'know?). So while it is distracting me from the essay(s), at least it's doing so in a good way.

Also, I have tickets for two events on May 30 at the Hay Festival of Books but no idea as of yet how I am going to get there and back, since Hay is really small and doesn't have its own train station. There are buses and shuttles and the like but it doesn't seem feasible to go up in the morning and back that night; if I'm going to be spending the money on train fare anyway, I might as well see some of the surrounding countryside. Also it would be a lot easier to get back to, oh, say, Cardiff after the last event finishes at 9PM than it would be to try to get back to London (which would probably be impossible). But this means I need to find accommodation in Cardiff (or wherever), and I have yet to broach this subject to my mom, who would freak if I told her I was considering staying in a hostel on my own. She's already worried that no one wants to go to the Hay Festival with me...silly mother, they speak my language in this country!

Now, I shall file all of this under "things to sort out later" and get ready to go see some Shakespeare.
readingredhead: (Default)
Day one • a song
Day two • a picture
Day three • a book
Day four • a site
Day five • a youtube clip
Day six • a quote
Day seven • whatever tickles your fancy

Conveniently, I have come across another meme that allows me to sort of answer this one by providing a whole lot of stuff about books!

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Not having my bookshelf in front of me at this moment (it being in another country and all) it's hard to say, but probably Anne McCaffrey, simply because she is so prolific. I own all of her Dragonriders of Pern books (multiple copies of some of them) plus assorted others. She takes up a jam-packed half-shelf.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
This is probably a toss-up between Jane Eyre and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. For Jane Eyre, I have the first copy I read (a falling-apart-at-the-seams $0.25 library bookstore purchase), the first critical copy I bought (because I really liked the introduction), two copies of the one with the killer engravings (yes, two, they were only $1 a piece), and the copy that I bought in London this semester to read for my Fiction and Narrative class. As for Sorcerer's Stone, I possess it in paperback, hardback, UK paperback, special edition (leather-bound and gold-edged pages), and the Latin translation. But I am the kind of person who thinks it's awesome to have multiple copies of the same book, particularly if they possess different cover art or have some interesting distinguishing feature, so there may well be some other book that I possess five copies of.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Considering I just ended my last response with a preposition, I'm going to say no.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
I can't give one answer. Remus Lupin is mostly an intellectual crush. I love Mr. Darcy but more because I identify strongly with Elizabeth. Same goes for Mr. Rochester -- I like him because I am so attuned to Jane. I feel guilty loving fictional characters who are already (fictionally) attached! Also, of course, I love Nik from Julie E. Czerneda's Species Imperative trilogy and Enris from the Stratification trilogy.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
I feel like it's probably one of the Harry Potter books or a Young Wizards book, simply because those books were my favorites long before I read any of the other books that are currently my favorites. I feel like I've read Jane Eyre a million times but the truth is that I've just listened to my audiobook a million times; I've only read it cover-to-cover maybe three or four times.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Probably Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -- I know I read it before I turned eleven because once I turned eleven I kept waiting for my owl from Hogwarts to come...

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Breaking Dawn. Enough said.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Usually the answer to this would be a Julie E. Czerneda book, hands down, but Rift in the Sky was such a traumatic experience that I'm not sure I can say I liked it that much. I probably don't have a 'best' list, but I really came to like Neil Gaiman (mostly for The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere), George R. R. Martin redefined 'epic' for me with A Game of Thrones, and most recently Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca sent chills all up and down my spine.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. Her books have changed my life and I can't imagine not having them in the world.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
J. K. Rowling. Her books have done more to unite the world under a banner of peace, love, and understanding than any author now alive.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Probably Diane Duane's Young Wizards books. There was actually a project to do this a while back, and Duane herself was going to write the script (before becoming a fiction writer she wrote for film and television).

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Paradise Lost. Despite the fact that at one point last year there were two projects (one studio, one independent) attempting this. I don't know why.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I was talking with Julie E. Czerneda and she got mad at me for not having made Rebecca read her books. Another time Diane Duane told me that I was being cocky because she overheard me tell my dad that I really wanted to be published by a particular sff imprint.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
The more expensive variety of paperback romance...actually, the Twilight books are probably worse. And I read fanfic, so do with that what you like.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Absalom, Absalom! by Faulkner is the first that comes to mind because it's difficult to get the story, much less something of the deeper meaning. But Paradise Lost might be the book where I've had to do the most digging for insight and meaning -- and where it has been most worthwhile.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
Probably Love's Labours Lost -- I have read more obscure Shakespeare plays than I have seen.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Oh man, my favorite revolutionaries. It's hard to pick (the Russians have Chekov!) but in the end I have to go with the French. As long as you understand that they're rarely meant to make sense, you'll be alright.

18) Roth or Updike?
No idea who these people are.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Managed to never read either of them.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Milton, hands down. See the part where that man consumed last semester at Berkeley (in a rather painfully joyous way).

21) Austen or Eliot?
Um, since when is that a question? Austen. Definitely.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I have never read anything written before Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. For non-English majors this is not at all a gap, but for me it means I haven't read Homer, Virgil, or Dante, only some of the most alluded-to authors that I've never encountered.

23) What is your favorite novel?
The Wizard's Dilemma by Diane Duane

24) Play?
Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, The Last Five Years (score by Jason Robert Brown), Metamorphosis (not by Ovid!)

25) Poem?
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds" by Shakespeare; "When I consider how my light is spent" by Milton

26) Essay?
"Trickster in a Suit of Lights: Thoughts on the Modern Short Story" by Michael Chabon

27) Short story?
I don't really like short fiction -- either reading it or writing it. "Skin So Green and Fine" is an odd Beauty and the Beast retelling that makes the cut; "Attached Please Find my Novel" is a tale of intergalactic publishing escapades that's in it for the title alone.

28) Work of non-fiction?
Erm. I don't read those?

29) Graphic novel?
See above. Although I recently read Maus and thought it was fantastic.

30) Who is your favorite writer?
Aargh hatred for this question. But it's down to Diane Duane, Julie E. Czerneda, and J. K. Rowling.

31) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I wouldn't know, I haven't read him!

32) What is your desert island book?
Tough question, but probably A Thousand Words for Stranger or The Wizard's Dilemma. Both are narratives of hope and connection in the midst of a chaotic world. But Paradise Lost might make the list because I could use all that time I was stranded to get all my Milton ideas out of my system and onto some paper.

33) And ... what are you reading right now?
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
readingredhead: (Default)
Not much update time, but I have to say -- I never really liked A Midsummer Night's Dream, and then I saw the Globe's traveling company perform it at the Globe last night and it kinda blew my mind. Can we say 1920s theme? A cast of 8 people portraying all 20+ characters through some pretty fantastic costume changes? Aforementioned actors singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments in addition to acting some of the best Shakespeare performances I have ever seen? SO AWESOME.

Also, I ate lunch at a restaurant looking out directly across the Thames at Tower Bridge. We ate on the south bank before crossing the bridge (in an intermittent thunderstorm) and getting on with our day, but it was nice to just sit for an hour, rest our already-tired feet, and look at what I would argue is the awesomest bridge in London. The Millennium Bridge may be stylish, but Tower Bridge...I don't even know why I like it so much. It just rocks.

Today I am heading into East London for my first look at the school where I will be spending most of next year! And tomorrow I finally get to see the British Library.

Addendum: I have the WORST INTERNET ACCESS EVAR right now. And it kinda makes me want to die. Might have something to do with being on the top floor of a building with wireless coverage that's poor to begin with -- on the bottom floor a few rooms away from the router I only get three bars. BUT STILL. It is making things like paying a deposit for housing at Queen Mary incredibly difficult, and if there's one thing I hate, it's technology that I spend money on and rely heavily upon not working in the way that it should. I hate that this is enough to make me angry on any given day, but it really is.
readingredhead: (Default)
I just has this odd rush of anxiety -- you know, the kind that builds up suddenly in your stomach and you're looking around you to figure out why it happened -- and I'm almost positive there was something specific that I was feeling anxious about, but the feeling vanished almost immediately and now I have no clue what it was! None at all! All I've got is this lingering back-of-the-head feeling (except it's in my stomach) that there's something I ought to be doing now that I'm not, something big that I'm missing.

Let's just hope that something big decides to expose itself before I mess something up.

In other news, I'm having issues with two classes: Shakespeare because the professor is so boring I want to die a little every time I go to his class, and Russian history because for the first time in a long time, although the prof is amazing and presents the material in an enjoyable way, I may not want to put in the effort it takes to get the A. This is not a problem in the Shakespeare class; it may be boring as hell but I got great grades on the first paper and the midterm. But for Russian history, the only grades are the midterm and final. I got an A- on the midterm, which covered much less than the final and is only worth 40% of my grade.

I understand this is nothing to worry about because 1) the lowest I will realistically get in the class is a B and 2) in the real world people get B's all the time, but I'm psycho and that's just the way these things happen for me.

Other than that, I'm stuck somewhere in creative limbo. I've been revising short stories for too long, I need to write something original. Also I need to read. I have five new books that just came in the mail, all with varying degrees of awesome, but I have so much homework-y stuff to do that I've promised myself I won't start in on them until after dinner on Sunday.

The weeks since the end of Spring Break have just been flying by...and I'm sad that the semester is ending. I don't know if I want to spend my whole summer back in marvelous socal suburbia. I've caught the Berkeley bug, but now it's too late to look into getting a job and housing to stay up here over the summer. If I'd thought about it earlier -- okay, let's be realistic, if I'd realized earlier that the things that were tying me to home were not going to be there by the time summer came around -- I could've gotten an internship or something and stayed up here. But now I'm applying to jobs back home. Menial stuff really. I'd love to get hired at the Borders just so I could work with all those books, and I'm also applying to be a library page. We'll see how that goes. Either way, I've got an excruciatingly free summer.

And yes, it's also basically too late to think about summer school classes.

I never thought I would be sitting here and wishing that I didn't have to go home for the summer. I thought I would love this place, but I don't know if I ever realized I would love it as much as (or more than) "home."
readingredhead: (Burning)
Grrr...I have a Russian history midterm tomorrow that's worth 40% of my overall grade. I haven't done the math, but I'm pretty sure that means I have to get an A on it to get an A in the class. Which, you know, isn't necessary, but would be really nice. I see no reason not to get A's in English and history classes. Now if I were being forced to take math I'd probably let myself go a little bit, but as it is, it's history. And I know it.

(For a minute though--really, whom am I kidding? Me, let myself go? Preposterous proposition.)

Anyway, I feel like I haven't studied enough because there are definitely things I don't know, and I'm just hoping they won't end up on the test--I'll be really pissed (and frankly surprised) if they do. Not worried about essays because we've got four options and only have to write two, but the IDs are worth 20% of the grade and it's just two terms we have to define, no picking and choosing.

I'm a little worried about time. Two essays, two IDs, one and a half hours. My last history midterm was the same length of time and consisted of one essay and four IDs. I don't think I'll be able to do justice to the essay topics in one and a half hours. I could totally own them with just a little more time!

In other words, my Shakespeare midterm went well. One of the EC questions was definitely from Hamlet -- Laertes to Ophelia, "Weigh what loss your honor may sustain" -- and I was instantly transported back to Krucli's class with Rob yelling out "family honor" as the answer to every question.

My plan for tonight is to get to sleep early, wake up early, and study until the test starts. Then I might skip out on my Shakespeare class (since I haven't done the reading and attendance really isn't mandatory) and just chill for the rest of the day, doing all the other homework I've been putting off. Sounds like a great idea, the more I think about it. I just don't like the idea of skipping class...

Aargh.

Mar. 10th, 2008 12:04 am
readingredhead: (Default)
I am officially done with my short story and I don't hate it. Lauren, if you're reading this and you got my message and are worried at all, don't be. It turned out very well. You are still my muse and sounding board and I miss our long and involved conversations about literature. Are you home over spring break?

Um, anyway, I've still got two midterms this week but now they don't look so terrible. I've been working as hard as I really can this weekend and getting things done surprisingly well despite my fears that the wouldn't ever be completed. I also managed to get a sunburn on about two inches of my lower back between the bottom of my t-shirt and the top of my shorts (it was warm and sunny on Saturday so Rebecca and I laid outside on towels and read, and I put on sunscreen but I didn't realize the t-shirt was that short). Every time I get a sunburn I realize how humiliating and undignified they are. You can't look serious at all when you're sunburnt. Thankfully this one's easily hidden, and it'll remind me not to go outside without thorough sunscreening in the future.

I should be going to sleep but I won't feel tired for another hour...unfortunately that means that when I have to wake up at 8AM tomorrow it'll be like waking up at 7AM instead. I hate the way this time change thing works, I much prefer the fall when we gain an hour.

I think I'm going to go read a young adult book now that deals with cross-dressing, Shakespeare, and pirates. Let the fun ensue!
readingredhead: (Default)
Thursday (3/6):

--study for Russian history (afternoon)
--bSpace post due for English by 5pm

Friday (3/7):

--meet with Tony Bliss at 10am
--talk to admissions office about IB credit (again)

Saturday (3/8):

--study for Russian history (time TBD)

Sunday (3/9):

--assorted homework and reading
--study for Shakespeare midterm

Monday (3/10)

--short story due
--2 short story critiques due
--read Book 1 Cantos 2-6 of The Faerie Queen

Tuesday (3/11)

--Shakespeare midterm at 12:30pm
--study for Russian history midterm
--IM soccer game at 9pm
--begin re-reading King Lear

Wednesday (3/12)

--study for Russian history midterm
--have read Book 1 Cantos 7-9 of The Faerie Queen
--UGIS 39B project proposal due

Thursday (3/13)

--Russian history midterm at 11am
--have King Lear read for Shakespeare

Things that are due and when they are due:
--bSpace post (tomorrow)
--short story (Monday)
--short story critiques (Monday)
--Book 1 Cantos 2-6 of The Faerie Queen (Monday)
--UGIS 39B project proposal (Wednesday)
--King Lear (Thursday)

Things I need to do in order to study adequately for midterms:
--finish reading Russian history reader
--review Russian history IDs
--review "In the Shadow of Revolution" summaries
--listen to recorded lectures for Russian history
--finish reading "In the Shadow of Revolution"
--review Russian history essay possibilities
--review passages discussed in Shakespeare class
--review notes for both classes

Is it a bad thing that this really isn't that much to do, and yet I have very little desire to do it all? Specifically, all the work for this Russian history class. I love the subject matter but it makes me nervous that 40% of my grade depends on this midterm. (Granted in the Shakespeare class it makes me nervous that I have no idea how much of my grade depends upon this midterm, but at least for that class we have two papers in addition to the midterm and final.) Oh, and I suppose for fiction, too. I don't want to write a short story. I don't think I've found one I can fall in love with. Sucks for me.

And yet this should not be difficult. I seriously have all the time in the world to do this stuff. So why is it that things still don't get done to the last minute? I didn't think I was that kind of procrastinator, but sure enough I haven't even done my laundry in a week and a half or cleaned up my impossibly messy desk and floorspace since moving back in. I don't like it. I just also don't like the idea of doing something about it.
--re-read the end of Hamlet
readingredhead: (Default)
Well, I got one of the papers done. In about two hours. And about Othello, of all things!

Of course, that's the paper that's not due for another week. The one due Friday, I still don't have a clue about. Chaucer's fun, but nothing of his language really jumped out and grabbed me. Perhaps I need to reread a few portions that might help me out. Having just written about Othello and his insecurities I have an odd urge to write about cuckoldry in the Wife of Bath's Prologue and the Miller's Tale. "Cuckoldry" is a really terrible world, by which I mean it's an amusing word but (one would assume) a hellish condition.

I keep doing things that I don't need to do (or that are less pressingly important) in order to procrastinate on the paper.

This is also procrastinating. (Go figure.)
readingredhead: (Default)
So I'm annoyed right now because I have two papers due within the next two weeks and I don't want to write either of them. Worse than that -- they're English papers, and I don't want to write them.

Maybe if I had a decent idea for what I was going to write them about, it wouldn't be such a bad deal, but as it is I've got a paper due Friday and a paper due a week from Tuesday and there is no subject that's really catching my fancy for either of them.

Of course, there are other things that I can do, and probably I'll do them, since it's nice to get things done. Probably I'll read ahead for Shakespeare or for Russian. But reading ahead, while great, doesn't get my papers written for me.

(I've noticed lately that I'm a very complaining person. I need to whine before I can get something done. Maybe that's not completely true, but I do it anyway. Today I called my dad because I was bothered that I had to write the papers, and I realized that literally the only thing I wanted to talk to him about was my own complaining. I'm pathetic, huh?)
readingredhead: (Default)
Agh, too many things I want to do and not enough time to do it.  I've got  a bajillion things to do tonight.

1. finish writing my short story
2. read and critique two short stories
3. vote for Barack Obama
4. begin reading As You Like It
5. read more of Canterbury Tales
6. go to a students for Obama party tonight (watching election results)
7. go to an Alumni association meeting
8. do research for the library seminar

Um, I'm sure there's something else I'm forgetting.  And of course I don't have to do all of those, but I really want to.  Especially the Obama party, because it's at my favorite pizza place on northside.  Maybe I'll get Becca to come with me?

I stayed up til 1AM last night in order to watch the beginning of the A&E Pride and Prejudice, and it makes me immensely happy.

Maybe if the voiting thing doesn't take too long, I'll be able to make everything work.
readingredhead: (Talk)
Well, I'm writing this from within my Shakespeare class, which should say something about how much it's keeping my attention. At first glance, I thought that the professor would be a pretty interesting guy. At first glance, he vaguely reminded me of Mr. McClure -- obviously a good thing. But this second real lecture has been so uninformative that I'm rather annoyed. Especially because Shakespeare is so great and it shouldn't be butchered. Not that it's being butchered yet, but still...I think it could be a lot better. I thought that it was going to be a lot better. Oh well, I'm not dropping the class -- it's what I need for the English major, and while he's no Goldsmith, he at least speaks in occasionally understood English. I'll deal because I have to.

Vikram Chandra, my creative writing teacher, is growing on me a bit. At first I didn't really like him because he didn't seem very personal, the total opposite of his wife, who was my teacher last semester. But now I know he's at least ridiculously smart, even if not fully personable still. I think things will go okay in that class, too, though I'm not quite comfortable with it all yet.

Russian history is awesome. The professor is a really great lecturer, provided that you're close enough to the front of he room to hear him. And it helps that Russia is just that awesome and interesting. There's a freakish amount of reading -- an 800 page reader, plus two textbooks and two novels -- but I know I'll be able to get it done.

My early English class is actually a lot better than I'd thought it would be. Chaucer's not at all hard to read, and my GSI is the same one I had for English last semester, and she likes me and I suppose I like her as well. Prof. Adelman is interesting so far...

The seminar's turing out well...I haven't really done much with it yet, but I'm looking forward to it still. We get to see a lot of stuff that's in the archives at the Bancroft library, and we have good access to the collections. They've got the first four Shakespeare folios!

...really, I'm just bored bored bored of this class, but I need to tell myself it's necessary, and if nothing else, by the end of the semester, I'll have read a lot more Shakespeare plays.
readingredhead: (Talk)
I've been doing a lot of procrastinating lately. For instance, it's 5:15 right now and I haven't touched my homework, despite the fact that I've got a few things to do -- Spanish, Calculus -- and an MUN conference to prepare for.

The thing is, I can't get myself worked up over doing work. It's a bad thing, because it's not going to get any better as the school year progresses, but I'm just in a bit of a slump right now. I hope it's just because I'm sick, and that it's not going to become a habit, but I've got my worries.

I'm not going to stop doing things -- I don't think that would be possible. I'm not going to stop doing my work and getting it done. But I'm also going to not be completely productive for a while, I fear.

I've been struck lately with an odd desire to write fanfiction. No particular fandom, no actual plot -- just the drive to have lots of people I don't know in the real world review my story and reaffirm how important I am. The instant gratification of reviews is why I stopped writing fanfiction in the first place, and I'm not about to return to it, but this is the first time in a long time that I've wanted to.

Slightly random though this is, I'm kind of annoyed with having to switch groups in humanities. I really liked the old Group A -- we had some decent people, and we all worked really well together. I understand the groups needed to be split up a bit, but I don't see why it was done so drastically. Is there supposed to be something wrong with letting us hang out with the people we like? Reminds me of Anthem: Transgression of Preference?

Lots of things have been reminding me of books lately. For instance, Beauty and the Beast somehow has been connected in my mind to Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice? And werewolves? This is what happens when you decide to do a new take on an old story -- time pollution kicks in and all of the thoughs and theories that weren't around when the story was first told clamor to be included in the new version.

I've got an MUN conference this weekend -- well, Friday and Saturday. On the one hand, I don't want to go, but on the other I'll be glad to attend. It's Huntington Beach MUN, which isn't overly challenging.

I'm also considering whether I want to take part in tomorrow's Humanities talent show. If anything, I'd just recite a poem -- one of Shakespeare's sonnets, probably? I've become rather partial to "Let me not to the marriage of true minds," because I love the sentiments expressed. Oh Will, why so good? You make the rest of us look like tongueless fools.

Maybe I've spent enough time procrastinating now. Maybe I'll go do something worthwhile now. Or maybe I'll go memorize a sonnet. Either way, I'll go do something.

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