Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What are We Doing?

Give me a moment to say THANK GOODNESS IT'S SUMMER BREAK!!! :) So, where are we at with our reading? Like all "real world" people who work and feel overwhelmed, we all got behind! We have scheduled to go see several different Shakespeare plays in August at the Renaissance Festival in Cedar City, so that will cover Shakespeare, right?!? Yea, I know...it won't even begin to cover all that I would need to know!!! Just don't tell me that or I'll freak out!

Doc has done really well with all the reading. She hasn't been thrilled with it, and she's now reaffirmed the fact that she doesn't really like "classics" or "educated" literature. I had to laugh though because she said that she thinks it's because she like YA lit and other such "frivolities." The reason I laugh? Because I like them too!

Anyway, this is the month of Shakespeare, so if you're reading along, you should be reading his plays. If you're like me, I just finished To the Lighthouse. I thought I'd really like Woolf's book, but the last official section that goes to the lighthouse seemed rather odd to me. I need to pull up some articles so that I can connect more in it. I'm still reading Hardy's novel too. I have to own up to the fact though that I got behind because I started reading Stephanie Meyer's books Twilight and New Moon because my students were going crazy over it. I've also been reading Uglies, yet another YA book that has been popular with my students. I try to stay up on their stuff so that I can know what to recommend or not. That's not an excuse, but I can say that I've still been reading!

Best of luck if you're following along, hanging on, or any of the above! School is out, I'm in Idaho now enjoying a nice Idaho summer (which I still contend is the best out there), but will be traveling back and forth. My best to all of you! Happy Summer!!! :)

22 Days to Greece and Turkey!!!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Horrifyingly Behind...

After sleeping for hours on end this weekend, I continued to slip further and further behind in my reading! It sounds like Cool Breeze is on a similar page with me--in a way--but doing better. Doc is screaming through whatever she reads, which always amazes me. Who's the English person/people here?!? :)

So, we should be finished with War and Peace as of yesterday!!! (I'm sorry, do you hear the laughter???) I know we're all picking away at it, but I don't think any of us are even close to being finished with it. Keep going my friends! We WILL conquer the daunting thing!

For today, we should be beginning John Dryden's play "All for Love." Plays read pretty quickly, so that's a self-esteem boost there! Good luck, and don't forget to post something if you have read something and have some insight to throw our direction.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Keeping 'Em All Straightened Out?

I wasn't sure if anyone else felt like I did, but even though I'm only through the first five chapters, we've been thrown a lot of characters! There are some places online where you can get reading guides that will serve as "worksheets" if you need them. (I'll try to post them on here later.) Anyway, I do have a couple of sites that I thought were interesting/cool that I thought I'd pass along!

Democracy Now! spent FOUR DAYS reading this...see their site about it.
One person's experience reading Tolstoy, from Salon.com
Oprah! even gives you some meat to chew on about Tolstoy! :)
An interesting thumbs up from U. of Virginia professor about reading Tolstoy.
And...someone who had way too much time and their hands and figured out messages embedded in his text (as if tackling revolutions and obsessed leaders wasn't enough)

Okay, I have to stop procrastinating the lesson plans I need to finish for in the morning! My Spring Break is officially over. :( No, I didn't find myself in a bikini anywhere (thank goodness) or covered in whipped cream (darn...that might have been nice), but I had a nice time reading. C'mon! This is a GRE LITERATURE blog...what can we expect but boring days of reading?!? All right...back to my lesson plans. Now THAT is boring! (28 more teaching days until Summer!)

Monday, April 16, 2007

At "War" With This List!

So we're off to War and Peace, which from what I understand, is a pretty incredible novel. I'm excited to read it, but I'm not excited by how far behind I am! Doc and Cool Breeze are doing great, but I am the one (the one taking the test no less) who has still only read the two of the books so far! I took some time out to read Kazuo Ishiguro's new book Never Let Me Go, which was a strange book, but along the lines of what I should keep up on in Contemporary Literature. I'm also reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer because I've been on the list to read that book for months now! How could I pass it by?!? Anyway, good luck with War and Peace, and don't forget to post your thoughts and reactions!!! Good luck! :)

P.S. Doc and I have tickets to visit Greece and Turkey this summer from July 5th to the 20th! It's only taken us what...five years to actually go on our big international trip we've always talked about!?! :)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Shaw and Woolf

We're technically supposed to be reading "Arms of a Man" by George Bernard Shaw, and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. If you're like me, you're terribly behind!!! Teaching school and having a life outside of school just don't seem to mix. :) Thirty-six days until summer vacation, thirty-six days until summer, thirty-six days until summer...that is my mantra right now! Can I vent a second by saying how impossible every day seems as you near the end of the school year? Any good sense a student might have towards being able to pay attention and/0r concentrate have long flown out the window. So, quite literally, they're like the baby that's gone past being sleepy and is now giving whoever fits by screaming and flailing around. Doc Leer one time told me that someone needed to invent spray Ritalin so that a teacher might spray it over a rowdy class, but I'm thinking something more along the line of a strong tranquilizer might be better! :) Okay, enough on teaching! The fact that we've sunk to #25 in the world says plenty...and I wouldn't blame teachers!!!

We're going to be posting a schedule on here soon, so keep your eyes peeled (I've always wondered about the meaning behind that phrase). War and Peace are coming up pretty quickly, so I think we should all brace ourselves for the onslaught to come! Lots of love, and keep those posts coming; we all like to see how you're all feeling about these crazy pieces. :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Off to Two New Pieces!

So we got painfully behind. At least I did, and my Cool Breeze friend. :) We were technically supposed to have read Picture of Dorian Gray last week, to finish last night, but some "difficulties" popped up that had us all a bit behind. Good news though, I now have the GRE Literature test book, but no time to really look at it yet. I've flipped through it and actually feel comfortable with all the "general" information I saw on literature and theory. For this week we're reading Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. Happy reading, and we'll be posting more information as our muddled brains and lives will allow!

For the 28th, read "The Rape of the Lock," and then on the 30th "Fern Hill."

For the 1st, we will start off with Eliot's "The Wasteland" (hang on to your hats on that one!). I found some interesting sites on the poem, which I will list below if you want to take a look:
--"The Wasteland HomePage" (Interesting connection to another Bruegel painting)
--An interesting forum post about each section of the poem.
--Another web site dedicated to an analysis of the poem.
--This site "Bookrags" has some nice links to biographies of Eliot, as well as articles, etc.

For the 3rd, read "Lycidas," followed by "Comus" on the 4th, and the play Arms and the Man to round out that week.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

"The Author's Epitaph, Made By Himself"

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569)
Here's the painting mentioned on the list.
Also, check out "The Author's Epitaph, Made By Himself" by Sir Walter Raleigh.

And the Adventure Begins!

So, let me first begin by explaining how this all came about. Mon, Cool Breeze, and I (Mon was my roommate at BYU, and has her masters in Social Work. Cool Breeze is a friend, and current roommate, from K-State, where she got her masters in English-Creative Writing...two smart cookies!) were sitting around our table Tuesday night eating a lovely dinner when we started reminiscing over graduate school and how much we missed it. More than anything, we missed all the great reading we did, along with those discussions that made our brains hurt sometimes. Next thing I knew, they both started telling me that I need to take the GRE subject test in Literature. Now I've always said that I can't get my PhD because my foggy-memoried brain just won't wrap itself around all the theory I poured over in graduate school, but even thinking about being a PhD student makes me crazy jealous. It's always been a "pipe dream," one that I've ever only talked about in mocking "as if" language. Well, with their coaxing, and their effervescent enthusiasm to read a monstrous list of suggested books, poems, and short stories with me, we've decided to tackle the list in one year. At the end of which, I'll "attempt" the subject test. After that, who knows!

Here's my deal...I love ethnic lit., diversity studies, etc., and I have my MA in English, emphasis Cultural Studies. While at the great Kansas State University, I focused my studies on ethnic lit., mainly in Native American Literature. That was a great time in my life, and I now teach American and World Literature at Lehi High School in Lehi, Utah. Reading all these books and pieces will be difficult at times (hello...War and Peace and "The Fairie Queen," need I say more?), but it will also be great fun if you all jump on board!

Monica is currently coming up with a reading schedule. Our list is based off of a geocities link that everyone seems to be referring to. That link is: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/5187/gre.html, and seems to be pretty comprehensive. I'm a little concerned about the fact that there doesn't seem to be any "contemporary" pieces on the list, but as Monica so kindly reminded me, I've covered that on my own. :) As we get the reading schedule, I'll post it here for all to take a look at. For now, our first selection is: E. M. Forster's A Passage to India (a little ironic I think...). We are aiming to have this read by Sunday, March 11th. After we have finished, drop in and make a posting by clicking on "comment," that way we can have a "virtual" discussion of the book.

Good luck, and thanks for joining me on this mighty quest!

मई थे लोर्द ब्लेस उस इन थिस जौर्नेय। (Hindi for "May the Lord bless us in this journey.)