Sunday, August 17, 2014

My New Rant

So, I've been on a kick reading books about women in the military.  I'm looking for three good ones to write a paper about - probably centering on PTSD.  I've definitely got one - The Road Home by Ellen Emerson, which is about a nurse who served in Vietnam.  I will also probably use Home Front by Kristin Hannah.  That one is set during the Iraq/Afghan war and will make a good choice.  IT's that third one that's becoming elusive. 

I've read two by Kim Ponders, The Last Blue Mile and The Art of Uncontrolled Flight.  Both talk about the ostracism of women pilots, but neither really addresses PTSD at all.  My biggest issue, however, is that Uncontrolled Flight had a typo - which may not seem like much, but it's one of those you just can't let go of.  It read, "You're father's an amazing man."  Seriously?  How many times does this have to be beaten into people for them to get it?  It's really not rocket science, folks, and for a writer, it's an inexcusable error. 

Okay - rant finished.  Off to start Sand Queen by Helen Benedict - hopefully this will be my third novel, but if not, I've got a couple others waiting in the wings that sound promising.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Such a slacker!

Well, it's been a while.  Guess I thought I deserved some time off after all that strenuous reading.  I have still been reading, but now I've been reading novels about women in the military.  I am going to write a paper about them, so I need a few to choose from.  I've read three so far, and only one seems like it's not going to work.  There was another one I started yesterday, but it is very poorly written, so I only got a few pages into it.  I have three others to go through - and then I will narrow it down to three to write about the trials and tribulations of being a woman in a traditionally man's world. 

After that, I need to focus in on what my other two papers will be on - well, the exact works I will use.  I pretty much know one will be about the Iraqi short story writer Daisy Al-Amir and the other will be be on means of human reproduction in utopian and dystopian fiction.  Sounds like a lot of work, right?  Well, it is, but it's got to be done if I'm ever going to finish this third Master's ('cuz everyone needs three Master's degrees, don't they?).  I'm such an over achiever!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


And just like that (sort of), I am DONE!!!  Joyce is finished and so is the list.  26 books in 49 weeks - I finished a full three weeks before my deadline, even with a span of eight weeks where I did not get to read a thing.  Very happy with myself and the achievement of my goal.

So - here is a recap of the 26 books on the list and how long it took me to read each one:

Catch-22 - 17 days
Lolita - 10 days
The Great Gatsby - 7 days
Invisible Man - 20 days
Slaughterhouse Five - 16 days
The Catcher in the Rye - 4 days
The Sound and the Fury - 17 days
1984 - 6 days
Beloved - 13 days
The Grapes of Wrath - 9 days
To Kill a Mockingbird - 4 days
The Sun Also Rises - 6 days
An American Tragedy - 10 days
Atlas Shrugged - 37 days (not surprised this one took the longest by far!)
Brave New World - 2 days
Gone with the Wind - 9 days
Midnight's Children - 10 days
My Antonia - 4 days
On the Road - 3 days
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - 3 days
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - 3 days
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - 2 days
The Tropic of Cancer - 8 days
Their Eyes were Watching God  - 6 days
To the Lighthouse - 16 days
Ulysses - 13 days (surprisingly small number!)

And now a couple of thoughts:
Whoever makes up these lists is nuts.  Some of these books are definitely on these lists because people have been hoodwinked into thinking they are good, not because they actually are.

Amazingly, Faulkner was not at the bottom of my list.  Before starting the list, that's exactly where I would have put him.

The worst novel on the list - Ulysses (complete junk to me)
Next worst - Atlas Shrugged (too long and too repetitive)
Next worst - Lolita  (too perverted, even for me! ^_^)
Noneof these should be on any top 100 list - ever, and especially not top 10.

My top three:
Slaughterhouse Five
To Kill a Mockingbird
Their Eyes were Watching God

Biggest surprises (as in, I really enjoyed it when I did not know I would):
Midnight's Children
An American Tragedy

Now - what to do with myself?  Don't worry.  There is plenty still on my plate.  I have a conference this weekend, then I have to get to reading The Serial Set: Its Make-Up and Content because I have a book review to write for publication.  Who knows?  After that book, I may be begging to read Joyce again (but I doubt it!).

After that, I need to get to work on my three 15-page papers for my comp exam for my Master's in English.  That will seem like a cake walk after some of this.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Can't Complain

Barely got anything read today, but 15 pages is better than nothing.  Some progress is better than none. Only 150 pages left - whoo hoo!!  And on I go, muddling through in the face of adversity and ennui.  Good thing I'm stubborn enough to never give up, right?

And this, I had to share:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Little Pause

After my kick-ass feat yesterday of reading the entire episode 15, I decided today was a good break day.  After all, like McDonald's used to say, I deserve a break today.  My goal is to finish up Part Three, the last three episodes, by Thursday.  that will free me up to fully enjoy my conference this weekend.  After that, I'll get to hit it hard for my comps - those three 15-page essays I have to write over the course of the rest of the year.  Sounds like a plan to me!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Real Progress Today

Today, somehow, I read ALL of Episode 15 - all 150 pages!  That has been quite a feat, if I do say so myself.  It's written in the form of a play, and, according to Wikipedia, contains all sorts of hallucinations that Bloom and Stephen have.  I was wondering, because in the part about Bloom being on trial, he goes from a serial cheater to wanting to be spanked to cross-dressing to a king to voyeurism (as in wanting to watch and take pictures).  Crazy stuff there.

I did find one thing interesting - at one point, Joyce mentions "Big Brother," a phrase I thought came about much later, 30 years later when Orwell wrote Animal Farm.  Live and learn, right?

My favorite alliterative passage in Episode 15:

And my favorite sentence, since it's something I say all the time:

You know - to the deaf man on the phone!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Good Progress

Made it through two episodes today for a total of 66 pages - that's not chickenfeed!  Regarding yesterday's reading as well, here is a brief recap:

Chapter 12 – gossip about Bloom
Chapter 13 – the women
Chapter 14 – the allegorical tale

Weird way to put together a novel, but since I have never written one, who am I to judge?

I keep noticing alliteration again - so much floating around.  Here are a few examples:

Even his Latin is alliterative:

And who remembers George Strait’s character in Pure Country?
None other than:

Probably not where they got it from, but it still made me think of the movie and my favorite line, “What’s the matter – you like him, dontcha?”

On page 350 now , but now it's time for the demon chapter - Episode 15 with 150 pages.  At least I know that when I make it through that chapter, I'll only have 3 more episodes and 165 pages to go!  But that is for another day - today I have a minor league ball game to go to followed by a Kevin Fowler concert!!  Sounds much more important (and interesting) than a Joyce novel, right??!!