I've decided to continue this whole "reading for pleasure" thing.
I've also decided to put off the finishing of my thesis this semester.
Big decisions--seriously; especially the second one. But important decisions. Healthy decisions.
Reality is that I am trying to pay monstrous rent--alone, as in all by myself--in the Bay Area. No easy feat, let me tell you, seeing as how I don't have a "real" job and make my money cobbling together substituting positions, in addition to tutoring two nights a week and going to school two days a week (with what turns out to be basically a 3 hour commute between walking to the Bart, taking the Bart to Daly City, taking the shuttle or Muni bus to school, etc.). And I still want to read, run swaps and charity drives, run (as in on my feet), read books outside of school, sleep on occasion, and knit on the Bart. Oh, and still have friends.
It took a lot of pain and stress to come to the decision of delaying my thesis this semester. But the Post-Secondary Reading Certificate Program I'm currently in requires a massive amount of reading, project-work, and is sort-of competitive and is becoming more so over time as students realize how beneficial it is to the ascertainment of Bay Area community college jobs.
So. So what? So I'll be thirty-two years old when I finish this damn MA in English Literature with a Certification in teaching community college integrated reading and writing skills. So what. I guess I am still working on convincing myself that it is okay that I've have taken what seems like forever to finish this degree. I am fortunate to have my friend, B., who tells me she is utterly relieved that I've made this decision and that she had been wanting to tell me that I was really trying to take on too much this semester. That helps. Seriously helpful to have a close friend tell you with great sincerity that you are making a good decision about your future. Now, I just have to come to terms with it for myself.
As for reading:
- Claire LaZebnik's Knitting Under the Influence. I am not so sure I agree with the commentary about Knitting Under the Influence on the back cover by Cathryn Michon, author of The Grrl Genius Guide to Life:
“Jane Austen invented “chick lit” (if that term means witty novels that closely observe the details that matter to women), and this intelligent, hilarious book is peopled with wise yet flawed women who, like the best of Austen’s heroines, always choose love over ‘marrying well'"
I can't say that LaZebnik's book is exactly Austen--but then again, I am not an Austen expert. Yet, still, there is something within me that says she isn't Jane Austen. However, she writes a pleasant book to read. It was also fun to see knitting incorporated within the story by someone who clearly knows how to knit. I recommend this book as fun, light, bathtub reading (although all books and even hardcore philosophy or literature theory books are always candidates for bathtub reading, in my opinion).
- Children of God by Mary Doria Russell. Sequel to The Sparrow which I wrote about in this post. Not at all disappointed in the sequel! So happy to not hate the sequel; actually, so happy to be devouring the sequel. Gorgeous. Wonderful. Delicious.
As Melanie of Tea Reads noted, the first novel reminded her of what it might have been like for the:
"[...] pioneers coming across aboriginal peoples, with horrible results because they couldn't understand each other, coming from utterly different assumptions of beauty, kindness, hospitality. (Granted, most pioneers didn't have such good intentions in those situations!) Now I think of how the West is viewing Islam, assuming that Muslims in general are not like Westerners, and therefore do not have the same values: family, security, etc. Tragic."
- Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller. Beautiful at moments, but a bit jarringly/disconnectedly written. Probably will finish after I finish the above book.
- A literature theorist/critic's memoir. Lorna Sage's (who has written extensively on Angela Carter, my thesis' main subject) Bad Blood: A Memoir.
- Alice Walker's We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness.
- Jon Kraukauer's Into the Wild. Must say that I LOVE Kraukauer's non-fiction. Actually, I believe that is all he writes--no fiction.
- Gary Thorp's Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks.
Now I must go get a quick run/slrog in before the sun disappears and hit the groceries as I need a few general items to make my first Indian-food meal this evening: Dal Tadka (made with Toor Dal--split pigeon peas) with rice to accompany.