"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A New Job, Summer Reading, and a Great White Whale of a Book

May I just take a moment to talk about how THRILLED I am with my new job?  I absolutely love it!  The people are awesome, the work is fun, and the time simply flies by!  (Plus, I got my first paycheck today, and was rather pleased with what I saw).  And did I mention that I work in a library?  Yes?  No?  Well, I work in a library and I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!

So, yeah.  Life after college isn't looking too bad.  True, I miss my college friends, but I am so happy with where I am right now...I feel as though God has some really good things in store for me, and I can't wait to see what He has planned.  Life.  Is.  Good :)

I'll be posting some more book reviews real soon.  Currently reading a few books at once, so hopefully one of these should finish up in the next couple of days.  Sarah and I are still reading Moby-Dick, which is surprisingly good, but very strange.  Also, I'm attempting to tackle my LXG Reading Challenge this summer, starting with King Solomon's MinesMoby-Dick, meanwhile, will count towards my Summer School summer reading theme.

Speaking of summer reading, did I mention that the summer reading program is starting up at my library in a few days?  I'm really excited.  You all should see if your local libraries are hosting summer reading programs.  They're a fun way to earn some cool prizes, and read a lot of good books :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)

Class: African American Literature
Reason for Not Reading: I found the phonetic spelling for the dialogue tedious

Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford, a light-skinned woman of color who refuses to let life's continuous trials and tribulations keep her down, throughout her life with her grandmother and three marriages to vastly different men.  At the heart of this novel is a feminist masterwork of wonder and inspiration.

I started off really excited to read this book.  After all, my professor really pumped it up.  It was supposed to be one of the greatest works of African American literature, perhaps of American literature in general.  And certainly one of the greatest female voices of the twentieth century.  But, I got about three chapters in, and I was just not impressed.  Mostly, I was frustrated, because all the characters spoke in thick dialects which were very difficult to read and actually understand.  So, I put the book aside and relied on class discussion to pass the test.

Reading it again, I found myself falling into the same problems.  And at first, I found it really difficult to connect with the protagonist, Janie Crawford.  I just didn't see the female empowerment aspects of the text.  As I started getting into it more, I found myself having a bit of fun with the book, reluctantly at first, and soon with more and more vim and vigor.  By the end, I was actually rather enjoying myself.  That being said, I still didn't quite see what the big deal was.  I thought it was a good book, but not this GRAND MASTERWORK which everyone else claimed it was.

A few things I liked:   First, I really enjoyed the use of language.  The descriptions are really poetic at times.  Some scenes were quite simply just beautiful to read.  And I really enjoyed them.  And even by the end, I found myself enjoying the phonetic dialogue.  It made the story come alive a bit more, since the characters had an added level of realism to them.  And I even liked the message the book brought to the table, namely that Janie doesn't need to be ruled by anyone (her husbands, her grandmother, the town, etc.); she just needs to find her own path and work toward that.

I think the worst part of this book was simply that I didn't pick up on the great message that everyone always seems to talk about in this book.  I just didn't see it.  And that was disappointing.  I think all the positive reviews, set my expectations a bit high.  But, I mean, they are pretty lofty.  This one from Alice Walker was printed on the front cover of my copy: "There is no book more important to me than this one."  I mean, you have to admit, that is some seriously high praise.  And I just couldn't agree.

Certainly not a bad book.  I gave it a 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads (which means "I liked it"), and I wouldn't mind picking it up again in a few years.  (In some freak twist of fate, I actually have TWO copies of this book....One with the correct pagination for the class, and one with a prettier cover.  So, I guess that means I kinda have to read it again, doesn't it?)

I'm a College Graduate...Who Let That Happen?

So, yesterday, I graduated from college.  Emmy Hart, BA in English.  I have no idea how that happened.  And I don't really think it's hit me yet.  I mean, I don't think it's going to really going to hit me until The Brother goes back to campus in August.  Then, when I'm sitting here, all by myself, or preparing to go to my JOB...then I'll start freaking out about how college is over and stuff.  Right now, I think I'm in denial.  But, the ceremony was nice (even though I got pretty sunburned).

So, that being said, this is officially SUMMER!  And summer means Summer Reading!  I know I posted about this on my blog about a week ago, and I got a few comments, both via the blogosphere and in person.  And although it was really close (literally 2 to 1), it looks like my theme this year is going to be "Summer School: Books I Didn't Read For Class, But Was Supposed To."  I'll be posting later tonight, seeing as I've almost finished my first book of the summer.

Just a quick rundown for Summer Reading this year....I'll be including a page, just like I always do for this season.  Summer starts today, and goes until my little brother returns to college (ie., sometime in August).  I'll be reviewing books here, and on Goodreads, so be sure to check out my reviews there, as well!  For the "Summer School" books, I'll make sure to include not only a review, but also the class the book was for, and the reason I didn't actually read it.  I hope this is a lot of fun :)

If you guys have any book suggestions, remember: I work in a library, so I'll be able to pick up your suggestions as soon as possible.  Just let me know!

Although, I'll be honest, I do have a few books already lined up in the que: Dresden Files 3: Grave Peril (Jim Butcher), Three Bags Full (Leonie Swann), and The Psychopath Test (Jon Ronson).

Have a great summer, y'all!

(I still can't believe I've graduated......)

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I graduate in a couple of hours.

*Hides under the bed*

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I graduate tomorrow.

*Takes a deep breath*


*Runs away in a panic*

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Finding My Mentor

I finally had the chance to meet with my poetry mentor today.  And we discussed poetry, publishing, etc.  And he told me he liked my writing.  And he wants to keep in contact, and help me in my career.  He even wants to get me a copy of his latest book, when it comes out in September!  I'm very excited :)
I know I still have a long way to go, but with his assistance and guidance, I have a feeling I'll be able to make it in the poetry world someday.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer Reading Prep 2013

My graduation from college is less than a week away.  And I'm already thinking about my summer reading challenge for the year. (Are you surprised??  I'm an English major who is going to be working in a library!)  So, that being said, it's time to start thinking about what I want my summer reading theme to be.  And also, how to establish the boundaries of what summer is for me (since I won't be going back to school for a little while).

To start: summer boundaries.  For summer 2013, summer starts after I graduate and will end with my brother returning to college in the fall (which is basically where my summer would end if I was going back as well.)  I'm going to hopefully start a graduate program in the spring.  So, Summer 2014 will be bookended by my graduate classes.  For now, that's all the summer I'm going to try and figure out.

And right now, my biggest question is what my reading theme will be for the summer.  Here are a few of my ideas.  Please feel free to tell me what you think of these/add your own.  Since I've started this blog, I've had three summers worth of reading themes.  Just to refresh your memory, they were:

2010: Gothic Novels
2011: Scary Stories/Mythical Monsters
2012: A Summer in Middle Earth
2013: ????

And here are some possible themes for this summer:
Summer at Sea: Maritime novels and stories (ie. Moby Dick, Treasure Island, Typee)
Summer School: All those books I didn't read for class after all... (Lolita, The Sound and the Fury, Bleak House)
Summer of Psychos: Watching horror movies and reading the books which inspired them (The Exorcist, Psycho, The Shining)
A One-Author Summer: Choose to focus theme on the writings of just one person (John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Jeanette Winterson)

So!  Just let me know which of these themes you like (or if you have another awesome one, please suggest it!  When you give me a theme, try to include a few book titles as well, so I have an idea of what sort of reading this would be!  I'll be posting a poll in the sidebar, and will announce my theme a week from today!)

Looking forward to hearing from you :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Final Finals

This week is my last official finals week as an undergrad.  And I'll be honest, I'm not sure if it just hasn't hit me yet, or perhaps I'm finally starting to become comfortable with the fact I'm graduating, but honestly, it doesn't look like things are going to be too bad.
I completed my Detective Fiction final this afternoon, after a coffee date with a friend.  I have a paper due on Wednesday and a collection of creative writing due on Friday.  Other than that, I have another coffee date tomorrow, dinner with a couple of my professors on Wednesday, and I'm helping out a friend with her acting final on Thursday.  Time has finally slowed down just enough, and I'm preparing for summer.  This is really the first time since the semester started that I'm actually looking forward to school being over, for real.  I mean, I wish it would last forever, but at the same time, I need a bit of a break.
What will my summer consist of?  Books, mostly.  I'll be working at the local library, and participating in two book discussion groups (on top of my own personal reading schedule).  I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to start with, but I know for sure that Sarah and I were planning on reading Moby Dick together.  I was supposed to read it for class last semester, so I'm looking forward to reading it for real this time around.
Going off book recommendations, I've started a few new series that I'm really looking forward to completing.  The first is The Dresden Files.  This is a series about a detective wizard named Harry Dresden, who solves supernatural crimes (like rogue wizards, vampires, werewolves, hell-spawn; you get the idea).  Anyways, I'm on book two, Fool Moon (book one was Storm Front).  As you can probably guess from the title, this is a werewolf book.  Personally, I preferred the first one, but I heard that the series gets better and better, so I'm looking forward to reading onward.
Also, I've been reading the Space Odyssey books.  (You know, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc.)  And those have been really interesting.  I just finished book two last week (2010: Odyssey Two).  I've been told that the other books aren't really worth reading (I'm guessing like the last two books of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series), but even so, I'd like to read them just to say I did.
After I finish Fool Moon, I'm going to attempt to wrestle Cloud Atlas into literary submission....before finals are over.  Or whenever the library closes.  We have a week of senior activities coming up.  I hope that they don't mind if I keep the book during that time....
In other news, I've been drinking WAY too much coffee, so I'm super-hyper and my metabolism is racing.  That means I'm jittery and hungry.  And I'm at work.  Not a good combination, people!