books

100 Books in a Year

I read 100 books in 2015. I didn’t plan it. I was originally aiming for 60 books, a few more than I read in 2014. Imagine my surprise when I had reached 50+ by June. I in no way claim that every book I read was quality; many, the majority, were far from it. I think that reading is its own reward, though this is a sentiment I did not have in college (oh callow youth!). Reading is important and no matter what it is, READ!

Here are a few of my favorites from what I read in 2015:

  • Fates and Furies
  • Neurotribes
  • The Girl on the Train
  • This is Where I Leave You
  • Cooked
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn
  • The Life and Death of Sophie Stark
  • The Wars of the Roses (really anything by Dan Jones – student of Starkey, SRB!)
  • On Immunity
  • Still Alice

Seriously, too many books to list them all. You can check out my Goodreads list. I read anything: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/778179-keanne?page=1&shelf=read-2015

I did want to share a bit of the great writing I read in 2015. Even books I didn’t love had great writing.

From Cooked:

If we address frankly what is evoked by cheese, I think it becomes clear why so little is said. So what does cheese evoke? Damp, dark cellars, molds, mildews and mushrooms galore, dirty laundry and high school locker rooms, digestive processes and visceral fermentations, he-goats, which do not remind of Chanel…in sum, cheese reminds of dubious, even unsavory places both in our nature and in our own organisms. And yet we love it.

 

From The Department of Speculation:

He won’t just think about how unbearable it is that things keep breaking, that you can never fucking outrun entropy.

And

For fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, she’d suspend her fierce judgment of the world and fall silent there

From Fates and Furies:

By the time she came back, the boy had calmed. Sweat curled the hair at his temples. She put on the overhead porch fan and set the tray down on the little table, taking a lemon bar for herself. She’d survived on wine and sugar for months because, fuck it, she never really got a childhood, and what was grief but an extended tantrum to be salved by sex and candy?

I know there was more, but I cannot find it! Gah!

Will I read 100 books in 2016? Doubtful. I read what interests me, be it historical fiction or pulp fiction. We shall see!

What are your reading goals for 2016?

 

 

 

#MicroblogMondays: 52

52. That’s how many books I read in 2014! I like the symmetry of that number with the number of weeks in a year although it doesn’t match with how I actually read. I wanted to reach 50, so it is nice to meet and surpass a goal.

Now as the end of the year races towards us, I hope that wasn’t the only goal I met this year. Could be worse, right?

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Am Reading

This year, I’ve made a conscious effort to get back to reading books. Conscious as in “I’m going to read instead of doing dishes while Daniel plays with Legos on the weekend.” I made a separate shelf for 2014 on Goodreads so that I could remember all the books I read this year.

I’ve read 25 books so far. It isn’t the most impressive number and it is definitely a far cry from the year in which I read 100 while also in grad school and working full time (pre-Daniel obviously!), but it’s not too shabby; it’s a start.

The truth is that I’ve probably read more like 30-35 books this year, but they aren’t books I list on Goodreads. They are too revealing, too personal. So they primarily live on my phone. Others are books I return to over and over again like Far From the Tree, books that belong to prior years but in which I find new truths each time.

Goodreads and my list of books read becomes yet another way in which I curate myself and the image I hope to project. My 2014 books hopefully reveal me to have broad interests. A fan of high-brow AND low-brow. Quirky. Or maybe it reveals me to be overly random or worse, pretentious – far too much non-fiction – when the truth is that fiction sucks me in and makes me unable to stop reading until I’ve finished the book. Fiction is much less cost-effective than a denser nonfiction.

Everything has become a data point into who we are.

I’m close to finishing two books I’m reading simultaneously – one a historical fiction and actual physical book; the other a book of essays on empathy I downloaded on a whim (and don’t especially love). I am reading, and I love it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Becoming Reacquainted with an Old Friend

I’ve recently started a new activity on Fridays. I can’t call it a habit yet, but it is getting there. Brace yourself: I go to the local branch of the public library and check out books.

You were expecting something more exciting? Like Zumba? Hardly! I’d make a fool of myself. It started innocently one weekday when I went to the Fresh Market in the same strip mall for lunch (because i’m apparently a sucker for over-priced salads made with quality ingredients) and then walked to the library to visit because I was feeling nostalgic and frankly, not ready to return to work. I wandered through fiction and non-fiction sections, caressed a few books but left without checking out anything.

A few weeks later, I returned, both to the library and the Fresh Market (lunch time!). I left the library empty-handed, but I had looked up a few books in the catalog. I had talked myself out of checking out anything because the library had shortened its period of checkout, and it was difficult to find time to read. Time to read.

I used to read tons of books but had become used to maybe reading 10-15 books a year instead of the 80-100 it had been in the past. I had also started reading more books on my iPad since I could keep them forever, and it was so darn easy to click the button and have almost any book I wanted immediately.

I miss reading. It’s not like there aren’t (m)any books in my house, but it is difficult to settle down and focus, to give a book my full attention. It has become a lot easier to digest articles, quick reads and 140 characters. My mind is always on the millions of tasks to do and I am less able to shut it off. Is this being an adult? What’s that line about putting away childish things?

The next time I visited to the library, I took the plunge and checked out a book. And I read it and returned it on time! Subsequent books were returned a tad bit (OK a lot) late, but I figure my late fees are a sort of civic duty in a time when budgets are shrinking. Right? I keep checking out books and finding time to read them. I finished one on the plane Monday and started another. It feels good not to feel like a stranger to the library. And oddly, I’ve read more downloaded books too in the last couple of months. We know that writing begets writing; does it work the same way for reading?

Maybe I’m back on the way to reading 100 books. Not this year but maybe the next.

This is not the post I thought I was going to write tonight. I apologize if it seems a little silky. I’m trying to write on the iPad, and it makes it difficult to get out my thought. Or maybe it’s Mercury Retrograde mucking things up.

Reading Roundup and a Confession

Life hasn’t been only space TV shows, work, parenting and Listen to Your Mother over the last few months. I managed to read a few books, but I never had a chance to write a thorough review for them. At this point, a thorough review seems like a lost cause, so I thought I would combine my thoughts about them into this post. Maybe one will make it onto your “to read” list.

I Read Books!

Defending Jacob

A 14-year-old boy is found stabbed to death in the woods near his school, and Assistant District Attorney Barber is shocked to discover his son is the prime suspect in the case.  Jacob insists that he is innocent, and ADA Barber shifts into defense mode to save his son as the world he thought he knew falls apart around him and he is forced to confront unpleasant truths about his past as well as whether he really knows his son.  Most of the book is a courtroom drama, but there is a shocking plot twist at the end.

This book was a very fast read and very engrossing. That said, I didn’t think it was a very good book, but it earned raves from many prominent reviewers.   The father’s a jerk. The mother is a cipher, and Jacob is never fully present in the book. He is portrayed through recollections and stories.  One of Landay’s goals is to make you question whether Jacob is an sullen, emo teenager or a psychopath as well as whether there is such a thing as a genetic disposition towards violence. The problem is that you never get to see the world through Jacob’s eyes but through only his mother’s and father’s, and they are not what I would consider to be reliable narrators.

Landay employs a very surprising plot twist at the end that I didn’t see coming – it truly shocked me – but I felt like he spent so much time setting up the twist that it impacted his characterization. Maybe that’s why Jacob never seemed like a main player in a book that is ostensibly about him and his supposed crime.

Coincidentally, I read the book a few days after the Newtown shooting and maybe it was too soon. Maybe the frustration I felt over the lack of character development mirrored the frustration we felt at being unable to ask Lanza WHY.  We’re left to extrapolate meaning from memory and conversation relayed by others when what we really wish we could do is talk one-on-one.

Far From the Tree

Maybe it’s a good thing I haven’t had a chance to write a review for this book because I’m not sure how I could do it justice. Andrew Solomon spent a decade meticulously researching and investigating ways in which children can be profoundly different from their parents and what that does to our notion of family, identity and the world.  He begins with his own experience as the homosexual child of heterosexual parents and goes onto explore deafness, autism, disability, dwarfism, genius, schizophrenia, Down Syndrome, children of rape, criminals and transgender.

I cannot say enough positive things about this book. Solomon does a masterful job of helping you enter the worlds he describes and handles each identity thoughtfully and with great respect. I learned so much, and I also had so many ideas challenged. Each identity is its own chapter and that made it easy to jump around or take a long time to read the book (as I did).  I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a big book to chew on.

Lean In

So Sheryl Sandberg wrote a book. Maybe you’ve heard of it?  I eagerly read this book, curious to see what had generated so much debate and whether I, as a working mother, would agree or disagree with Sandberg’s advice. Overall, “underwhelmed” describes my reaction to the book.  A lot of what she advises is common sense: marry a man who will be a real partner; even if you plan to take time out of the workforce when you have children, don’t use that as an excuse t0 check out too early; take a seat at the table; don’t let fear hold you back.

I don’t mean to imply that it is a bad book; it isn’t.  Sandberg offers a lot of useful advice about finding a mentor (if you have to ask someone, then they aren’t a mentor) and how to assert yourself (focus on what problem can you solve for someone).  I liked that Sandberg talked about the conflict, guilt and a judgment she feels from time to time.  Sandberg has achieved a lot and knows what she is talking about, but I expected more.   Sandberg’s advice is for the individual woman in the workforce and what she can do to succeed, but there is no talk about how corporate America and our work infrastructure must change in order to make it easier for women to succeed and have families.   She comes closest when she notes:

“For decades, we have focused on giving women the choice to work inside or outside the home. . . . But we have to ask ourselves if we have become so focused on supporting personal choices that we’re failing to encourage women to aspire to leadership.”

There is a lot of truth in that statement, but what is left unsaid is that encouraging women to aspire to leadership is not enough. Aspiration won’t be sufficient to break through the real barriers that exist; what can business do to support women better?

Summer Reading List

We’re going to the beach in about 6 weeks (yay!), and I have been adding books to my list in the (likely) deluded hope I get to read any of them.  Here are a few that have caught my eye:

Don’t worry. I’ll also go through my book sale treasures for the conspiracy theory books that are my guilty pleasure 🙂

Confession

I’ve stated that I will read almost anything, and I mean that! If a book sounds fun or interesting, I’ll give it a shot, no matter how pulpy.  To prove this to you, I’ll share what I consider to be my most embarrassing read:

The Left Behind Series.

Yes, I read every book in the series. All 16.  I checked out those suckers 3 and 4 at a time from the library.  I was hooked.  I was intrigued at how the authors would tackle the Rapture and the events in Revelations.

And they truly weren’t the worst books I’ve ever read. Sensational? Yes. Over the top? Yes. Dogmatic? Yes. But this all-but-professed atheist found them riveting. Maybe they play into my conspiracy theory-loving soul. Maybe I was bored.  I don’t know, but I read the entire series, and I don’t regret it.

What is the best book you read recently?

What is on your summer reading list?

What’s your most embarrassing read?

Blathering about Books

It’s Saturday.  We’re planning an excursion to the library for story time shortly.  Daniel returned to day care on Thursday and happily, no more vomiting has occurred.  Maybe we’re finally out of the woods (knocks on wood, crosses fingers and toes).  Our week was still crazy and we found ourselves begging the universe to let us make it to Friday.  I think that extreme busyness will be the norm for the next few weeks unfortunately, but I’m resigned to it.  I think I need to find a place to do yoga or something that will help me relax.

There has been a lot of news about my favorite books from childhood recently, so indulge me:

Pride and Prejudice

Last week was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. When asked about my favorite book, P&P is my answer. I first read it when I was 13, plucking the book from my grandfather’s shelf of classics.  As a dutiful English major, I think I own 3 versions of it not including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (how genius was that?).  I haven’t read it in several years and I’m almost afraid to do so, wondering if my perception of the book will have changed.  What if I find Lizzie insufferable now?  What if I find Mrs. Bennet to be sympathetic (doubtful)?  Do you find yourself avoiding revisiting certain old favorites in order to preserve the feeling, the impression?  A few links:

Little House on the Prairie

This series has been on my mind recently, possibly because JJiraffe has posted about reading it to her twins. The series was another childhood favorite of mine, and I have all the books, including the ones after the series as well as a biography.  I remember the kick in the stomach I felt when I read articles positing that the books’ quality was due more to Laura’s daughter’s involvement than Laura’s ability as a writer.  That in a way, they had been ghostwritten by Rose.  Thankfully, that perception seems to be shifting as further research has revealed that Laura was more than capable of writing the series and that while Rose was definitely involved, it was as an editor whose recommendations were not always taken by her stubborn mother.

Anne of Green Gables

I am a huge Anne of Green Gables fan.  Anne seemed like a kindred spirit from the moment I picked up the book.  Like Anne, I have red hair and I have always been incredibly flattered when people told me I reminded them of Anne in terms of personality.  For my friends’ little girls’ 1st birthdays, I’ve given copies of Anne of Green Gables to add to their libraries.  I reread the first book a few years ago and the storyline of her adoption was especially poignant to me reading it as an adult for whom family building was difficult.  As a child, I understood the adoption plot line and thought it was silly that the Avonlea residents had such bizarre stereotypes about orphans.  As an infertile adult, it hit me on a visceral level. The book is much sadder for me as an adult.

The big news this week was that some asshole decided to reprint the books with the cover picture of Anne as a blonde.  Um…what?  Anne’s red hair isn’t a feature that can be ignored.  It’s kind of a major plot point of the series.  It turns out that the edition was self-published on Amazon and after the outcry, it has been shelved.   I can only assume the publishers were idiots who had never read the books.  Another case of ginger discrimination thwarted.

And finally, ending on a funny note: Literary Types Find Love in the New York Times Review of Books.

 

 

Rambling About Coupling

Last night we hooked up the most adorable piece of equipment I’ve ever seen: the Roku.  It is adorable!  So tiny and cute and precious.  It needs a name.  We’re a family that names and nicknames everything: children, cats, cars, dishwashers, everything.  It should be called something like “Tiny” or “Sweet Pea” or “Cutie Pie” or “My Preciousssss.”

All of that is a long way of saying that we are now a family sans cable.  Jimmy worked from home today, so I didn’t have the terror of coming home and not knowing how to access programming, but that day is coming.  Probably tomorrow.  Tonight, it took us a few minutes to decide what to watch on Amazon Streaming, but we decided on season 2 of Coupling.

Oh, Coupling.  What a great show.  We caught episodes on BBC America several years ago, and for Christmas one year, I bought Jimmy the complete series.  If you’ve never seen the series, I urge you to right away.  Coupling ran from 2000-2004 and is about a group of friends a la Friends only much, much funnier and raunchier.  If you can watch only one episode, I urge you to watch “Lesbian Spank Inferno.”  Every time we see it (and we’re watching it as I type this), we are on the ground laughing

Most of the cast is unknown to American audiences, but two of them stand out.  Steve, the lead, is played by Jack Davenport.  If you’ve seen any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, then you have seen him as Norrington.  You can also see him in Smash. Jane, Steve’s wacky ex, is played by Gina Bellman who currently stars in Leverage on TNT.

***

Tonight is the next Powerball drawing.  I’ve antied up at work for a ticket pool and Jimmy has as well.  I would love to win $500 million.  I have no illusions about its likelihood, but it is fun to imagine how we would spend it.  Do you do that?  Do you ever think about what you would do if you suddenly had millions of dollars?  The funny thing is that when I was a child, $1 million seemed like a lot of money.  Now, however, $1 million would not be enough to majorly impact our lifestyle  No, I wouldn’t turn down a cool million if it were offered to me (not in any kind of Demi Moore, Indecent Proposal kind of terms although that might be wishful thinking on my part), but after taxes, you’d probably have $500K left.  I’d probably put it in the bank and let it grow.  And that’s your lottery advice from me tonight.

***

I’ve been adding a lot of books to my Amazon wish list.  My wish list functions as an online Post It note for me.  It’s where I add things I want to remember like books for me or books or toys for Daniel.  I’m thinking about starting Far From the Tree next.  Have any of you heard about it or started to read it?  There have been several books I’ve had to ignore because I can’t read them due to the fact I’m a parent now.  Books like Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio that is about a 3 year old named Daniel who disappears one day while his mother is at work.  Sure, it’s set in the 30s but no,no, no, no, no!

OK, that’s enough babbling.  I can’t believe there are only a couple days left in November.  How is your holiday decorating going?  How do you stay centered during the insanity that is December?

Book Review: To Marry An English Lord

To Marry an English Lord

I am in serious Downton Abbey withdrawal. The good news is that the third series is around 6 months away. The bad news is that third series is around six, long, agonizing, teeth-gnashing months away. In a rare effort to make lemons into lemonade, I started putting together a list of books to help stave off the inevitable shakes and dry heaves from Downton withdrawal. If you’re a fan, you know exactly how I feel!

I was getting ready to download The American Heiress or The Uninvited Guests when I found a quote from Julian Fellowes in which he revealed that one of his primary inspirations for Downton Abbey was To Marry An English Lord or, How Anglomania Really Got Started.

Sold.

To Marry An English Lord chronicles the real-life “Lady Coras” who journeyed overseas and conquered British society and the aristocracy, making glittering marriages. While many surnames my not be recognizable to modern readers, some like Vanderbilt and Whitney will be. Many of the heiresses who left New York City for the Old Country did so because their money and pedigree were too new and not good enough for the old money families (usually of Dutch heritage). Their exodus coincides with the creation of Mrs. Astor’s 400, a list of the social elite in the city that excluded fortunes made from the Industrial Revolution and sought to maintain traditions and protect the elite from the pernicious influence of newcomers. If you were not on that list, you were a nobody.

The nouveau riche heiresses were valuable to the British. While the British aristocracy considered the first wave of American heiresses to be wild and primitive, they had money. Money that could prop up bankrupt aristocrats and keep ancestral homes in the family, and so began the exchange of wealth for a title and position in society. While there were several waves of American heiresses marrying British aristocrats from the 1870s-1900s, the basic formula remained money for title. Winston Churchill was the product of one of the first of these marriages when his mother Jennie Jerome married Lord Randolph Churchill of the Marlborough family.

How romantic, right? These American heiresses infiltrating the ancient aristocracy is thrilling and just like a fairy tale. And who among us has not wanted to have a title? “Lady KeAnne” has a nice ring to it, n’est-ce pas? I would love to have been the duchess of whatever (styled “Your Grace”) because besides sounding so fluid, it’s the highest-ranking title a non-royal person could hold. I also loved the titles ending in
“-ess,” especially princess and the old Russian and German titles “Grand Duchess.” Grand indeed!

After a build up like that, surely these couples lived happily ever after. They were the embodiment of bedtime fairy tales. Alas, just as fairy tales often hid a harrowing origin and fate for their couples, our Anglo-American couples did not go on to live happily ever after in most cases.

The worst outcomes included depravity, adultery, insanity and abuse. For the brides that fared better, their married lives were a rude shock. They often went from being popular and sought after at society balls to living in a decrepit, chilly country house that their money was expected to fix in the middle of nowhere with their husband and his extended family. Those exquisite Worth gowns had no place there. In addition, the American brides had been raised with a good deal of freedom and affection from their parents; in England, the household revolved around the husband and his needs, quite a culture shock. As well, the American bride had to get used to and even accept her husband’s casual, overt infidelity, a situation for which her upbringing had not prepared her.

The wave of Anglo-American marriages ended after King Edward VII died. His son, King George V, did not favor these marriages as his father had and in America, a burgeoning nationalism was beginning to wonder what was wrong with her native sons. The outbreak of World War 1 a few years later forever changed the dynamic and society of Europe.

Bottom Line

To Marry An English Lord was a quick, engrossing read and one I recommend for anyone who is a fan of Downton Abbey. I sometimes forgot I was reading about real women and their fates due to how well the authors told each bride’s story. Sadly, “Lady Cora” seems to have had a much better outcome in her marriage to Lord Grantham than most of the women profiled in the book.

If you are interested in more Downton recommendations, I’ve created a Pinterest board on Downton Abbey.

Did you ever wish to be a princess or member of the aristocracy?

Happiness is Books as Far as the Eye Can See

Saturday was a GREAT day.  Was it because we won $640,000,000?  No (damn it!).  It was the annual library book sale.  It is no exaggeration to say that book sale weekend is one of my most favorite times of the year.  I’ve been attending the sale for 13 years, and I always go on Saturday because I consider that day to be the book sale sweet spot: prices have dropped to make mass buying affordable ($1/paperback; $2/hardback) but the books haven’t been completely picked over (that would be Sunday when the books go for $5 a box).  I have no scientific evidence whether my theory is correct, but it makes sense to me, so I’m going with it.

Book sale!!!!

This year was bittersweet because I attended the sale solo. In past years, I attended the book sale with my partner in crime Katie (because we are uber nerd English majors), but Katie had the audacity to move to Florida last year to be with her husband (humph).  Our tradition was to hit the book sale and then have a long lunch with wine. We’ve loyally attended the sale when it was in cramped quarters downtown, in a vacated department store, in a closed grocery store (fun because grocery carts were donated for us to use and books were literally stacked in the old cases) and most recently at the fair grounds.  Last year, the sale was in a smaller exhibition building.  This year it was upgraded to a much larger building.

Saturday I walked into the new space and was immediately overwhelmed and excited at the same time.  Books were everywhere!!!  In fiction alone, there were 5 rows of books two levels deep!  Since the move to the fairgrounds, the book sale has attempted to become a family event; a band was playing while I perused, making me bop (embarrassingly) as I searched.

You might wonder what books I look for.  Fair question.  Is it Proust? Henry James? Ha. Several years ago, you could have found me in the romance section.  I was a sucker for a good historical fiction romance novel in which bodice ripping and hereditary titles were the primary components.  Now, I focus on fiction.

And it’s not  highbrow fiction.  Sure,  you can find a million copies of the last few years’ bestsellers, but what I look for are books I would like to read but don’t want to pay full price for. I have a weakness for The Da Vinci Code-type books, so I buy a lot of them at the sale.  I also like what might pass for a type of chick lit.  I’m not a snob.  I’ll read anything as long as it sounds interesting. What I love about the book sale is how it democratizes books. You can find John Grisham next to Hemingway next to Proulx.  No rhyme or reason.

After a few hours, I’m wiped and tired and ready to leave.  There are tables and tables and tables of books I have not explored, and I feel a pang of disappointment , but there is no way I can examine every book.  I pay and leave.  This year’s haul netted me 26 books for $28.  Not bad.  In previous years, paperbacks went for .50, so it wasn’t uncommon for me to leave with 40+ books.  Now that I have a very active toddler, I’m very cognizant of what I can accomplish, so I think my smaller haul is appropriate.

I’m strange (ha ha you  knew that already) in that I don’t read my new books right away.  I’m the same with gifts.  I like to let them sit for a while before I use them.  Maybe I’ll review some of the books here although I won’t be surprised if I don’t.  These books are guilty pleasures.

It was a good day.

My haul

Do you have a book sale or similar festival you attend?

Queer Lit

I’m the first one up in my house (if you don’t count the cats) and since J is still asleep, I get ready in total silence, which is great except that it gives me a lot of time in my head and that is not always a good thing.  So recently I was thinking about a post I was going to write in response to this one on marriage and then I started thinking about how a high school friend announced his marriage to his partner on FB recently (congrats!) and then I started thinking about a very memorable class I took in college.  Welcome to my rabbit hole.  It can be a very strange place.

Anyway. My senior year of college I had only two required courses that I needed to take, but my scholarship dictated that I take a minimum of 12 hours a semester, so I signed up to take two grad courses in English at NC State because I planned to enter grad school there in the fall and thought I’d knock out a few hours.

One of the courses was a standard class on the development of the novel/18th Century literature. The other class was a seminar in world literature.  What I didn’t know was that the seminar had a special topic that semester.

It turns out that I had signed up for a course on 19th and 20th Century British and French homosexual literature.  Or as the professor, the new head of the French department, called it “Queer Lit.”

I don’t think I said a word in class for the first month.  I prided myself on being liberal and edgy – after all, I was the one doing her senior thesis on the highly sexual, pornographic Lady Chatterley’s Lover instead of Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice. It wasn’t that I found the subject matter of the class objectionable.  I literally had no idea how to talk about it.  I worried about inadvertently saying something offensive or seeming naive. I had to learn the vocabulary and observe before I could contribute.

After I got over my shock and nerves, I really enjoyed the class.  Other than Oscar Wilde, I had never read any of the other authors, so the class broadened my horizons.   The students were a diverse group too.  We had a few English grad students, a couple of undergrads (one in political science and another in French), a creative writing grad student and a doctoral candidate in sociology.  We held one of our classes at Mitch’s Tavern (with beer), which for a Meredith student was the equivalent of having class in a strip club.

It was a really good class, and I enjoy the looks on people’s faces when I tell them about it (though it took me the entire semester before I could refer to it as “Queer Lit” like my professor did).  And that, my friends, is how there came to be a book that has butt plugs on its cover in my house.  Although I didn’t know that’s what they were until a Meredith classmate asked me why I was reading a book with butt plugs on them.  Maybe I should have wondered how she knew?

The reading list if you’re interested:

  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Lifting Belly
  • Giovanni’s Room
  • The Well of Loneliness (loved it)
  • A Boy’s Own Story
  • The Rubyfruit Jungle
  • Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
  • Les Guérillères

I apologize in advance if this post seems flippant compared to the last two posts.  I just needed to write on something other than preschool drama and sick grandmothers.

What is the  most memorable class you took in college?