Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I read a book.

On an earlier attempt at a blog, I started out recording the books that I read and my thoughts about them. Not formal reviews, just my off-the-cuff impressions. It was fun to record what I read this way, and to hear others' comments on books. But it wasn't long before this happened: I gave a book a meh review. I was disappointed because I really idolize the author and the whole book just didn't hold up to the genius I expected. Cut to me, several weeks later, shaking this author's hand at a bookstore reading, calculating how quickly I could get to a computer to erase (or edit) that review before The Author could see it. That was not a good feeling. So I haven't been doing the same on this blog.

But it occurs to me that I don't have to write reviews—I can just record what I read. All the better, since I seem to be unable to keep my Goodreads or Librarything updated... according to those sites, I haven't read a thing since my son was born but Goodnight Moon. Not that that book isn't a classic.

So in the spirit of this, I recently read:

Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle
Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman
Jim Keogh, Solving the Year 2000 Problem [guess which of these are research for my next book]
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina [yes, again. What?]
Dave Cullen, Columbine

(I wanted to tell you how much I liked some for these because I forgot for a second that I'm not reviewing them. That will take some getting used to.)

Friday, July 03, 2009

I knitted something.

It's one of the great ironies of academic life: when we get lots of free time (I've been on leave since January) we actually feel that we have LESS time for non-work activities like updating blogs, reading for pleasure, home maintenance, and personal hygiene. This is because when you have unstructured time in which you are supposed to be doing something huge and insurmountable (in my case, writing my second novel) it feels like it's never acceptable to take the time to do anything else. After all, you're on leave! You should be producing! How many pages have you written today! Etc.

Anyway, that's sort of an excuse for how little I've been updating this blog lately, even with all the NASA news that's been going on. I hope to update you with my fascinating thoughts about recent goings-on when I get the chance (probably, when I get back to a normal teaching schedule).

For the time being, please enjoy one non-work-related thing I've managed to get done: I knitted matching sweaters for a colleague's newborn twins. Knitting might seem as though it should fall into the above non-work category, but knitting is what I do when I watch Netflix movies with my Associate in the evening, and so knitting projects have been continuing apace. Coming next: a hand-knitted reusable Swiffer cover. Oh, no, I'm not kidding.