Lost and Found

Hello Readers!

So, remember when I was lamenting the loss of some of my books in progress? I just found one of them again yesterday! It’s Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and I have just finished reading it. I believe I started it quite a while back, I mean, perhaps as far back as September or October even.

However, I sadly lost it just as things were getting really exciting in the storyline, and here’s the reason why: I’m a book sleeper- I have always liked to read before bed, and in graduate school I developed a (bad? Or Good?) habit of keeping my books close at hand, piled on the side of the bed in heaps. That worked pretty well when I had a bed on the floor, but apparently it does not work so well when the bed is raised.

Very nice tree. I really just wanted to post a tree picture 😉

I found the book tucked away under my bed, amongst a few other items I have been searching for, some for months. Next time I lose a book, I am looking here first.

Will be back with a review for you soon about this novel! I am also curious to know your experiences with books before sleep. Do you leave your books piled on your bed? Do you have a bookshelf next to your bed? I am looking for some strategies for managing this better in the future, and will hopefully be able to continue my reading habits of many at a time, without losing more of my books.

Best,

Miss E

 

Advertisements

Reading Moby Dick (Again)

Here are the 10 Reasons I need to re-read Moby Dick:

  1. One should probably do this at least once every three years, just as a general practice.
  2. I love this novel so much I painted a mural on my door, as discussed in this previous post.
  3. My tattoo of the future (I’ve been wafting on this for years) is inspired by Moby Dick, and I need some ideas for completing the design. I know that I am not the only one to want a Moby Dick tattoo- I have found a lot of them, some of which are on my Pinterest.

    Western Washington coast- drifted log on the beach. I live by an ocean now- that also probably means I should read Moby Dick again, right?

  4. I would like to revamp an old paper I wrote about the novel and send it off to a scholarly journal.
  5. I miss it.
  6. I want to paint another mural.
  7. I want to read it again after having a Masters and see how that changes my reading.
  8. It can be reviewed, lovingly, on the blog in one or multiple posts, thus contributing to the book reviews requested in one of my previous polls.
  9. I will probably be using it for tutoring soon- one of my students has shown an interest in reading it, which of course makes me very happy.
  10. There is really not a good reason I can come up with not to re-read it 🙂

I also found this really interesting blog of an artist who seems also very obsessed with Moby Dick, and makes artwork based on every page of the novel.

What do you think of Moby Dick? How many times have you read it, if any? If you have not read it, why not?

Happy Friday,

Miss E

4 Irish Authors You Should Know About

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! In honor of the holiday, I have compiled a list of 4 Irish authors for you to explore, if you are not already familiar with them.

Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849)- Actually, she’s Anglo-Irish, born in Oxford, but her work is often categorized as Irish Literature. She lived in Ireland, loved Ireland, and set most of her stories there. I think you should know about her, so I’m putting her on the list. Her books were a challenge to hegemonic structures, and often troubled race, class, gender, and nation. So, of course I am interested in her work. She is most famous for: Castle Rackrent (commentary about Irish landlords), Belinda (had an interracial marriage between two servants, which was later removed by publishers), and Helen.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)- “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/ The falcon cannot hear the falconer;/Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,/ The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.” Terrifying, but badass. Need I say more?

James Joyce (1882-1941)- Maybe he’s the obvious one, (and he is actually Irish) but the author of Dubliners, Finnegan’s Wake, Portrait of a Young Man, and of course, Ulysses, has won the loyalty of many adoring fans.

Ulysses, on my table.

I know we should read Joyce because I know someone who has dedicated her life to studying and teaching him, and two friends whose romance was inspired by him. I am currently still trying to begin Ulysses, and my goal is to read it before I go to their wedding in June (there will be Joyce references everywhere). It  has been on hold while reading other things, but because it is St. Patrick’s, I feel more inspired to start reading it again. So far, my issue has been one of intimacy-Joyce writes his characters in their most private moments, and as a reader, I feel like an intruder. I’ll have to get used to it, and will keep you posted on my progress.

Seamus Heaney (1939-present)- You have likely heard of Heaney as well. This Irish poet has won pretty much every accolade that a writer can earn, including the Nobel Prize in Literature, the T.S. Eliot Prize, and the Golden Wreath of Poetry to name a few (yes, there are more). When you read his writing, it is easy to see why he has been so impactful in the contemporary scene. He confronts and copes with the political climate of Northern Ireland in both aggressive and heartfelt ways, and he does not stray from tough topics, but coaxes the reader to join him in surprise and misery. I would recommend reading the poem Mid Term Break for an example of how he does this (but be warned, it is intense).

There are many more noteworthy Irish authors, but I wanted to highlight a few of the names that have stood out to me. If I did not mention your favorite Irish author, please let me know who it is in the comments!

I also thought you might enjoy this article I read this morning, about the History, or Blarney, of Saint Patrick’s Day 😉 I am going to see a Sounders game tonight with some friends, probably to a pub afterwards, and may partake in singing Finnegan’s Wake if someone starts it up.

Do you have any fun plans for today?

Cheers with Harp Lager,

Miss E

Great Dane, Reading the OED

I bought Ammon Shea’s book, Reading the OEa couple of weeks ago, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It looks pretty good, and is about one man’s experience reading through the OED (Oxford English Dictionary).

Instead, I found my housemate’s dog curled up with the book and sleeping in the sun. It was too fun not to share!

Curled up with "Reading the OED"

She is a beautiful Great Dane, but still loves to curl up with a book occasionally.

I wonder how this is comfortable, but I definitely know what it’s like to fall asleep while reading 😉

Do your pets ever fall asleep on your books?

Hope your Sunday is going well!

Miss E

 

Reaching Out, Reading Outside the Lines

I made that reading queue a little while back, if you recall. If you do not, you may find it here.

Well,  I’m reaching out to my readers, because I honestly haven’t been flying through that list like I thought I would.

Despite the fact that I have wanted to read some of the books in my queue for a while, I still am having a hard time motivating myself to read them.

There is definitely a part of me that would rather make chex mix, because it is not on a list, than read a book that is on a list.

Lists may not be my thing.

So far, I have read about 3 or 4 books from that list I made and then published, and about 5-7 books not actually on my list at all, but that have just intrigued me in the meantime.

I keep finding other books that make me say, “shoulda put that one on the list.”

I’m pretty sure that I’m also, on some level, using those other books as a way of procrastinating the reading on my queue.

It’s not that I don’t want to read the books on the list anymore, but only that they are in list form, and hence somehow less appealing to me.

However, in a roundabout way, the list has inspired me to read. I have been buying more books than I was before, and I have been reading more frequently, which was the whole point of the list.

So, at least I have part of it down.

Part of me feels embarrassed, but another (larger) part feels excited to be reading anything, and to not have to follow or be tied down to a specific list, to instead read whatever I feel like. To read outside the numbers and lines I set up as guideposts.

I still would like to read those other books eventually, but may not get to them in any specific time frame or order.

Yours with Chex Mix,

Miss E

Finding Inspiration

I am a firm believer that to be a writer, one need only to write.

The past year, I have written about completely disparate subjects in almost every genre, from relationship advice, to composting tips, great wineries in the Northwest, and both fiction and non-fiction for different clients. I have written about reading academic and literary and casual novels, Ryan Gosling, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Bollywood/ Kollywood movies, and painting on this site.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

I’ve written a lot of different stuff lately.

And you know what? It has been really fun!

A picture I took a few years back in the Black Hills, South Dakota.

Waiting around for inspiration and writing only when a brilliant idea knocks you over the head will produce little, and will also not give you much practice.

That is how I used to write. I was worried that my everyday writing was too mundane, that nobody would ever read it, etc.

Although it’s tough for me to admit, my identity as a writer has been tenuously forming for years.

Even thought I have always identified with writers and have always enjoyed writing, I never had much confidence that I could be a really good writer. I have that confidence now, but it is because of the daily practice, and the feeling it leads to, rather than coming up with something “groundbreaking” or “great.”

That being said, I now write for a few various reasons.

The primary ones are as follows:

  • I like to read, and I like to create a “finished” product to share with others.
  • I feel compelled to do it, to express myself through words.
  • I enjoy talking, (as anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m sure), and writing is another form of speaking to me.

Like I said before, my identity as a writer has been tenuously forming for years, but I have always wanted to write, to “be a writer,” and to produce written works.

However, it is only recently that I have felt confident in calling myself a writer. That is because lately, I have really dedicated myself to writing on a regular basis.

I took a fiction writing workshop in graduate school, something I’d always been terrified of. Having other readers was empowering. I wrote and edited for a living starting this past summer, (2011).

Now I write all the time. I write articles for you all and for an online magazine, for example. It makes me feel amazing, but I was always afraid of writing before. I think I knew that it would make me incandesantly happy.

I’m ready for that happiness now in a way I wasn’t before.

Some installation art I came across one day in Pioneer Square, Seattle. Loved the paper hanging from trees!

I write to write, but I also do get inspired, and some days I definitely need a push. So, I’d like to share what pushes me to write:

  • Reading. I feel there is a strong connection between reading and being a good writer. When I read the words of others, it is inspiring to me. I feel connected with their psyche, with their way of painting the world around them or around their characters. I find reading endlessly fascinating, and it’s what inspired me to write in the first place.
  • Artwork. When I am looking at art, I feel inspired to create. To draw, to paint, and to write. While living in London for a semester and taking primarily art-based classes, I journaled more than I have in my entire life. Looking at pins on Pinterest and pinning to my boards there is also part of this inspiration for me, as silly as it may sound. Love that site!
  • The feeling that comes from finishing or sharing a piece of art or writing with an audience, for example, with you all here. Not going to lie, it feels great to publish, even when the publishing happens on my own blog.
  • Beautiful scenes in nature, like the above photo from Custer State Park in the Black Hills, one of my all time favorite places for inspiration.

To move beyond writing for myself in my journal has been really rewarding. Audience matters. Readers matter. Thank you all for reading my posts- I truly appreciate you!

As many of you are also writers, I’d love to know- what inspires you to write?

Cheers,

Miss E

Moby Dick Door

I have been posting pretty frequently this week, primarily because all of Seattle was shut down in what you may have heard termed the “Snowpocalypse.”

Yeah, it snowed for a while, and it was cute.

We actually had skiiers going down our hill because the city doesn’t have plows (or very many of them).  Also, trapped inside with what could only be equally dramatized as the absolute the worst cold of my life for the past week, I have gotten a lot more time to rest and be online.

When I was looking for pictures to post onto my blog background, I came across a fun picture that I wanted to share with other Literature Nerds out on the internet.

A few years ago, I painted this on my closet door, in devotion to one of my favorite novels:

Image

Needless to say, it was an art project born of boredom and no regard for how much doors actually cost. However, I still quite enjoy it to this day whenever I visit my parents. Not sure they quite do, but I suppose it may have been better than some things you can put on a door.

The lower panel has a picture of Pip falling upside down in the multitudinous depths, and the door itself has quotes from the text all around the perimeters.

I believe one of my favorites is still the one I painted in the center underneath Ishmael who is floating on the coffin life-buoy.

“Dissect him how I may, I go but skin deep; I know him not, and never will…” Oh yeah!

Anyone want me to paint scenes from Literature on their doors for them?

Having a huge nerd moment,

Miss E