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

 

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

Art of Writing

This will be a short post, but happy Saturday/ Sunday depending on your location!

I just saw this quote, and wanted to share it with you because I thought it was beautiful:

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ― Gustave Flaubert

Do you agree with Flaubert?

This has been true in my experience. That is one of the reasons I have wanted to get back to writing for myself (see post about Writer’s March). For example, I had no idea I was so interested in gender until I had an imperative to write hundreds of pages, and the topic kept coming up as one of my main focuses.

For those of you who voted to see more movie and book reviews here, just rented quite a few literary movies from Scarecrow Video, and also that I have purchased the book, “Jane Austen Made Me Do It,” since Austenprose Blogger Laurel Ann Nattress edited it, and I keep seeing it on every Austen inspired book blog I encounter. I’ll review it here someday in the future.

I also wanted to alert you to the Looking for Pemberley Facebook page. If you “like” the page, you can get updates as to articles of interest, and I often post “writing songs of the day” there as well.

Here is a photo that makes my heart happy, and that has inspired one of my personal writing goals for the night:

That was a good day 🙂

Talk soon,
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

 

What is Queer Theory?

Hello dear readers!

I have had a few questions recently about some of the terms that we use here often at Looking For Pemberley. Although many of the terms that I use range from academic to very informal, made-up words, there area  few that I think you should know about when you are reading posts here. I don’t want anyone to feel left out.

So, I’ve decided that I will start a “definitions” post series, so you can familiarize yourself with some potentially unfamiliar terms.

In the future, look under the “defined” category to find the posts in this vein.

__________________________________

Let’s start with the term Queer Theory, as I have had a few questions about that.

For many people who grew up when the word “queer” was pejorative, this term may seem a little alarming. Really, queer is not a bad word.

Queer theory came out of gender studies, which derived from feminism, and is used as a lens or framework to view different media or texts, such as works of art or books, for example.

It is a type of theory that challenges binary constructions like “male” and ‘female,” but is not at all limited to gender. One of the reasons many people may be confused about what queer theory actually is, is because it has so many applications. Scholars and others often use the ideas from “queer theorists” such as Judith Butler and Jack Halberstam and Chandan Reddy (as mentioned previously here) to understand and question any given text, ideology, simplistic construction, or social situation.

Queer theory can be a very freeing tool, and remains politically important, because it also allows for personal identity to fluctuate, and resists definition of who we are as people, what makes us the way we are, and what we can or should prescribe to.

I myself am very interested in queer theory and studied it in school, so if you have questions about it, feel free to continue asking!

Also, if you have anything to add, please pitch in through the comment section or e-mail me from the “about” page! I would love to hear your personal definitions.

I also have some resources that I think will help you understand the purpose and goals of Queer Theory listed below that might help.

Queer Theory

Theory Org

Queer by Choice link database

GLBTQ

Have a great weekend!

Miss E

For the Love of Stories

For the Love of Stories

I have been really fascinated lately (and pretty much for life, actually), with the concept of stories, their impact on us when we read or hear or tell or write them, their importance for history and culture, and how they function on large and small scales.  As I say in our “About” page, stories are all around us, and they constantly inspire me.

Recently, a high school student I was tutoring asked me why people even began to write in the first place, or how did writing even become a “thing,” as he put it. I told him that I had some ideas, but didn’t know for sure, and we spent a few minutes brainstorming on the board. Some of his answers included “bad memory,” “art,” “religion,” “accident,” “fun,” and “boredom.” I was highly amused by his list, and a favorite of ours was “bad memory.” It seemed like a pretty viable option, that writing could come about as a way of helping keep track of life so as to prevent forgetting.

Some student answers during brainstorming session

We both agreed that photos and facebook are largely serving that purpose for us now (for him more so than me), although writing is very important, and feels different from imagistic storytelling. Through those electronic means, which can become virtual and visual “timelines” or representations of life’s moments, we can not only share our lives with friends, but we are reminded of our happy memories and significant events.

I could go on about the possible detriments of social media platforms for record keeping, and the short term and long term memory loss that our culture seems to be experiencing as a result of reliance on technology, but that might be too much digression, even for me (I tend to ramble and diverge when I tell stories).

As you might imagine, my answers when we were brainstorming was slightly different, and more long-winded. Some of them included teaching future generations about lessons learned during previous ones, exploring the strategies, successes, and failures of others, and for storytelling purposes.

I have always loved listening to stories, and telling them. It’s probably also apparent that I enjoy reading, since I have discussed it on Looking for Pemberley fairly frequently.

I was having a conversation with my friend not too long ago about my interest in stories. For me, I think that my love of stories comes from the feeling of relating to others, of understanding more about myself and people in general after reading. I’m a social person, I’m interested in people. Stories are generally about people, their growth, reflections, lessons, and interactions.

Stories are living, and they also teach us how to live. They are influenced by the culture and historical moment of their time, but when they last (as when they are written and future generations read them), they can be interpreted by each individual reader, changing not only with each person, but also with each reading.

For example, I have read Pride and Prejudice many times over since the first reading, but it feels different each time. It becomes different because of my perception, and the novel feels different for each reader, despite the words staying more or less the same as they were over 100 years ago.

A dear friend of mine recently told me, after I told her that I had an undying love of stories, that “of course you love stories. I live for stories, to hear the stories of others, and to tell my own. That is the greatest pleasure in life.” I certainly agree. Her beautiful words inspired me to write this post.

Writing, to me, probably began as a way to make stories last for as long as possible. I am thankful for the ability to read works from years in the past because of the development of writing and its varied progressions. Whatever the real “answer,” I’m glad we have writing, because stories can be read and re-read, changing with each reading, and serving as a time capsule of sorts for the “bad memory” of the authors who write them.

Please forgive the crude drawing style. This is my first attempt at a comic.

Thanks to all the bloggers and authors I read for sharing your stories, and if you would like to tell me a story, or share your view on stories, please do. I’d love to listen and live.

Best,

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