Thursday, July 17, 2014


There were multiple factors, I guess, for unusually prolonged radio silence here: the ongoing siren song of Facebook and Twitter, which I like less than blogs but which offer a watered-down version of the same satisfaction for very little effort (they leach my minor thoughts!); the fact that I have been training a lot, which means frequent posts at my other blog; grumpiness about mild boredom accompanying the final push to revisions on my long-overdue article, which I finally sent out at the end of last week (woo-hoo!). I don't like blogging when I'm in low spirits; I prefer to wait for the return of exuberance.

But I am in a good mood again, having a rather glorious time developing the syllabus for my introduction-to-the-English-major class in the fall and only regretting how fast the summer is slipping out of my hands!

I have a letter of recommendation to write today, and on deck a dissertation to read and remarks of some sort to prepare for this event Tuesday (must reread Mansfield Park this weekend!). The syllabus is still going to take quite a bit more work, and I am scaling back expectations for what else I'll be able to get done before I leave for Cayman at the end of the month.

(The four tenure letters are going to get written in Cayman, as they are not dependent on library access, whereas the syllabus really must be done this month, not least because I teach in tandem with seminar leaders who need to have my draft in order to decide what they will add in supplementation.)

Have been out and about quite a bit: saw Elena's Aria Sunday night with friends and had a delicious bite to eat afterwards at Kilo (the most divine meatballs I have ever eaten!); dinner Monday night with friends at the equally sublime and surprisingly affordable Hakata Tonton in the West Village. Those are both restaurants I am keen to go back to.

Light reading around the edges:

I enjoyed the most recent two Laundry novels so much that I went back and reread the first three. I had forgotten that the first volume held both the initial novel and a truly delightful novella (the contrast in tone between the two is appealing). These books are perhaps not for everyone - BUT if you have any mild interest in the intersection of cold-war-era spy fiction, civil service satire, computer programming and the coming of our new squid overlords after the manner of H. P. Lovecraft (i.e. if your fantasy alternate career is "government-employed computational demonologist"!), you will find them absolutely perfect.

Also: Stav Sherez, A Dark Redemption (the Africa material is rather shoehorned in, and I found the twist at the end preposterous, but otherwise really quite good); Karin Slaughter, Cop Town (very good, almost unpleasantly so - a dark and engaging read); Lydia Netzer, How To Tell Toledo from the Night Sky (not sure about this one - too much whimsy and metaphysics for my tastes - but she is certainly a remarkable writer); Taylor Stevens, The Catch (I could do with about 50% less of the drama around the main character's past, but in every other respect I love these books - only thing that approximates the pleasure of a new Jack Reacher novel!); and a novella by Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant, The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell. I love these books of hers, and I am also keen on the trend whereby electronic publishing lets prolific authors publish interim installments without having to work up the energy for a whole new novel-sized chunk.

Also picked up used copies on the street of a couple favorite books of childhood, the first of which is as good as I remember: Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle of the Ninth.

All right - now that I've cleared my need for ritual procrastination, I really am going to write that letter!

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