Saturday, October 04, 2014

Closing tabs

It can't really be a week since I last posted here, can it?

Hmmm, yes, it can: because I foreswore any voluntary/frivolous forms of writing until I had cleared the desk of letters of recommendation (big round of due dates on Monday and Wednesday) and most of all this now-overdue tenure letter that was supposed to be finished by mid-September. Have just had a very nice quiet Saturday evening at home working on it, and have emailed the PDF to the relevant department chair with a sense of TRIUMPH!

Will now segue to the couch for a glass of wine and the rest of the Wollstonecraft I'm teaching Monday: have finished all the reading for Tuesday's lecture already (had to do SOME work yesterday but was too tired to deal with this letter, even though it was more important), which means that my tomorrow is now clear for (a) a longish run and (b) a lovely day of reading and note-taking for the other (more enjoyable) thing on which I'm currently delinquent, the short paper on Swift and commentary that I am due to deliver in Dublin on October 18! We were supposed to send them to the respondent a long time ago, but this is one of those things that is difficult to feel as a hard deadline in such a flurry of other more concrete and consequential ones (sorry, Frank - if you are reading this, I promise I will get it to you at least a few days before the conference, and hopefully a full week in advance!).

Closing tabs:

Book historian Erik Kwakkel on some of the world's oldest doodles (utterly enchanting).

A must-read piece by my friend Marco Roth on the language of secrecy, a contribution to Alysia Abbott's new collaborative project recording the memories of the adult children of parents who died of AIDS.

Heard a great talk Thursday on Soay sheep - it put me in a good mood! (I went to another very good one on Tuesday, my friend and colleague Joey Slaughter talking about the literature of counter-insurgency. I find great academic talks absolutely exhilarating, while boring or bad ones make me want to stick a fork in my eye: I have never found the knack of tranquilly zoning out, I am more squirming in my seat in distress!)

Some good links at this Paris Review post, including a really fantastic poem called "Treacle" by Paul Farley that I urge you to go and read in its entirety. (Should be paired with the sugar section in The Rings of Saturn!)

Among other features of a very busy week, a fun meeting with rare-book curator Karla about what we will show students in the forthcoming library sessions: lots of great stuff there that I am too lazy to link to, but I cannot resist sharing my enthusiasm about this!

Finally, Lindsay Gibson makes me curious to read Joseph O'Neill's new novel.

Light reading around the edges: Seanan McGuire's latest October Daye book, The Winter Long (this kind of urban fantasy is not for everyone, but she is a writer of immense gifts!); Arnaldur Indridason, Strange Shores (a weak contribution by a strong writer, full of ridiculous things - I kept on saying to myself as I was reading discoveries just don't happen like this!, but on the other hand it passed an evening when I was too tired to do anything more productive!); and Sarah Waters' latest novel, The Paying Guests, which I absolutely loved.

Wollstonecraft calls: I need to get offline!

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