ink_splotch: (hard not to touch you [skins])
I think there must be some kind of problem with me; I am drawn towards really crappy English TV-shows like, like a magnet draws iron. Or something. And now I'm into Skins, which I am being mocked for by Gemma already, but it's kind of addictive - or certainly, the Emily/Naomi storyline is. I mean, sure, it's just another coming-out story, but it's really well executed and just so...realistic? And Emily such an awesomely sweet character and hot and also, a box of fannies. I kind of - actually, it mostly makes me very, very happy I'm not a teenager anymore, and that I've always been very sure of my sexuality (at least, I've never had doubts about liking fannies. I waver on the male issue).

Also, I've been listening to Mads and Monopolet so much that I'm turning it into a fandom. Skins is preferable to this, as Danish fandoms only end in tears, or rather, in really weird fanfiction scenarios.

Also, also, internets, why so low on Regeneration fanfiction? I want to read more about Rivers and Sassoon, and as my biographies and Ghost Road are in England, I look to the internet. And no help. This, I feel is not fair.
ink_splotch: (boblende latter under din hud [glæde])
I have turned in all my work, done my exam and caught up on sleep and I feel fabulous. The kind of fabulous that you really should be able to bottle so you can always remember feeling this way even when you're bogged down with papers, applications and exams.

Today, I plan to continue the relaxation I started yesterday and take my best girl out for coffee and cake, while dressed in a very spiffy dress (the dress is important. It is adding to my general fabulousness, you see), after which we shall head to mine for reading. Reading is emphasized because it is the kind of reading that is not in the least bit related to my degree programme. This is very exciting, you see.

(Hee, Gemma just looked over my shoulder and went, "You are not allowed to use the expression 'best girl' in real life. Ever.")

Anyway, during yesterday's relaxation-a-thon, I finished People of the Book, which people insist on comparing to the Da Vinci Code. Which I suppose it is a bit like. You know, if Dan Brown had done research, taking a creative writing course, had an editor, and decided to write a historical novel about book conservation instead of a thriller about religious theories everyone already knew about. Which is to say it is nothing like The Da Vinci Code and reveiwers need to shut up and stop using comparisons in their reviews.

People of the Book: Review )

Now, however, I am really craving a book about inter-faith relationships. Nothing dramatic - no Romeo-and-Juliet retellings, or books that feature insane religious families (I stumbled over the latter particularly often, and while I understand that they're sometimes realistic, they're also way too common) - but just a book where two people deal with the fact that they have different traditions and rituals and how they compromise and get through this. Hmmm.

However, I think I'll end up reading Michael Chabon's Summerland next, and then probably Lillian Faderman's Naked in the Promised Land. I have missed this SO MUCH, you guys.
ink_splotch: (fall at your feet [lit!pairing])
I'm having a pretty good time right now. I feel very content and at peace with myself. Even the fact that I have a doctor's appointment to talk about my ultra-sound/scan this week isn't bugging me too much.

And because I am a sharing person (and a caring person!), I have decided to compile a list of things that make me happy, so that you might share in them.

1.

I've been listening to The Seeger Sessions: Live in Dublin all week, and getting a lot of glee out of it (folk music, who knew?). But particularly this song because it's one of my favourites anyway and I wouldn't have thought it could be improved upon. But it could and it is and just listen to the song. How gorgeous is that?

1a. Also, have a download of Frankie, the best Bruce Springsteen song ever (maybe).

2. You know when you want something to read, and you're kind of in the mood for something soppy and romantic and not straight? But you don't trust the Amazon recommendations, because quite frankly, they lie? Well, now there's this awesome post by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza, which should contain enough recs to keep me happy for years to come.

2a. Also keeping me happy? The Best Short Stories of Lesléa Newman, most of which are lovely and quite of few of which are happy and involve sex. Yay, romantic lesbians!

2b. (When I'm not reading lesbian stories and academic things, I've been reading the Anne of Green Gables series. I can't help it! It makes me so happy!)

3. So, I've recently been up north, visiting Friend R, and I may be slightly enamored. And for enamored, read madly in love with Newcastle and Newcastle University. It all looks so awesome! And exciting! And they have a sort of "fast-track" degree where you can sign up for a PhD immediately, which seems oddly tempting. Particularly for children's literature at Newcastle, which looks amazing. I'm also tempted by the 'Literature, Memory and Culture' option, which looks oddly like something relevant and useful related to English.

3a. Seriously, Newcastle has a moor, a river, seven bridges and coffee rooms. I WANT TO LIVE THERE, you have no idea.

4. Today, it has been sunny, church was nice, lunch at the minister's afterwards was nicer, and going home and snuggling up to nap with Gemma was nicest. I feel so incredibly lucky sometimes.

5. Also, you guys gave very helpful advice with regards to my laptop issues. Thank you! ♥
ink_splotch: (she dreams in techincolour [anne])
Yesterday, Gem and I trekked to the Borders on the outskirts of Leicester. And while I feel my book-buying alliciancy for the most part belongs to independent bookstores and Waterstones - glee! The store was a proper, epic, American-style store, with shelves and shelves of books, a huge magazine section, a proper Starbucks upstairs and an amazing children's book section. I was a little bit in heaven (so much so that I kind of forgot all about sensible budgeting and accidentally spent more than I should have, oops?), particularly because it was just so - familiar, I guess? Don't get me wrong, I love bookbrowsing in Waterstones, but this was so *big*, like you could browse for days and still not find everything, or discover some shelf category you hadn't seen before (seriously, it had all these hide-away shelves where it made *no sense*, which would have been annoying if I was looking for something specific, but was awesome since I wasn't).

Also, I found the last Anne of Green Gables book that I needed, so I now have the complete set. This makes me far happier than it should. I also picked up Olivia by Dorothy Strachey, which came with a pretty vintage cover (the plan is to read it aloud to Gemma, which should be interesting); The Waves by Virigina Woolf, which I'm looking forward to kind of disproportionately; Days of Reading by Marcel Proust (also equipped with a beautiful cover,) and a book on analysis and writing for academic purposes. Which made me think of my dissertation which is currently ever so slightly stalled. Hurrah?

Speaking of my dissertation - or rather, academic life - I've been thinking about post-graduate study far too much lately for my own sanity. I even managed to majorly depress B while she was here, which was quite impressive. It's just - the future, you know? And it's RIGHT THERE, just "around the next bend in the road", as Anne might say, and what if I'm not ready? What if I'm not good enough? What if I don't want this enough? What if I choose the wrong school, the wrong place and break my passion for English permanently? Particularly I'm worried because my academic interests aren't particularly coherent, and so I'm not completely sure what I want to do, and I'm desperately afraid that if I commit to something, I'll discover that I've lost something else - if I choose women and gender, will I end up at university that doesn't teach American literature - but then if I choose American literature, can I be sure I'll get critical theory and cultural criticism?

I'd say I'm tempted to take a year out, but frankly that's a lie. I'm far more scared of the real world than anything in academia.

But, in happy-making news, I got an email from the teaching co-ordinator for English saying that I may be able to transfer from Ibsen to Containment & Resistance for my special subject in semester one. So I may get to do American Studies after all, which means that next year is looking up even more - impressive, considering I've even been feeling upbeat about the Romantics.

Also, recently I have been watching insane amounts of Star Trek: Voyager and so much love, you guys. But that's for a different post. I need to go grocery shopping.
ink_splotch: (hold on to me [support])
Three crying jags at work is NOT ON, hormones. And I am choosing to blame this on hormones and possibly the beginning (or end - it would kind of explain the past three months, fucking hell) of a mini depression. It is certainly not a reaction to the fact that Gem has to work back at her parents' three more days than she said, because that is so incredibly ridiculous and I am so fucking tired of being exhausted and sad all the time, you guys. I get annoyed and angry at the stupidest things and getting up to go to work seems like the worst thing in the world. And it's not on and needs to stop.

So! In an attempt to focus on things that are good:

1.

This song. More Bruce Springsteen for great justice.

2. Gem and I went to see Wall-E. I can't even begin to tell you how happy making it is. Seriously. *hands madly* It manages to be even better than Ratatouille and the scene where Wall-E and EVE play around in space in THE BEST SCENE EVER THE END.

(However, possibly best seen with someone to cuddle/hold hands with. Because you will want to hug someone to share the immense GLEE you will experience)

3. Uh...Oh! I've ordered Persepolis and Spaced, the first of which I've wanted to see forever and a day, but due to living in the stupidest excuse for a big city ever, have been unable to and the second of which features Jessica Stevenson and Simon Pegg and pop culture references. Score.

4. I am madly, stupidly addicted to the Anne of Green Gables series right now. It's fun and easy and happy and just what I need. Sadly, I've read the first two and managed to mess up my order so I now have book four and five, but not three. NO MATTER! I have ordered Anne of the Island and soon all will be well.

5. I have sweet potatoes soup bubbling in the kitchen. I have missed cooking soups and stews.
ink_splotch: (chase away the blues [music])
So, I was browsing today in my favourite bookshop and stumbled across this. I promptly dragged it (it's huge and has a slip-cover and is hardback and, you guys, seriously) over to the in-store coffee shop and started browsing. And man, it's beautiful, it really is. So many pictures, and so many old pictures (it kind of weirds me out how nice Steven looks with long hair. Also how much Bruce occasionally looks like a woman). And it's full of quotes, including one which almost exactly echoes a sentence in the story I've been writing. This amuses me way too much.

(I may have sort of bought the book. From Amazon, of course - in the bookshop it was 469 kr, and I do not have that kind of money for a book. Still. On one hand, unnecessary purchase. On the other hand, pictures! And fold-outs. I'm a little bit in love)

Speaking of things that amuse me, incidentally, I've spent a more-than-sensible amount of time pondering whether any of Bruce's performances made onto TV in the 70s/80s and if so, did the kiss with Clarence make it on, and if so would that be the first instance of a m/m interracial kiss on American TV? This is totally a valid point to think about, I feel.


Also! At the bookstore, I did end up buying The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, which I read this afternoon - I've read a couple of the chapter before in the Donald Duck comics (I may be wrong, but I think the whole thing was serialized in Denmark in 1997 during one of the anniversaries), but it was brilliant to read through it all at once and see it unfold properly. It really is an amazing piece of work and hugely entertaining, and it freaks me out a little how connected I am to these characters, you know? Like, I was picking up on all the stupid in-jokes and recognizing characters before they were identified. And it was emotional - I got a little choked up when Scrooge leaves Scotland for Duckburg, and also when the family storms out (of course, then there's the whole Donald thing, which. DONALD!).

Also, how awesome is Hortense? She's not a character with a lot of page-time, but she's such a character, I was incredibly endeared to her from the start. And she kicks ass! She's totally almost-scarier than Scrooge himself (or Buck. Snerk). And of course, Huey, Dewey and Louie at the end are ace.

Both this and the immense amount of Springsteen I'm listening to had got me thinking about American identity, which has got me reading A Home at the End of the World and thinking about identification in that. Which means - drum roll, please - I have started my dissertation! This is exciting for me.

ETA: I am ridiculously endeared by this one moment during The Rising tour DVD during Ramrod, when Bruce is being a total dork and Steven just looks at Patti like, he's your husband. It makes me laugh, don't judge me.
ink_splotch: (julie andrews is hot [kinks])
Today is quite the perfect day for ordering books online while listening to jazz and Travis, and sipping tea.

I've been rather remarkably lazy of late; I'd like to say that I have sacrificed my academic life for my social life, but I'm not sure that's an accurate description at all (although, man, my house has been busy this past week). I think it's more a sense of wanting to distance myself from this past academic year, which has not been as good as I would have hoped, and is leaving me despairing a bit over whether or not this is what I want to do. The despair is rather augmented by the fact that I don't know what else I could be - I'm not sure what else I can deal with.

I think part of what I'm feeling is a reaction to a sequence in the service at church last Sunday asking, simply, "What are you doing to make the world a better place?" And I can't help feeling that as an academic, the answer is not much. Who are you really affecting? Who are you touching, as an academic? And that's my problem: I don't have an answer for that question, and I'd like one.

I think that's part of the reason I can't deal with my dissertation right now; it's too strange and feels a little bit pointless. I think I need an angle, a way to deal with it so it becomes relevant and more than just musings on the subject of the post-modern. Or, of course, it could be just laziness.

More than anything, though, I want to be excited about my degree again - or more than that, I want to be excited about reading again. Which, hopefully, the books I've bought today will help with (Greetings from Bury Park, a memoir in Springsteen lyrics; How They Met, short stories by David Levithan; The Common Reader, literary essays by Virginia Woolf and The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World, young adult fantasy by EL Konigsburg). I hope, anyway.
ink_splotch: (my life on paper in the sun [summer])
So apparently, what it took to shake me out of my funk1 was to buy the new Virago print of 84 Charing Cross Road and then lie on the grass, in the sun reading it for an hour. I am now all freckle-y and quite content.

(I wish I could show you the cover I have - it's printed for the 30 anniversary of Virago and is so beautiful that I knew I had to buy it - it has blue and gray doves on it, I can't even explain. The book itself is delightful - it's incredibly short, yet when you finish you feel as if years have passed. It seems uncomplicated, and in many ways is, yet it is lovely and well worth the hour it takes to read)

1. At least for today. I am headache-y, and I haven't slept enough at all, so chances are that it's still a crash period, but this afternoon has been good.
ink_splotch: (a happy ending i'll never have [us])
My real-life is something of a muddle. My father was in Leicester, Monday to Tuesday, and it was so nice to see him again, but now I miss him terribly, and I'm not going home until July; I was sent home from work yesterday after I had a minor collapse due to cramps, which did not exactly heighten my opinion of the day in general; and a couple of my housemates are in a mood with the rest of us, due to discussions of rooming arrangements next year. Not exactly the best start ever to a week, if I'm honest.

Apart from that, I have my last Critical Theory seminar on Friday, which means it'll be the last time I see my seminar tutor. Which makes me quite sad, since he's absolutely amazing (and so is CT, which is another reason for sadness.)

On the other hand, I have finished my Satire and Sense essay, and only need to edit (and possibly create a conclusion for) my Critical Theory essay, which is a very good thing; Gemma's been taking care of me, which has been, well, wonderful (I'm...kind of bad at dealing with people taking care of me - I feel obliged to help. However, Gemma got rather strict with me, so. Yes.); I'm beginning to think I may just be able to scrape by my exams. Also I've been reading Stephen Jay Gould's Life's Grandeur, which is amazing and beautiful and kind of makes me wish I were more of a scientist. Or smart enough to be able to use his theories in some way for my academic work (which remind me, I really, really need to start thinking seriously about my dissertation. And possibly considering re-reading Anansi Boys.)

***

Quite apart from everything else, I've got a craving for World Without End fic. Which disappointingly still doesn't exist. The book's been out for six months, people!Spoilers! )

Speaking of things related to the fandom life: Beat It. I love Patrick. Like, a lot. (His voice, you guys!)

Also, DADT, Damyata, Dayadhvam messed with me. I can't believe how short it is for something that packs such a powerful punch. It's an SG:A alternate universe, where Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell isn't just a law - it's a chip, implanted into everyone affiliated with the US military. It gets to me on a number of levels and some of them make me a little uncomfortable, but I recommend it whole-heartedly. It is amazing.
ink_splotch: (we all need somebody [team])
Considering my somewhat well-known love for World War II related fiction, and particularly considering my very well-known love for stories about sexuality, not to mention my affection for stories about stories, you would have thought that someone would have pointed me in the direction of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, wouldn't you?

Can you say post-exam indulgence?

***

My entire house currently smells of cabbage because I am attempting cabbage casserole for dinner. I didn't realize how much it smells, though. Still, Chris just came in to compliment me on it, so it can't be that bad, right?

Also, it still manages to make me happy that I have people who compliment me on my cooking and who I can talk to about nothing for ages. I love this house, I really do, and everyone in it. It's been so good to be back and just hang-out with them, having random conversations about just about anything at anytime; when I'm in Denmark, I miss wandering into the kitchen for a drink and getting caught up in a conversation.

***

How awesome is Donna so far? I mean, 4x01 sucked, but the banter between Donna and Ten was spot-on from the start, and when she basically insisted he let her help him fix the problem, I knew I liked her. 4x02 (which I thought was excellent, and really furthered my understanding of the Doctor) just cemented my adoration. She's so fiesty, and I really like the way she and the Doctor deal with each other - the characterization of the Doctor so far really also shows how much having Martha as a companion really did change him, which, VINDICATED! It's all very, very awesome, and now I'm all giddy about Who again.

I may have to re-watch 3x05/3x06.

***

So far my critical theory essay is a sentence long, and that sentence is a quote. Yet, I feel the important thing is that I've begun.

(Also, it's a Neil Gaiman quote. You can't go wrong, really)
ink_splotch: (i love paris in the summer [cities])
I'm back! Though not from outer space. Rather, from Bean's and from Paris. Both of which were amazing. Firstly, Bean's home is in this tiny village in the country - no, really, the country, rolling fields and village greens and everything. It's the type of place where, when you look out of the window, you half expect some lost Romantic poet to be rambling, perhaps stopping every once in a while to harass some part of nature with a poem. Absolutely beautiful, if at times a little scarily sweet. It's pretty much exactly as a non-English person would visualize England (and, for that matter, the English). I even went to church on Sunday, and that was fun and sweet as well. Of course, afterwards we went to have fondue and sit in a hot tub for the day, so it wasn't that weird. And it was awesome to see Becs again, even if she has now again deserted me for the great country of France.

Speaking of France - Paris! The trip was amazing, absolutely amazing; the only real problem was it was too short, so we didn't get to visit Pere Lechaise, for example, or the Bastille and the Opera. But Paris is such a gorgeous city, and being there with Gemma was just - it's what Paris is supposed to be, you know? Wandering through small streets and ducking into the small parks scattered throughout Paris, walking arm-in-arm by the Seine, sitting in the sun in the park at Notre Dame kissing and eating meringue. It was lovely, and I think we had quite a well-rounded trip, hitting all the big landmarks, but also managing to go down the small streets, eat in some "local" restaurants and visit some local coffee shops and bars (one in particular was awesome - it was underground! The drinks came with marshmallows! I was pleased.), and, of course, visiting Shakespeare and Company which was as beautiful and glorious and just lovely as you'd expect. It was an experience. )

The only thing that really kind of bugged me was Notre Dame - it's such a stunning building, but it loses a lot by having "walk-in" confessionals, a gift shop, neon lighting and hundreds of tourists snapping pictures. Den of thieves, anyone? Also, there was a concert Tuesday night, which we didn't realize until Wednesday, which was annoying.

But it was so good. It really was. And I'm so glad I went.

(speaking of Gemma, she is currently asleep in my bed behind me - she's home ill with a stomach bug and feeling guilty for not being at work. I know it's bad, but I'm kind of glad; it's so nice having her here, and I'm enjoying taking care of her (she is ridiculously undemanding and makes a big deal out of everything I do, which is very rewarding. Shallow, me?). And it's quite homey having her here. Even though it's also making me feel guilty for being on LJ rather than doing work.)

***

I feel like I'm waiting for something. Maybe because Paris has been the big thing I've been waiting for since January and now it's gone; maybe because I've an urge to write, but no discipline to do so; maybe because essays and exams are due in soon and need studying for and yet I'm not doing that; maybe because, I keep looking for books and trying to find the perfect one - you know that feeling, where you know it's there somewhere, but because you don't know exactly what you're looking for, you just know you'll know when you see it, it's oddly...not frustrating, but expectant? I feel like that, like something is about to happen or I'm about to do something, but I don't know what.

Either that, or the combination of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Belle and Sebastian is messing with my mind.
ink_splotch: (most days I love life [happy])
I've just had the most terrible hair cut. I get this feeling every nine months or so that I should cut my hair to above my shoulders, and it's never a good idea and yet I always do it. But this time it is truly, truly atrocious. Like, I look like a "before" photo terrible. And it's slightly too short now, so I can't even have it touched up, really. Why do I do it? Why?

On the plus side, it looks quite nice when plaited, very school-girl-in-the-good-way. So as long as I keep it like that for a couple of months, I'll be fine. *despairs*

I am currently watching EastEnders, possibly because I am experiencing traditional why-am-I-not-in-Leicester. It's always like this: I'm barely on the plane before I'm thinking time to go home, even though I know that I like being in Denmark, and I enjoy spending time with my family and friends here, but the first day is always weird. And so I'm watching EastEnders in order to combat homesickness. It's not entirely working.

Speaking of combating loneliness - 3000 words of fic. There went most of my day.

Oh! In actual interesting stuff: I was in the St.Pancras' Foyles. I haven't had proper bookshop *glee* in ages, but I walked in and it was beautiful. Booklust blooming instantly, I tell you. They have these beautiful exclusive versions of Sherlock Holmes looking exactly like you've always imagine they should look, but never truly, consciously realized and it took absolutely everything in me not to buy them all - or at the very least Hound of the Baskervilles. So beautiful. And now I want to go to the actual store so damn much. It's supposed to be huge and organized and full of books. WANT.

So life is mostly good here. Still. MY HAIR YOU GUYS!
ink_splotch: (not stupid and docile [smart girl])
Q: Is there anything better than new books?

A: Time to read said new books, preferably with coffee, a blanket and Gemma.

In a fit of possibly Valentine's Day related madness, or possibly just plain madness, I bought myself Un Lun Dun which I've wanted for maybe six months now, and features sentient umbrellas and Cloud Atlas maybe possibly mostly for its cover and the way Gemma looked and me when she found it and said, 'you'll love this book.' (One does not doubt the Gemma when she makes these pronouncements. She is always right.) And then today, my books for uni arrived - Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels and Evelina, all for six pounds (yay for Penquin recyclables.)

Of course, I have to read Crusoe by Thursday, I still haven't really started my passage analysis (two pages of handwritten notes does not equal a coherent piece of work, self!) and the language part of my critical theory module is fascinating, but hardly something you can half-ass (if you look very closely, children, you can see the exact moment when trying to describe words using words makes Chris's head explode!) so I need to focus on that (and not think about Bahktin and The Realm of Possibility, because any analysis of that book will only end in tears) and I'm currently writing three things as well as trying to edit two stories.

This really should be more stressful than it is. Life really is kind of awesome.

Also, I watched Ratatouille with Gemma last night, and the ending is pure distilled joy in DVD form. I'm still all a-glee. Oh, Paris!
ink_splotch: (when i sleep i dream [run away])
So, I'm kind of madly happy. I'm not entirely sure why, either, particularly because I've had moments of extreme malaise and worry about exams and my future during today, but it sort of passed during Medieval Lit (though I still say a lecture at 5 till 6 is unreasonably late), stuck between Becca and Phil and making stupid comments and jokes about religion (University: if you can't make fun of it, it ain't worth studying). Which is awesome, since it means that now I'm here, sleepy and quite content. Mmmmm. Even though I am vaguely missing Gemma, who's gone home for two days. It's not too bad, though, sort of a comfortable ache.

I mean, I'm still worried about my grades (which I don't get until next week and, I just - I've never felt so badly after an exam, and it's not really a comfortable feeling) and my thesis (because it's soon, really soon now, and I'm still not entirely sure what I want to write about: Fairytales and the Creation of Identity in The Book of Lost Things, The Function of the Fictional in The Book of the Duchess or something completely different, maybe to do with gender. And it's the fact that I don't feel like there's anyone in the faculty I could really go to to get help with this that's annoying me most of all, I think) and I still don't feel like I'm keeping up as well as I should be - I kind of feel like everyone else has a lot more terminology than me, or at least, it comes easier to them than it does to me, which is frustrating, particularly because I could be doing more work and I'm sort of...not.

Still, fuck it, I'm happy. I've got friends and Critical Theory and will quite possibly be able to do gender studies for my second Restoration essay, which would just be plain awesome.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a short story called 'The Storyteller', which I actually quite like. And now there's a creative writing competition at University and I am tempted. Very tempted. On the other hand, I am very awkward about showing something I like that isn't fandom related to anyone. Particularly this story, which is the first thing I've written since this summer and is , well, important to me. Also, I'm not sure it doesn't need editing, but I'm kind of sensitive about it - I don't really want someone to rip it apart. Dilemma.

Speaking of writing, I have about 1000 words of English Department fic, except it has completely departed the world of RPF and entered the world of original fiction (which is both exciting and odd) and also it is present tense. Which is...freaky. I'll probably end up changing it. Mostly I'm just kind of surprised I'm writing. It's both nice and frustrating because, well, as I was talking to Sofie about when she was here, I don't really think of myself as a writer. I think of myself as an academic writer (to a certain degree, anyway), but not a fiction writer. And yet, now it's as if something is working and I'm writing - not all the time, but sometimes. It's very strange.

It's also frustrating, because guess who hasn't started on her Restoration passage analysis yet? Oh, that would be me! (And it's due in in two weeks, why do I do this to myself?)

Oh! Finally, may I highly recommend Company of Liars? I got it from Gemma for our anniversary and it hooked me; it's about a band of travellers during the first year of the plague - a trader in sacred relics, a couple on the run, a deformed storyteller, a magician, two musicians, a healer and little girl who tells runes. It manages to be both a riveting, creepy story as well as interesting on a human level; the characters are compelling, the history well-researched and worked into the text (none of that exposition blather) and captures the sense of fear that the plague must have evoked believably. It's just really, really good and has an excellent narrative voice and a really awesome twist at the end. Very, very much recommended.

And now I should probably go to bed, so I am well-rested for tomorrow's day o'Torchwood. Mmm.
ink_splotch: (blooming on the page [books])
Had proper university experience yesterday! Or at least, that's what I'm calling it in my head, because my-interest-in-queer-history-overwhelms-my-hatred-of-awkward-social-situations is a) very long and b) silly sounding! Anyway, Becs and I went to a special seminar yesterday (i.e. an open seminar which isn't related to a course) on masturbation and same-sex friendship in medieval literature, which, okay. First, let me say that the seminar itself was amazing. The title of it was Self-Abuse: Blurring/Defining Sexual Difference in Medieval Literature and it feature elements of queer theory, social history, gender deconstruction and probably a few theories that I didn't recognize, being an undergrad and all. Still, very exciting! However, the other people attending the seminar...well, first of all, we were about eight. Four of whom were from lecturers, two of whom were post-grads and, oh yeah. Becca and me. Felling slightly conspicuous, I might say. Particularly because the lecturer (who is our seminar tutor for Medieval lit this term) is, oh yeah, possibly the lecturer from the English Department fandom. He may or may not think we're lunatics.

Still. Awesome. And now I want to re-read Strangers. Curse you, lack of time!

On Thursday, I'm going to America for my Grandmother's 80th birthday. For some reason, I can't quite fathom that I'm going. And not only am I going, but I'm seeing Ann and Lee, which I'm probably more excited about than anything, since it feels like ages and I miss them. A lot. Particularly now I'm at university, because it was when I was living in America I first got really excited about university, so, yeah. Very much looking forward to going. Slightly less excited about dragging most of my brother's possessions with me (I am mule, hear me bray). Still, at least Heathrow have lifted their 'one piece of luggage' rule, which makes me very happy - I can bring my critical theory book! Granted, I probably won't have time to read, because of the birthday and Mardi Gras and all that, but hey. There's always the plane, right?

Currently reading The Yellow-Light Bookshop which is a really nice sort of memoir type book, all about bookshops and book-lust (which is an awesome term and one I will be employing muchly in future, I think) and it's kind of making me want to open my own bookstore.

Neil Gaiman mentioned Torchwood on his blog. I think that's kind of awesome. Particularly because the sequence was titled "Reasons Why The People in Season One of Torchwood Are Too Stupid To Live", which, okay. Yes. But 1x12 is still an amazing episode.
ink_splotch: (No need to dream [otp])
So, today's been productive if not exactly overly happy. I'm kind of missing England. A lot. But apparently being in a...blah mood helps with my productivity. I've certainly managed quite a bit of revision today. Hopefully I can do the last 30 lines of translation tomorrow and then start on my grammar tests, and then it's focus on the literary side from then on. Ugh.

But, for now, I present my Yuletide Recs )

Also, this is just kind of hilarious, particularly this one: 4. Noah Mayer, Classic Self-Denial. Probably the most textbook case in Oakdale, the troubled aspiring filmmaker just needs to be hit with the "Luke Snyder is awesome" stick, and straight man Dusty is just the one to smack him with it.
ink_splotch: (Mathilda is my hero [admiration])
My renaissance literature presentation is done! Which means, baring the actual presentation tomorrow, all my work for this term is done! Man, all I want to do is just curl up against Gemma and sleep until, like, Friday, but real life and going to dinner at Ros's tonight, so. Can't. Still. Want.

Remember The Book Thief? I don't know if I made it clear at the time, but reading it was such an experience. Nick Hornby talks about how some books are just *you*, even if they're not about your experiences, or emotions, or anything like that - you just recognize them, somehow, like they were written for you. And that's how I feel about The Book Thief, perhaps more than any other book I've ever read. But if The Book Thief and I connect on a very emotional, very instinctive level, then The Book of Lost Things and I are all about the English Student in me. Ever since I finished it, I can't stop thinking about it - not because it resonated emotionally with me, perhaps, and definitely not because of the prose - it was at times distinctly awkward and clumsy - but because of the use of folk tales and superstitions surrounding books and the physcological angle matching up with that of folk tales and meta-storytelling and its treatment of adolescent sexuality and gender, and the ideas of crossing worlds and the use of symbols and man. I love this book, and it's not even that good, but it is fascinating and it *works* for me on a academic level like nothing I've read for a while has.

The only real problem is that now I want to start doing background reading for it, because if at all possible this is my thesis: folk tales and storytelling in The Book of Lost Things. I just want to hole myself up with Villy Sørensen and my copy of Grimm's Fairytales and just work it all out in my head. GAH!

But, of course, I can't. Because I still haven't memorized all my Old English verb and adjective conjugations and that exams is only two months away (maybe less, HELP!).
ink_splotch: (she dreams in technicolor [vibrant])
1.
Would'st thou divert thyself from melancholy?
Would'st thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly?
Would'st though read riddles, and their explanation?
Or else be drowned in thy contemplation?
[...]
Would'st thou lose thyself, and catch no harm,
And find thyself again without a charm?
Would'st thou read thyself, and read thou know'st not what,
And yet know whether thou are blest or not,
By reading the same lines? O then come hither,
And lay my book, thy head, and heart together.
John Bunyan: The Author's Apology for his Book

2. I have 1971 words of an essay which started out ambitiously and ended up being utterly conventional. That is not the point, however. The point is it is a essay for Renaissance Literature which a) is reasonably good (i.e. I won't fail) and b) didn't result in my death or the death of others. This is a good RenLit essay.

3. I was talking to Freya yesterday and she asked me what was new here and I realized ho happy I am. Not right this moment - right this moment I'm a bit sleepy and kind of hungry and a little frustrated with RenLit in general - but overall. In general. I think this year is maybe the happiest I've been in 5 or 6 years. It's not that I've been depressed, but there's just always been something not quite right, and now there isn't. Or at least not as chronically; now, most mornings, I wake up happy, I have good days, I talk to people, I don't mind asking for help, I don't mind being on my own because I know it's my choice. It's weird how I didn't notice it sneaking up on me.

4.
Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by torchlight beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They could take root in the imagination and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read, David's mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.
- John Connolly: The Book of Lost Things

5. There's a really interesting comparison to be made between Anansi Boys and The Book of Lost Things, I can't help but feel.

6. This is an incredibly bad idea, because it means that when your lecturer decides that an interesting 15 minutes digression from the theme of women in Anglo-Saxon lit would be homosocial and homoerotic bonds in the same, you and Becca will spend the entire fifteen mintues stifling giggles and occasionally writing lewd notes on each other's notebooks.

7. It is desperately cold here. Is it cold where you are?
ink_splotch: (weather outside is frightful [winter])
I collapsed at work today, which I say is pretty conclusive proof that my period pains are getting worse and it might be time to see a gynecologist. Boo.

I did get free sweets out of it, though. Mmmm, honeycomb.

Also, I'm not entirely sure why (may be because it mentions the Gaurdian? Maybe because Good Omens is more read than the Bible? Maybe because it just seems so content? Who knows.) but Neil Gaiman's most recent blog post makes me very happy.

Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm off to hunt paracetamol.

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