Forthcoming, February 2010

As I whined about a few days, I am in the midst of grading.  I have 18 papers left, and, dear reader, my eyes literally hurt. My fingers are numb. My brain has rebelled. The essays are mostly fine, so at least I don’t have constant ogida.  The stress is mostly all of the other stuff I need to do (finish writing several projects; lecture/class prep; search committee business; working on my college’s blog–I’m an editor–etc etc etc).

I did manage to do other things this weekend (a department gathering at a local pub; running both mornings; chores; lunch with the hubby at yet another local pub).

So, this is a placeholder posting, identifying more for myself than for anyone else what postings are potentially forthcoming next month:

  • Mary McCarthy’s 1963 best selling novel, The Group, has been reprinted by Virago Press: I’ve been reading the latest re-views and recently reread the novel, and I have oodles of reflection: who would have thunk it?
  • I finally started using the little Nike/Ipod thingy that tracks my distance and speed when running.  It’s no GPS device, so it’s undoubtedly not entirely accurate, but I’ve got to say that I’m even more motivated to run each morning than even when I was only mildly obsessed pre-Nike/Ipod thingy (note: I actually do not wear Nike running shoes–so this posting will also be a review of the many pouches available to the anti-establishment running shoe wearers). 
  • Amazon has made Kindle software available to PC users: I’ve downloaded a slew of “free” e-books (Alcott, Austen, etc) to test out on my Netbook.
  • The trials, tribulations, and joys of teaching Chopin’s The Awakening in a general ed. survey class where male students outnumber women students (a novel that is on a dream high school reading list that Dr. Crazy has started, but not on very many actual high school reading lists, like Quills, mostly because it’s a beautiful novel about SEX).
Advertisements

Three Books: Academic Fiction

straightmanThe Chronicle of Higher Ed’s Ms. Mentor has asked readers to recommend new academic novel titles and Erin O’Connor responded.

NPR invites listeners to recommend three books on a single theme. 

I’ve decided to combine the two requests and beg you, dear readers, to submit OTHER titles to me since my towering pile of summer reading just needs to grow a bit more before it hits the ceiling. Below is my recent submission to NPR in response to their call for Three Titles:

I teach at a community college, a setting rarely seen in the academic fiction genre (at least until I write my own!), yet the usually humorous foibles of professors and students depicted in the typical college novel crosses institutional boundaries.

Each June, after (ok, sometimes even before) submitting final grades, I dig up my what I (and many others) consider to be The. Best. Academic. Novel. Ever. Richard Russo’s Straight Man.  It’s laugh out loud funny, and it never goes out of style: the chair of the English department (a required character in these novels) threatens to kill a duck a day if his budget is not approved (as he holds up a goose).

A.S. Byatt’s Possession is another favorite, more mystery than riotous, but dripping in those insider literary references that remind us literature professors how much we love our novels.

Finally, although I could cite many more than three, I must mention one of the first college novels I read: Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe.  McCarthy’s novel, while still being quite snarky, is an early attack on political correctness. It’s more focused, as is McCarthy’s style, on ideas and ethics rather than the amusing tale, like Russo’s novel, or the romance of literary mystery, as Byatt’s, but it was my first academic novel, the one that made me want so desperately to join the, albeit dysfunctional, club of the professoriate.