Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First year of grad school. Done.

The title of this post was my Facebook status on 5/17/2012 and it felt so, so good to finally have all of my papers turned in. I'm not quite sure what grades I'll be getting - one paper was worth 50% of my grade, another was 40%, and the last was 20% - but by Thursday morning, I was simply glad to have everything "done enough" on time and turned in. All semester, and especially for the last three weeks of school, my brain was a mish-mash of thoughts revolving around the following terms and topics:

House of Mirth reputation Chaucer homeschoolers storytelling peer review Wharton gossip A Lost Lady social control language guile Manciple's Tale loss of voice writer's authority Legend of Good Women innocence Lily Bart caution interaction Cather self-promotion society Phebus Selden true women

And that's just the ones I can remember nearly a week later, a week I've spent putting all thoughts of school out of my head. I've spent most of this time at my parents', relaxing and trying to decompress from the most stressful year of my life. It's been nice to have some time to relax without feeling that I really should be starting on my next assignment.

During these past few days, I've gotten quite a bit of reading done and it's all been for fun. I think I've read a total of 4 books for fun in the past 3 years, but this week I've already finished all of The Hunger Games books - granted, they're easy books to fly through - and I've continued with Anna Karenina where I left off last summer. I'm still trying to get my bearings in that book again since there are so many characters and the narrative tends to move from one to another, so there are several characters I remember from last summer that I haven't encountered yet and when I do, I'm just hoping I remember the details from the first couple hundred pages of the book.

I've also started reading The Meaning of Everything which tells the story of how The Oxford English Dictionary was created. I'm not quite sure that I'll finish it, since so far, I'm not too keen on the style. But I'm going to stick with it a while longer, since the story sounds interesting and I would like to know more about that dictionary. Someday I hope to own a copy of it, but since it consists of 20 volumes and costs $1200, I'd be surprised if that ever happens. I just don't think that it will be a priority by the time I can afford it.

I have several more books on my list this summer, too. I plan to read a couple by P.G. Wodehouse because I absolutely loved A Damsel in Distress when I read it a few years ago. And I'm hoping to round out my experience by reading works from some authors I've never read, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Thomas Hardy. Let me know if you have any suggestions for other authors or specific books by the authors I've mentioned!

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