Monday, August 31, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 31

#WelcomeTo2015: saw this driving away from work today...(p.s.: I don't now nor have I ever lived in Mississippi. p.p.s: this wasn't taken in Mississippi....)

Monday Musings: My August In Review


August began with my mom coming into town so we could go to Nashville. Why? To see the Earth, Wind, and Fire/Chicago concert. Why? We found a clip on YouTube of the two groups performing 25 or 6 to 4 and vowed that the next time they toured together, we'd see them.

Nashville was our last option (my work schedule made it impossible to catch them in Dallas, Austin, or Houston), but we made it and got to see an awesome concert.

In the end, she stayed with me for a week before she went back home and I officially started at my new job (!!!!) as an in-class tutor at a local high school after training for most of July. I'm beginning my fourth week, and I'm loving every moment of it. It's the closest I've gotten to being in a classroom since finishing up with my teaching certification.

The end of August brought around the start of a new semester (after an almost four month layoff) I wrote about my four classes last week, but I'm getting the hang of what all is expected of me this semester and hitting the ground running.

Before things get too crazy, I've also managed to catch a couple of football games...one in Alabama. Yep. Caught a fan bus to Alabama to see a ball game (because there's just something about Friday night that makes me want to see some football...even if it's in another state (must be the Texan in me :) )) Got to see a great game and got a lot of reading done for class. Two birds, one stone!

September will bring more school and the start of my second job: A GAship at the university's library.

Stay tuned...

Crossed Off Bucket List Item: 


see Chicago in person (if you squint real hard like, you can see the band...we were in the nosebleeds (if there is a nosebleeds at an outdoor concert), but still an amazing show)


go to Mississippi and Alabama (states 14 and 15 in my quest to visit every state)...you can tell which state's sign I was ready for and which one caught me off guard :~/ 

August's Never Have I Ever...: 

...been to the George Jones Museum. It wasn't open the last time my mom and I were in Nashville for Loretta Lynn's concert, so it was great getting to go before having to come back here. And yes, they had the tractor. :)



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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 26


Taken en route to work....

WWW Wednesday: August 26


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Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

I'm currently finishing up listening to August Wilson's American Cycle (which has been amazing. So glad I was able to keep the summer goal of getting through all ten of the plays). I'm also finishing up with J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Kind of bummed that I didn't read it in high school (like I was supposed to) because it's the kind of novel that I would have loved to read as a high schooler. I'm also reading Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings, mainly during lunch breaks at work, though with school starting, it may become a weekend read instead. For school, I've also started reading/listening to Frederick Douglass's A Narrative on the Life of Frederick Douglass and reading The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader.  

 • What did you recently finish reading?

Recently got through another week of reading journal submissions as well as listening to the first eight plays of August Wilson's American Cycle (1900s-1970s). 

 

• What do you think you’ll read next?

For school, I'll be reading/listening to Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. I think I'm also going to listen to Piper Kerman's Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. I haven't seen the Netflix show yet (though it's in my queue), so I thought listening to the book that started it all could be a good way to get into the show.



Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 25


Wanted to capture something different today....

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101 (examples: YA fantasy 101, feminist literature 101, magic in YA 101, classic YA lit 101, world-building 101)


I took Literature of the Harlem Renaissance a few semesters back and ever since then, I've been obsessed with learning about the 20s. I think the fact that the Lost Generation (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc.) and the Renaissance Generation (Hughes, Hurston, etc.) both enjoyed their greatest success in the 20s and early 30s is fascinating for a number of reasons, but the two are rarely taught together as one course.

So if I taught The Converging Literary Movements of Interwar America 101, these ten books would most definitely be on my syllabus:

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson

3. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

5. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

6. Quicksand by Nella Larsen

7. Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes

8. The Marne : A Tale of the War by Edith Wharton

9 & 10. The Norton Anthology of African-American Literature and The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume D for a nice mix of poems, short stories, and plays by other writers from the era.


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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Monday, August 24, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 24


Saw this driving into work this morning and couldn't resist....

Monday Musings: Back To School Fall 2015


My long national nightmare is over: school is back in session! I'm jazzed to get back in the swing of things and get a start on this semester's classes. For the fall, I'm taking:
  • African-American Literature 1850-1900
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Women and Social Movements

Yes. That's four classes, which is a little crazy on the grad school level (or so I've heard), but three out of the four classes are online and the fourth is an afternoon class. But yeah, I'm super excited about my courses and can't wait to get started. 

I'm also really excited because after this semester, I only need one more class before earning my certificate in African-American Literature. Also, I'm officially starting on a new program. I originally came in working on a Lit Studies option, but I switched to the Cross-Disciplinary option over the summer. By taking six classes from the History department, I'll be able to teach History on the college/university level after earning my Masters. Moreover, I just love History and finding a way to fit it into my program and still being able to graduate on time is pretty awesome.

This semester will be a test, but I think I'll be okay. One of my focuses for this year and last has been time management. Learning how to prioritize my need-to-dos (do well in school, work, etc.) and still giving myself enough time to enjoy some want-to-dos (traveling, catching football games, reading for pleasure) has been vital and good training as I continue to work towards a career. 

And because I'm a stickler for (some) traditions: my back-to-school tradition is listening to "Back To School" from Grease 2...yes, I like Grease 2. It's not nearly as bad as people have accused it of being...enjoy!




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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 22 & 23

My PotDs from before were of sunrises, so to keep it balanced, here are a couple of sunsets....

August 22



August 23

Friday, August 21, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 20-21

Though I miss getting to sleep in, getting to watch the sun rise as I go to work isn't too bad of a trade off....

 
August 20

August 21

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 19


The calm before the storm....

WWW Wednesday: August 19


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Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

I'm currently reading Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings. I'm just getting started and it's close to seven hundred pages, so I'm hoping to get through this within the next couple of weeks before I get slammed with assigned readings. I'm also listening to J.D Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye. It's only about seven hours, so I'll be finished by this time next week.

• What did you recently finish reading?


I finished reading/listening to Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (more on that later...) I also made it through about 25 journal submission pieces. I'll be doing a lot of reading for journals the next few months, but I'm very excited for it (more excited about reading for journals than submitting to them...more on that later as well)

• What do you think you’ll read next?


Next up is more journal submissions for the most part. I'll also get the chance to listen to August Wilson's American Century Cycle thanks to WNYC. I've been wanting to read them in order since being assigned The Piano Lesson. I'll most likely spend my weekend listening to the whole cycle. Also got my first two assigned books for my 1850-1900 class (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl), so I'll probably get a head start on reading or listening to them.


Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

You can also email me by clicking here or follow me at  the following social media sites: 

Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 18


Had to run some errands before school this morning and snapped this shot while I was...side note: so excited that fall is coming soon (not only for football season (though it's a huge plus); I love getting a chance to see leaves changing colors and all of that before winter hits)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors (no matter the genre or what it's about...you'll buy it from these authors!). If you want to get specific you can break it into genre especially since I know we did this topic in 2013.


Changing this one up just a tad smidge bit since the only book buying I do nowadays is textbook buying. So here are the Top Ten Of My Auto-Check Out At The Library/Attempt To Find Free Audiobook Recordings From Authors: 

1. Debbie Macomber: I've spoken about her before, but with school starting up soon and most of my time being taken by assigned reads, I'm always excited to pick up her latest book (since she publishes so many in a year) when I finish up a semester. She writes the perfect books for post-semester reading. It also helps that she's written so many books that I haven't read yet, so even if I can't find one of her new ones, I can always start reading one of the series or stand-alone books I gotten to read yet.

2. Danielle Steel: She actually hasn't been on my auto-check for awhile because for a bit there, I was able to see so many adaptations on Lifetime, so I fell woefully behind. However, since Lifetime is now in the business of killing my childhood by coming out with all of these unauthorized movies, it's time to pick her up again. I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and that's an element in so many of Steel's works that I'm adding her back to my list as I delve further into my interests in history and historical fiction.

3. Garrison Keillor: I've spoken about my love for A Prairie Home Companion before, but Keillor has also written standalone fiction and nonfiction as well as novels inspired by Lake Wobegon. I've also loved listening to some of his audiobooks during some of my last road trips, but I think I've now listened to everything that's been converted to audio (gasp), but there are still plenty of physical books I can read when I get the chance.

4. Nora Ephron: I've run into the same problem with Ephron as I have with Keillor: I've run out of things to listen to/read from her. I love her humor and her style. She's made more than one road trip feel like it's going faster because I'm laughing at her words instead of stressing about drivers or counting how many cows I see (and depending on the destination, I've counted more cows than cars) (note: I actually pay attention to the road ahead while I drive. Promise. Don't want that to sound like I'm the worst distracted driver ever) 

5. George Carlin: I prefer to listen to Carlin's books than read them for some reason, which is strange because I read When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops and loved every moment of it. Another strange thing is that I'm going backwards with him, listening to his most recent books first and moving back to the 90s and beyond.

6. Marilynne Robinson: I admit it: I'd never heard of Robinson before being assigned to read Gilead in my Forms of Fiction class. Now, I want to read everything she's written (and am currently reading Lila, Gilead's sequel) 

7. Ann Brashares: I've already read all of the Sisterhood books, but I've been in the process of reading everything else for a couple of years now. 

8. Mary Karr: have I ever mention how much I love Mary Karr????? Because I love Mary Karr. Whenever she has something at the library that I haven't read yet, I'm picking it up. 

9. Elizabeth Gilbert: like a lot of people, I first heard of Gilbert thanks to Eat, Pray, Love, but since then, I've read just about everything else from her that I could find and make sure to check out clips of her speaking (like in TED talks or on something for Oprah)

10. Lewis Black: I love comedy, and Black is one of my favorite comics. Whether it's in book or audiobook form, I'll check them out again and again and they never gets old.


Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Monday, August 17, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 17


Was planning on doing a The City-inspired collage with this, but I came home exhausted. Maybe another day....

Life Lately: Catching Up On Never Have I Evers



So it's been longer than forever since I've really made much of a go on this blogging thing (minus some weekly posts on my reading habits), so I'm trying it out (again). With a posting schedule and the like, I'm hoping this blogging regularly thing takes this time around.

First up: catching up on the new things I've done or places I've gone since I lasted posted...way back in December (when I saw The Nutcracker in person...and found out it was a ballet instead of a musical...long story....)

Anywho. Here are January-August's Never Have I Evers:

January: been to Gilley's. That's where the ESPN shows shot from when they were in the metro for the CFP National Championship game. I never realized how big that place is until I saw it for my own eyes. Didn't get to ride the mechanical bull (#sadness) but that was a good day.  










 
February: submitted poetry to literary journals. Not that this amounted to anything, but I gave it the ole college try. Now, I realize that I'm much more content working for lit journals then trying to submit to them (more on that later). 




March: been to Overton Park...which I swear is the closest thing to Austin without being in Austin. It's amazing over there. I can't wait until it cools down so I can go back.
April: been to a spring game. Finally got the chance to see one, since I wasn't able to either spring I was there (first one was cancelled because of construction and I accidentally slept through the other one) Bonus NHIE: seen a successful Hail Mary.
May: been to an Impossible Language reading. One thing that I've learned over the months is that I'm not the best reader of poetry, but I love hearing it. There's so much that you can get from hearing the words as opposed to seeing them, and the four readers were absolutely amazing.
June: been to the Pink Palace Museum. Lucked up on going for free one Tuesday afternoon. Skipped the natural history part (not a fan of seeing skulls or the like) but upstairs, there's the history of Memphis which was absolutely incredible to get to walk through. Made this history geek's heart flutter with glee.

July: been to the the Imagine Vegan Cafe. And their food is awesome! The cafe once again reminded me of something I would've found in Austin. Loved the atmosphere...and did I mention that their food is awesome? Because their food is awesome! I'm not the eat out at restaurants type (limited budget, ya dig) but I've already been again when my mom was in town, and hope to make it my regular go-to spot.
August: been to the George Jones Museum. Y'all. The Possum's got a museum! Couldn't believe it myself when my mom and I were in Nashville the first weekend of the month, but we got to swing by and check it out on our way out of town. Loved every moment of it.




Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 16


The view from floor 6. Got to enjoy a sunny afternoon before the sky grew overcast....

Friday, August 14, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 14


Surrounded by shade trees...which was much appreciated after the cool breeze stopped blowing....

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 11 & 12



Two more mochromes (yep...I've been taking so many of them lately that I now have a nickname for it....)

WWW Wednesday: August 12


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Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?



I'm still reading The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (about 2/3 the way through!) and expect to finish that up this week. I'm looking at a couple of days off later on this week, so I also plan on knocking out The Catcher In The Rye's audiobook by this time next week.
• What did you recently finish reading?


I recently finished reading Go Set A Watchman (in one day...couldn't put it down. Btdubs: I loved it! However, I'm hoping the (many) rumors behind its creation and publication aren't true) as well as Stéphane Mallarmé's A Roll of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance. However, I spent most of last week either reading or editing prose and poetry submissions, so that took a bulk of my reading time. 

• What do you think you’ll read next?


School is starting soon and I know some of the books we're reading for class. I may get a jump on those either in audiobook or print form. Other than that, I've got a lot of prose and poetry submission readings in my future. Found a couple of Youtube channels that have a ton of audiobooks, so I may go through and find titles that I've been wanting to read and start plowing through those as well.


Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

You can also email me by clicking here or follow me at  the following social media sites: 

Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From (for some reason I thought we did this already but appears that we just did authors we OWN the most books from)

*note: I'm going in descending order, hence the numbers by the authors' names.*

1. Debbie Macomber (20+) It all started one day when my mom found one of Debbie's books to read at her job during lunch. Fast forward four years later, my mom and I have both read all of the Cedar Cove series, all of the Navy Wives series, and a lot of the standalone books as well. I've also read all of the Inn at Rose Harbor series minus Love Letters. Suffice it to say, Debbie is an apartmenthold favorite (now two apartmentholds)

2. William Shakespeare (10+) At Texas State, you have to take two pre-1800 classes as an English major. Though I've never been a fan of ole Willy S (my major weakness is reading things not written in modern English...No Fear Shakespeare = da real MVP!), taking Earlier and Later Shakespeare saved me from Beowulf and even earlier works...so I'm pretty much indebted to him! Between high school and those two classes, I've read most of his comedies and tragedies. Not sure why, but I've never been assigned to read one of the history plays.

3.Virginia Woolf (7+) I read Mrs. Dalloway for the first time in seventh grade, but that was the only novel of hers that I read until my senior year at Texas State. One of the classes I took that spring semester was a Virginia Woolf class. We read seven out of eight of her novels as well as some of her short stories and A Room Of One's Own.

4. Ann Brashares (5) I got really into the Traveling Pants series in high school and read all four of them before the movies came out. When it came out, I also read Sisterhood Everlasting (which just about destroyed me, but was a brilliant way to bring closure to the series). 

5. Meg Cabot (4) I absolutely loved the first three books in The Princess Diaries series right as I was starting middle school (plan on acquiring/reading the rest to finish what I started). I also really enjoyed All American Girl and its sequel is on my (ever-increasing) to-read list.

6. George Carlin (4) I've gone on several road trips these past few years, and I always try to have audiobooks on hand along with music to make the time pass and keep me alert while driving. I've absolutely love being able to find and listen to him while on the road.

7. Garrison Keillor (4) I fell in love with all things Prairie Home Companion and Lake Wobegonean over a decade ago, so any audiobook from Keillor is a must-have for road trips. I also have a couple of Lake Wobegon books that I need to get to reading one of these days.

8. Nora Ephron (4) Unlike other people on this list, I've listened to Nora Ephron's books. She was hilarious and listening to her audiobooks during road trips have always been a bright spot. 

9. Mary Karr (3) I read The Liar's Club in seventh grade and Cherry in eighth grade. When Lit was published, my mom bought me a copy from Barnes & Noble the week it came out and gave it to me as an early Xmas/Birthday gift. Read it all in four days. I absolutely love them all and The Liar's Club was my first foray into memoir/autobiography reading.

10. Dave Pelzer (3) I can't quite remember how I heard about A Child Called It (though I think I saw a segment about it on Oprah) but I read it and its two sequels when I was in middle school and re-read them in high school.


Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

You can also email me by clicking here or follow me at  the following social media sites: 

Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Monday, August 10, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 10


Taken on the way to work (I pass so many interesting places by going the scenic route instead of taken a highway in)...apparently, I'm feeling quite monochromish at the moment....

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 8


Went shopping today (usually don't like to do that, but I scored me a new bookshelf so no complaints out of me :) ) and caught this right outside the store.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 7


"...have you ever seen the rain...comin down on a sunny day..." Yes, CCR...yes I have....

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Photo Of The Day: August 5


Today was an interesting day weather-wise. One of the many pics taken while watching today before and during the rain storm....