Saturday, October 31, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 29, 30, and 31

 10/29: Campus at Night Warholized
 
 10/30: Untitled

10/31: All Hallow's Eve Sunset

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 26 and 27

 10/26: Fall Foliage 
 
10/27: "Rainy Days and Mondays..."

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Themed Freebie

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Halloween Themed Freebie

*I've never been a big fan of horror books or things of that nature, so this week was a little difficult for me. So in addition to the ones that I've actually read, this list is also a compilation of stories set during Halloween or are scary reads (they have an * at the beginning) 
 
P.S.: most of these have a film adaptation for those who like to watch their scary instead of reading it

1. Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House: I actually had to read this one for Forms of Fiction. Reading it was difficult, but I found the audiobook and was able to listen to it instead. Totally different experience and I ended up loving it. Haven't seen the movie, but I've been told the newer one departs from the book a lot.

2. Stephen King's The Shining: okay...anything by Stephen King really other than On Writing (which is an awesome book. If you're a writer who hasn't read it, read it ASAP. It'll change your life)

*3. Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby

4. Bram Stoker's Dracula: We had to read this for Film and Prose Fiction...but I didn't end up reading this, but caught the Keanu Reeves version...so if you like to laugh instead of being scared, this adaptation is for you!

*5. Jay Anson's The Amityville Horror 

6. Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: we read this in middle school in the read while listening to the audio on cassette tape (I'm showing my age here, aren't I?) I remember more about the fact that this was the first time we had done something like this and I realized that listening and reading at the same time helped with my reading retention more than I do about the story itself. Sorry. Totally unrelated to the task at hand *focus Alana focus*

7. Anything by Edgar Allen Poe: we read Poe in middle school at around Halloween time and then went on a field trip where they adapted five one-act plays from Poe stories which I loved...one of the only ones who loved it, but I loved it.

*8. Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire 

9. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper: not sure if this Halloweenesque, but it sure scared the crap out of me when I read it for the first time.

10. Henry James's The Turn of the Screw: this one was creepy to listen to...which was probably the point, but yeah. This may be the scariest thing I've ever read, not that that's saying much or anything.

 
Happy Halloween/Harvest Day everyone!

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Alana

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 20

Words of Wisdom

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: 10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

1. More time to read for pleasure: or maybe that should just me more time in general. Either way though, I would love to be able to read more things that are not assigned for class or to keep up with my duties at the journals that I help out at. Audiobooks absolutely help me and I'm happy for them, but...well...that leads me my next wish actually:

2. A device that I can use to listen to audiobooks all the time: I know that there are apps and things, but I don't own one. Between commuting to and from work and work and school and the fact that I can listen to audiobooks at work, it would be awesome to be able to listen to whatever whenever I have more than a couple of minutes. (P.S.: if I could have a device for this as well as an app for e-book reading, that would be boss.)

3. The money to pay for the pay audiobooks sites (like Audible, etc.): That would be rad because they have sooooo many more titles than I can find through the library.

4. The new volume of Blanche Weldon Cooke's Eleanor Roosevelt biography: the last one I have ends in 1938. Ken Burns's PBS documentary about the Roosevelts has done nothing but make me want to learn more about Eleanor.

5. A third book from Marilynne Robinson for the Gilead series: Gilead focuses on John Ames and Lila focuses on Lila. I would love to read a book based on the perspective on their son (maybe after reading his father's letters or learning about his mother's life???)

6. A BBC miniseries series for all of Jane Austen's books: technically, the book genie may not be able to help me with this, but maybe he'll know the book to movie adaptation genie who can make this happen. *fingers crossed*

7. A book from Dorothy Allison detailing Bone's life as a grown up: I fell in love with Bastard Out Of Carolina when I was younger and I've always wondered how life ended up for Bone (I also wondered this about To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout and Ellen Foster, but they now have sequels that have answered those questions)

8. Changing the labeling of books: I was just talking about this with a friend the other day. I hate labels like Chick Lit and Urban Fiction and things of that nature. What happened to the good ole days of straight up Fiction? Of course, I have no idea how I would classify titles (other than strictly by genre), but the way the system is now leaves a lot to be desired. A. Lot.

9. More independent book stores: don't get me wrong, I could chill in a Barnes and Noble all day long (and have...many times...and now that a lot of them have cafe's in them? I can do open to close no problem) but I wish I had a funky, indie bookstore to hang out at and find small press/micro press books that I won't find anywhere else. Bonus points if said indie bookstore has a funky little coffee shop inside or has things like book clubs, salons, etc. Extra special bonus points if it has all of the above.

10. A large, sturdy book shelf: you know...to hold all the wishes the book genie is nice enough to grant me (plus all the ones I already have).


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Alana

Monday, October 19, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 18 & 19

 10/18: Bye Dallas
 
10/19: Pop Art(ish) Flowers

Monday Musing: Touring Prospective Ph.D Programs



These last two weeks have been whirlwind. While the week before was spent midterming and conference paper writing, this past week was spent on the road. In a seven day period, I spent time in three different cities (Nashville, home, and Stillwater, OK) and did just about everything but get some good rest. But I got to see family, go to the fair, and see one of my longest and best friends get married. Overall, it was fun (I just wish I got a little bit more sleep than I actually did)

But my fall break wasn't much of a break in the long run. Since three out of the four classes that I'm in are online, I still had assignments due and I still had to get my hours in for job #2. Still, my mom and I carved out some time to tour and e-tour some more colleges on my Prospective Ph. D Program list.

It's actually been really fun getting to research different places and learn more about them because I didn't really do that for undergrad or grad school. This last degree though, I'm going all out  and doing everything I didn't get the chance to do when I was seventeen...or twenty four....

Since traveling to each and every place would be a very cumbersome process since between my mom and I, we have four jobs (plus I have school to balance) so I was very happy to see that three of my options (Kansas, Illinois State, and Ohio) have e-tour options. It's not the same as actually be on campus, but it did in a pinch. 


While those three options were too far away for a quick trip, Oklahoma State was not. So, road trip to Stillwater! I had to do the undergrad tour, but I still learned a lot about the campus and got to see where everything was. OK State was one of my top options going into high school because (at least back then) Texans paid in-state tuition. Fast forward all these years, it's once again one of my top options both program-wise as well as proximity to home.

Oh...and they have a common foe as UT (mom is a life-long Orange Blood, so this was fun to capture during the tour)

This now makes 7/14 prospective programs in the states that I've visited or e-toured (I've already seen the University of Houston and Texas Tech and since both of my parents graduated from UNT and I grew up around there, I'm familiar with that one as well). Not sure if or how I'll be able to see the Georgia, Georgia State, University of Denver, the University of Utah, USC, and Wisconsin, but they remain options as do the schools in Canada, Ireland, and the UK.

Quick update to the list: Mizzou is now off the list after hearing from a current student kind of confirmed that it might not be the best fit for me. Also teetering with the University of Denver. I really like the program, but I've already taken off two other schools that asked for the GRE Subject Test (may not have time to take it plus retake the GRE and get the score that I need in time). If I keep UD on, I'll just add the other two back.


And October's Never Have I Ever: been to Stillwater. The town itself is pretty small, but it had everything that I needed (including public transportation, which I have sorely missed the last few years since I don't really like to drive anymore)


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Alana

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 15, 16, & 17

 10/15: Road Trip Part Three
 
 10/16: Leaving Stillwater
 
10/17: Nice Night For A White Wedding

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 14

Untitled

WWW Wednesday: October 14


IMG_1384-0
 
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?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: Fall Break
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: essays from The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader
  • Civil Rights Movement: Fall Break
  • Women and Social Movements: Dorothy Sue Cobble's The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America

Pleasure/Other Reads: 
With it being Fall Break, I'm working as hard as I can to read a lot of submissions this week in addition to all of the e-books and PDFs I've downloaded but yet to read. A friend also let me borrow Zadie Smith's White Teeth, so I'm looking forward to reading that as well.

What did you recently finish reading?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: essays from The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader
  • Civil Rights Movement: Chapters 8-9 of Michael K. Honey's Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights
  • Women and Social Movements: Kim E. Nielsen's Un-American Womanhood: Antiradicalism, Antifeminism, and the First Red Scare

Pleasure/Other Reads:
 
Got to read Cormac McCarthy's two short stories (Wake for Susan and A Drowning Incident) for the conference paper I wrote. Not a whole lot of time for submissions readings thanks to that paper and my two midterm essays, but I was able to read a couple of submissions a day. 

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: getting ready to start writing my argumentative essay, so we have a couple of weeks off from reading anything new.
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: essays for The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader
  • Civil Rights Movement: journal articles and books for my Historiography assignment
  • Women and Social Movements: Danielle McGuire's At the Dark End of the Street

Pleasure/Other Reads:
  
Still not sure what I'll listen to next audiobook wise because the last couple of weeks of my life have been dedicated to Hamilton: The Musical (which, BTW, is ah~may~zing) And of course, there are more submissions to read. 


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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 11, 12, and 13

10/11:  Hello Again Texas

10/12: Fair Day

10/13: Night Photography + Post Edits

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Author Duos You'd LOVE To See Write A Book Together

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Author Duos You'd LOVE To See Write A Book Together

1. Debbie Macomber and Jan Karan: I haven't read a lot from the latter, but I love both of their abilities to create a series that features both characters that live in a quirky town as well as the quirky town itself.

2. Blanche Wiesen Cook and Ken Burns: both have done a remarkable job documenting the lives of the Roosevelt family on their own, so I wonder what a collaboration would look like.

3. Rebecca Wells and Fannie Flagg: if I could ever create a class about Southern Women Writers, these two would most definitely be in it. They created some amazing works on their own, but together? I can only imagine how incredible that would be.

4. Billie Letts and Dorothy Allison: ditto for what I said about number 3. Or interchange them. Whatever. Even if it's just an anthology of their short stories that they write as individuals, it would be amazing to me.

5. Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston: I know...just use your imagination on this one. They were some of the first African American women writers and wrote about some of the same topics, so I think they would have paired well together.

6. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton: or heck, any two former presidents/people who have served in national politics who have a lot of common issues that they are attempting to tackle. Ideology aside, it would be a cool way to write about post-Presidential life and what they're doing with the rest of their time.

7. Ta-Nehisi Coates and John Lewis: I think a collaboration about a current day writer who focuses on social/civil rights and someone from the Civil Rights Movement would be a fascinating read. The present is more like the past than we'd like to believe, so it would be an eye-opener for sure.

8. W.E.B. DuBois/Booker T. Washingon or Martin Luther King/Malcolm X: just like I would be fascinated to read a collaboration between the past and the present, I would love to read a collaboration between two people from the same period who were fighting for the same thing, but had two different schools of thought.

9. Gloria Steinem/Betty Freidan: ditt for what I said about number 8.

10. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I love Pardon The Interruption (and just about everything else on ESPN), but I think their rapport is amazing and that they would be able to get through writing a book together without it ruining their friendship and on-screen abilities. I also wanted to add a sports-related book on the list because I love sports and hearing different perspectives about what's happening in the world of sports. 
 

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Musings: This Past Crazy Week



The past seven days have been crazy. On the Facebook, I referred to it as Crazy Week with a capital C and capital W for emphasis.

But I should elaborate. It was Crazy, but it was awesome.

To start off, it was Midterms Week. Luckily, only one of my four classes has a bona fide midterm while two others just had regular assignments to get through. However, that class with the midterm was pretty elaborate: two 5 page essays plus a thirty question multiple choice test. So that was a little unnerving with everything else going on. In spite of working on the essays a little bit every day (and some the week before as well), I was working basically to the wire (or at least my wire) while finishing them up. But they're turned in now and I did well on the test (280/300).

I also got to attend a Conference Workshop put on by the English Graduate Organization, which I'm very glad that I found out about this (accidentally as it was) because there's a lot of information about grad schooling and the life of academia. I got a lot of handy information about what I'll be doing basically from now on out.

Another reason I'm glad I went to the workshop was because the next day, I read a conference paper at the Cormac McCarthy conference that took place at my school. Just about the most terrifying thing I've ever done. In my life. Like ever. I ended up writing about McCarthy's short stories and the whole process was very eye-opening and I learned so much from beginning to finish. One thing that I did learn: the people you quote in your paper may be attending your reading...sitting on the front row...totally did not think about this while I was writing. But it all turned out okay and I enjoyed the privilege of getting my first experience of participating at a conference out of the way in the safe environment I was able to do so.

The conference paper reading was on a Thursday; less than 24 hours later, I was in Nashville to attend the Southern Festival of Books. I only stayed for Friday and Saturday, but got to see a conversation with Rebecca Wells (who I've literally loved for half of my life) and Wendell Pierce discussing his book. I also got to see what turned out to be a fascinating presentation discussing the history of Vascular Plants of Tennessee that my friend moderated as well as the writer of a book discussing Sonny Burgess moderated by another friend of mine (I love rockabilly, so attending this was awesome)

Instead of leaving for home straight from Nashville, I decided to go back to my apartment because when you have a Crazy Week, the little things like putting up laundry and things of that nature get ignored. Got the chance to clean up and get my apartment into working order before beginning Road Trip Part Deux.

This week will be a different kind of crazy week (not capitalized this time), but it's my Fall Break (AKA, not having to wake up before the sun for a week!) I'll get to see friends and family that I haven't seen for months or years. I'll also be touring some prospective Ph.D programs.

Very excited for what's ahead, but just as excited to get some rest! :D


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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Photo Of The Day: October 7

Golden Hour

WWW Wednesday: October 7


IMG_1384-0
 
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?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: Beginning of Fall Break
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: essays from The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader
  • Civil Rights Movement: Beginning of Fall Break
  • Women and Social Movements: Beginning of Fall Break

Pleasure/Other Reads: 
Still reading through Cormac McCarthy articles and his short stories for my paper. I'm also almost done with Marilynne Robinson's Lila! So glad I got listen to it because as I read and listened to Gilead, I wanted to know more about Lila and her past. Now, I'm getting to!

As always, I'm reading prose and poetry submissions. This week, I've gotten to a couple each day on average, but after the craziness, I plan on going on a submissions-reading binge to try to make some kind of headway on what we have so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: essays from The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader
  • Civil Rights Movement: Chapters 8-9 of Michael K. Honey's Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights
  • Women and Social Movements: Kim E. Nielsen's Un-American Womanhood: Antiradicalism, Antifeminism, and the First Red Scare
Pleasure/Other Reads: 
Read through about a dozen poetry submissions this week (time has been at a premium the past week or so) 

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • African American Literature 1850-1900: Fall Break
  • Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement: essays The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader
  • Civil Rights Movement: Fall Break
  • Women and Social Movements: Fall Break, but I have a couple of books that I checked out from the library that I'll get a jump on.

Pleasure/Other Reads:
   

Not sure what I'll listen to next. Whatever tickles my fancy and is available to listen when I go searching.
 

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, October 5, 2015

Monday Musings: Crazy Busy Week Ahead



In the next seven days, I will:

  • write two 5 page essays and take a 30 question midterm for my Civil Rights Movement class
  • fully participate in discussions for Women and Social Movements and African American Lit 1850-1900
  • finish writing and present a workshop paper about Cormac McCarthy's short stories
  • attend a conference workshop to learn how to seek conferences to submit to and attend
  • work my regular shifts at both jobs (17 hours at job 1 and 20 hours at job 2)
  • travel more than 1,000 miles in total
  • attend a book festival I've never been to before (:D) 
  • read journal submissions (hopefully more than I've become accustomed to because I'm not reading nearly enough, but something had to give as I'm still catching up from being sick for a couple of months...oh, plus the whole four grad classes and working two jobs sitch) 

So...yes...crazy busy week ahead (at least, crazy busy for me), but I'm oddly looking forward to it. I'm going to learn a lot, learn more about the world of academia I hope to one day enter, and also get to build upon that ole CV that I feel is woefully underwhelming at the moment (especially when reading CVs from fellow grad schoolers or Ph.Ders)

Catch ya on the other side! 

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reading Challenge Check In: October 1



Thanks to some assigned readings, school breaks, and audiobooks, I have the time to (try to) complete a few reading challenges for the first time since I was a kid.

One of the year-long challenges I'm doing is Popsugar's 2015 Reading Challenge. Here's the list and below is what I've made it through so far. 


A book with more than 500 pages: Amiri Baraka's The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader (in progress)

A book that became a movie: Terry McMillian's Disappearing Acts

A funny book: Nora Ephron's I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections

A book by a female author: Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

A mystery or a thriller: Stephen L. Carter's The Emperor Of Ocean Park

A book with a one-word title: Marilynne Robinson's Gilead

A nonfiction book: Dick Cavett's Brief Encounters

A book a friend recommended: Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

A book based on a true story: Tayari Jones' Leaving Atlanta

A book more than 100 years old: Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

A book by an author you've never read before: Jessmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones

A book that was originally written in a different language: Stéphane Mallarmé's A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance

A play: August Wilson's The Piano Lesson

A book you started but never finished: Debbie Macomber's Love Letters (finished!)