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Grades & a literary survey

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May 15, 2009 | 04:42pm
Mood: so-so
Music: Judi Chicago - Chick Feel A

For the last time of my undergraduate career (and possibly ever) I received my grades:

HIST 341 Ancient West Asia & Egypt A
HIST 384 Peoples of the Russian Empire A
RUSS 350 Russian Culture A
RUSS 400 Russian Capstone Experience B
RUSS 416 Fourth Year Russian II B
Semester GPA: 3.64

I'm okay with this. However, I'm a little surprised and appalled by my grade in Capstone. First of all, I didn't know it was actually graded - I thought it was just pass/fail. Secondly, with the amount of work I put into that translation, I deserved an A. Full stop. But whatever... that's Dr. J for you.

Apparently Monday is a holiday in Korea, so my interview will be pushed back to Wednesday or Thursday. Oh well. I'm okay with that.

Rules: You have received this note because someone thinks you are a literary geek. Copy the questions into your own note, answer the questions, and tag any friends who would appreciate the quiz, including the person who sent you this.

I choose you, Pikachu!


1) Which author do you own the most books by?
I have no clue. There are a lot of authors I own 10+ books by. Well, if you're willing to go way back, I own 50+ Boxcar Children books. So... Gertrude Chandler Warner and the ghostwriters following her?

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
I don't own more than two copies of any book... although at one point I did own three copies of Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground.
Some books off the top of my head that, for a variety of reasons, I do own two copies of:
Tolstoy's War and Peace, Anna Karenina
Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground
"Green Rider" by Kristen Britain
"Back Roads" by Tawni O'Dell
"What Happened to Lani Garver" by Carol Plum-Ucci

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Not really.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
That's kind of dumb, isn't it? I will say that Ned Henry from Connie Willis's novel "To Say Nothing of the Dog" is my favorite fictional character, um, ever. He's oblivious, confused, and a time-traveling historian to boot. Sounds like my life!

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
I couldn't say. I reread entire series whenever there's a new book out. Maybe "Bellwether" by Connie Willis - a great feel-good book.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
When I was ten I was reading everything I could get my hands on. I think this was around the time I was reading Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books for the first time. I loved them then. Not so much now...

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Usually if I hate a book within the first fifty pages or so, I'll quit reading it. But... I somehow made it through "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" by David Leviathan and some random chick back in December. I seriously loathed that book. It was horribly written, plotless, and just awful. Total waste of time. DO NOT READ.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Counting rereads: Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C Wrede, Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. New books: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Bone Key by Sarah Monette (AMAZING!!!), Dust by Elizabeth Bear, Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson, and Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
"Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis. This book is the closest I've ever come to crying at a piece of literature.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
I really don't know. Or care.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
I don't want books to be turned into movies. It's not that hard to come up with original ideas, people!

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Nick and Norah's Infinite Play--- oh, wait...

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
When I was a kid I read books about vampires constantly. I was simultaneously obsessed and terrified by them. At the time I had a dream that a vampire entered the house, picked up one of my guinea pigs, and drank its blood. Yeah.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I... don't really read lowbrow books? Unless you count everything I read...

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground." And Bely's "Petersburg." I mean, holy shit.

16) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

17) Austen or Eliot?
Eliot. I like Austen's stories as films, but as literature I hate it.

18) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I really don't read non-fiction at all, unless required for class. One day I'd like to remedy this. Oh, and I'd also like to read more westerns.

19) What is your favorite novel?
To Say Nothing of the Dog/The Doomsday Book/Bellwether by Connie Willis
Cancer Ward by Solzhenitsyn
Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky
Crusader by Edward Bloor
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest

20) Play?
The Suicide by Nikolai Erdman

21) Short story?
Anything and everything by Connie Willis. "Newsletter", "Even The Queen", "Jack", "Ado", "Fire Watch" (the last five pages are utter perfection), "All My Darling Daughters" (I simply can't reread it - it's just too disturbing - and yet it's brilliant), "Cash Crop"... good god, I love her. Click here to read Fire Watch online. Seriously, if you want to experience pure genius... read that.

22) Work of non-fiction?
"Caucasus: Journey to the Land Between Christianity and Islam" by Nicholas Griffin, but honestly, usually I just avoid non-fiction.

23) Who is your favorite writer?
Connie Willis. Full stop.

Here is a quote from "Fire Watch", that short story to which I linked above:
January 3 - I went to see Dunworthy today. I don't know what I intended to say -- some pompous drivel about my willingness to serve in the fire watch of history, standing guard against the falling incendiaries of the human heart, silent and saintly.

But he blinked at me nearsightedly across his desk, and it seemed to me that he was blinking at that last bright image of St Paul's in sunlight before it was gone forever and that he knew better than anyone that the past cannot be saved, and I said instead, "I'm sorry I broke your glasses, sir."

"How did you like St Paul's?" he said, and like my first meeting with Enola, I felt I must be somehow reading the signals all wrong, that he was not feeling loss, but something quite different.

"I loved it, sir," I said.

"Yes," he said. "So do I."

Dean Matthews is wrong. I have fought with memory my whole practicum only to find that it is not the enemy at all, and being an historian is not some saintly burden after all. Because Dunworthy is not blinking against the fatal sunlight of the last morning, but into the bloom of that first afternoon, looking at the great west doors of St Paul's at what is, like Langby, like all of it, every moment, in us, saved forever.

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Comments {8}

I wish I could...

(no subject)

from: thestellarkind
date: May 17, 2009 10:23pm (UTC)

my friend is teaching English over in Korea right now

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(no subject)

from: aodh
date: May 18, 2009 01:05am (UTC)

really? do you know what city your friend teaching is teaching in?

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I wish I could...

(no subject)

from: thestellarkind
date: May 18, 2009 01:34pm (UTC)

I believe he is teaching in Suji, South Korea. He is teaching really young kids. He wanted to teach in Seoul, but that didn't end up happening. He likes where he is though. Also, some of the schools pay alot better than others.

http://mikeinkorea2009.blogspot.com/ (that is his blog if you want to check it out, he hasn't updated in forever)

Are you planning on just going straight over there or are you going to take some classes first and do the whole "student teaching" thing for a month or so with Korean students around Chicago? I know he taught a night class with some adults in Mount Prospect or Arlington Heights. Then once he completed that and some other tests he was set up with interviews and stuff. He left right after New Year's and should be back right after Christmas this year.

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(no subject)

from: aodh
date: May 18, 2009 02:24pm (UTC)

Thanks for the blog link! I'll look at it a bit later, when I have more time (read: when I'm not in the process of moving, haha).

I'm planning to go straight over there; I didn't even know there's a student teaching thing for Korean students in Chicago! Do you know if that's a program of some sort, or did he just organize it himself? That would really be ideal for my purposes - the more experience you have, the more money you make, haha. I'll (hopefully) be leaving in August/September this year and, um, maybe I'll come back sometime in the future? We'll see. Not anytime soon, at any rate...

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I wish I could...

(no subject)

from: thestellarkind
date: May 18, 2009 02:26pm (UTC)

I know it was something he signed up for (as far as the classes/studen teaching go). So I know there are programs in the Chicago/Suburban area. I am not sure what program he went with since I didn't really get to talk to him about it until he lived with me shortly before he left in January.

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(no subject)

from: aodh
date: May 18, 2009 03:22pm (UTC)

That's really cool! I'm going to have to look into programs in the Chicago/Suburban area... although, if you happen to talk to your friend, could you find out what program he did? Thanks. :):)

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I wish I could...

(no subject)

from: thestellarkind
date: May 19, 2009 01:40pm (UTC)

I believe this is where he took classes (it also says it costs two grand):


If you want to email him and ask if he would do anything differently, his email is mikefitzege@gmail.com
Just say your a friend of mine (melissa).

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(no subject)

from: aodh
date: May 19, 2009 09:28pm (UTC)

AH! That looks right up my alley! You are seriously amazing. Thank you so much!

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