"I am a Minnesotan by birth and a traveler in wild places by vocation and compulsion." -Paul Gruchow

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Summer Academics: What's on Your Reading List?

It's that time of year, that weekend when classes are officially done and there's a stack of portfolios to be graded (by tomorrow, because somehow you thought that was a good idea), but you're not awake yet because this weekend is also always filled with the intense socializing we've been unable to do since the beginning of the semester.  As a result, it's 9:48 and I'm really not awake, after a lovely night with friends.  I'm definitely an early-to-bed-early-to-rise person--most of the time the alarm goes off at 5:30 or 6:00.  So I have some Maritime Mist in the Bredemeijer and I'm contemplating the wisdom of hopping into these fiction portfolios before I'm fully caffeinated or if dishes might be a better way to ease into it.

I'm heading North this week and I'm excited about it.  My nephew had his three-month birthday on the 26th and he's finally the size of a normal baby.  He hasn't hit double digits yet, but he's getting close.  My parents took my three-year-old niece to the horse exhibition at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, because C. is delightfully horse crazy, but my mother reported that there was something going on in C's brain yesterday, some sort of logic that said she was being disloyal to her favorite horses last summer, if she showed too much interest in yesterday's.  But C. wore her little red cowboy boots and what's not to love about babies in boots?  C. and I have a pedicure party planned for this week, among other things.  My grandmother had a stroke two weeks ago and while we thought (again) that this was the end, she's bounced back, good as new.  Between Gram and Grandpa (who passed away in 2006), we've got some good longevity-genes in our blood.  But Gram was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March, three days before she turned 90, so I want to spend as much time with her as I can.  (And all of this reminds me that life is wonderful and worth writing about--and my family is a constant reminder that real life can be as fascinating to write about as fiction.  Though C. and Gram would make excellent characters...)

But there are things To Do.  Many things.  My list includes:

  • Write article on Tim Robinson and Chris Arthur by 1 June.
  • Plan Summer 254 class, to start on 10 June.
  • Read for and then write paper on Irish noir for IASIL conference
  • ...and then turn that paper into a full-length article to submit by 1 September.
  • Continue to submit my two books to various presses.
  • Get some essays out there into the world.
And that's not even counting my summer reading list, which I haven't even started working on.  Right now, all that's on my reading list is what I need to read for those papers and the class I'm doing.  Which includes (some rereads):
  • Tim Robinson, Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom.
    • I'm probably going to need to reread a fair number of his other books to write this paper...
  • Chris Arthur, On the Shoreline of Knowledge.
    • Same, as Robinson.
  • Maeve Brennan, The Long-Winded Lady.
  • Dervla Murphy (haven't decided the book).
  • Declan Burke, Eightball Boogie.
  • Benjamin Black (reread all of them).
  • Adrian McKinty, Cold, Cold Ground.
  • Arlene Hunt (not sure yet).
  • Tana French (reread most of them).
  • Ken Bruen (reread most of them).
  • Paul Gruchow, Letters to a Young Madman.
  • Sean Doolittle, Burn.
  • Joy Castro, Nearer Home (even though it's not out yet).
  • I won't tell you how many William Kent Kruger books I'm behind... 
  • And I really need to read more Colum McCann, Colm Toibin, Emma Donoghue, and Sebastian Barry.
And this morning, hopped up on Maritime Mist (with sugar, because I feel like celebrating), this interview with Theo Dorgan and Colum McCann just gives me all kinds of ideas about writing and place and what does it mean to be a writer-in-a-place, a writer-of-a-place, and why does it even matter? (It does matter, but the question is one worth long hours of consideration.)  And I'm hoping that whatever I read this summer gives me fodder to create a couple of new classes/syllabi to have in my syllabi bank.

Even though I get tremendous joy from rereading books, I really want to plow some new ground here.  I'm hoping that I get to teach Eng. 180 (Intro to Lit), so I hope I can read some new books to bulk up for that.  I want to read more Agatha Christie, more Raymond Chandler--and maybe this is the summer that I make myself read Dashiell Hammett.  My shelves of Crime Lit are full of books I picked up at last year's library book sale--and I haven't read them yet.  I really want to bulk up on my noir, because that's pretty thin in my experience and I find it fascinating.

I haven't even mentioned yet the summer prep required for the extreme sport that is The Job Search.  I need to rework my materials and hope that they will bring me better luck than last year.

Wherever I end up reading and writing, whether it's my parents' basement or their living room, my sisters' backyard, or some other place, there will be much reading.  What's on your Summer Reading List or your Summer To Do list?

No comments:

Post a Comment