Posts Tagged ‘academia’

13th May
2010
written by Steph

I’ve written before about how I’m kind of obsessed with books set in academia.  You might think that since I spend most of my life in an ivory tower that I’d be kind of sick of the whole scene and fiction would be the last place I’d like to revisit it all, but you’d be wrong.  I love books that are set on university campuses, and those that deal with departmental politics.  I’ve seen enough through my own eyes to be somewhat disenfranchised, and yet, there’s still something about higher education that gives me a distinct thrill.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been a student for – gulp – 24 years, so places of learning are what I know best.  Or maybe it’s just that I’m a huge nerd. (I suspect those two options are somewhat interrelated, in that one tends not to study for nearly 90% of one’s life without being rather nerdy. And the fact that I just did math to figure out how much of my life I’ve spent as a student… well, I think you have your answer to the nerd question.) (more…)
20th October
2009
written by Steph
Sing it with me: Start at the very beginning...

Sing it with me: Start at the very beginning...

When it comes to selecting our next reads, Tony and I are VERY different.  I suppose you could call me an intuitive reader – I get a strong sense of the type of book I would like to read next, and select a book I feel will best mesh with those feelings and desires.  Sometimes I want a sad book, other times a lighthearted one.  Sometimes I really want to challenge myself and slowly push my way through a tricky read, while other times I need something fun or straightforward.  For me, there is nothing worse than reading the right book at the wrong time.  For Tony, there is no such thing.  The right book is always the right book; he can make a mental list of the books he wants to read, and then steadfastly make his way through it in order with little concern for whether the tone of what he just read might complement or detract from his next read.  Perhaps it’s a function of having so many books, but sometimes the choices overwhelm me and I agonize over what to read next, but Tony can always happily pluck something from a pile and begin to read with a breezy sense of laissez faire.  I hate that! 😉 Anyway, my point is that for me, context is key, and I think Gaudy Night exemplifies this in a lot of interesting ways.  I was in the mood for something fun, and I haven’t read a fullblown mystery novel in a while, so I decided to give my first Sayers novel a whirl.  I can’t remember exactly where I first heard of her, but I do know that this particular novel is recommended in Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust and I also remember reading somewhere at some time that it is not necessary to read these novels in any specific order.  I’ve spoken before at length about how I’m particular about my detective fiction – I like novels from the Golden Age, and I really like my mysteries to be set in England – so really, Gaudy Night (which takes place at Oxford University in the 1930s) should have been just the ticket. (more…)
2nd June
2009
written by Steph
AKA: Read & Return

AKA: Read & Return

Almost at the halfway point through the year, when I look back at my reading log for 2009 thus far, I can see that I’ve definitely been delving more into the mystery genre than I have in years past.  Sometimes I worry that my reading is becoming too firmly ensconced in the detective fiction realm, but then again, I think we all have our own little reading jags that we go on, and sometimes you just need to binge for a while to get it out of your system.  Another side effect of said binging is that you start to get a tad more discerning, with certain writers rising to the top and others not so much.  It’s kind of like when I first started to drink wine – to my unrefined palate, all wines tasted alike (namely, like “wine”), but after 7 years of drinking the stuff (in moderation, mind you!  Most of the time…), I finally have some definite preferences.  Similarly, every book I read helps me hone my concept of who I am as a reader, and each mystery novel I read also gives me a more specific knowledge regarding that genre. On the surface, Publish & Perish is a mystery novel I should have liked.  Dr. Ben Reese is on sabbatical at Oxford when he is awoken by a call at 2 in the morning from his good friend and colleague Richard West.  He says he has uncovered an injustice that has long been hidden, and only the two of them can bring the culprit to justice.  However, before Richard can go into further detail, the call is cut short and when Ben next hears from Richard, it is actually in the form of a telegram telling him that Richard died of a heart attack that night.  Ben flies home to attend the funeral, and whilst there begins to poke around… although there’s no direct evidence that a crime was committed, something doesn’t sit right with Ben and he soon finds himself investigating the murder of his friend. (more…)
10th November
2008
written by Steph
On the season premier of "30 Rock", Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy have the following exchange:
Jack: “We may not be the best people.” Liz: “But we’re not the worst.” Both, in unison: “Graduate students are the worst.”
Seriously? Is this true? I think graduate students HAVE it the worst, but surely we are not actually the worst. People should feel bad for us! Really! This is more like it (sorry for the sketchy quality at the beginning of the clip): (more…)