Top Ten Tuesday- New Additions

This week The Broke and Bookish ask us for ten books we've recently added to our TBR lists. If only books were added at the same point they were read...

1. Mary Roach books: I am currently reading Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal and find her work fascinating. She's written books about sex, the afterlife, death, and space as well. Anyone that can make science accessible and entertaining is worth the read. 

2. By the Book: Writers of Literature and the Literary Life from the New York Times Book Review- I spotted this as Barnes and Noble (shockingly) the other day and was immediately drawn in after reading the contributors (like Junot Diaz).

3. An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine: I can honestly say I've never read a book about the Lebanese Civil War (plus I like the cover).

4. We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler: Honestly, I've never read the Lemony Snickett series (I'm sure I will with Sawyer eventually) and I have no idea if this will even be that great, but something about it seems like a quick, fun, summer read.

5. Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg: In accordance with my obsession with cooking memoirs.

6. The Harder They Come by TC Boyle: I have a few of his I still need to read, but I'm still a huge fan and will get everything he writes.

7. Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class by Scott Timberg: I saw a snippet on this through the LA Public Library and thought it sounded intriguiging.

8. Maus by Art Spiegelman: I feel like this is an important graphic novel, perhaps a bit overrated from what I hear, but still significant.

9. An Innocent Abroad- Life Changing Trips by 35 Great Writers: If you can't travel you might as well read about it.

10. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury: I'm a fan of his other work but have not read this one.

Uysses or Bust

One of my students, a bright, articulate young man, has asked me to advise him on his IB Extended Essay (EE), a 4,000 word paper on the topic of the candidate's choice. After reading Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin he has decided to compare it to James Joyce's Ulysses. Ambitious, to say the least. He wants to focus on narrative structure and style, which, based on some quick Googling, seems like it may work. Given that I've never read Ulysses, I  can't give a definitive assurance, but I think it's an admirable endeavor even if he falls short (and if he doesn't? This will be awesome). The kid doesn't even intend on being an English major. Baffling.

I've always felt this nagging guilt about now tackling Ulysses, which is said to be one of the most important modern texts. I obviously haven't felt guilty enough, though, since up until a few days ago I didn't even own a copy. So not only am I reading this for myself, I'm reading it for my student, in case he has questions (because I'll be able to answer them? Ha!). It's a lot of literary responsibility.

Apprehensions aside, I'm excited to take on this challenge. I haven't really taken on any sort of heavy-lifting in this area for awhile, the last one being my quest to finish Don Delillos Underworld (which still confuses me). I met with the student the other day and here's the game plan (at least on my end):

Read the Book
I ordered the Gabler Edition, which is apparently the way to go. It's somewhere around seven hundred pages, which is pretty daunting. It's divided into eighteen sections, each after part of The Odyssey. I'm reading it on the same schedule as the student, as of right now we're trying to complete it by the end of the school year. 

Review The Odyssey
I've read this within the last few years, so just a little brush up will be needed (I read it for a Coursera class). I'll reread applicable summaries before each section so I can draw the appropriate parallels. The student isn't focusing on this, but the pairing is obviously unavoidable.

Use the Annotated Version
I am not Irish, nor have I (sadly) never been to Ireland. I bought Don Gifford's annotated version to helps navigate some of language and to provide some context. 

Reread Let the Great World Spin
This I'm basically excited about (I have mixed feelings about rereading, since I have so many books I haven't read). I haven't read this book for a few years and since it's the main point of comparison, I'll have to give it another go.

Do Some Research
I'm not planning on researching for the student, but I do want to make srue I'm handling his queries appropriately. 

A lot of people set out to read this book and fail. As long as my student perseveres, I will too.


A Day in the Life...

[hosted by Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity]

My everyday life is far from riveting, but I did one of these types of posts before I had Sawyer, so I thought I'd play along. It's always interesting to see how others spend their days and I think these sorts of personal time-studies can be great catalysts for reflection. Here's a day from last week (minus the things no one wants to hear about, like the plentiful pumping sessions and diaper changes. Because ew):

5:00-5:45 The silent alarm on my Fitbit goes off at 5 and I don't have the luxury of hitting the snooze button even once. I move the baby monitor to my husband's side of the bed and shove him a few time so that he'll at least acknowledge me leaving. I'm pretty sure he loves being woken up like this deep-down. I go downstairs and get ready in the small guest bathroom so that I don't wake anyone up. After I'm ready to go I drink my first cup of coffee and eat some cereal. 

5:45-6:20 Grab Sawyer from my husband (he had woken up at 5:30 and then went back to sleep in our bed), give him a bottle, play with him for a few minutes, change and dress him, load up the car, and refill my coffee. We're off!

6:20-6:45 Drive to daycare, listen to Wild by John Ratey (sometimes I listen to music; it depends on how awake I am).

6:45-6:50 Drop off at daycare, brief the childcare provider on how much he had already eaten and what sort of mood he was in (good, per the norm).

6:50-7:00 Drive to work, blasting my music since the little ears are gone. Finish my coffee, unload all my crap (I'll be so glad when I'm done pumping... the baggage gets old). 

7:00-7:30 Check my box in the office, pop in to say hi to my friend, make sure the agenda for the day is posted, etc...

7:30-8:25 First period (IB English, juniors)- Students did a sort of round-robin explication activity that involved color-blocking, a graphic organizer, partners, and later a longer writing piece. The period moved really fast and I had them switch to a new passage every six minutes, so things kept moving. I find that's one of the most important things to staying sane most days- don't let things lag too much. I'm able to grade a few essays while they're working.

8:25-8:32 Passing period! I run to the bathroom and then stand outside my room and talk to my friend and neighbors (I do this between every class period... I won't bore you every time!)

8:32-9:37 Second period (IB English)- Same as first period.

9:37-10:30 Third period (prep/planning aka no kids)- I typically spend the first few minutes making copies, dropping them off in my room, find a reason to go to my car or the office (1/2-ish of a mile round trip) so that I can rack up some steps on my Fitbit. After taking care of a few things back in my classroom I spent the remainder of the time changing out a bulletin board and straightening up my counter space.

10:46-11:41 Fourth period (yearbook)- Truth be told, these kids are driving my a tiny bit crazy right now (this is no secret, I tell them multiple times during each class period). This is the case every year- they finish the yearbook and feel entitled to a long break. They have a journalism project they're working on, but some are taking it more seriously than others.

11:41-12:11 Lunch!- Yup, we only get a half an hour. After taking care of a few things, I gulp down my lunch (string cheese, crackers, 1/2 a waffle with peanut butter, and some pineapple) while reading a few pages of Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior. My friend comes by for the last few minutes to catch up.

12:18-1:13 Fifth period (IB English)- These kids do the same as the others, but require a bit more supervision, as they're a super social bunch (teacher code for "ohmygosh they won't shut up"). 

1:20-2:15 Sixth period (IB English)- I really enjoy this crazy little class, but they too require some monitoring.

2:15-2:30 Get ready for tomorrow and clean up.

2:30-3:15 Pick up Sawyer from daycare, drive home.

3:15-4:00 Snack for dogs and self. Feed Sawyer while reading some more. Some days he falls asleep and we nap for a little while on the couch, but today is not one of them. Sometimes when he naps I grade papers, but I generally do most of my grading at work on at home on the weekends. Weekdays are too busy.

4:00-5:00 I want to vacuum and now that he's a crawler, and hates his little Exersaucer, things like that can be a challenge. I load him into his crib with some toys and books and he entertains himself for twenty-five minutes while I race around trying to vacuum, switch over some laundry, text a friend about some upcoming plans, and change out of the dress I wore to work. When he starts complaining I take him out of his crib and we play in his room for a bit. He's obsessed with balls and has learned to throw them at us. He also throws them for himself and chases them. It's cute.

5:00-6:00 I get Sawyer ready for a walk. We check with the neighbor and her little guy to see if they want to go, but they don't answer so we go home and I switch the wagon for the stroller, since I decide to try to get in three or so miles since it's just us. We make a stop at the playground so Sawyer can swing for a few minutes (yay time change!). I realize I dislike most little kids. There's something about the playground....

6:00-7:00 This part of the day is a little hectic. Sawyer goes into his highchair with some Cheerios and I prep his actual dinner (meatballs, mandarin oranges, and some puffs). He's pretty much over purees, so now I have to put all this effort into his food. While he's feeding himself I wash bottles and pump parts (loathe this) and the dishes (the repair man is coming for the dishwasher on Monday, thank goodness). I prep everything for my and Scott's dinner as well (paninis and baked potato salad).

7:00-7:30 Bath time! Sawyer loves his bath, so this is usually pretty fun for both of us. He hasn't been pitching a fit when I take him out anymore, so that's an added bonus. When we're finishing up Scott comes home and we sit down to eat.

7:30-8:00 We eat dinner while Sawyer plays on the ground. On the nights Scott leaves his office on time, at six, we usually push back bath time so Sawyer can sit at the table with us, but today is not one of those days. We clean up and get the dogs food too.

8:00-8:15 While Sawyer's bottle heats up we read a few books and he plays with his dad.

8:15-8:30 I give Sawyer his last bottle until morning while I catch up with my husband. Sawyer gets put down to sleep in his own room.

8:30-9:00- PiYo! I squeeze in some PiYo a few times a week right after bedtime (especially on the nights my husband plays videogames with his friends) and my body is starting to thank me. 

9:00-10:00- Typical end of night activities (shower, getting tomorrow's clothes ready, etc...) plus a few pages read before bed. Get into bed and hope that someone sleeps through the night.

Well that was a bit narcissistic. 

Mail Call

I've slowed the book-buying down during the last year or so, just because I have so many that are unread! That being said, I did order a few:

1. Clink by Kelly Dipucchio- I plan on using this as a sort of guest book for the small birthday party we're having for Sawyer next month.

2. Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder- I ordered this a few months ago but because of all the issues the small publishing house had with the popularity, I just got it now. It looks pretty intense!

3. & 4. Ulysses by James Joyce and  Ulysses Annotated- More on these beasts later.

5. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson-  I ordered this on a whim after reading Sous Chef by Michael Gibney when I ordered Harper Lee's newest so that I could get free shipping (the day sales opened up). Randomly, they included it in this order.

What should I buy next?