Being Grateful for Education

I always assign an essay early on in my first-year composition classes that asks students to reflect on their educational experiences and how those experiences have led them to enroll in college. This afternoon I read one of these essays by a woman who grew up in Afghanistan. Her family moved to Pakistan when theContinue reading “Being Grateful for Education”

Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Distortion

Beachy, Stephen. Distortion. Binghamton: Harrington Park, 2001. I bought this book as a part of my recent obsession with Beachy’s fiction (see my entry for 28 August for more details about this). It just arrived today from the United Kingdom, which has more aesthetically pleasing mail than the U.S.A. does. Even though the book shippedContinue reading “Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Distortion”

Books Acquired Recently

Beachy, Stephen. The Whistling Song. 1991. New York: Norton, 1992. I recently read and loved Beachy’s novel Boneyard, and thus have ordered several more of his books, as is my usual practice when I discover a new author. There’s another one on the way. Creekmur, Corey K., and Alexander Doty, eds. Out in Culture: Gay,Continue reading “Books Acquired Recently”

UHF and the Loss of Cultural Memory

Last night for some reason I was thinking about Weird Al Yankovic’s 1989 film UHF (the film’s page is here: It occurred to me that this film would completely baffle my students because they would have no idea what a UHF dial is, having grown up solely with remote-control televisions and cable (myContinue reading “UHF and the Loss of Cultural Memory”


I had this classic Monty Python sketch in my head this morning: It struck me that now when I hear the words “Spanish Inquisition” my first reaction is to laugh rather than to be horrified by all of the lives it unjustly destroyed. I am not sure how to feel about this. I suspectContinue reading “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!”

The Beginning of the Semester

I love all of the pageantry associated with the beginning of the college school year. Aside from all the fun stuff in class–the awkward get-to-know-you games, the endearlingly horrified look on students’ faces when I tell them how many books we will be reading, their nervous laughter at my wry jokes–there are the gatherings ofContinue reading “The Beginning of the Semester”

The End of the Summer

A new semester begins tomorrow. I am excited to meet my students and get things going, but I will also miss the free time that this summer has afforded. I’ve had a very productive three months, writing two conference presentations, a book chapter, and some productive brainstorming notes for another book chapter that is dueContinue reading “The End of the Summer”

Books Acquired Recently

Aldrich, Nelson W., Jr., ed. George, Being George: George Plimpton’s Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals–and a Few Unappreciative Observers. New York: Random, 2008. I am fascinated by George Plimpton as a sort of public intellectual who was one of the last of his kind. However, this fascinationContinue reading “Books Acquired Recently”

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

I finished reading William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun this evening. I was reading it partly because I’m teaching it’s prequel, Sanctuary, this semester, but also because I am fond of the famous quote from it about the past not being past, and wanted to learn more about its context. I had always thought theContinue reading ““The past is never dead. It’s not even past.””

Books Acquired Recently

Faulkner, William. Requiem for a Nun. 1951. New York: Vintage, 2011. I am teaching Faulkner’s Sanctuary in an independent study this semester, and bought its sequel Requiem to read as part of my preparation.  Reading Faulkner is a guilty pleasure–his writing is beautiful, and he is an essential figure in the development of American literature, butContinue reading “Books Acquired Recently”