May 25th, 2011

El Corazon

64. In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote

Started: May 23, 2011
Finished: May 24, 2011

I've probably read this book five or six times before over the last twenty years, but I did a bunch of research into Capote's relationship with Perry Smith before reading it this time because I wanted to see just how pronounced Capote's bias toward Smith would seem. And, yes, there definitely is many more words spent on Smith than on Hickock, but I didn't think the bias was overdone. In fact, Hickock gets much more attention in the final thirty or so pages leading up to their execution, even getting in some pretty insightful observations about how Smith was viewed by the other death row inmates. Anyways, this is still a great read. I'll probably do it again in another five or six years. 343 pages. Grade: A+
Total # of books read in 2011: 64
Total # of pages read in 2011: 16,406
El Corazon

65. The Judas Field

The Judas Field
by Howard Bahr

Started: May 23, 2011
Finished: May 25, 2011

I'm not a huge fan of Civil War books, but my dad threw this in a batch of books that he'd read and thought I'd like so I gave it a try. It was OK. The basic story was good. The first 100 pages or so kind of bored me, all the characters were very similar, but it got better after that. It's not something I'd recommend to anyone else but I guess I'm glad I read this. 292 pages. Grade: B-
Total # of books read in 2011: 65
Total # of pages read in 2011: 16,698
amy poehler

(no subject)

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19. The Art of Traveling by Alain de Botton - Couldn't get into it. As much as I love traveling, I just can't get into reading about the art of it. I mean I enjoy looking at art but learning about it...I don't know it seemed very dense.

20. Cirque Du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan - Okay so I am one of the very few people that kind of enjoyed the Cirque Du Freak movie and there's a huge series of books that this movie comes from. So I read the first one and it was pretty good. I think the movie combined the first two books so yeah, the first book was pretty good though. Easy reading but still exciting. Typical fun YA book fantasy, I like the whole freak show thing. Original storyline for a vampire book. I definitely plan on reading more.


Professors might earn tenure by investigating questions that others, including referees and editors, find recondite, and they might treat their classroom as a substitute for the live-comedy gig they really aspired to.  But they get paid to say no and to uphold standards.  Sometimes that's hard, as Professor X discovers In the Basement of the Ivory Tower.  I read through it quickly, and offer an even quicker Book Review No. 11.  The subtitle is Confessions of an Accidental Academic, and the book includes some of the factors contributing to that accident.  He first lands an evening appointment at a private liberal arts college, and then with a community college, teaching composition and other writing courses.  He has a day job, a working wife, and a bit too much mortgage for his own good.  His perspective, thus, is different from that of the mal-employed humanities Ph.D. kitbashing an academic career out of assorted adjuncting gigs while waiting for that Great Novel to go to press or that tenure-track appointment to open up.  We are accordingly spared the lamentations peculiar to individuals who stay in that situation, although we get a feel for the disconnect between the temporary faculty who come in at shift-changing time, as the tenured faculty and office staff head for the parking lot.

Collapse )That's because all decisions involve trade-offs.  Page 242.

I have had no choice but to recognize that many of my students have no business being in college.  Putting an end to their participation without sentencing them to a life in the aisles of Wal-Mart would require that Americans relinquish their ill-thought-out love affair with higher education.  Which would require an abandonment of the cockeyed optimism that has taken over our educational discourse.

Ultimately, that cockeyed optimism is about the optimal allocation of resources to second, or third chances.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)