Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lovely Libraries

Libraries are the most wonderful places on the planet, hands down. One of my dreams is to be a library tourist, going around the world just to visit libraries. They are my cathedrals, with the OED at the altar.

Now, with the Fantasy Library Project, the power to design your very own paradise is here! Laurie King is asking for submissions of magical fake libraries. (Which, of course, will be filled with Hypothetical Books, as is only natural.)

Need some inspiration? Check out these gorgeous real life libraries (including Vassar's!) and drool at the beauty.

I may have to get a PhD just so I have an excuse to visit some of these.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hypothetically Excellent

The Hypothetical Library is one of the coolest things online I have found so far.

The concept is simple: Charlie Orr, a designer, asks real writers "to provide flap copy for a book that they haven’t, won’t, but in theory could, write, and then I design a cover for it."

Brilliant idea--and it pans out really well. Go check it out! A lust after books that unfortunately do not (yet) exist.

Right Here, Right Now

It has been a while, little blog. A long, long while. Many books were read, many cups of tea drained.

Currently I am sitting in by Russian Absurdism class, "Nonsense and the Absurd". It started out so well! Long lectures on Alice in Wonderland, Edward Lear, and Gogol. Now we're learning about Russian Futurism and I am incredibly, incredibly bored. I haven't done the reading in days, but that's not entirely my fault--the professor completely changed the syllabus, and then never made it clear what any of the changes meant. I'm pretty sure what I need to read for next class, though, so hopefully that will go well. I'm not sure if my boredom stems from the Russian Futurists themselves, or just that I have been so busy these few weeks I never mentally engaged with the topic. It may be a bit of both. Victory over the Sun isn't exactly an edge-of-your-seat read.

Otherwise my life is generally occupied by Homebody/Kabul, the simply amazing Tony Kushner play I am dramaturg for this semester. I enjoy that; it is beautiful to sit and listen to the actors bring each word to life. I answer their questions, or spend hours researching in order to answer their questions; either way I like that I can contribute while sitting back and relaxing.

Speaking of research, I still need to decide on a topic for my Cold War research paper. I've narrowed it down to student protest movements, but not much further than that. I'm vaguely interested in learning more about the sexist underpinnings of SDS and other organizations of the Movement, but I'm a bit worried it will make me too angry. Then again, anger is a good motivator.

So that is my life, such as it is right now, as I sit in the dark listening to my professor and his excellent deep Russian accent.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Well done, Hugo.

The Hugo award winners have been announced!! Which is pretty exciting. But what is perhaps even MORE exciting is that Girl Genius, Volume 8 won Best Graphic Story!

If you don't know about Girl Genius, you should. It's an online steam punk graphic novel, that is updated M,W,F--and it's brilliant. As a lover of all things steam punk, this is one of the best I've read, and now the Hugo awards agree with me!

The linkity-link above goes to the first comic (it goes into color after a short while), and I seriously recommend starting from the beginning and reading the whole thing through. It took me a couple days to get caught up, but it was worth it.

Congrats, Girl Genius!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

When I grow up, I want to be...

I have recently been enjoying the movie versions of Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, and they reminded me of a conversation I had with my roommate last year. We were chatting about Jane Austen novels, and how people relate to them, and she came out with what I thought was a pretty spot on assessment.

“Everyone thinks they’re Elizabeth Bennett, but they just aren’t.”

She’s right. We want to believe that we’re the pretty, smart, witty one, who loves to read and take long walks and in the end always finds her Darcy. We forgive Elizabeth her pride and vanity because we love her so much—we want to have as good a reason as she does to be proud. I stumbled upon Jane Austen rather late into my teenage years, so for me it was more Jo March who I always aspired to emulate, but it’s exactly the same.

So if we want to be the Lizzie’s and Jo’s of literature, but know in our hearts we can’t be…then who are we really? One of the many dreaded Facebook quizzes that’s been circulating is “Which Famous Character from Literature are you?”—I took it and got Jane Eyre. No offense, but if I know I’m not Jo, then I definitely know I’m not Jane. Another, which attempts to narrow this question, is “Which Shakespearean Character are you?” but I think that makes it even more difficult. Now I remember how much I would also love to be Beatrice from Much Ado, or Hermione from Winter’s Tale.

The horror of these questions is realizing in the end you’ve grown up to be Lydia, not Lizzie, or Helena, not Hermione. (Of course, the notion that you’ve grown up at all is itself horrifying.) Is there, perhaps, some middle ground? Some character that no one dreams of, but that in the end would be perfectly acceptable?

I wish I could think of one.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Little boxes, full of my stuff, little boxes made of ticky tack...

Today, we begin packing up our apartment so my parents can move very far away and I can trundle off back to college. So I will leave you for now with a short post, but containing something very long:


It's one of the longest words in the English language, and it means...pertaining to long words.

Have to love anything self-referential. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

I will learn thy thought

Today was the final day of my summer Internship of Bliss, in which I was surrounded by Shakespeare and cool people all day everyday. I will miss thee, Education department.

What use is an internship, however, if you don't pick up a few valuable life lessons? So here are the top 26 things I learned this summer, all thanks to the Bard himself.

1. If your stepmother tells you she is not evil…she probably is.
2. Avoid Italians.
3. If your boyfriend kills your cousin, he’s not worth it.
4. Don’t declare war on the Romans.
5. If you have to be killed, try to be killed several different ways at once. It’s the best way to go.
6. Alternatively, try being turned into a statue. It’s less painful, and you can always come back.
7. When writing a story, pirates are a handy plot devise.
8. So is Jupiter.
9. Many people actually like Cymbeline, including Virginia Woolf. But…she was crazy.
10. No one likes Coriolanus.
11. If you’re having trouble finding love, try narcotics.
12. Always flatter your father. He could banish you to France. And who wants to go to France?
13. If you find yourself attracted to someone of the same sex, they’re in disguise.
14. They could, however, be your sister in a mustache.
15. Never attempt to explain the plot of Pericles.
16. As soon as you marry a guy, he instantly becomes jealous and wants to kill you.
17. If someone gets paid to tell the future, you might want to listen to what they have to say.
18. If they’re just creepy and tell the future, however, ignore them. Creepy=wants you dead.
19. Don’t gamble. Ever.
20. Beatrice and Benedick have dated before. (WHAT?)
21. The Sonnets are only ever about love or growing old. The best ones cover both.
22. Your jolly fat friend is your only smart friend.
23. If it has “comedy” in the title, it’s not funny.
24. Believe it or not, there is a play called “King John.”
25. The guy who’s the biggest jerk to you is your one true love.
26. If an island is inhabited by spirits, enslave them. If it’s inhabited by Italians, run.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.