Sunday, February 21, 2010

Read 'em and weep

I have in front of me today a collection of things I need to read that's so disjointed, disharmonious, dis?? that it's hard to wrap my head around. The individual works in and of themselves make perfect sense; it's the mashing them together that's kind of wacky.

First, there is the homework for my Early American Lit. class: excerpts by Cotton Mather, noted Puritan theologian/historian (and witch hunter). We're reading part of his magnus opus Magnalia Christi Americana (approximate translation: the magnificent works of Christ in America) and a brief bit from Wonders of the Invisible World, in which he explains his use of spectral evidence in the witch trials. At the same time, I have been downloading some world music onto my new toy (the iPod Touch, which I have nicknamed my iCrackmachine).

(I feel like this activity might have made the time-space continuum a bit wobbly...)

Then, there's the purely practical: a chapter on report-writing from the textbook Business and Administrative Communication; I'll be covering this chapter on Tuesday. I need to say two things about this book. First of all, it's extremely useful. There is ALL KINDS of good info. there for people who are writing all the genres we encounter in the world of work--letters, memos, proposals, etc.

But, secondly, I must also note that it is sometimes dry. As the Sahara. Or the Gobi. Or the Mojave. Imagine the special torture it is for someone who pursued a Ph.D. in literature (a most impractical endeavor) because she loves to read, and now this is what she reads every spring so as to teach a course that students want to take. Pity me, my friends.

And, as a treat, I get to read one of my favorite Louise Erdrich novels:

... and on Wednesday I get to talk about it with one of my favorite students, who is taking an independent study with me on Native American women writers. I love this novel with a mighty, mighty love. I haven't read it in a while, so it's wonderful to be enjoying it again. It's like eating chocolate mousse. Or soaking in a hot bath. Or feeling the breeze on your face on a 75-degree day. Just wonderful.

It almost makes up for having to read about how to write business reports...

May you read something wonderful today!

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