Monday, February 23, 2009

BBC book list meme

BBC Book List: Apparently (and as currently infecting the blog world) the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. I fgured this would be a good first step into blog memes!
1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading. I think frankly I can assume that anything on here is likely to be on my 'plan' list, but we'll see.
[My addition:]
4) Italicise those started but not finished

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X+
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X+
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman X
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy *
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - OK, so I was wrong; no desire to read this.
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X+
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks *
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X+
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot *
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X+
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens X
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams X+
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky X
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X+
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X+
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens X
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X+
34 Emma - Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X+ (How do both this and general Narnia make the list?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini *
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Berniere *
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X+
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X (what is this doing on the list?)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving X
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins X
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy *
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan X
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel *
52 Dune - Frank Herbert X+
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons X+ (and the radio show also)
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth (OK, a second I have no interest in),
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X+
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley X+
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon X+
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X+
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov X
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas X
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy X
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie *
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville X
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X+
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson X+
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath *
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome X
78 Germinal - Emile Zola *
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray *
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro X+
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert X
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - X+
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X+
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton X (poor choice of her works, though)
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad X
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks X
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - X
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole X
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute X
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X (see number 14!)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X+
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo *

Which is 71 completed, I think. Silly list. I would bet on a couple of folks I know being close to 100..

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An actual work post?!

No, really :).

I have been pondering teaching. Class this semester is (as least to me!) going really well: I have a critical mass of students who are unafraid to speak up and who are willing to suggest tangents to which material may be related. The material is largely prepared and those parts which are not, I have the pile of sources assembled (read: have not been up until a.m. the night before class!) And I have not (yet?) lost the high from being 'on stage' in front of the class. On the flip side, the class is not so big as to be unmanageable; I know the names of most of the regular contributors. I'm really enjoying teaching, and the vibes coming back are positive.

Possible negatives:
* class participation is a part of the grade; but there are still a significant number of folks sitting at the back, not taking part. I plan to note the consequences of that quite explicitly next class
* too much diversion. I hope that being able to tie the class content to concrete examples helps it to stick and make sense, but I have to be careful not to get too far off-track. For instance, we've been discussing feeding control pathways; I think it's appropriate for the class to spend a moment thinking about the concept of actual hunger - foreign to them - but not for the whole class to be devoted to global food politics :-). [Which is a danger in part because I would enjoy such a class-long digression!]
* speed. I know from some of the post-class questions that some folks in class are having a hard time keeping up. That's another reason for the frequent question pauses and parenthetical material: allows folks to catch up and consolidate. But teaching to such a large ability curve is always going to be tough here. I'll keep working on the right balance. But I'm still unwilling to give handouts that even come close to substituting for class presence. Any advice?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Keiran photo post

Pretty up-to-date: here's Keiran as he looks (well, as of a day or so ago) perched up on my shoulders. Both photo and video, no less :-).