Hello, readers, friends, lurkers and whosiwhatsits!
Here in the Midwestern United States, we have been suffering through a brutal, never-ending winter. It is the worst in my memory, and it has certainly taken its toll on me, physically and mentally. I have come to discover something about myself in the last few years, which is that I am really an outdoorsy, summertime kind of person. I desperately await the arrival of spring so that I can get back outside and do things – even if that doing is simply taking a long walk or reading a good book out on my deck. It has been hard to stay motivated after four long months of bitter cold and snow, snow, snow. But I’m doing my best.
As you may have noticed, things have been rather quiet here at Roof Beam Reader. There are a number of reasons for this, including but not limited to my teaching schedule, my doctoral studies, and my new position as About.com’s Classic Literature Expert. I have also been taking some time to do my own private writing and personal reading – I have found that I get through much more material these days if I do not feel pressured to review every book I’ve read.
That being said, I’m not gone! As you will have noticed (hopefully) February was still a busy month here at the blog. There were multiple giveaways and, of course, the second check-in for the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. Here are some things to note:
- Literary Giveaway Hop (Claiming One by E.J. Runyon): Kirsten (@Snake6)
- Literary Giveaway Hop (Book of Choice from Classics Club List): Emma of Words and Peace
- Grasshopper Jungle Giveaway: Courtney of Between the Covers
- February TBR Pile Check-In Winner: Christina of The Literary Bunny
Books I Read in February:
The month of February was entirely devoted to reading non-fiction (LGBT History and Literary Terminology reference books). Surprisingly, I enjoyed all of these reads, to varying extents. I missed reading fiction but I feel I learned more this month about my field of study (Gay Studies) than I have in any one block of time, and it has really encouraged me to keep digging and to get myself positioned to submit my candidacy proposal and reading list. In fact, I’m in the process of doing that, and establishing my doctoral committee.
- A New Handbook of Literary Terms by David Mikics (3 ½ of 5 Stars)
- Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II by Allan Bérubé (4 of 5 Stars)
- Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power, Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians by Lillian Faderman (4 of 5 Stars)
- The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government by David K. Johnson (4 of 5 Stars)
- Handbook of Literary Terms: Literature, Language, Theory by X.J. Kennedy (4 of 5 Stars)
- A Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H. Abrams (5 of 5 Stars)
- Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 by George Chauncey (5 of 5 Stars)
Articles Posted on About.com:
As the new Classic Literature Expert for About.com, I will be posting about 10 articles per month, on various topics. Some of the content will be author profiles, reviews of classic literature, “best of” lists, and whatever else comes to mind. In my first month, I published 10 articles on a range of topics, from Black History Month to Shakespeare’s influence on contemporary phrases. Please feel free to visit me and any/all of my new publications! Here they are:
- American Literary Periods: An Overview
- Listicle: Around the World in 80 Pages
- Review: A Season in Hell/The Drunken Boat by Arthur Rimbaud
- Listicle: Classic Literary Villains
- Review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
- Listicle: Unconventional Heroines from Classic Literature
- Listicle: Classic African-American Literature
- Review: Lysistrata by Aristophanes
- Listicle: Shakespeare Said That?
- Study Guide: Dante’s Inferno, A Structural Overview
If you ever have any thoughts/suggestions on things you would like to see me write about for About.com’s Classic Literature page, please feel free to comment or email me. I’m always open to questions, feedback, suggestions and ideas!
Now that March is here, I have tried to fit some short fiction and poetry into my reading schedule. I have finished two very short pieces and will finish a third today. I’m also reading some additional non-fiction (another literary terminology guide by Sharon Hamilton as well as Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram). I’m working on a historiography of Walt Whitman this semester, and I am researching the concept of “pastoral” literature, so in a week or so (with the arrival of spring break) I will probably dive more heavily into those directions. I’m trying to have some fun where I can!
So, that is my reading life, currently. What are YOU up to these days?