Showing posts from July, 2007

advice for academia

I've spent much of the summer thinking about, reflecting on, and even worrying about the next steps in my career. Finishing the Ph.D. was wonderful and slightly disorienting, just like all big changes. Two books that I appreciate knowing about but am not reading in full: Caplan, Paula J. Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman's Guide to Surviving in the Academic World This book cites tons of research, much of it so very depressing. Great resource, but not the right read for me right now. Maack and Passet. Aspirations and Mentoring in an Academic Environment: Women Faculty in Library and Information Science. This one is more fruitful reading for me, and if it weren't so expensive I'd have already bought a copy. As it is, I know I'll be referring to it again because it's so specific to my field.

A memoir, advice for the office, Buddhism, and a novel

It's Easier Than You Think by Sylvia Boorstein Nothing like rushing through the end of a book on Buddhism so that you can get it "done" and write the blog and get on with your life.... not exactly mindful presence, is it? Boorstein is brilliant in her accessibility. I love her laid-back style, her ease and grace as she talks about how to handle the most difficult things there are using Buddhist principles of mindfulness and compassion. Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office 101, by Lois P. Frankel Okay, there was definitely useful advice in this book. The one I'm not taking is to only focus on one goal at a time, because I need to turn the book back in to the library. I'm taking notes here. These are not just for me, but also for my many female students. --Make a list of the rules of the game at your workplace... observe --"If you find yourself the only person in a room who disagrees with the consensus It can't be done and think, But I could mak

Storytelling books, teaching storytelling performance

Each of these books spends some time on storytelling performance... The Way of the Storyteller by Ruth Sawyer Talks about vocal technique in the chapter "A Technique to Abolish Technique" (p. 131-151). This title more or less captures the attitude that has traditionally been part of children's librarianship in regards to storytelling. The storyteller effaces herself in favor of the tale. And while I see the wisdom in foregrounding the tale over the teller, especially for beginning storytellers, it's an attitude that certainly predates the feminist revolution. For that reason alone, it deserves rethinking. Olcott had a similar quote in one of her articles: "The more informal the story hour, the greater the lack of selfconsciousness (sic) on the part of the children, and this is to be aimed at, as a perfect effacement of self makes a receptive audience." from Olcott, Work with Children at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, p70. However, Saw

primary sources back to uiuc library

It's tough letting go of these, but they're all owned by UIUC, so I can get them again if needed -Book Culture and Character, by J. N. Larned, 1906 A much looser sense of what is acceptable reading than in earlier works. Even the title of that chapter, "Hints as to Reading," is gentler than what came before. -References to books in the Cleveland Public Library, intended to aid the third grade teachers of the Cleveland Public Schools, compiled by May H. Prentice of the Cleveland Normal School, published by Cleveland Public Library, sometime in the 1890s--LJ contained announcements of this. This was the first time I saw evidence of this fine-grained level of age grading in a public library resource. Opens with a quote: "The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught as that every child should be given the wish to learn. [...] Sir John Lubbock, in Pleasures of Life p. 184" [I don't know any more about Lubbock or this source at the

19th century reading advice

Quotes from a few titles I'm going through as I revise a book chapter, due Aug. 1: How to Read by Amelie V. Petit, 1878 Reading should be done in an orderly manner: "A confused jumble of unclassified books, however large the collection, is not properly a library; neither is a confused jumble of unclassified knowledge an education." (p. 2) Reading requires work: "While the cream of literature undoubtedly rises to the surface, it must be worked over and over by the intellect before it yields its best, most desirable product." (p. 20) Fiction should be only one part of a varied course of reading: "We advise the reader to intersperse with them [books of fiction] books of travel, biography, history, and poetry, relating to their authors, or the country wherein the scene of the story is laid." (list of recommended books follows, with explicit mention that these are a good course of reading for the young) "A professed novel-reader will say, 'Wha

Blubber by Judy Blume, The Olympains Book 2 by Rick Riordan

Blubber by Judy Blume I re-read this classic on my trip to Minneapolis in part because I've decided to teach it this fall, inspired by Betty Bush. It's a novel about teasing among children, definitely, but it's also a novel about growing up. Not coming of age, but embarking on those first steps towards maturity that involve taking responsibility for one's actions. At one point, protagonist Jill and best friend Tracy are talking about the tooth fairy. They are aware, however subtly, that childhood is drawing to a close: "...How much do you think it's worth?" "I'm not sure," I told her. "Last time I got a quarter." "If I were you I'd try for more. We haven't got that many baby teeth left." (p. 66) Another passage: Jill really is a jerk to victim-of-teasing Linda and to her brother Kenny all at once, when they are at a bar mitzvah. Kenny has a habit of reciting facts, and Jill, his sister, is getting annoyed:

What Research Ideas Mean

I have odd dreams. More than once, I've dreamed something so narrative and elaborate that I was convinced it was a full-blown novel waiting to happen. I did write it out (100 pages) and found that it needed more editing than I expected. At about this time, I began work on the Ph.D., and creative writing projects fell by the wayside. I still have odd dreams, but now they are about research. I've woken up in the night with ideas for 3 or more papers at once. Last night, there were 5 ideas for small-to-medium research projects involving methodology other than history (surveys, focus groups, interviews). The humbling truth of the matter is, however elated I am at 3am, each of these ideas to grow into a paper would need substantial. In fact, I've decided to post a list of the steps needed: 1) Is it worth it? (in the cold light of day) 2) Why do I care? 3) Who is my audience, and why would they care? 4) Is it feasible? 5) What else is out there on this topic? on similar to

The Rules by Cynthia Lord

ah, one children's book I read on vacation, borrowed from Isaac, my friend Ruth's son.... The Rules by Cynthia Lord Catherine does all she can to take care of her autistic brother David, including creating a series of rules for him to follow. Rules like "don't take your pants off" and "no toys in the fish tank." Each chapter is given a rule as a heading. Catherine is frustrated because her social life is majorly hampered... Not only does she get teased a lot because of her brother's strange ways, but she's also expected to babysit him constantly by her mother who runs a business from her. Her father is checked out, basically home to sleep and otherwise on the run from the overwhelming responsibility of their son. Catherine is a fun character who is reasonably believable, if a bit precocious. But what good children's book protagonist isn't, really? Definitely recommended summer reading.

anthropology, psychology

Two wonderful books: A Thrice Told Tale by Margery Wolf Wolf juxtaposes a fiction story she wrote in the 50s about an experience she had while traveling to do fieldwork with her anthropologist husband, the fieldnotes made about this same incident, and the article she wrote for an anthropological journal about the incident. All to the end of debunking the idea that "postmodernism" in terms of mulitple voices and texts is somehow a new phenomenon. She also points out that it is only those who have had the most power who find multi-vocality to be a new phenomenon, because they've never had to modulate their way of speaking like those with less power. She also questions the postmodern idea that the project of representation should be abandoned. As I write that, I realized I'm overstating the case, and Wolf does this a bit too, but many of her points are valid. The most interesting bits, however, are the fictional story and the article (the field notes are predicta