I sat down to blog yesterday and couldn’t bring myself to concentrate enough to write anything coherent because I was too busy thinking about school and all the work I have yet to do on the final project and gosh this is the end of week eight and the quarter is ten weeks and yikes I better get a move on.

So I spent the evening working on my annotated bibliography. I love reading annotated bibliographies but I hate writing them. And even though the topic is mildly interesting–the information seeking behavior of humanities scholars–it’s rather a disappointment to have to read or at least skim the articles enough to write a few sentences and then that’s that. No continuation to a research paper, no forming a thesis and creating an argument or any of that. Just the bibliography. It seems like a lot of work for so very little pay off. And honestly, it’s become kind of boring at this point. I’ve got most of the searching out of the way, I just have a lot of material to read because even though the title or the abstract might make it sound relevant, when I get to actually reading the article some of them have turned out to be nothing but a summary of study methodology with no results or discussion of results. Useless. So in the next two weeks if I suddenly don’t post in the middle of the week it’s because of school.

Today I thought I’d tell you about some new books that have made their way into the house over the last few weeks via my Bookman, Half Price Books and a Barnes and Noble gift card.

  • Mediating American Autobiography: Photography in Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, and Whitman by Sean Ross Meehan. I think the title pretty much says what it’s about and well, Emerson.
  • How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker. I got a near-perfect hardcover edition at Half Price Books. Even though it was published in 1997 and so is probably out of date in regards to some things, I thought it would still be interesting reading.
  • Feminist Philosophy and Science Fiction: Utopias and Dystopias by Judith A. Little. Once long ago and in a galaxy far, far away when I was studying English lit in grad school and considering going on for a PhD, I determined that my dissertation was going to be pretty much what this book is about. But now that I think about it, back in the early 90s, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get away with it. Then again maybe I would have and I would have been considered a genius. No matter. Now I get to read the book without having done all the work.
  • Grammars of Creation by George Steiner. Another Half Price find. An exploration of the idea of creation in western thought, literature, history and religion. I love stuff like this.
  • Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg. I have no ambition to write a memoir. My life is so white bread that the results would only benefit insomniacs. But I like Natalie Goldberg.
  • The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay. Mention to my Bookman I’d really like to read a certain book and one day it magically appears. This only works for me though so don’t you all start sending him emails.
  • Everything Passes by Gabriel Josipovici. After Goldberg: Variations I had to get another of his books. This one is listed as a novel but is only 58 pages. But if anyone can write a novel in 58 pages it would be Josipovici.
  • American Fictions by Elizabeth Hardwick. I got tired of Litlove going on and on about the Margaret Fuller essay so now I can finally read it for myself and quit being jealous.
  • The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville. I have a scribbled note to myself that Melville spoofed Emerson in the book. The book says nothing about that on the back but maybe the introduction will say something about it. If not, the book is also Melville’s last novel and it will be fun to read something other than Moby Dick or Bartleby both of which I have read and enjoyed more than once.

And as if all that weren’t enough, I got an email today from LibraryThing’s early reviewer program that I will shortly be receiving a copy of Miami and the Siege of Chicago by Norman Mailer. It’s a NYRB Classic and I will get to form my own opinion of Mailer now instead of saying, “well I heard…”

With all these wonderful new books, concentrating on finishing my final project has gotten both harder and easer. Harder because I want to read these books now; easier because I can’t and they become the carroty reward dangling at the end of the quarter.