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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Posts Tagged “books”

I’m not so cool

Sometimes, you want to go to Indy’s First Fridays event. Sometimes, open art galleries and talk and free humus and grapes are really cool. Sometimes witty banter, discussions of hipster, and mock battles are really cool as well. Sometimes, strolling down the sidewalks and admiring the architecture, the cupcakes in the bakery windows, and the random scupltures made out of tires is stupendously cool.

And sometimes, at the end of it all, you find yourself down in the dumps instead of uplifted, ready for a shower and sleep instead of a board game night, wanting to write about hybridized nations and postcolonialism rather than relax with friends.

Is this weird? Have I been spending too much time working, that I kind of, in a little way, prefer Anglo-Celtic writings to complimentary crackers, the quiet of an English paper finally unlocking itself beneath my fingers to the raucous wind in my hair, music in my ears, sun in my face? This is definitely not the usual sequencing, and I’m sure this pensive mood will pass.

Tomorrow we are working downtown with the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful project, which I’m looking forward to doing. This is a busy weekend, with several other events in the works. Here’s to a more energetic Saturday!

Off to chill with Jude the Obscure. That’s a good compromise, isn’t it?

I fail to climb the tree

Butler’s two libraries–Irwin and the Science Library–kind of pale in comparison to the Central Library in Indianapolis I detailed in my last post. (Though if all my archives weren’t frustratingly lost, I could direct you to the posts I wrote last year about why the science library rocks.)

However, Butler does have an awesome interlibrary loan system. Theoretically, I could get a book from Australia. I haven’t done that, but I’ve received my fair share of books from IU’s library.

Exploring the jungle.

Still, I’ll always have a soft spot for the library near my house–so near that I can walk to it. I have to go through the open spot in the fenced off dead-end of the street, traverse a bamboo forest, hop a drainage ditch, climb a hill of mulch, battle the far-reaching branches from the huge bushes, and dodge, Frogger-style, all the minivans in the parking lot. But I can walk there.

I found a tree!

Sometimes I walk there with friends. Sometimes, that’s how I know summer has really started.

Sometimes, I fail to climb the tree.

Snapshot: Central Library

Here are some as-yet-unshared pictures from my visit to the Central Library in Indianapolis. Aka, the Library of Dreams and Wonder.

I love to read. If my blog archives had not been cruelly ravaged/deleted (still in mourning), I would direct you to the approximately twenty books I reviewed at the end of last summer. This year has hit me particularly hard with reading for classes, so I haven’t had so much time for fun books.

I blame physics class, my long Irish literature paper, and the spring’s twenty-two credits hours and the nine credits of English class included in that count. I blame Emily Dickinson and the Romantic poets and Herman Melville and the giant Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Criticism and Theory I read at night and over breakfasts.

Not that literary theory isn’t fun. I love throwing around words/phrases like “hermeneutical,” “accomplished nihilist,” and “always already.” It just tends to take me a good hour or so of research to understand the basic outline of the concepts used to describe lit theory. I love the wacked-out, odd-ball things text does. I don’t so much love the headache of arriving at that conclusion. (Well, sometimes. If I understand the process, it’s wonderful.)

As I read more and more, the process becomes easier. That is to say, I don’t have to stop and decipher all those “hermeneutical,” “binary opposition,” “signifier,” and “de Manian” references.

Still, I miss quick jaunts in and out of BookWorld à la Fforde (finished One of Our Thursday is Missing–very good, not his best work, but I still read into the night to finish it). During the year, I managed to make time for a visit to Indianapolis’ huge-normous Central Library. Consider proximity to the Library of Dreams and Wonder one of the perks of attending Butler University. Pictures, commence:

The main lobby/atrium

It's HUGE!

Chilling in the sweet chairs in the kids' section.

Snapshot: Architecture

Here’s a snapshot from this past year that I never got around to posting. Snapshot: Architecture, I choose you!

This is from a dancer gathering I attended. Not being much for large crowds, I decided to head to where the real party was cooking… the game of Jenga. Excuse me, “Jumbling Towers,” as the box says.

After the tall tower was well and truly jumbled (by my overly ambitious move), the architectural phase of the evening began. Here is the finished product.

Marvelous, no? As much as I complain about the seemingly endless streams of papers, I do get to have some building-block-related fun at Butler.

Okay, it’s back to my summer fun book for some intense relaxation. I’m finally reading the most recent Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde, One of Our Thursdays is Missing. So good!

Riddle: How does November relate to this in-book map of Fiction Island? Take a gander to find out!

Farewell, Diana

Admist all the basketball excitement, I read that Diana Wynne Jones passed away yesterday after her prolonged battle with cancer. She has long been one of my favorite authors, with her wit, intelligence, faith in her younger readership, wry pragmatism, and brilliant writing.

I remember reading DWJ in school, on my back porch, on airplanes. I read to myself, laughed myself to tears; I read to my sisters, joked about butter pies and Fantasyland’s lack of socks. I struggled to make sense of Hexwood and Fire and Hemlock; I devoured Howl’s Moving Castle, Dark Lord of Derkholm, and all the Chrestomanci books. Who could forget the antics of Deep Secret or Year of the Griffin? Her situational humor, her sparkling adjectives, her inventive and deconstructive clichés…

Her accolades and awards include two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors, the Karl Edward Wagner Award for having a significant impact on the field of fantasy literature, and the World Fantasy Society Lifetime Achievement Award.

It is an odd thing to be moved to tears while the rest of the state explodes in basketball-related joy. Outside my window, horns and chants and laughter. Inside, only a desperate grief, a heavy emptiness for that great lady of literature.

The book/blog/writing world demonstrates an outpouring of grief and sympathy for DWJ’s family. What a testament to one of literature’s best and brightest. Shine on, Diana. You will be missed.

Readings

Do you ever get stuck in a scholarly rut? Perhaps “rut” is not the best word. Maybe “track” or “idea” is better. Ever since I finished my long paper on national identity in Brian Friel’s play Translations, I have viewed all my classroom texts through a quasi-deconstructionist lens.

As far as producing interesting readings goes, this has proven quite fruitful. I’ve taken Wordsworth to task for finding authenticity in common language, seen Meville’s ocean as a space of textual ambiguity, and found Emily Dickinson to exhibit postmodern tendencies. Can you tell I’ve just come from a meeting with a professor about a paper?

Intense gaze. You know this guy's serious.

I’m happy to splash around in the postmodern waters for a bit, but I don’t think I want to stay forever. Judging from past experiences, I know some other concept will catch my interest. It happened with mythology, pseudo-astrophysics, real physics physics, the Welsh language, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Rose Adagio, creative writing, knitting… All past obsessions of mine. All still hold a special place in my heart.

However, this whole text-is-dependent-on-the-reader and words-change-significance-with-every-meaning so-many-hyphens phase represents the first conceptual idea I apply to such a wide range of classes, be it an English class or a dance history class, choreography or technique.

Do you ever feel like you really take an intellectual idea to heart for an extended time? Do you ever feel like you might be growing steadily more obnoxious every day?

Also, has anyone read any criticisms that place Emily Dickinson as a postmodern poet?

Book bribery

Why, why, did I end up with so much homework during Spring Break? While I procrastinate, I will share a few tricks I have discovered to make homework seem, if not easier, than at least surmountable.

How to bribe oneself to do schoolwork during what is supposed to be an academic vacation:

1. Music. I have a classical music CD I love to listen to, since it reminds me of fun times and awesome people. I only listen to it while I’m writing papers. If I want to hear the pretty sounds, I have to craft the pretty words.

2. Food. If I cannot have lunch until I’ve finished a chapter of reader or a paragraph of writing, well… By now I hope you have ascertained the depth of my love for food.

3. Isolation. Who went to the library Monday of spring break? That’s right.

4. Company. If my sisters do their homework, I must do mine. I can’t do anything else for fear of distracting them. Also, there will then be witnesses to my procrastination. I even had a Skype-enabled homework party with a fellow Butler student today.

5. Books. I’m sure you have heard the sad news about Borders filing for bankruptcy. If not, do so now. There’s a whole host of problems facing the publishing industry, but that is probably fodder for another post, another day. My dad and I visited the Borders location nearby that was holding its closing sale. Those empty shelves… heartbreaking. However, I got some lovely new books I’ve wanted to read for long lengths of time: since the summer, since last November, and since two years ago.

I can’t read any of them until I finish my long paper. I guess I should return to the task. Happy spring break, everyone.

http://nnedi.com/about.html

Post-Apocalyptic Africa.

Pirate- zombie- steampunk-adventures during the American Civil War

(actually, not purchased from Borders) Meta-textual humor. Have been waiting for ages for its US publication.

Being a real college student

How do these other majors do it? With assessment week, I’ve been catching up on all my homework. Typing and typing. Reading until my brains ooze out my ears. I guess I’m not used to this sort of mental concentration without the mitigating athleticism of several dance classes.

As it is, tea and chocolate are getting me through.

Tea and chocolate on my purple computer, on Moby Dick

I’ve written/am in the process of writing (mostly the later) dance history papers (2), English papers (2), short discussion questions (1), and various other pieces of text (2.5). I did not realize my InterLibrary Loan book was due on the last day of February. (Well, I didn’t realize that was the last day of February either.) I had to return that, too.

Returning books to the library a few weeks ago. In the freezing cold.

I even cooked fish with bok choy, vacuumed my room, cleaned my apartment (including wiping a mysterious black substance off all four of our burners), and did my laundry. Whew!

All the small things

Loads of little things have been happening. And I promise there will be neither weather nor cooking/baking represented in this post.

1. I was in an advertisement in Dance Magazine with some other students from the Dance Department. (Come to Midwinter!)

The piece depicted is Professor Cynthia Pratt’s work “1st of 3 in 17,” which is set to Mozart and very cool, in my opinion.

2. My Interlibrary loan books came. So much Welshness! Butler students have access to the extremely cool WorldCat Union database that lets you search for books worldwide. So many libraries! So many books! I get really excited!

3. Midwinter Studio Dress is this Saturday. I have no photos to show you… I suppose you will simply have to watch a performance February 25 or 26 at 8 pm in Clowes Memorial Hall.

4. In pas de deux class on Wednesday, my dance professor lifted me above his head. Never having done a Bluebird lift before, I listened to his explanation. Then, without completely understanding the process, I was balanced on his shoulder, suddenly much, much taller than normal. Just a day the life, etcetera etcetera.

It just surprised me, since I did not at the time realize quite how I had gotten there.

When Arborio rice is necessary

Classes start in one week! Some students have been back on Butler’s campus for a while now for Greek recruitment. I, however, have been savoring the last days of winter break with my family. This requires a lot of sleeping. And reading, knitting, Skyping, tea-drinking, and dinner-eating.

Risotto, anyone? I tried to make this dish with a friend back during Fall Break. Apparently, brown rice is not a good substitute for Arborio rice. My mom, however, has the recipe down to a science and demonstrated her skills when my godfamily came to visit. Let me tell you. We feasted. And then we played in our firepit on the patio in our backyard.

And we ate it all.

With luck and a bit of bookish help, I will no longer make errors like my Fall Break, ill-conceived rice swap. My parents gave me a great book at Christmas called Recipe Substitutions. As one might expect, it contains ingredients and lists of possible substitutions. I immediately noted that brown rice is not listed under arborio rice. That would explain my al dente risotto.

Anyway, if you are the friend, family member, or frequent victim of a new college cook, a book like this is one good gift you might try. I rarely have all the correct ingredients. I rarely have immediate access to a grocery store to rectify the error, not having a car. I also rarely have the good sense to decide whether an ingredient may be swapped for another or not.