Blame it on March Madness

Ok, ok, I’m finally coming out of my college basketball-induced haze and my cranky pants are safely stowed in the closet again–so back to blogging I go! I think that March is a crappy month all around, and between the realization that I only have 5 weeks left of the semester, my discovery that I have something like 80 books checked out from the library, and weather that can only be labeled as schizophrenic (no offense to any schizophrenics out there) I tend to go into antisocial mode. I am repeatedly surprised by the realization that really, deep down, I’m rather an antisocial person (although, whether I’m surprised by it, or surprised that I’m apparently dense enough not to catch on more readily by now, I don’t know). How someone who likes to talk as much as I do can be so, I haven’t figured out yet. But in any event, I declare that March needs to be over. Now.

On the reading front, I’ve been reading some beautiful, but rather depressing books lately. Robinson Crusoe isn’t really beautiful, but it is depressing (for me anyway) because it’s so money-driven. All human relations are based fundamentally on economic value. I only have about 50 pages left of Charles Chesnutt’s eminently readable novel about the Wilmington race riot of 1898, The Marrow of Tradition. And I have to read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for my American reading group tomorrow. I don’t know why I’m so hesitant to start this one. I think part of it has to do with my inner snobby bookseller self, the one that automatically shies away from any book that is so heavily touted by EVERYONE I encounter. It’s something I need to work on.

This weekend, besides watching basketball games nonstop and reading two knitting-centered mysteries (it’s like eating ginger after sushi, it cleanses the mental palate), I also picked up two books at the bookstore. Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke, which is also depressing because it deals with war, and Ron Rosenbaum’s The Shakespeare Wars. I’ve read Rosenbaum’s Explaining Hitler, and while it is flawed (show me a book that isn’t and I’ve got a bridge to sell you somewhere) I heartily enjoy books that examine scholars themselves. The only problem I have so far with The Shakespeare Wars is Rosenbaum’s cranky and un-engaged dismissal of theory. Now, I think theory (sorry, Theory) can be too much for me in large doses (I need to read it in bursts–I actually love it while I’m reading it, but when I’ve finished, I feel like I’m about to float away because my brain has become so wrapped in abstractness), but I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And I don’t agree with people assuming that all theory is based on relativism (Rosenbaum erroneously conflates it–the whole kit and caboodle–with deconstructionism and then doesn’t define deconstructionism correctly/well). That’s flippant and disingenuous. And it makes Rosenbaum sound like a cranky old fart, and I think he’s better than that. But beyond that, I’m looking forward to the rest of the book. Scholars are a weird bunch, particularly when the subject at hand involves figures like Shakespeare or Hitler.

One last thing. The pictures that you see in my header have all been taken by my amazingly talented father, who is a photographer. I realized that I don’t really have a nickname for him on the blog (my mom’s self-chosen moniker of Queen Mother is sooo apt that I don’t want to mess with it). He sometimes leaves comments as Harleyman, but I’ve decided to designate him as El Diablo, although it’s not because he’s devilish (Funny story though: A priest in my religion class at school once told me that my dad was going to hell because he was Jewish. Now for those who know me, you know that I don’t appreciate anyone messing with my family, and this priest had already told me that my dogs weren’t going to heaven either, so I politely informed him that I would rather go to hell as well, because it sounds like more fun). Anyway, I just wanted to give credit where credit is due! Although if the pictures ever look messed up, it’s because I played with them and cropped them…

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Queen Mother on March 24, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I am delighted with your latest blog. You are back! I have missed reading your comments so much. I must admit I have taken a number of tips as far as reading and thoroughly enjoy your summaries. For those of you have a vested interest in March Maddness all I can say is that I hoped you picked the Badgers. Go Badgers (Sorry to Apparent Dip) but there is no way I could cheer them (Big Western University) on as long as the Great State of Wisconsin is represented. Besides the Big Western almost got their clock cleaned by another Wisconsin Team. Good to have you blogging again. You make my days.


  2. That is a strike pic. Your father is a talent!

    I’m not too keen on March either. Aside from Spring Break, that is. Your reading sounds GREAT! If it helps you with The Road, it’s an incredibly quick read, so even if it doesn’t live up to the hype, it’ll be over in no time. Most of my grad school friends read it in a day. I would’ve but I was nappish that day.


  3. Queen Mother: Don’t worry, next year you’ll be invested in March Madness as well! We’ll see to that. Hopefully the next time I disappear from the blogging world it will be because I’m in England and France in May!

    Andi: You’re right. The Road was a quick read and I really enjoyed it (well, as much as one can enjoy a post-apocalyptic novel). Lesson learned: I need to put that snobby inner bookseller self away more often! 🙂


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