My long research trip in Great Britain has made me start thinking about the difficulties that academic life presents to those with families. Because my research is as much about Britain and its colonies as it is the United States, a significant portion of my research has to be done abroad. I have been in Britain doing the preliminary stages of research since May and I plan to be here till September. The problem: I’m married, and my husband has a job that keeps him in the States and more specifically in Michigan. We skype and chat on the internet, but it’s still tough. When I told my husband I was doing a panel called Complicating Domesticities and Sexuality in the Empire, he laughed and suggested I do a presentation on how academic life and research has complicated my own domesticity. Continue reading
Over the past week and a half, a few friends and I have been participated in the 30 Day Book Meme. There are a few versions on the internet, but essentially, each day you answer a different question about books. On one day, you post your favorite romance novel. On another, the book you found most overrated. I find myself when I come home from the archives each day logging on quickly to find out what my friends have posted. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few overlaps – Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and Twilight are favorites. Catcher in the Rye is consistently rated as being overrated.
What has made me think about is the degree to which books fed and soothed my sense of isolation as a kid. I felt out-of-place, but “A Little Princess” and “Izzy Willy-Nilly” made me feel as though I wasn’t alone. The American Girl Books convinced me that history was fun, and I loved every moment of “Les Miserables,” “The Little Prince,” and “Night Flight.” My little sister just messaged me on Facebook to say that she is tired of reading kiddie books and is wondering if she should read Les Miz. She also wants a list of suggestions. I feel a bit responsibility here. I want to love the books, and I’m not sure if she will if she starts with Les Miz. Where do I start her – Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen, George Eliot? Would she be better off with some Frances Burnett Hodgson?
And, how much is this gendered? I just don’t know.
I am a little bit late to the party, but I recently bought the soundtrack to the Book of Mormon musical –Only $9.99 on iTunes!
On the whole, it wasn’t as shocking as I was expecting it to be. After seeing Avenue Q and dozens of episodes of South Park, I expected the crude humor and the constant swearing. Nothing that any of the characters says is any worse than the constant barrage of expletives and crude humor that comes from Cartman and Stan each week. Continue reading
Available in the Marion Stark Gaines Photograph Collection in the Billups-Garth Archives at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus, Mississippi.