The Great Outage of 2010

Hey, you faithful few checking in on me: I just want you to know that the project is neither forgotten nor forsaken.  At the end of August, I got my list of “books to read” for a class I’m taking in genre fiction (taught by a former Pulitzer jury member—exciting! I hope to pick her brain about the selection process at some point), and I’ve been devouring them out of necessity (the class forces us to read a great deal).  When that ends in early December, I’ll be back to it here—maybe with some new wrinkles and features, or maybe doing exactly what I was doing before.  So, here’s to all of you who look in now and then (especially those of you who can behave civilly and respectfully when you do) to endure my rambling commentary on my seemingly endless peregrination through the Pulitzer novels.  I hope to see you back here when the days are short and my reading time is mine once more.

Yet another apology…

A quick note to say that I’m buried under two massive papers for grad school, but once they’re complete, I’ll be homework free for the summer, and really will be able to keep the blog posted more frequently than once weekly.  So, to those dropping by, thanks for your patience, and start looking here on Tuesday or Wednesday for James’s launch of a summer of Pulitzer reading!

Sidebar addition

I’ve added a new page to the right sidebar, to answer the question no one asked—how would I rate the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels relative to each other?  I think this will prove an interesting exercise in the long run, and help me make some sense of all I’m reading.  If you’re curious to see where One of Ours ranks in relationship to Arrowsmith, this page is for you. (Conversely, if that question had never occurred to you, I congratulate you on your ability to focus on what’s important in life.)

Rebooting…

Hello, my few and faithful readers. Sorry about the long absence. Illness, massive school/work commitments, and the YMCA Youth & Government program have collectively stalled my progress for weeks, and hence there’s been nothing to post about (even if I had time to post). I’m intending to get back up to speed this week, though—a Poetry Friday, at the very least, and hopefully some progress on Scarlet Sister Mary. Thanks for hanging in there with me—I hope not to wander off for so long anytime again. See you back here soon!

Something brief to tide you over…

I don’t know why spring break is a time not to blog, but it’s certainly been slow!  My apologies to those few of you who look in on me.  I just have a brief chance here (leaving work and on my way to a dinner appointment) to say that the weekend will bring you many things—a poem later today (courtesy of the mad Irish bard, William Butler Yeats), and at least two blog posts (I’ve read ahead of myself) on The Bridge of San Luis Rey, which is gripping, beautiful, and strangely aloof all at once.  I have plenty of thoughts, and will make enough time to share them.  So, until a little later, au revoir.

Update: Where I’ve Been (And Where I’m Headed)

Hello all—thanks for dropping by this holiday weekend!  I’d say I’m sorry I didn’t post something new for you to see (or a poem this Friday), but that would require me to be sorry for a wonderful weekend away from the Internet and just about all forms of media/communication on Whidbey Island, and I’m definitely not sorry about that.  Good food (much of it cooked by yours truly), nifty little towns to visit, and a wee bit of hiking around Deception Pass.  I didn’t make any headway on the Pulitzers, I’ll admit, devoting my time instead to reading a collection of Connie Willis short stories, all focused around Christmas (in general).  Willis is a fantastic writer and perhaps the most decorated short story author in sci-fi/fantasy history, but I’ll admit this collection is a bit uneven.  “Epiphany” is excellent though, and, as the last story in the collection, finished it well.

I’ll be back on track soon, I assure you, but the pressures of grad school may slow me down a smidge over the next few days.  Still, I’ll have posts soon on Ferber’s intriguing novel, and I know my winter break is going to be a little sprint to see how much headway I can make into the Pulitzer list before 2009 runs out the clock.  Thank you all for coming along for even a small part of this odd journey I’m taking—I hope you had a great Thanksgiving (for those of you in the USA), and I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season in the weeks ahead (whether you observe Advent and Christmas, as I do, or whether you’re involved in Chanukah, Kwanzaa, the Solstice, or any of a number of other winter festivals whose names I have forgotten or never learned).  See you again soon!

At the risk of overcrowding an already crowded sidebar…

…I’ve added a couple of things.  First of all, I’m not sure what a normal # of visitors / # of comments ratio is, but I feel like a lot of folks aren’t even really aware of the comments–the text for the link to the comments page is small but I don’t know enough about the page layout to alter that.  So I’ve added a “recent comments” section to the sidebar, hoping to encourage folks to engage in a little more conversation…although I certainly recognize that forgotten ’20s fiction isn’t exactly barn-burning stuff, I’d love it if we interacted a bit more.

And my social conscience was awakened a bit when I realized there was something built into WordPress that would allow blog visitors to support charities.  You can see it at the bottom of the sidebar.  Basically, if you follow the link, you’re asked to do silly things (click on little boxes, send someone an e-card, etc.) which basically just expose you to advertising for Colgate toothpaste, etc.  You get credit for doing this, and more credit if you post what you did on Facebook or Twitter.  And those “credits” go to support education for impoverished young women in Africa.  I chose the charity (from the list of charities that WordPress works with) because I wanted something as closely aligned with literacy as possible.  I hope you’ll give it a try–it’s an experiment, but I figure at the worst (if it proves so weird and clunky that none of us click that link regularly), we’ll have provided a small contribution to a good cause.

And in general, if the blog seems weirdly designed, let me know.  I don’t know how much I’m going to tinker with it, but I’ll probably keep experimenting with it a bit.  I’m conscious of not wanting a sidebar that goes on forever, but I also want to provide links to the sorts of things that are useful.  If you feel strongly, tell me (a comment here is easy, or on really any page) and I’ll certainly consider your ideas seriously.

Thanks for your patience as I settle into a comfortable blog layout and routine.  A So Big post should appear soon (tomorrow, if all goes well).