Back in the Saddle

Things have been mostly quiet here for a few months because of general busy-ness on my part since September. Not just with teaching, though that has eaten up more time than usual, but also with my membership on the jury of the Shirley Jackson Awards and the board of our local domestic violence shelter and resource center, Voices Against Violence. (Operating a domestic violence shelter and resource center that offers entirely free services in these economic times in a state where the legislature is full of anti-government, anti-spending fanatics is not the easiest job on Earth.) Free time and sleep have not been things I've experienced much for the past few months, and that took a toll as well, since I'm now recovering from a rather nasty virus. But we soldier on!

And there should be a bit more time for blogging in the coming months, so I've begun to make some plans. First, the usual reflection on the term's classes, which even if it ends up being terribly boring for most readers is very useful to me, and it's also helpful to be able occasionally to point people toward some of my writings on what I do in the classroom. One thing I want to do is write about a few of the books I used in the Currents in Global Literature course I taught, and which I'll be teaching again in the spring, because a few of them are books I haven't taken the time to write about before. So expect posts soon on Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Petals of Blood, Alejo Carpentier's Kingdom of This World, and Hisham Matar's In the Country of Men. (I've written previously about Nadine Gordimer's Burger's Daughter and a little bit about Flaubert's A Sentimental Education.)

I also need to write about a few books some folks have sent me over the past six months; I've mostly discouraged anybody from sending me books (well, before I joined the jury of the Jackson Awards) because I knew I'd have limited time for reading and, especially, reviewing, but there's lots of really interesting stuff out there, and I need to take a moment to note some of it.

Also, I had fun creating the video essay on Derek Jarman, and would like to hone my skills at that with a few more. I'm thinking about something about Jean Renoir, maybe something on one of his most-neglected films, La Nuit du Carrefour, or perhaps a look at how Fritz Lang remade two of Renoir's films (La Bete Humaine became [or drew from the same source: Zola's novel] Human Desire and La Chienne became Scarlet Street). Or maybe/also something about 1980s movies like Red Dawn and Invasion U.S.A. We shall see...


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