Sunday Salon

I return to work this week, dragging my feet, and so my life goes back into hectic mode as I will try to balance all the important parts of my life. Shifting gears between delivering a quality education to underprivileged teens, to sweaty boxing and Muay Thai workouts, to daily blogging, to spending attentive time with my husband and friends will require some real strategy. Plus, don’t forget reading and gaming and cooking and cleaning and correspondence with my long-distance family. There’s a lot to be done! But, I’ll put my game face on and try to not have a total meltdown!

So, here’s what’s been and will be on my table:

A Dickens of a Time: I am totally engrossed in Dickens! I’ve been continuing in my reading of Bleak House (my goal is 250 pages per week) and absolutely loving it. This week, I wrote about Dicken’s masterful use of characterization in Bleak House with lots of examples showing how he uses characterization as a tool to accomplish other literary goals.

Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin

I also snagged a copy of Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin at one of the San Diego libraries. This book has been in high demand as it was only just published in October, and I was thrilled when I saw it was available on Tuesday afternoon at a library 20 minutes away in Carmel Valley. I fought traffic to get there and grabbed it from the New shelf before anyone else saw it. So far, it is very good, which is surprising for me as I usually detest biographies. But, I’m reading it in hopes of understanding his opinions on philanthropy (my Tuesday Dickens post will be on Dickens and philanthropy). So, between this book and Bleak House, I am having a very Dickens week!

Chuckles: I had some chuckles last night as I watched two very amusing videos with my husband in a cozy evening at home. We watched

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

killer klowns from outer spaceKiller Klowns from Outer Space~ his pick! It was his turn to pick as I forced him to watch the last two episodes of Downton Abbey season 1 last week (he doesn’t usually go in for period pieces), and I have to say that I loved this terrible “horror” movie from 1987. Now, I have to admit that I love really bad movies (see my discussion on bad movies here) and this one was right up my alley with bad music, bad acting, and terrible writing. Plus, it starred one of the two girls from Weird Science (the blonde one), and that’s one of my all-time favorite ’80s movies. There was also an actor who just cracked me up with his melodramatic reactions to everything and his soap opera style (he kind of reminded me of Dean Winchester from Supernatural, whom I didn’t realize had such a soap opera style of acting too. But, I love precious Dean!). So, as always, my husband chose well in the movie category.

He also introduced me to a YouTube video of Tebowie, Jimmy Fallon performing as a hybrid of Tim Tebow and David Bowie on his Late Night show. It was hilarious as he performed his own version of Space Oddity with new lyrics- “Ground control to Jesus Christ…”. I highly recommend it to all of you who are watching playoffs today.

A Return to Lectures and Research? I’m thinking that I want to go back to school and finish my MA in English Literature at SDSU. I started the graduate program in 2006, and then, after one semester, I switched over to the credential program in hopes that I could finish my MA while earning money as an English teacher. Now, it’s six years later, and my one semester is still hanging in limbo. I’ve put it off, thinking that I couldn’t handle it on top of my ever-precarious position at these schools where I always get laid off in the Spring. But, look at all of the difficult reading I have been doing, for fun! I think I could handle it, and am thinking even of taking an Open University course this semester, or at least in the Fall. Then, though, begins my debate on what my focus will be–British Lit. or American Lit.. I’ve always thought British Literature was my thing, and it is, but I wrote a really extensive annotated bibliography on The Grapes of Wrath and the Dust Bowl that my professor wanted me to publish, so that makes me lean towards an American Literature thesis. Well, one thing at a time, I guess.

On My Doorstep:The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

I went ahead and purchased all of the remaining bookish items from my Christmas wish list with an Amazon gift card. So, midweek, I added the Oxford World Classics copy of The Forsyte Saga to my TBR shelf. This completes my collection for all of my reading challenges–I now own all of the books that I am setting out to read this year!

I also bought the 2011 Jane Eyre movie! I loved this movie when I saw it in the theater, and I already loved Mr.Rochester (my top book crush, as he pushed Mr. Darcy to number 2), but Michael Fassbender really made me swoon as he played Rochester. He’s now my number one hottie actor as well! Highly recommend this movie to fans of Jane Eyre and period piece movies in general.

Downton Abbey Tonight! Downton Abbey Season 2

I was very pleased with last week’s two hour premiere, so I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode. Mathew’s engaged, Mary is flirting with disaster with tabloid publisher Sir Richard Carlisle (played brilliantly by Iain Glen, whom I love from the Wives and Daughters miniseries and as Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones), and yet again, we’ve lost Mr. Bates to his past. So much drama, and Maggie Smith continues to steal the show as the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Love this show!

Howard's End by E.M. ForsterFor those of you looking for books similar to Downton Abbey, check out Dana Huff’s list of books at Much Madness is Divinest Sense, as well as this article at The New York Times. As mentioned earlier, I, like Dana, will be reading The Forsyte Saga this year, and am also planning on reading Howard’s End by E.M. Forster.

Upcoming Posts:

Monday: Review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Tuesday: Two posts! My Top Ten List of Classic Novels (as requested by Ankit the Reviewer)

and an analysis on Charles Dickens’ views on philanthropy

Thursday: Review of Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin (? if I finish in time)

Have a good week!