Another Library Sale or, I Love Sharing Books!

The last one we attended was in October 2011. We weren’t married then. Weird.

We tried giving ourselves a $10 limit–$20 total, but the library had so much good stuff this time. (I must say that I only chose enough books to spend $7.50. SOMEBODY’s restraint needs to be checked. But also take note that I didn’t object too strongly to Reilly’s choices. See below.)

We took inventory of this year’s loot. We picked up a few duplicates of books we already have, but we’re replacing the ugly copies with cooler ones. Also, I’ m sorry about the capitalization. Reilly read the titles to me for me to type quickly, and I didn’t want to have to think about which letters in an author’s name got the capital treatment in addition to spelling the authors correctly. Yes, in other words, I got lazy. But at least I italicized the titles. Know that all titles have conventional capitalization.

Reilly’s shelving the books right now. I’m off to look over a friend’s master’s thesis. This is our relationship.

  1. angelou    maya    i know why the caged bird sings
  2. austen    jane    persuasion
  3. banks    russell    cloudsplitter
  4. bellow    saul    collected stories
  5. benoit    pierre    l’ile verte*
  6. boccaccio    giovanni    the decameron
  7. byatt    a.s.    possession*
  8. chabon    michael    summerland
  9. de maupassant    guy    short stories*
  10. de troyes    chretien    arthurian romances
  11. dillard    annie    an american childhood*
  12. eco    umberto    the name of the rose
  13. enger    leif    peace like a river*
  14. erdrich    louise    beet queen
  15. faulkner    william    collected stories
  16. frazier    charles    cold mountain
  17. gilmour    david    the film club
  18. hardy    thomas    the collective novels, volume 2
  19. hernandez    amado v    rice grains*
  20. irving    john    trying to save piggy sneed
  21. jackson    shirley    come along with me
  22. kingsolver    barbara    pigs in heaven
  23. kingsolver    barbara    the lacuna
  24. kingsolver    barbara    the bean trees
  25. lahira    jhumpa    the namesake
  26. lamott    anne    crooked little heart
  27. lecasble    guillaume    lobster
  28. lehane    dennis    coronado
  29. lessing    doris    the memoirs of a survivor
  30. mann    thomas    the magic mountain
  31. nemirovsky    irene    sweet francaise
  32. oates    joyce carol    we were the mulvaneys
  33. oates    joyce carol    black water
  34. ondaatje    michael    divisadero
  35. ondaatje    michael    the cat’s table
  36. pasternak    boris    doctor zhivago
  37. rousseau    jean-jacques    le contrat social*
  38. saarikoski    pentti    poems*
  39. saramago    jose    seeing
  40. saramago    jose    the double
  41. saramago    jose    the gospel according to jesus christ
  42. smith    zadie     on beauty*
  43. smith    zadie     white teeth*
  44. smith    betty    a tree grows in brooklyn
  45. sontag    susan    volcano lover
  46. thayer hamann    hilary    anthropology of an american girl
  47. twain    mark    a connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court

*Titles I chose.

On Facebook This Morning

I posted an article whose headline was: “Mormon stake president gets political at church, laments election results.”  Assumptions emerged and a few comments followed. Six.

  1. Oh dear. Stake president FAIL.
  2. I read some of his talk, but then just couldn’t read any more. So awful.
  3. The lines quoted in the second paragraph are the only ones from the talk that I found inappropriate. I don’t agree with his pessimistic viewpoint, but I think that headline is incredibly misleading.
  4. Abortion and using tax dollars to do so, same sex marriage, take God out of the Goverment, leagalization of pot, forces alighning to stop school prayer, but allowing the handing out of birth control etc…Yeah…that sounds like something I want to fight for. Jesus would stand right beside me right?! … Matthew 24:24 Have you read his entire talk…He is quoting past prophets…. and you are offended?!
  5. The Church has made a statement that it is politically neutral, so going against that by sharing your political viewpoints over the pulpit in church is always inappropriate, whether or not you think their political party is right or wrong. There’s nothing wrong with quoting prophets, unless you’re using them toward your own personal agenda. It’s unfortunate is all, because even though they shouldn’t take it personally, some of the church members will probably be offended and turn away 😦
  6. noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooope

The article doesn’t necessarily represent me or demonstrate that my testimony is crumbling. I hadn’t read the article when I posted it. I put it on my timeline to remind myself to read it later.

This afternoon, I read the article and the talk that the author referenced. Then I reread the comments from the Facebook thread. Then I reconsidered my initial responses to the comments.

1.

  • Before: This sounds like a heavily political talk.
  • After: The stake president could have left a few statements out and still have given a powerful talk.

2.

  • Before: This sounds like the stake president is ignoring any sort of neutrality in his talk.
  • After: The stake president could have left a few statements out and still have given a powerful talk.

3.

  • Before: I’ll have to read the second paragraph of the article and read through the talk.
  • After: These are the statements that the stake president could have left out. The headline made the talk sound way more politically charged than it felt to me.

4.

  • Before: Knowing my heart, Jesus would have talked to me in complete sentences and with a lot less interrobang. He probably also would have given me a hug. Basically, I find your typos offensive. Also, thanks for your condemnation.
  • After: The world does seem to be taking a turn for the worse, the divide between good and evil is definitely more distinct, and I understand the stake president’s frustration. He could have left out a few statements and still have given a powerful talk.

5.

  • Before: The Church has taken a politically neutral stance, and I can’t stop thinking of how I was accused of being offended in the last comment.
  • After: It’s a shame that people get offended either way because of a talk. In a leadership position you really have to make matters more about the Spirit and less about politics. In a leadership position, you often find it hard to separate your politics from church. I’ve definitely heard much worse from the pulpit.

6.

  • Before: I can tell you have something articulate and inspired to say.
  • After: Without even saying anything else, I know what you mean.

Two Sundays ago a guy gave a talk in Church and he said he’s majoring in communications and political science so that one day he can have his own conservative talk show like Brother Glenn Beck.

He went on to tell stories about Bible bashing on his mission. He brought up the scripture about casting your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). He kept saying, “Why NOT cast your pearls? You’ll never run out of pearls.”

He made it quite clear that he referred to those against whom he Bible-bashed as swine. And then he pretty blatantly compared pearls to ammunition. You’ll never run out of pearls. You’ll never run out of ammunition. You can just keep shooting at the swine.

His talk was about studying your scriptures with faith.

The aforementioned Matthew 24:24 is about being deceived by false Christs and false prophets. Much of the chapter uses apocalyptic language to describe the world before the Second Coming. I would guess that my friend, commenter #4, attributes the decline of morality in the world to these falsities.

I was bothered by the politics in both talks, not so much because I disagreed with them but because I knew there would be people in each congregation (and now among those who have read the article) who would cling to those few statements and use them as an excuse never to come back to church.

It’s definitely easier to say to hold strong in a church regardless of its imperfect members. But part of the reason the Church has a stance on political neutrality is to protect its imperfect members from themselves, to help us to use our hearts, to look past politics and into souls. Our souls are bigger and worth way more than the limits this fallen world puts on them.

There’s definitely a lot more to say. I’m tired.

On Homework

Another semester is well under way. School campuses everywhere teem with eager and already-weary students. Disciples. Learners arrive early in the morning, sit through morning classes with their droning instructors, grab a bag of Corn Nuts or stop by the eatery for a refreshing caffeinated soda, then sit through a round of afternoon classes. Instructors stand in front of their classes appearing to teach. Lectures, they call them. Professors’ voices may penetrate 30-60% of student skulls, depending on attentiveness and head placement relative to the desk. If my head was down during a class, I had every intent of going to sleep. But of course, if I sat upright, that did not guarantee alertness or even consciousness in any way.

After a whole day of classes, students flock to the library or return to their eclectically decorated or otherwise messy apartments to do at least 17 trillion hours of homework. An estimated 2 hours for every credit hour. I came home to read about 100  pages every night from sundry novels that my various English classes assigned. Then I would have to write stuff or think about term papers or work on a group project. Then I’d do my assignments for French, which involved stumble-reading 20-40 pages, writing in a journal, and doing grammar exercises. Three sets of 20, with a 30-second rest between sets. I was up until 1:00 or 2:00 every night, only to wake up four to five hours later for another day.

I understood the importance of homework; I tried to make my brain achieve balance in learning between lectures and homework. On any particular day I had no more than four classes – four hours. But then came the eight hours of homework. Sometimes it felt that all I ever did was homework. But I also tried to make room for a social life and reassured my friends that I still loved them. When I started dating Reilly, I still did homework, which involved a different type of juggling that I wasn’t used to, but I still did the reading and writing and tortuous French grammar études. When I started dating Reilly more seriously, of course I spent more time with him, which meant there was less time to accomplish everything else. I got the same four to five hours of sleep, so it seems homework was compromised.

We got engaged before my last semester, and I knew that I had to restore my discipline if I were to finish well, or at least with my GPA intact. Our relationship had progressed enough, or maybe we were mature enough for him to work on his lesson plans and for me to do homework while we were in the same room. Sure, we would take a break and make out every once in a while, but most of the time we acted like adults with academic focus.

Is it possible to have an academic focus for making out? Admittedly, there were days after school that I had to tell Reilly that I just had to go home and do homework by myself, else all I would do is gaze into his eyes and admire his handsome visage and distract him from lesson plans with little, teasing kisses.

With Reilly’s help and encouragement, I made it through that last semester, and BYU let me graduate, most likely because I had something like 652 credits, 550 of which came from a science major from my early days at BYU before I wised up and changed my major to English. BYU was happy to be rid of me and all my credit-hoarding.

Don’t even get me started on the science homework.

So, I graduated and got married. Then there was no homework. Just like that. No term papers, no French grammar. I read for fun, though. The whole summer. I decided that I would look for a real-life job before summer’s end, and I started working the same week Reilly headed back to teaching. And the nature of my job doesn’t require homework. Sometimes I stay at the office a few extra hours each week, but I never bring work home. Every day, I study, read, write, edit, and revise. I get to work in groups to prepare presentations. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that my job is just like homework, eight hours a day, . . . wait a second.

Academic focus. The differences are that I really like work, and – again – I get to leave it at the office, and I can come home to the best campus ever and do whatever I want, which is usually reading or watching television or fun house projects or surfing the internet or distracting Reilly while he’s creating lesson plans. He’s even entering grades into the computer right now.

I should go kiss him.

Say, “Cheese!”

Parce que c’est fromage!

Tonight was our annual French Club soirée fromage. It felt a bit different this year than last year as a 101 student. I ran into mostly people who were in my 101 class, then a girl from 202, and a guy from 321. Then I got to talk to random strangers about Paris.

Also, when the jugs of juice were empty, I was standing in line, watching nothing come out of the spouts. Then I said, « Il n y a plus de juice ! » It rhymed, therefore it was funny. It’s not as funny – it’s actually downright sad to say it in English: “There isn’t any more juice.” That really makes me want to cry. I didn’t realize how much I love grape juice until it was all gone.

Saturday at a potluck, I met a guy (he was with his girlfriend) from Orleans. It was his first time in the United States. He was very soft-spoken, and his french was very smooth-sounding. We talked for a little bit. Being the way I am, I asked questions so that he would do most of the talking. He is not LDS, but he attended a session of General Conference in Salt Lake City. “Vous avez écouté les discours en français?” Of course he did. And he was very impressed with the interpreters. He prefers English to “American,” and I don’t blame him.

Did I Ever Announce This, Why I’m Killing Myself with French This Semester?

I got accepted into a study abroad program for spring term.

To Senegal.

A total of 18 of us are going. It’ll be five pretty intense weeks.

In case you’re concerned, Senegal is not near Egypt.

I’ll probably buy my plane ticket this week or next.

Here’s hoping my financial aid works out. Today, I contacted the financial aid office about a scholarship I applied for, in addition to the loans.

Chance of a lifetime, right?

Any masochist would eat this up.

Seriously, though. Don’t ask me about French, you guys. It makes me sad and frustrated to talk about it.

Ironic Quote from Class Yesterday

“Are there normalforms for the pronounciation [sic] of words?”

Then I said under my breath, but loud enough for the person sitting in front of me, “Like the word pronounciation?”

Then the person in front of me turned her head and whispered, “That word is so ironic.”

When I was in third grade, my young brain was just starting to make associations between words. I knew the word pronounce, and I figured its noun derivative describing the act of pronouncing would be pronounciation. When I heard my third grade teacher, Mrs. Hamlin, say – or, pronounce – it,  I thought she said it incorrectly. You see, Mrs. Hamlin got me into watching Jeopardy!, which came on right after Wheel of Fortune. This was especially fun, because it lengthened the TV lineup on Tuesdays, which included Who’s the Boss? (with Growing Pains and Perfect Strangers the next year) and on Fridays, which aired Webster and Mr. Belvedere.

Anyway, I couldn’t imagine my teacher being wrong, because Jeopardy! is awesome with all their smart people, so I made a mental note that it was pronounced “pronunciation.” Just like how it’s spelled. No O for a blended vowel sound. My tender, eight-year-old brain absorbed that.  My classmate was right to imply how people mispronounce a word describing how words are uttered. And it seems that the person who posed the question holds to what I consider my third-grade association. And when I look up the pronunciations of the word in a current dictionary, two are correct, one of them being the wrong one.

And that’s because everyone else got stuck in the third-grade place in their brains, and somebody got tired of correcting everyone else, so some grand arbiter of the dictionary allowed the faulty pronunciation. I can make some concessions in the evolution of our language, but man, I feel so sorry for English.

So, yes, classmate. My normalform for the pronunciation of pronunciation also happens to be the only true pronunciation in my mind. All others are corrupt and incorrect. Which is what normalform means.

Part of An Email

May,
[Mon prof] vous recommande chaudement!  Il me dit que vous êtes une étudiante exceptionnelle.

Chaudement literally translates as hotly. Of course English has to make it weird. Ironically, reading this made me feel worlds of cool.

And, naturally, when I replied to the email, I deflected the compliments. Oh, the professor is too nice; he’s a very good teacher.

I’m taking a French grammar class this semester from the writer of that email up there. J’ai peur. Je vais mourir.