new term, new terms

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on Facebook:

Короче. На этой неделе я подсчитала свою нагрузку: 52 академических часа в неделю. Филфак, технари, ученики. Не успеваю спать и есть.

Сегодня выяснила, что у одного из учеников на следующей неделе каникулы, и предложила перенести занятие с пятницы вечера на день среды, хитро придумав, что в пятницу освобожусь пораньше и наконец-то увижу мужа и, возможно, даже схожу с ним в кино. Ученик согласился, я возликовала.

Перед уходом столкнулась в дверях с его мамой. Рассказала об успехах и сына и о том, что будем заниматься в среду днем.

— Вот и замечательно! – воскликнула мама. – Значит, в каникулы можно заниматься целых три раза!

(Прослезившись, ползу домой. Завтра рабочий день.)

Basically, it sums up all I’ve been up to since mid February; apart from that, we’ve moved (HELLO again, Petrogradka, it’s been a while), I’ve seen The Newsroom (twice), I’ve had my boots mended (the fucking first time in my life), and I’ve been taking a completely useless academic writing class where the tutor, a kinda distinguished lecturer, makes me proud of my last-minute reckless lesson plans.

Also, here are some links to Nabokov’s and Hemingway’s reading lists (I’m in the middle of The Sun Also Rises, why wasn’t I told it was such a cute piece of writing when I was 21?!)

Today in Fiction

Nathan Englander reads John Cheever

The new school year started only 3 days ago but I already feel tired and a little lost. The new students from the tech university are a bit hard to adjust to, and I don’t feel like putting much effort because I sense they’re not going to appreciate it. Let’s wait until the philologists next week and see where it’s going.

Meanwhile I’m just going to say that I’m so enjoying Jonathan Coe’s Expo 58, it’s so sparkingly British! Great relief after The Prague Cemetery, uff.

Tim O’Brien and the Art of Storytelling

Another great longread on the Atlantic about the way a story must be told, written by Tom O’Brien, made me want to say a few words about the book I haven’t finished yet but already know it well deserved its place in the school curriculum.

I’ve been reading (well, in fact, listening to) The Things They Carried and it is absolutely amazing. Not the war thing, not the terror and fear and death and disgust thing, but the way he narrates those stories, the way they capture the reader’s attention, and you no longer care what is true and what is imaginary, you just know that until you hear the ending you will not be able to put the book (the earphones) down.

“That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”

In addition to the brilliance of the prose itself, Bryan Cranston‘s performance is incredible, I wish he would narrate something from Dickens or other guys sticklers to volume. Strangely enough, Tim O’Brien himself doesn’t strike me as a great reader (and I wish I could unsee his outfit).

Julian Barnes and cross-reference in teaching literature

Julian Barnes reads Homage To Switzerland by Ernest Hemingway
http://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2010/dec/08/julian-barnes-ernest-hemingway-podcast

Julian Barnes writes Homage to Hemingway
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/07/04/homage-to-hemingway

Julian Barnes is cool.