“Oh God,” you’re probably thinking to your self, “this is his second blog post of the day. What has driven him to this madness?”

Well, I’ve decided to join Leigh Kramer, and some others, in talking about what I was into in February.

I think it’s fun—sort of reminds me of the early days of Facebook (or, dear Lord, MySpace) when people would post and repost quizzes about themselves.

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Reading

I basically do four types of reading. I read for my classes. I read for pleasure (though, let’s be real, I often experience pleasure while reading for class). I read articles online (blog posts, editorials, news articles, etc). And (a new genre for me) I mix pleasure reading and class reading in order to do reading for my original research (apparently I’m going to be published, so now I have to be professional).

For my classes:

The Gendered Pulpit by Roxanne Mountford. This is a rhetorical analysis of Protestant pulpits. She also has some fascinating ethnography, having followed three different woman preachers in the early 90s.

Space and Place by Yi-Fu Tuan. Tuan sets some of the ground rules for understanding the universal way that humans interact with space.

Capote by Gerald Clarke. Clarke’s work—a 547 page tome—sets out the definitive record on Truman Capote. It is brilliantly written and opens up the life of a man whose work is some of the best this side of WWII.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. Everyone has read this book, but I hadn’t until recently. My first reaction was that it was silly, lacked depth, and reified troubling notions of sexuality. After a class discussion, I think I appreciate it more. Perhaps it can be read as a social critique, though I’m not sure.

The Complete Stories of Truman Capote. This is a collection of all of Capote’s short stories. I found these to be very well done. Some of them were very disturbing while others were very touching or haunting. Capote was a master.

The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins. This is a collection of poems published by Collins in 2005. I’ve never been a big fan of his work, and this didn’t change anything for me. I don’t understand the hype. I thought most of the poems were pedestrian, lacked any sort of struggle, and were all middle-class, middle-age boringness.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I read this for my Mythology class as we focused on the aspect of Return in heroic epics. A beautiful story and marvelous tale about a child’s adventure in the Kingdom of Wisdom and his drive to rescue Rhyme and Reason.

The Need for Roots by Simone Weil. Written as a proposal for how France could be rebuilt after WWII, Weil’s work explores the spirituality of geography. It’s one of the more fascinating books I have ever read. You can see the blog I wrote about it here.

Of course, I’ve also read innumerable scholarly articles over the course of the last month, since I am in graduate school.

For pleasure:

Well, I’m unashamedly a fan of fantasy books. And, since I’ve already burnished my credentials by telling you all of the smart books I’ve read, I can confess that I am still slogging through the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. I am on book six, but I WILL finish (his mythopoeia is particularly fascinating).

I am also rereading the Dragonlance saga that I first read in middle school. It’s a return to my past. I am on the first book Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

Online:

I essentially read the same handful blogs and news sites on a regular basis. My favorites are the New York Times, The American Conservative, and Jacobin.

My favorite bloggers are Addie Zierman, Rachel Held Evans, Micha Boyett, Sarah Bessey, and Preston Yancey. They all write with such poetry, grace, and relevance.

Research:

For my own research, I’ve not done a whole lot yet. I’ve been piddling around Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment and The New illustrated Children’s Bible. I’ve also done some preliminary research about mythology and the bible through Wikipedia, JSTOR, and my library’s search database.

Hearing

This month I discovered Trouvere, Chance McCoy and the Appalachian String Band, and Foxygen. I can’t stop listening to any of them. Trouvere is a project from Katie Herzig, Andrew Belle, and some others. I like both Katie and Andrew a lot, so I started listening their debut “La La Love.” It’s wonderful and on Spotify.

I’ve also been digging some old favorites lately. I love me some Old Crow Medicine Show and their new album. Also, The Piano Guys! Very cool stuff (they cover pop songs using just a piano).

And I’ve become Vivaldi fan. Mostly I told Spotify to play classical music while I wrote papers, but he’s what I’ve come to really like.

(I know very little about music, I just either like stuff or don’t like stuff).

Watching

In this Lent season of not using Netflix, I’ve turned off The West Wing. I’ve rekindled my love for slam poetry—in particular I’ve found Lacey Roop.

I’ve also been watching lots of Ted Talks. My favorite is given by a Lexicographer.

I don’t watch movies very often, but I watched The Avengers (it was for a mythology class in which we were discussing heroic companions) and Capote (the movie based on Clarke’s novel). I thought both were less than stellar, actually. In particular, Capote lacked the authority, insight into the subject, and depth of the book.

I normally watch tons of TV, but I have reduced myself during Lent to only watching new episodes of How I met Your Mother and The Walking Dead. Both of these shows are truly magnificent, though How I met Your Mother hasn’t been as good in Season 8 as it had been previously.

Writing

Other than papers for my classes, I wrote a new “About Me” section for the blog. I’ve also been keeping up with my Mythology and the Bible series. This series is about to become a presentation and then a paper for my mythology class. I hope to turn it into an article I can submit for publication.

Other than academic work and reflections about faith and life, I have started writing poetry again (it’s been about a year since my last slam poem and, except for a couple of occasions, it’s been three years since I really wrote poetry).

I’m supposedly going to start writing short fiction, but I’m a little intimidated about that. Maybe this summer.

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Well, that’s what I’ve been up to. Weigh in here with what you’re into.