Thoughts for Thursday

I seem to be having trouble blogging regularly this week. It’s low motivation partly, which surprises me, as I’d expect to have all kinds of energy because it’s summer and my schedule is much slower than usual.  But instead I feel sluggish. It’s also harder to blog this summer because I’m spending more time online than usual with my online class.  After an afternoon of grading papers on the computer, I just want to put the thing away.  Posting may be light for a while, although generally when I write such a thing here, my motivation comes back almost instantly.

My online class is going well, by the way, although summer courses have such a fast pace, I can tell my students’ energy is flagging, as is my own.  It will be over in a week, which is hard to believe, as I feel I’ve just gotten started.  I’ve had a few students not appear in the class at all, and some are there only occasionally, but the ones who are into it are doing a great job.  It’s fun to look through the discussion board and see them politely agreeing or disagreeing with each other, backing each other up, debating things.  I’m generally a nice person in the classroom (sometimes with some effort), but it’s even easier to be nice and friendly online, when I don’t actually have to see people.  I like seeing people, I really do, but it’s nice sometimes not to have to :)

As for reading, I’m almost finished with Nam Le’s The Boat, which I will write more about later, but for now I’ll say that I’m amazed at the range of material he’s got to work with.  The stories are set in various places all over the world and deal with an incredible variety of people and situations.  I’m curious what places and experiences the author has had himself, what ones he has learned about from other people, what ones he learned about solely through research, or what it was he did to get all that material.  I suppose what I want to know is the answer to that obnoxious question I would never ask an author: where do you get your ideas?

Finally, I realize I never wrote my final thoughts on Fingersmith.  I don’t suppose there is any real need for another review of the book, though, as it’s one that most people out there seem to have heard a lot about if not read themselves.  So I’ll just say that it’s a fabulous story, very well told, and if you like historical fiction at all, you’ll be likely to enjoy this.  I thought there were a few places where the pacing was a little off and a few places where the action was implausible, but that was very minor compared to all the pleasure this book offers.  If you read it, you will enjoy the story, but you will also learn interesting things about 19C London and how thieves operate and what it was like to be a woman at the time.  I’m looking forward to more Sarah Waters already.

8 Comments

Filed under Books, Fiction, Reading, Teaching

8 responses to “Thoughts for Thursday

  1. So glad to hear your online course is going well. No surprise there though. It is hard to be at the computer so much though, isn’t it? As much as I enjoy it, sometimes I’d like nothing more than to chuck out the window.

  2. So pleased the online course is fun. But I quite understand how the urge to blog diminishes after a day spent in front of the computer. I usually feel exactly the same. I’ve also come to the conclusion that people are the perfect distance from me in the virtual world. Close enough to be interesting and fun and supportive, far enough away to have perspective and independence and insight. Wonderful.

  3. I was contemplating taking an online class in the fall–a dectective lit class, which would be great fun, but the class does meet a few times and it is off campus at a place I would have a hard time getting to on the bus. I think they would be a nice way to learn, but still be laid back. I get sick of being in front of a computer sometimes, too, so I completely understand! My library is getting the Le book, so I’ll have to check it out and I’m looking forward to reading more Sarah Waters, too!

  4. That’s good that your course is almost over, so hopefully you’ll have time off before the fall semester starts to relax and regroup. I’m finding my energy is very low too, and I can’t wait for vacation. I’m not taking the laptop, only books.

    Mr. Suitcase and I went to a wonderful book talk on Wednesday, at the local independent book store, for the Red Leather Diary. Do you have any plans to read this?

  5. Marking on-line must be really difficult. What do you do when you come to the paper (and there’s always one!) that is so bad you just want to throw it to the other side of the room? I don’t recommend computer throwing – very bad for the wallet.

  6. I actually have the urge to blog but not the time! I was hoping for a lazy summer but it’s not turning out that way at all. And I’ve been meaning to read Fingersmith…

  7. Stefanie — yes, I want to get rid of my computer sometimes, although I couldn’t last a day without it, I’m afraid. I don’t even do all that much work on the computer, compared to people who spend much of their working day on it, but it still seems like too much.

    Litlove — I’m so glad you said that about people and online distance because I think it’s true for me too! I like people in the real world, I really do, but you’re so right that dealing with them online has great benefits.

    Danielle — now that class sounds like fun! Have you decided for certain against it? Perhaps you can find a similar fully online class at some point. The Le book would be a good addition to your short story collection, I think.

    Debby — I hadn’t heard of that book, so thanks for mentioning it — I’ll have to look into it. Is your bookshop the R.J. Julia one by any chance? I’ve been there a couple of times and it’s a nice shop! They seem to have a lot of events going on. It sounds like a good idea to leave the laptop behind on your vacation …

    Ann — you are so right! All I can do when I come across that horrible paper is open another browser window and go read some blogs for a while. I do get tired of grading on the computer, but I think I do a better job of it that way — on the computer I resist the impulse to correct grammar, which doesn’t help the students a whole lot, I think.

    Courtney — it’s hard to make the time/inspiration balance work, isn’t it? I think you’ll love Fingersmith when you get there.

  8. I’ve been sort of suffering from blog malaise myself these days. Tons of ideas, but can’t seem to get them up on screen, and I’ve been more drawn to spending all my time reading books than other blogs. And I don’t have the excuse of teaching an online course, although I DO have the excuse of almost all my work being solely through online means. Then again, that doesn’t seem to have slowed me down in the past. Maybe it’s just summer, and general exhaustion, leading the life of a pastor’s wife?

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