School starts for me this week, and although it is a short week, with classes beginning only yesterday, it feels very long. Everything hits all at once, and the transition from quiet summer days, with work to do but with relaxed deadlines, to semester busyness is a shock.
One of the classes I am teaching is World Literature II, and it’s an online course. I’ve taught fully online courses before, but not this particular one, and I haven’t taught a literature survey in this format before. So it will be interesting to see how it goes. This week my students are reading a few poems by Friedrich Holderlin and Heinrich Heine by way of introduction to German Romanticism, and next week we will read Goethe’s play Faust, Part 1. I am very curious to see what the students will make of it as it’s such a bizarre play in a lot of ways. I’m asking students to write on a discussion board each week and also to keep a private reading journal (private between me and each student, that is), so I’m looking forward to seeing what they write. The journal assignment is open-ended, so I could get a whole range of interesting responses.
I’m not sure what the new semester is going to mean for me reading-wise. I have some reading to do for class, but I should still have time to read just for fun. The question is how much energy and focus I will have. I finished a short but powerful novel last night, Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, which I hope to post on later, and now it’s time to choose something new. Part of me is tempted to pick up a long Victorian novel (perhaps Margaret Oliphant), but another part of me is worried that if I start something long but don’t have a lot of time to devote to it, it will drag on forever. Another part of me (there are many parts) wants to start something easy, perhaps a mystery novel. Another part is annoyed that silly things like work get in the way of the reading I want to do. I’m lucky that part of my job requires reading, but when it comes to reading, I’m greedy and am not satisfied with only what the job requires.
But now it’s time to get offline and go browse my shelves in search of a new novel.