Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up for May 1, 2011.

I'm trying really hard to believe that I just wrote "May" up there. This year is flying by!

I have had quite the month. Pneumonia, working two jobs, trying to keep the apartment looking like its livable, and of course, maintaining the blog. It has been stressful, and I can't wait to move forward. Something about the idea of starting a new month had given me a little resurgence of energy and motivation. I have 7 weeks left of teaching before I go down to one job. That'll feel like a vacation! :)

I had a fairly successful month of April when I look at the numbers. I read 9 books this month, including starting over Atlas Shrugged last Monday when I was already over 600 pages into the chunkster. THAT I am proud of, but 3 of those books were "fun" reads that I picked up and don't give me any forward progress in my project goals. Another one of those titles was A Raisin in the Sun, which was a reread for me as I taught it to my sophomores last week. 5 books off my list in a month just isn't enough forward progress.

I have been growing increasingly discouraged with the state of my progress. I feel like I haven't been doing enough to get through titles on my list. Since the fall, I have felt stalled in my reading. I have been diving into too many "fun" reads. Then I get distracted, and well, you know. I feel frustrated. The numbers upset me. I have only read 87 titles from my list of 250. When I originally set out to do this, I really felt like it would only take me 2 and a half years to get through my list. And I am already past the 1 and a half year mark. See my frustration?

I know it is not a race, it is not something I should rush through. But I need to stop making excuses and push forward. I have felt disheartened about everything in the last couple of weeks. I have to mentally make the decision to ignore things out of my control and focus on what I can control, like coming home and vegging in front of the TV instead of doing something productive.

It is definitely a personal issue I need to work on, but I want you all to know that I am going to be working hard to try and get my little butt in gear-in writing and reading. :)

This coming month will be busy to begin with, but halfway through some of the stress will go away. At school, the seniors are finishing up their final group presentations and will be leaving in only 3 weeks. My sophomores are finishing up a unit on the 1960s, the Vietnam War, and Feminist literature before starting a series of two big projects that will take us to the end of the year (they have a poetry project and a mini-research project). The only class that is going to require a little more on my end in regards to completing lectures and powerpoints is U.S. History (everything is done for the English classes). This means less grading for me after I finish this last stack of essays.

I can do it, right? Sure!

Anyway, my hopes for May are to be more productive and get 10 books checked off my list. That is probably a very lofty goal, but I am creeping up on 100 books read and I want to get there sooner rather than later. I haven't decided on a reading list, but I know that two of those books will be a Dickens novel (for the Classics Circuit) and The Iliad for my readalong. I also have Their Eyes were Watching God sitting on my nightstand, as well as George Eliot's Silas Marner. Does anyone have any other suggestions for me?

This week I began posting my series of Jane Eyre posts and they'll finish this week. I also think I'll get my posts up for Wide Sargasso Sea (I have to check that they are all set to go). You'll also see my post on Atlas Shrugged go up tomorrow (even though it was supposed to be up yesterday). It is going to be a busy posting week. :)

In any case, I have essays to grade since my students are probably going to revolt if I don't get them back to them soon. :)

Happy Reading!


  1. I don't think you should be so hard on yourself about your book numbers. If you think about it, when you originally set out, didn't you do this to help make you more marketable for a teaching job? Now you've been hired as a long-term substitute, getting you lots of experience to go on your resume and probably great references too. If you'd kept reading at the same rate as being without a job, you would have neglected your students.

  2. Amanda- You're are completely right. Thank you for reminding me why I began this whole thing. :)

  3. Yes, I was going to say the same thing. Don't trip over the numbers, Allie. Instead, think of where you were a year and a half ago, and where you are now. If you want to look at numbers, look at those -- you've read 87 classics (some very difficult) in a year and a half!

    Look not at what you haven't done, but at what you have.

    You inspire me constantly.

  4. Jillian-Thanks for the perspective. This is what I was talking about in my e-mail...I work myself up. And you're right, 87 classics is a big achievement. I feel better about it all now. Thank you.

  5. I can't believe it's May, either! This year is just flying. Don't feel bad about your reading--it's been a hectic month for you, and I'm personally impressed that you managed to read so many books with all you had going. (I've only managed about 3 books this year, if that makes you feel better!)

    Perhaps May would be a good time to try some of the shorter books in your list, such as one of Shakespeare's plays? Being able to knock off something a little quicker might help with the feelings of accomplishment. But most of all, don't forget to enjoy your reading. That's what this is all about, right?

  6. Amanda (SP)- :) Thanks for making me feel better. I think I'm just too hard on myself.

    Shakespeare is a great idea! I have a lot of his plays left to read, and I usually fly through them. I will definitely have to look and see which ones look interesting!

    And yes, I always enjoy my reading (except reading that John Galt speech in Atlas Shrugged. That made me grumpy).

  7. I'm going to read Silas Marner this month as well!

    As others have said you definitely should not be so hard on yourself. The books you have selected to read are intellectually challenging and most likely quite draining. Push on but don't be afraid to take breaks. I don't know what your exact list is either, but you might want to look to your classics and see what you might have for "fun" reads there. While challenging, I always think J.D. Salinger is fun and easy to read.

  8. Allow me to disagree: 5 books off your list in a month is great progress for the month you've just been through... actually, for any month. Give yourself some credit Allie :)

    In the words of the wise Aerosmith: life's the journey not the destination, so enjoy the books and the ride, no matter how slow it might feel.

  9. Ash- Oh, I am looking forward to your thoughts on it. I have read it once before, but I'm not as familiar with it as some of her other novels. Thanks for the support Ash!

    Alexandra- Thanks. :) And I like the Aerosmith quote!

  10. What I find so funny is that I just posted the following comment on Andi's post and it's fitting for yours too:

    Teaching would be the best job ever if we just didn't have to grade. :)

    Don't be too hard on yourself about not getting through the titles faster. You are ahead of me just by making the list!

  11. Don't stress about not getting through titles faster - it happens to the best of us...keep calm and carry on :)


  12. I know the stressed feeling all too well *hugs*

    Also, I admire you for sticking to this project all this time. And you have read so many already!

  13. Oh don't be stressed out about numbers of books read, etc. I think you're reading at an impressive rate, and you shouldn't be reading just to cross it off but to enjoy it! I'm quite impressed with how you're sticking to it!