self-imposed leisure reading

Okay, I did it.

I wrote a dissertation prospectus and passed the defense, which means that in order to be crowned DOCTOR, I have but one tiny, little, no-big-deal hoop to jump through called ‘writing a dissertation’…

I also survived the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association in New York City. (ACLANYC2014) These are some things I learned…

1) Edouard Glissant is very popular among pretty much everyone right now.

2) Apparently Glissant’s writing has nothing to do with the Caribbean.

3) All the men who study his theoretical work are frustrated Deleuzians.

That sounds a little harsh, because I did hear some AMAZING papers that made me very psyched to see this body of writing, that I care about SO MUCH, becoming popular. (Okay, to be fair, I got really psyched about it after I had my requisite former indie-kick reflex of whininess that something obscure and cool I used to surprise people with is now mainstream. But whatever, Glissant’s work is so wonderful and everyone should read it. So there.) But it was a wee bit discouraging to hear one or two concepts picked up, taken out of context, and used for a project that is completely unrelated to Glissant’s whole oeuvre. What was more frustrating was to hear people say that taking his words and concepts completely out of context and plugging them in somewhere else was something that he “would have wanted”…I mean, the man has been dead for, like, two seconds. Assuming to know the intellectual wishes of the recently deceased strikes me as being…well…tacky…too soon…

4) Nollywood is a thing.

5) Adichie is much more interesting than I thought she was

6) Judith Butler is not a gracious guest. She introduced her talk “Capital/Punishment” by saying, “I’m not sure why I’ve been asked to speak about this topic. But here is what I have to say…” Dang, JB, are we bothering you? And where are the cats? I don’t understand a thing you’re saying…

7) All food in New York is better than any food anywhere else. Fact.

I also made it from Montreal to Atlanta to New York to Montreal without throwing up or having a panic attack, even when I went through customs and finally fessed up to living with my Canadian husband. They passed me right on through.

So I am now on a much-needed break, before I start writing this dang dissertation. And what did I do? HIT THE LIBRARY!!!

Wait, what?

Yes, I’m hitting the library. The fiction stacks. The fun stuff. The goods. I have to get in a week of everything I just dang feel like reading before it’s back to the history and criticism and theory and random anthropological studies and folktales and novels that seem to be glaring at me, daring me to understand what’s going on…an open book, you see, is also a closed book…

So I ravenously wandered around the English language fiction section at the BANQ (then ravenously wandered up and down St-Denis for some food and discovered that there is banh mi place literally steps away from the library…) and went home with my hands full:

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys because, as a major Jane Eyre fan and a postcolonial literature scholar, I’ve been meaning to read it for ages.

Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maughm because this dude cracks me up and because The Magician was batshitcrazy and I want more.

The New Moon’s Arms and The Salt Roads by Haitian-Canadian, Toronto based sci-fi writer Nalo Hopkinson because my very dear friend passed her dissertation defense this week, which means that she’d better be constructing the book proposal RIGHT NOW, and she’s going to need a sounding board.

The Hungry Tide by Amitov Ghosh because I heard approx six people mention this text in relation to the fascinating new genre of criticism called, “The Blue Humanities”…or, as I prefer to call it, “Water n’ Stuff”…

Okay, HERE I GO!!!

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