Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

-- William Wordsworth, "Daffodils", 1804

I am looking forward to the coming of spring. I love check for changes each day in the garden, and watch bulbs send green shoots poking up amid the mulch and old leaves. Sadly we have some weeks yet before daffodil time, but at least February is almost over. Thank goodness February is so short, because I always want to go straight from January to March. This year especially, I'd like to leave snow season firmly behind. The one blessing is that it turns out the class I signed up for this spring is a 'blended class,' which means that the class meets 14 times, and every odd class meets online instead of in South Hadley. So instead of having to drive up every Saturday, I just need to do so every other! ^_^

I have had four weeks of class so far, in this my first semester at Simmons GSLIS (graduate school of library & information science). The class I'm taking is a core class, "Principles of Management", and going into it I wasn't sure how interesting it would be. But I like the professor, and I'm learning all kinds of interesting things, as well as new insights into current and previous experiences. As my professor said, even if you have no desire to be in a position of authority over someone else, the knowledge and skills you learn by studying the principles of management are useful in whatever situation you're in (both jobwise & lifewise). This helps explain why so many of the books in the Business: Management & Leadership section of the bookstore resemble self-help books! Right now we're looking at how it's important for organizations to have communication plans, and for managers to understand the paths by which communication flows through an organization. yummy. *g*

I have been rather reclusive these past months (months? heh, years?), in terms of remembering to reach out to friends and socialize. Last April I went down and visited Lisa in D.C., and at the end of August I went out to Michigan to visit Amber. That was my first time in Ann Arbor and a lovely city it is. They've a spectacular used bookstore, The Dawn Treader Book Shop. It's funny how I always come back from a trip with more books than I brought with me. ^_^ But a happy Kate cannot subsist on books alone. I need sociability to whack me over the head. *sheesh*

My brother has moved into an apartment he shares with his best friend Jeff, but he comes back to visit several nights a week, to join us for dinner & watch things with us. Right now we're watching an episode of a show he'd been recommended, Father Ted. Very silly. But funny!

I will close by pointing out a neat article from 2/20's New York Times, "Book Lovers Fear Dim Future For Notes in the Margin". It talks about "marginalia, [the practice of] writing comments alongside passages and sometimes giving an author a piece of his mind. It is a rich literary pastime, sometimes regarded as a tool of literary archaeology, but it has an uncertain fate in a digitalized world." I think that part of the trouble modern-day readers/book experiencers face, regarding how much value to place on the practice of marginalia, lies in the fact that the value of marginalia frequently comes into being only after a certain amount of time has passed. While it may be amusing to learn that last semester's owner of Paradise Lost thought the Virgil sucked, or to ponder the significance of only one word's being highlighted in the whole of book ten, the value is fleeting. But when looking at the doodles a reader drew into a book over 150 years ago, the degree of time past elevates our interest. How will this practice translate over to electronic texts? I don't know, but it makes for interesting thinking.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)
It's nice to hear from you again! It sounds like you're doing well.

I had slightly mixed feelings about marginalia, and about the marginalia article in the Times in particular. The article quoted someone as claiming that in the 20th century we've been taught that defacing books is wrong, and deploring that fact. The tone was pretty much 'yay marginalia, all marginalia, all the time.' Humans are so very, very subject to confirmation bias that I think there is a lot of merit in reading an uncommented copy the first time one reads something new. On subsequent reads, if your copy has marginalia in, that tends to be an interesting conversation with both the writer and another reader. But if someone else's comments are there and highlighted before you ever form your own opinion, I think that can potentially be very damaging to the experience. (See also the whole cultural acceptance of the to-me-ridiculous notion of Hamlet as an indecisive ninny... I really don't think that would be so ubiquitous if everyone made up their own minds before drinking the kool-aid.)

That said, I print out papers instead of reading them on my screen because I annotate them very heavily. Extra information, sarcastic comments, questions, you name it. I don't write in library books because of the reasons outlined above, and I don't usually write in my own (rec) books because I like rereading to be as new an experience as possible, so I can form different impressions or reform my initial impressions based on the text, rather than my first take. (Lets me reread more often.) But for something you've read before, reading a copy with someone else's notes is usually really fun. Unless, of course, the person both disagrees with you and is uninteresting about it.
Feb. 24th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
Nice to hear from you, too!

I, too, have a strong preference for reading an unmarked copy of a text when it is my first time reading the text. For one, it's distracting! I also agree with your point about humans being subject to confirmation bias. My reaction to viewing marginalia really depends on the context. If I'm on a used bookstore and I see two copies of a book I want, I'll flip through to see which one is in better condition, and a copy gets bad marks for being written in or highlighted. And when I'm reading a library book and I find that a previous reader has written in it, my reaction is "how dare they!".

But when looking at books that are part of special collections or an exhibit due to having an interesting historical context, marginalia can be really cool. I love looking at examples of doodles and drawings in illuminated manuscripts (great mythological creatures!). And it does sound as if it would be fascinating to look at a collection of someone- (generally a famous someone-)'s personal books and saved documents, and anything that person wrote on them, to gain a more rounded view of the person.

Feb. 26th, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm also very happy for the end of February to come. It is unbelievably freezing here. Not that I'd get much sympathy from you on that point :) I do not want to think about how cold it is up north.

Which is why I think you should visit me, instead of the other way around! Whenever you have time, of course. I, being without a job right now, have time anytime.

I don't really know about notes in margins; I never really did that until college, I guess because it always seemed like misbehaving, and I never did that when I was young :) But you can do notes on the Kindle, or highlights. Not drawings. But maybe ipads or their descendants can, I don't know. The point is that technology is moving so fast that you never know what they'll make possible.
Feb. 27th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
I would love to visit you. There may not be a good time for me before my semester ends on May 7, simply because at present I am still working to learn how to balance my workload throughout the week so that I don't end up slammed up against deadlines. I got really lazy in my habits when I didn't have to get anything done (in a concrete fashion) during the hours of the day I wasn't at work. Now that I have deadlines for getting readings, discussion board work and things like papers accomplished, I need to straighten out!

Feb. 28th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
That makes sense. It's hard to force yourself to get into a grind all of a sudden. I need to do it with job-hunting :)
Feb. 28th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
I need to do it with job-hunting

You have my sympathies. Job hunting is so easy to want to put off because it so stressful/depressing.

On a side note, I'm sitting here listening to the Old Blind Dog's latest cd, which came out last September. Have you heard it?
Feb. 28th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
No -- I'll definitely have to check it out! How do they sound without Jim Malcolm?
Feb. 28th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
Kateness! *glomp* If you ever have occasion to visit the main Simmons campus in Boston, let me know! Are you coming to Vericon? Have you read the new Robin McKinley? We should talk about bookselling!

*backs off*

Okay, what I mean is, I'm really happy to hear from you! :D

Re: marginalia. I don't write in books themselves, but I do write all over photocopied class readings and things like that. Which sometimes means that my scribblings compete or engage with pre-existing marginalia...
Feb. 28th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
Man!!! - everything and its brother is happening that weekend, feels like. I have a paper due Sat 3/19, and an online lecture/discussion for that weekend's class (although that is somewhat flexible). There's a Lunasa concert in West Hartford on Sat night, and a Solas concert at the Iron Horse (Northampton) on Sunday night.

And now Vericon too! I didn't remember last year that they'd moved to March until it was too late. :( But Holly Black, Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman! Boy, I would love it if I could come to Vericon. I just do not know.

I've been really wanting to come up and explore the main Simmons campus, so when I see a likely day I will definitely let you know.

I have indeed read the new Robin McKinley, and Much Discussion is Needed. !! I mean, !!!

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )