The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Monday, November 07, 2005

Update: A real grab-bag

Sorry for the lack of posting: I've been really busy lately and besides I've been absolutely bed-ridden for the past eight days with Lord knows what. At first I thought it avian flu or something, but after six days, I finally went to a walk-in clinic and was told I had strep-throat. I'm on the mend now, but boy I haven't felt this bad in a long time.

I finally wrote the General GRE Test on November 1.
Yep, I was sick when I wrote it, and not surprisingly my math score wasn't great (a 480 or so), but my Verbal score, which is really all that counts for graduate English departments, showed a *** (I don't want to jinx it). Assuming I wasn't delirious, the score is approximately 95th percentile or higher. I hate to brag, but that's pretty good, and I'm usually no good at standardized tests. I'll let y'all know when I receive the official results. I still have a feeling I was seeing things, but maybe I actually did well.

Now I must write the subject test (English literature) on November 12. At this rate of recovery I should be ok to write it. Thankfully, unlike most English undergrads, my base and range in English literature is pretty solid. Starting in about July I started reading up on those poets/authors I have neglected. My weakest area is by far 20th century, especially American, but that's not to say I know nothing about it. I finally got to read some Faulkner; I had the Sound and the Fury waiting on my bookshelf for a couple of years. Whew! Let me tell you: I've read many books (but not as much as this guy) including Ulysses, and this has to be the most difficult read I've ever encountered (besides Finnegans Wake, but that goes without say). Before this I had read a couple of Faulkner's short stories. I always wondered why Fitzgerald and Hemingway were privileged over him.

Oh, another American "classic" I read was Toni Morrison's Beloved. I read bits of it in first year, but I actually sat down and read the whole thing this time. My opinion based strictly on aesthetic merits? It was one of the most painfully slow reads of my life! I'm pretty sure I finished War and Peace faster. It's too bad, because the set-up of the story is really interesting, but Morrison manages to do nothing with it. All I seem to remember are swollen nipples...If you want to read a slave narrative, read Equiano's Interesting Narrative, the first if I'm not mistaken (Equiano was a slave who made it to England in the late 18th century, at which time if a slave arrived on British soil, he was free).

Finally, I watched Back to the Future yesterday on Tv. That has to be one of my favourite movies ever. I don't know what it is, but the idea behind the first one was brilliant, and there's also that 1980s optimism that I'm barely old enough to remember and miss. We really do live in a cynical age now (sometime after 1995 it optimism wasn't cool anymore).

Oh yes, it has now been about 6 weeks that I have quit smoking. For all you smokers out there, let me tell you, having a smoke once in a while is great, but it really is a stupid and expensive habit. I'm glad I quit. If I go to a bar or something, I'll buy a pack and split it among friends, so that I don't end up having more than 4 or 5 a night. Jeremy this means you! :) If you're not gonna do if for the health benefits, do it to save money at least. In 6 weeks alone I have saved something in the area of at least 140$ CDN. For a guy who doesn't make money that's a lot of money. In one year I'll save over 1200$. Again, for a guy who makes money here and there, that's a lot of money.


Anonymous zelda said...

congrats re: quitting smoking. it can't be easy! and good luck on your subject test on the 12th.

strep throat? okay, i'll forgive you this time. but no more slacking! keep up with the posts!

2:03 PM  

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