Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where I've Been and What I've Done for the Past Nine Months, or YAY!It's Summer!

Hey everyone! 

So it seems like it's been FOREVER since I've gotten the chance to talk to any of you (and it kind of HAS been forever . . . I guess I'm just feeling it more this time around)! Anyways, I'm happy to say that the semester is finally over for me, and summer has began! For those of you who've known me for awhile, you know that breaks from school (especially summer break) are the times when I have the chance to be more "present" around the book blogosphere, and I'm hoping to continue that tradition this summer. But before I talk about where things are going, I want to do a bit of a school year recap, for those of you who care about what I've been doing over the last nine months. (I did two other mini recaps in November and January, and you're welcome to check those out as well). 

School Recap

As of May 16th, I have officially made it through my first year of graduate school and my first year of teaching! I know this is going to sound cliche, but I really can't believe how fast everything went! I loved teaching so much that it led to me "officially" deciding that I'll be getting a Ph.D in English after I finish my Master's in English (that is, if I can get in) so that I can eventually pursue a career as a college professor. Big decision? You bet. Scary? Definitely. But it's also incredibly exciting.

Because I got a head start on my MA as an undergrad, thanks to senior permission, I'm only 12 hours away from completely my degree. As such, I decided not to take any summer courses this year, because I'm required to be enrolled in at least 6 hours per semester to keep my graduate assistantship, which allows me to teach. I also decided that instead of graduating early with my MA in a year or a year and a half, I'd spend the full two years in the program (I mean, it IS paid for) so I could come out with a solid two years of teaching experience to put on my CV. The great thing about this is that my course load this coming year will be much lighter than this past year, which means I'll (hopefully) have extra time to work on my degree papers, Ph.D applications, and comprehensive exams. 

So, other than taking classes and teaching them, what have I been up to? Well, in March, I presented at the Popular Culture Association Conference in Washington D.C. along with a few of my other colleagues. Our topic was one many of you would probably be interested in: whitewashing in young adult literature and media. You can check out the abstract here if you want to know more. I later presented my portion of the project at my own university's Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference.

This past semester, I also enrolled in a MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course (as if I didn't have enough schoolwork already)! The topic of the MOOC was Gender Through Comic Books, and it was a wonderfully interesting and fulfilling course. For those of you who are interested in free, educational experiences, MOOCs are fantastic! I was a little hesitant because this MOOC was my first, but I loved the experience, and I'm planning on enrolling in more MOOCs in the future! As a matter of fact, this MOOC inspired me to write my Critical Theory seminar paper on violence against women in superhero comics, so I got to branch out a bit and explore a side of literature that I hadn't done a lot with in the past.

What I've Read/Been Reading

I'm still working on Blackout, but the rest of these were finished over the past semester.

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)StungClockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
The Turn of the Screw: Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeBatwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology
Batman: The Killing JokeOliver TwistRachel Rising: The Shadow of Death (Rachel Rising, #1)
Teen Titans, Vol. 1: It's Our Right to FightCinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1)The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)The Art of Racing in the Rain

What I've Watched/Been Watching

With the exception of Hemlock Grove, I'm behind on ALL of these shows. 

Plans for the Summer

As you all already know, I am planning a return to blogging this summer. However, because of other commitments (weddings, graduations, birthdays, family vacations, studying for comps, lesson planning for the fall, putting together Ph.D applications, you get the picture), I'm not sure yet as to HOW active that return will be. My tentative goal for the moment is to shoot for a post or two a week at the beginning and see how that works out. I also have thousands of posts from other book blogs that are sitting in my feed reader, and I'd really like to catch up on them at some point. 

I'm also planning on incorporating some posts about comics and graphic novels into my summer blogging. I read a LOT of great material while taking the Gender Through Comic Books MOOC and while doing research for my paper, and I can't wait to share some of it with you! 

Anyways, I've missed you all, and I'm excited to get back in the game. Here's to a happy, healthy vacation, filled with lots of awesome people and awesome books! 


  1. Yay! So glad you're back. It sounds like you had an awesome year at school and are doing everything right for your career. So excited for you and loved hearing about it.

    Just blog when you can this summer. You need to relax and enjoy life too. I'm planning to cut back to blogging once a week for much of the summer.

    1. Thanks, Natalie! Don't worry. I'm planning on cutting myself a bit of a break this summer, even though my default instinct seems to be set on "super psycho busy" all the time!

  2. Oh, very cool seminar paper topic! And I've never heard of a MOOC but it certainly sounds like a great experience! So, WELCOME BACK!! Didn't you LOVE CINDER?!?

    1. I really did enjoy Cinder. The world was a lot of fun and so creative! I need to read Scarlet now. :)

    2. Scarlet is great, and not just because Scarlet is a great new character, but I also really liked where the story takes Cinder.

  3. YAY NATALIE! I'm looking forward to your return and happy to hear that grad school has been amazing for you. :)

  4. Yeah your back but I completely understand being busy LOL . Sounds like a wonderful year of schooling and learning about what you want to do :)

  5. I do want to hear more about the comics! I am so stinking proud of you :)

    CINDER! (My new dog --yep I rescued another--is named Cinder)

    Oh you need to check out Copper and Ripper Street on BBC America (or online) they are short season so perfect for summer :)

    (((((((((((( HUGGLES )))))))))))) you :)

    1. Haha! How many fur babies is that for you now, Felicia? Lol. Not that I can talk. If my apartment and my roommates allowed it, I'd probably have my own mini zoo. :)

      I love period pieces, and anything Jack the Ripper-related immediately piques my curiosity, so I will HAVE to check out Copper and Ripper Street ASAP!

    2. I only have 2 (Tonks and Cinder) but there are 4 in the house (my sister and my brother each have one) :) It is a mini-zoo LOL

      You will LOVE Ripper Street then :) Did I mention that the lead in Ripper Street is Matthew Macfadyen

  6. This is sooo exciting and I just like you I LOVE to teach! Makes me incredible happy! But for me the love came a little differently. I fugured this out during my PhD and this is where I am now! :)))

    Glad to see you back!

  7. Yay. I look forward to seeing you more.

    And yay for a productive awesome time away.

    PS I love Castle too.

    1. Castle is awesome. The last episode I watched was where Castle finds out that Becket really DID remember him saying "I love you" after she was shot, so I'm eager to catch up!

    2. I'm about 10 episodes behind.
      And I remember that episode.
      It's SO good.
      Enjoy catching up :)

  8. YES! Your 9 months gave birth to a new goal! Congrats! Can I call you profe? :D

    Oh and I'm so glad that you presented on whitewashing and did your paper on violence against women. Wow! You really worked hard!

    Welcome back! We missed you!

    1. One of my students accidentally called me "Doctor" on the first day of class and I just about fell over, giddy with excitement! Lol.

  9. Hey, Natalie! Great to see you back! Sounds like you've had a good (and busy!) year. How is Hemlock Grove? I have room for a new show now that Bates Motel is done and I've been thinking about checking that one out.

  10. Welcome back! Look forward to reading your posts again! I'm also in a grad program currently and working a full time job, so I feel your pain re: the time strain of doing all that and blogging (and you know, life and stuff)!

  11. I'm so happy for you, Natalie! It's great that you are ENJOYING what you're doing. I'm glad you'll be around this summer. :)

  12. Go you for finishing up your first year of graduate school / teaching! It sounds like you had a busy, but fantastic, year. :)

    I finally gave in and started watching GAME OF THRONES. It's much better than I thought it would be! And you've gotta love Castle - adore Nathan Fillion. How is THE FOLLOWING?

  13. Congrats on getting through your first year! That's amazing you've decided to be a professor. Some professors I've had in college make me want to become one, but I'm not sure I could get through that level of schooling. LOL I will be starting grad school in the fall though, so hopefully that will go well!!

    I'd love to see you post about comics and graphic novels this summer. I love graphic novels and I really want to read more, so it'll be nice to get a new perspective on some to check out.



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