Archive for August, 2009

August 29, 2009

Repost: Filling in the Gaps

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.

Filling in the Gaps

When I first heard about the fill in the gaps 100 books blog, I knew it was a place I would absolutely love.  I went over and made up my list right away, and have been reading the books I’ve listed there for the past several months.  Recent progress has been slow, as I am working on Infinite Jest, and it is rather a long read.  You can see my complete list here.


The list works as a means to prompt the reading blogger (or is it blogging reader?) to tackle a list of 100 books that are not currently on her/his TBR list.  The project is supposed to be completed in 2015, I think.  There are some really fun titles to be found on the various lists on the site.  As people are getting bigger and bigger portions of their lists taken care of, the discussions there are getting to be very fun.


I am, sadly, unable to access the site from China for the moment. (It’s rather fickle with access to Blogspot sites over here.)  As soon as I am back in Singapore, it is one of the places I hope to be able to visit and catch up.  All the same, I’m planning to keep up with my own list.  Since I can’t post my reviews or join the discussions there for the time being, I will put up comments from time to time here.  For now, I can say that of those I’ve completed (see the box to the right),The 8th Habit is the only one I didn’t like much.  Siddhartha was quite profound and enjoyable.  Woman to Woman and other poems and Mortician’s Tea are both good poetry collections, with moments of brilliance in each.  Poemcrazy is a fun thought-starter for poets, and maybe writers in other creative-type genres too.


As for the book in progress…  I’m struggling through Infinite Jest at the moment.  I expected to love this book.  Instead, it’s been a fairly tedious read for me all summer long.  I don’t know why I’ve had such a hard time getting into it.  I love David Foster Wallace’s writing, and usually love the type of tale he has put together here.  The themes are some of my favorites.  But it just isn’t working for me yet — and I am nearly 600 pages into it (in other words, not quite 2/3 done).  It’s disappointing to be unable to get into a book that I actually thought would be just my thing.  But still… I have a feeling I might be glad I read it when I am done.  My interactions with Wallace’s writings in the past have taught me that much.  Even his simple work, like introductions to anthologies, can be outstanding pieces.


If you haven’t gotten your 100 books list together, you might want to pop by over at the site and sign up.  It is a lot of fun to be in on the project with the others who read and blog there.



© 2009 Shelly Bryant

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
I ended up not finishing INFINITE JEST. It’s been so long since I had it, I don’t remember the reasons now. Something near the beginning really bugged me, so I was–as I recall–reading with a bad attitude.

The site you mentioned is an interesting concept.


Saturday, September 5, 2009 – 02:33 AM
That’s actually how I felt too, Malcolm, that I was sort of reading with a bad attitude.  I stuck with it throughout the summer, thinking I would finish it before leaving Singapore for Shanghai, but still had maybe 300-400 pages to go when it was time to make that return.  Since I got back, I have just about finished (should be done in the next hour or so).    It is one of those books that I am glad, now, that I’ve read, though I can’t say I enjoyed the entire reading process.  Parts of it have been completely absorbing. The ideas have been engaging.  The writing is good. The topics are of interest to me.  But for all that, the reading has been something of a chore for me.

And yet… I am glad I’ve read it.  There are some good things in it — really good.  And as I’ve talked with a couple of different friends about the book, it’s begun to click for me what I do like about it.  It will still take some time to sort through, but overall I am already starting to be glad this one was on my Fill in the Gaps list.

You might really enjoy having a list like that too, Malcolm.  I know you are a good blogging reader.  The place is just made for that, and I could see you really getting into it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009 – 11:27 AM
August 22, 2009

Repost: Hit or Miss, June-July ’09

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.

 Hit (or Miss) List, June-July ’09

It’s nice to be able to catch up on posting my Hit (or Miss) List, even if it is a bit more sparse than usual.  Here’s what I’ve been reading and watching over the summer:

Hit List

  1. •With Christ in the School of Prayer (Andrew Murray)
  2. •All’s Well that Ends Well (William Shakespeare)
  3. •Across the Universe (movie)
  4. •The Cherry Orchard (onstage)
  5. •Timon of Athens (William Shakespeare)
  6. •More of Me Disappears (John Amen)
  7. •Cover of Darkness (an anthology edited by Tyree Campbell)
  8. •King John (William Shakespeare)
  9. •A Closer Look at Science Fiction (Anthony Thacker)
  10. •The Prosody Handbook (Robert Beum and Karl Shapiro)
  11. •The Fisher King (movie)
  1. •various issues of these journals:

Scifaikuest, Star*Line, Poetry, Illumen, 32 Poems

Miss List

No misses all summer!

Neither Hit nor Miss

  1. •Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (movie)

I didn’t think the movie was as bad as the reviews I’d heard, but it wasn’t very good either

I will probably be back to a more regular reading load soon, though the next list (for August) will probably look more like this one, at least in terms of quantity.

So, what have you been reading and watching this summer?

August 15, 2009

Reposting: A Fresh Start

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.

A Fresh Start

I’d like to say that it’s always nice to get a fresh start, but sometimes it’s just not.  Evidence of this rests right before your eyes:  I am getting a “fresh start” on my blog here, but not because I want to.  Instead, I’ve had some difficulties with my computer that ultimately have resulted in me losing things posted at my blog before those problems set in.  Apparently the files cannot be retrieved, and I am an idiot who doesn’t know how to do a proper backup.

And so…

I’ve revamped the site here, and plan to keep this blog as a part of the overall site.  You’ll still find my thoughts on books, movies, music, and everything else that really matters in life.  You can expect me to post roughly once a week.  I’ll have updates of what I am reading and viewing, perhaps some market updates for readers and writers of speculative poetry, and in between you’ll find whatever happens to float through my mind.

Thanks for popping in, and I’m sorry to anyone who has been watching for updates for the past 6 weeks or so.  I hope to see you back soon.

© 2009 Shelly Bryant

Saturday, August 15, 2009

9 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
Nice, clean, well-structured – I wish every site I visited looked this good.
Sunday, August 16, 2009 – 11:49 PM
it looks good. sorry you lost every thing! I had been checking in and it didn’t seem to be gone til I saw it today. but I know it will all be good, just frustrating to have to start all over when you had not planned on it!!
Monday, August 17, 2009 – 06:04 AM
Hi Jim, and thanks for feeding back on the site.  You got here quick!  I just got the new site up and running when you stopped in to comment.  Thanks for that.

Silken, it has been frustrating to lose it, but I guess I should be glad it forced me to change the look of things.  It’s probably better to have it laid out the way it is now.  Hopefully now that I have decided what I’ll be doing here, I can get back to regular reading and commenting at all of my favorite blogs too!

Monday, August 17, 2009 – 08:48 AM
Welcome back.  The place looks real nice.  For what it’s worth…you’re way ahead of me.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 – 04:00 AM
Thanks for stopping by, Pinhole.  I have been toying with the site a bit to see exactly how I want it to look.  I guess the good side is I’ve gotten rid of some clutter.  But I’d sure have liked to have not started from scratch!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 – 11:43 PM
The place looks nice. It’s also nice to have you back in the blogosphere.  It’s less nice to lose stuff posted here that wasn’t anywhere else. Otherwise, I hope you had a good summer.


Saturday, September 5, 2009 – 02:15 AM
Other than the computer woes, it really was a good summer, Malcolm.  I didn’t spend much time at all online (not unusual for me in the summer anyway), but life in the flesh was great.

I’m back in Shanghai now, giving me limited access to some sites.  I don’t know exactly when I will get caught up visiting other sites, but I shouldn’t have much problem posting here for now.  My Peregrine Online site is another story, though.

Saturday, September 5, 2009 – 10:55 AM
Hi Shelly,

Its a pity… I wrote a very deep, meaningful response to your Siddharta piece….warning you off The Glass Bead Game. It was a tiny masterpiece of mine, lost forever.  Good luck with the blog reconstruction …. always enjoy your stuff.

john davies

An Old Student of yours

Sunday, September 6, 2009 – 09:13 PM
Hi John,

Thanks for stopping in, and for taking the time to comment.

It’s been sad to me that I’ve lost the previous blog, especially the great comments that have been left there by some readers.   I guess the good side is that I have learned the trick required to do a full backup using my blogging software, instead of the partial backup that resulted in the loss of all the old material.  Sigh.

I’ve tried to gear the site more toward a writer’s site, and the blog will probably become more of a reader/writer’s blog, with less intrusion from my teaching persona.  I think it was already moving that way before I lost the old material, so I suppose this is a natural progression.

Do feel free to comment any time you stop in.  It’s always good to see you (even if not face to face).

Monday, September 7, 2009 – 08:36 AM