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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • May 05, 2006

     

    End of the Term

    Today is the end of the term, yesterday was the last day of teaching for me. Term papers will be due next Monday, which is the beginning of dead week before final exams. As all of us graduate student instructors (GSI) might have learned from history, the last day of instruction promises a huge crowd showing up at office hour. My divination was right. It was like party time in the cornered, sun-lit TA room with undergraduates whom I didn't even recognize being in my discussion sections! These students were the quiet and shy ones who rarely participated in class discussion and sat in the back of the room. They stopped by the last OH (office hour) for succor in the final term papers. While I was engaging in one-on-one conference with the students, sound of rummaging and leafing of papers resonated throughout the room as they worked hard to write the drafts of what will become of a 15-page paper. So I was at these meetings for few hours until I collected the pile of homework from the box which I have to diligently grade and return before the exams.

    Meanwhile I finalized the reading materials for the summer course, which focuses on contemporary writings by gay writers. The list, after much deliberation and reflection on my part which includes reviewing of my notes and journal entries, encompasses some of the most influential but under-appreciated works in literature:

    The Master, Colm Toibin
    The Spell, Alan Hollinghurst
    Giovanni's Room, James Baldwin
    The Farewell Symphony, Edmund White
    Covering: The Hidden Assault Civil Rights, Kenji Yoshino
    The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics and the Ethic of Queer Life, Michael Warner

    The six pieces are significant constituents of modern discourses on the subject. They also afford insight in vulnerability of human heart in a society where gay men always find themselves assimilating to the norms. I hope this syllabus of readings will not only introduce students into the elegant writing style of the authors but also create an understanding of that gay men (and women) regard their acts as an extension of their deepest, genuine emotional and sexual desires, desires which they do not believe they have chosen and which they cannot believe are always and everywhere wrong. Owing to the social pressures, they are forced to express these desires and feelings in a socially structured way that have deprived of the authenticity of the human beings.

    The dawn of summer also means that I'll have more time reading the pile of books I have acquired:
    Why Read the Classics, Italo Calvino
    History of Shit, Dominique Laporte (this is for real)
    Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre : Revised and Expanded Edition, Walter Kaufmann
    Beyond the Closet, Steven Seidman
    Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

    4 Comments:

    Blogger matty said...

    So cool -- molding the minds of students and exposing them to thoughts they know not yet exist. I was always one of those university students who "lived" at my fave lit prof offices.

    I have much to read! I've only read two of the gay-themed books you've selected!!! ...and, the two I have read, I haven't thought of for years!

    bored, bored, bored, but feeling much better!
    ...i wanna a cookie and a diet coke, please.

    5/05/2006 1:11 PM  
    Blogger Tony said...

    Hmmm! Academia...such the means of expanding minds. I only wish I was a true reader at heart. The truth be said, I am more of a visual person when it comes to absorbing knowledge and enjoyment. I only wish I was driven more to read. Every now and then I manage to find something that strikes my 'fancy.'

    I used to be one of those shy students. I probably had a bit of a self-esteem issue too. Always nice though when I professor seems to sense this and is willing to spend some quality one on one time to help a student through his/her struggles.

    5/05/2006 1:51 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    So we've Matt who is a regular of professor's office hour and Tony who is the shy guy in class. I found my office hour visits during my undergrad career very rewarding. My BS degree was in chemistry, by the way. So I went to Professor Heathcock's (what a last name) office hour every week to make sure I understand all his lectures. He rarely lectured out of the textbook which he wrote, and gave tons of examples. Anyway, most of the students in class were either bright or freaks out by him because he was at the time the dean of the college. One time my friend and I went to his office hour which was immediately after the lecture and he even offered us coffee and pastry.

    5/05/2006 3:22 PM  
    Blogger matty said...

    ...a prof asked me out on a date. I was 19 and got all freaked out and didn't know what to day. I had come by to see if my insights into Shelley were on the money. ...instead I ran away.

    ah, university life in a small southern town.

    5/05/2006 6:24 PM  

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