Friday, May 27, 2011

Helping Ashley with Jane Eyre through LION

2. As mentioned before I love the novel Jane Eyre. My goal is to help my classmate Ashley find useful research using the online database Literature Online (LION).

It looks like she is focusing on connections between Jane Eyre and the author/reader response to it of other literary and artistic works.

3. LION is a database that compiles full_text articles from nine other literary databases that deal with English poetry and drama, 18th century fiction, American and African poetry, and Shakespeare. 

4. I wasn't sure where to start so I typed "Jane Eyre" AND criticism AND response in the search box. I found a few articles that looked interesting from the Bronte Studies Journal but could not find the text online. Bronte Studies is dedicated to research and further study of everything relating to the Bronte Family. If any of the articles look interesting to Ashley she may be able to request them through the Interlibrary Loan. I continued searching and found something interesting.

5. Source Citation:
McKee, Patricia. "Racial Strategies in Jane Eyre." Victorian Literature and Culture 37.1 (2009): 67-83. Web. 27 May 2011. <>.

6. Glancing at the title of this article, it seems to have little to do with Ashley's topic, but reading the summary gave me another avenue of research. The summary mentions Ann Laura Stoler who "has argued [that] racism in the nineteenth century depended on flexible rather than fixed criteria." This may be helpful at looking at how people responded to Jane Eyre when it was published and why Bronte included some of the things she did.

7. While I'm not sure how helpful the actual article I found will be to Ashley's research, I discovered a few useful searching techniques that I had not really considered before. Looking through an article related to what you are searching for can lead you down the path to finding other articles that are more useful and focused on your topic.

Exploring JSTOR for Criticism of Ender's Game

2. I have been having kind of a hard time trying to come up with something to research that relates to both Ender's Game and the things we have been talking about in class. I was so focused on the battle school part of the novel that I overlooked the Peter/Valentine aspect. I looked back at those chapters and realized that Peter and Valentine were basically doing what everyone in my English 295 class is doing, establishing an online identity. Granted, while Peter wanted to use the influence he gained through the "nets" to take over the world, we are trying to establish ourselves and our ideas in new ways in order to communicate with others who have similar interests. I think I want to focus on the communication issues Ender's Game raises, both digital and traditional.

I have discovered literary criticism on Ender's Game to be slightly scarce. This was surprising to me. The book is over 25 years old and I thought it was popular enough to be of interest to at least a few scholars. Luckily, a few of the themes and issues in Ender's Game are being discussed in conjunction with other novels. I chose to use JSTOR to further my search and see if my topic is worthwhile.

3. JSTOR: doing a quick Google search I discovered JSTOR is an acronym for "journal storage." JSTOR is an online database dedicated to the humanities and social science titles that, according to the blurb from the HBLL, "have proven themselves vital to these disciplines and which have many years of publication." 

4. I went to the JSTOR home page and typed in "Ender's Game" to make sure I would get at least one result. After I was pleasantly surprised at the number of articles, I refined my search by also entering "AND (communication)." The results yielded an abnormal amount of articles about terrorism so I further refined my search with "NOT (terrorism)." As I searched, I found the "save citation" option to be quite helpful. There is also an email option, allowing you to send a list of your sources to yourself if you need to. After sifting through a couple pages of articles I ended up with a few that look promising. 

5. Source citation:
 O'brien, David G, and Bauer, Eurydice Bouchereau. "Review: Essay Book Review: New Literacies and the Institution of Old Learning." Reading Research Quarterly 40.1 (2005): 120-131. Web. May 27 2011.

6. This article discusses the digital divide, new forms of learning and briefly incorporates Ender's Game. 

7. I was happy to find this article because it discusses many of the topics we have been touching on in class. I think I am starting to have a better idea of where to go with my research.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If it's Popsicle, it's Possible!

Tonight I went to my friends' wedding reception (Congrats Sam and Dallin!). It was super cute and a lot of fun. They both looked very happy and Sam's dress was gorgeous. The cool thing about the reception was that it was held in a plant nursery. What a neat idea! I love going to wedding receptions and looking at the creative things people come up with.

Before we headed off to the reception, we decided it would be best to stop by Target and get a few gifts. Have you ever realized just how ingenious gift registries are? I guess the down side is you already know ahead of time exactly what you will be getting, but what did we do before people could tell us precisely what and how many of something they wanted? I imagine there were many more gifts returned than were actually kept. For example, I would have never known that my friends had the desire to own the eclectic mix of movies including The Neverending Story, Goonies, Robots, Becoming Jane, and Star Trek. They also wanted a rather large cooler that my friend conveniently stocked with popsicles, hence the coupon. Technology is making our lives ever easier, but is it taking away the little surprises in life? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure gift registries save lives.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Audiobook vs The Comic Book

I have really enjoyed talking to Matt Harrison the last couple of class periods about Ender's Game. We both chose this fantastic book for our personal literature book. If you don't know anything about him you should probably know he is a huge comic book fan, as evidenced by his blog. Encouraged by Dr. Burton, we both wanted to read Ender's Game in a different format than we previously had. Because of the recent success I've had with audiobooks I thought I would try it again with Ender and Matt chose to check out the comic book version.

Today in class Matt showed me a youtube video someone made by incorporating scenes from the comic book and dubbing the corresponding audio from the audiobook over top of them (although, the audiobook I'm listening to is much better than the one used in the video).

 Here's his post about it.

 I thought this was a really cool idea. Experiencing books in different formats sort of forces you to focus on different things. Reading a traditional book allows the reader to go back and reread sections as many times as he wants. I've noticed a difference in how I picture things while listening to the audiobook. Probably the most noticeable difference is during the fight scenes. When I'm reading a book I tend to read fight scenes faster so I can discover what happens sooner, which inevitably leads to me skipping over minor details. When I listen to an audiobook the narrator retains his steady pace and calmly reads the passage. I get more out of it and create a more detailed picture in my mind.

I thought the comic book was an interesting format choice. At first mention I didn't think a comic book could convey everything the reader needs to know about Ender, things like why he does what he does, and how he thinks and feels. To me, those are some of the most interesting parts of the book. But Matt told me Orson Scott Card was very involved in the creation of the comic book. Card had to approve everything and apparently he thinks the comic book story line would be the best adaptation to use for a movie. I am interested to see how Matt feels about the comic book format when he's finished reading it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It Began With An End[er]

One memorable day, sometime during 8th grade, my mom brought Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card home from the bookstore and suggested I read it. I was slightly skeptical about it at first, "A science fiction novel?" I thought, "Isn't that pretty nerdy?" Not that I wasn't a nerd already, I watched Star Trek quite diligently and was caught up on every season except for Deep Space Nine (my least favorite), but I thought thoroughly immersing myself in the genre of SciFi was going a little too far. But the more I looked at the cover the more I intrigued I became. I finally gave in and set out to read my first science fiction novel.

From the first page I was captivated. The world Orson Scott Card created was fascinating, thought provoking, and sometimes frightening. I loved learning about and experiencing the future through his eyes. When I was finished I immediately got the sequels and began to read everything Card had ever written. I was hooked. But was I only in love with Card's writing style or was it the genre itself? When I finished all of Card's books I moved on to the master of science fiction, Isaac Asimov. I thought his idea of Psycohistory was so inventive and I loved his Robot Series. Douglas Adams closely followed Asimov and I began to realize how easily science fiction can combine ridiculous humor with serious social commentary. I felt I had found my niche.

Reading Ender's Game was a turning point in my life. I had always liked to read but Card's novel won me over and opened my mind to a genre I would never have given any thought. Thanks Ender!

Monday, May 16, 2011

*Slightly belated* Goodreads Review of Rainbows End

Rainbows EndRainbows End by Vernor Vinge

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read Rainbows End for my English 295 class a few weeks ago. I'm a pretty big fan of science fiction so I was excited to be reading a science fiction novel for a class. The beginning was great. I loved the espionage and the secret technology that was being developed. Right when I was really getting into all of it Vinge switched gears and threw me into the life of a recovering Alzheimer's patient who is trying to rediscover the world in which he lives, which is interesting and thought provoking, but not in the same way as the section that came before it. Overall I liked the book. I enjoyed learning about Vinge's new technology through Robert Gu and watching him try to understand and come to terms with everything, but I was a little disappointed that he left a lot of loose ends untied.

If the book's purpose was to ignite discussion about what is in store for books and the new technology that may replace them, then I think it does that well enough. I was intrigued by few of the ideas Vinge brought up and the fight scene set in the library was interesting.

The book, while lacking a bit in plot, was good at presenting Vinge's ideas in an easily accessible form.

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Goodreads review of Bossypants

BossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This audiobook was so entertaining! I love Tina Fey and was very excited to discover she was the narrator. It was great to hear her read her own memoirs. I felt like she was sitting next to me just talking about her life. Her stories are a great mix of sarcasm and sincerity. She also covered a wide array of time periods, from her kindergarten days to becoming the head writer for 30 Rock and everything in between.

I was glad I chose the audiobook as the format to "read" this book. It was great to hear Fey imitating other people's voices and the other sound effects really helped hold the reader's attention, especially the clip from the Sarah Palin/Hillary Clinton SNL skit. The audiobook also includes a helpful PDF with pictures Fey periodically refers to throughout the book.

I don't like to generalize, but I think her book may be more entertaining for women rather than for men. I made the mistake of recommending Baby Mama, one of my favorite movies, to a few guys and after they watched it they were slightly appalled I had recommended it. I feel like this book may fall into the same category. But who knows, I could be completely wrong.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking to be entertained for a few hours.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Digital Inundation

Strange things happen during Humanities when the BYU Basketball team has a chance at the Elite 8

Did anyone else notice the unnatural number of articles relating to digital culture in The Daily Universe today?

On the front page:
Provo Mayor Connects with Community Through Blogging
Politicians Discovering Benifits of Social Media

In the Opinion section:
Twitter-pated: In Resounding Defense of Twitter
Accompanied by a survey:
"What piece of technology could you not live without?"

And finally, what would The Daily Universe be without at least one story about sports?
Social Media Playing a Bigger Role in Sports

Am I becoming paranoid about digital culture? I pointed out the unusual number of articles to my friend and she hadn't even noticed.  I find it interesting how my perspective has changed since starting this blog. I was an avid facebook-er before but I did not know about all of the other tools that can be used to share one's ideas with a larger audience. I really enjoy exploring the digital frontier and am excited for what is in store.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Are Bookstores a Thing of the Past?

Today a girl at work asked where the closest Barnes & Noble was. Her query was quickly answered and sparked a discussion about our favorite bookstores and what we liked the most about them. The scent of brewing coffee, the soft rustling of pages, and the muted voices of fellow customers, to name a few.  Out of nowhere, one guy, let's call him "John," piped up and said, "I always laugh when I see people buying books at bookstores." Excuse me? I thought, what do you think bookstores are for?? He went on to say he thought it was pointless to buy a book when you can borrow it from a library. I was a little shocked by his attitude. I just can't imagine someone who loves reading not understanding the emotional journey you go through while you read a new book. And when you've finished it it's not just a book anymore, it's an old friend, a reference (if you're like me and make notes in the margins), and a fond memory. Can a library book really be all of those things? And who likes to say good bye to a good friend?

I think "John" sensed my indignity and quickly said, "I mean, books just take up so much space. I don't want to have to lug them around with me everywhere I go. I have enough stuff already."

hmm... yeah, well I guess that's a good point. But, wait, is it not everyone's dream to have a gorgeous library, reminiscent of the one from Beauty and The Beast, in their house someday?

I guess not. While I appreciate the new formats books are taking (e-readers, audiobooks, etc.) I'm not sure the new technology will ever replace the traditional book for me. But maybe people like "John" will be more willing to own and cherish books if hundreds of them fit into a small handheld device.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Is There Still Hope for the Good Old Fashioned Book?

I chose to read Robert Darnton's The Case For Books for the digital culture reading assignment. I decided to listen to the audiobook version, I thought it would be ironic if I listened to, instead of read, a book that advocates the continuing need for physical books in our society. Overall, I enjoyed it. The book made some interesting points.

Darnton brought up a few good arguments for why the codex, the traditional book, will continue to be around in the age of E-readers and portable computers. He says the number of new paper titles published each year will soon reach a million. Darnton also says books have proven their durability, while new technology is quickly overshadowed by even newer technology almost daily.

Another interesting point he brought up was that newer technology does not always replace the older. For example, the radio did not replace books, television did not replace the radio, and so on.

I recently got a job at the Harold B. Lee Library and, consequently, that is where I spent most of my time listening to this book. It turns out I expanded my library vocabulary just in time to easily understand the difference between monographs, serials, and research journals. I was amazed by some of the figures Darnton presented about how much money goes into buying library materials. Apparently some research journal subscriptions (online content) cost more than $10,000 a year, this leaves less and less money available to be spent on printed books. It also puts librarians in the difficult position of deciding whether to ignore books in favor of more readily available and up to date content. This is a hard choice, the type of person who becomes a librarian, I assume, loves traditional books but also yearns for continuous knowledge. Will books be able to keep up with the many breakthroughs that are being discovered?

We all know one of the best parts of a book is how it smells, well, Darnton says, "According to a recent survey of French students, 43 percent consider smell to be one of the most important qualities of printed books—so important that they resist buying odorless electronic books. CafeScribe, a French online publisher, is trying to counter-act that reaction by giving its customers a sticker that will give off a musty, bookish smell when it is attached to their computers.” CafeScribe launched its scratch and sniff stickers back in 2007 , sadly I don't think they caught on because I can't find anything about it now... too bad.
Flickr -King's College Library (Creative Commons)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Goal for the Semester: Get Engaged!

...but not in the way you are probably thinking, unless you were in Professor Burton's class today where he read us his "Mussolini" speech.

My 295 class is all about consuming, creating, and connecting. Simply stated, it is vital that we take what we see and experience every day and turn it into something worth sharing and, in this case, worth blogging about. Through this process we gain valuable experience in working with the tools of the digital age. Publishing a blog post every day seems a bit daunting to me. I've never been the best at keeping a journal but I'm willing to give daily blogging a try. One of the hardest parts of blogging for me will be getting past the idea of having to compose a perfectly crafted piece of writing every time. Another aspect of blogging that makes me a bit nervous is just throwing my writing out there and having other people actually read it. On the up side, I will definitely have the motivation to blog about things that are, at least somewhat, interesting.