From the Notebook: I’m Back! +Giveaway Announcement

The hiatus is OVER! This isn’t a very bookish From the Notebook, but I am talking about where I’ve been, where I’m going … and I’m announcing an upcoming giveaway that’ll hit the blogosphere later this week. The giveaway includes a signed book and swag, and will be attached to an exclusive interview with the author, Kristen-Paige Madonia. I got to meet her last week, and she is amazing! Anyways, for more info … here’s the video!

Thesis Thursday: Big News that has Nothing to do with My Thesis

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

Alright, full disclosure: while this has nothing to do with my thesis, it has everything to do with my future. As you all may know, I’m graduating from Ithaca College in May. As with many grads, I have little money and many loans. As of Tuesday, I also have a (potential) job.

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I’ve alluded to this several times over the past year, but now it’s (mostly) official. Taylor and I–yes, your two favorite fighters–are headed off to South Korea together to teach for a year, starting in the fall. We don’t know where yet, but we’re about to get started with our Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificates and background checks and all that fun stuff.

giphyI’ve never been this terrified and yet excited about something. Sure, I went abroad to London and did a lot of traveling there, but … well … they mostly all spoke my language. The culture shock wasn’t terrible. I did okay. It was also only for four months, and I had a bunch of friends as back up and we were going to a university run by my home college. Everything was as safe as can be.

Don’t tell Taylor, but I wouldn’t have agreed to go without him. I’m not THAT brave. But this is an opportunity that I really, really want and have for some time now. I want to be scared. I want the adventure. Sure, there are going to be obstacles along the way that I am NOT going to enjoy, but I welcome them. I don’t want to be safe anymore. I really want to travel, and I also get to teach.

There aren’t many other times in my life were I would get to do this. That’s the main thing that keeps running through my head. It’s the reasoning that reminds me how disappointed I would be in myself if I didn’t take this chance. So. In a few months … here we go.

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Oh yeah – I’m still going to be blogging as much as possible. It just may end up being a lot about South Korea.

Thesis Thursdays: BIG NERDY NEWS

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

Alright, if we’re being honest this news might not mean as much to you as it means to me. But go into this knowing that THIS MEANS A LOT TO ME, GUYS:

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Where I’ve Been: Dreams to Realities (i.e., the Mushiest Thing I Will Ever Write)

I know that I don’t blog as much as I ought to anymore, but hey. That’s life. However, if you’ve been watching our Bibliomancer videos (or just seen Michaela’s great thumbnails for recent episodes) then you know that I missed on regularly scheduled episode on Jorge Luis Borges’ Collected Fictions AND the first of our ten part Nostalgia Junkie special with the Pendragon books. I promised in each of those posts that I would get around to tell you all where I’ve been.

That promised time is now.

I’m going to diverge for a second, though, and give some context for what’s about to follow. As you may or may not know, I am an English and Writing double major at Ithaca College–about to be a senior. This means I have two more semesters before I get spit out into the big, wide world. I always maintained that what I wanted was to be a teacher. Always.

And it had started to seem like a problem.

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The New Voices Literary Festival, Part 1!

GET READY! In this series of posts there are amazing authors, amazing stories, and an amazing giveaway. IT’S SO EXCITING!

College, they say, is a great time to try out some new opportunities. This proved to be quite true over the past three days, when I was aNew Voices festival Student Guide at Ithaca College’s first annual New Voices Literary Festival.

Conceptualized by Professor Chris Holmes from the English Department and Professor Eleanor Henderson from the Writing Department, these two fantastic people brought together eight emerging writers to talk to students over the course of three days. (List of these authors later, don’t worry.)

Professor Holmes was the one who alerted me to the Student Guide applications. The idea was to have sixteen student guides, two from each year and two for each author, to act as the author’s guide around campus. The job came with perks such as backstage access and non-dining hall food. I applied like a rocket, received the honor, and was assigned to author Sheba Karim. I proceeded to skip 95% of my classes over Thursday and Friday to hang out with these eight wonderful people and leech their knowledge for my own. I wasn’t disappointed.

Sadly, I did miss the first event of the festival, on Wednesday, in which the eight authors all read short bits of their work at a bookstore in town. However, I was there bright and early the next morning to have breakfast with the authors before their first events of the day.

At 10:50 AM on Thursday, instead of going to my honors seminar class, I walked Sheba Karim and fellow New Voices author Marie-Helene Bertino to a class taught by Professor Henderson and sat on a cabinet for the duration. It was a great experience to see not only Sheba and Marie-Helene speak, but also to sit in on a class that I will be taking in my junior year. (See, the trick during these things is to suck them dry for everything they’re worth.)

At 12 PM, all eight writers attended a panel about being a college reader and writer. Since now would be a greatly un-invasive time to name them, the writers in the New Voices Festival, in the order they appear in this picture, are Sheba Karim, Marie-Helene Bertino, Eleanor Henderson, Jane Roper, Rebecca Makkai, Robin Ekiss, Nathaniel Rich and Tim Horvath.

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After that, we all moseyed to the library to the Center of Faculty Excellence, where there was a small reception and a music student preformed music that he had written based on three poems by Robin Ekiss. This was followed by a reading at the Handwerker Art Gallery, where four of the eight writers read, and I introduced Sheba Karim. Since it’s Sheba’s book I’m giving away, and I spent so much work on this intro, I’m going to insert what I said here:

They say that to be a writer its best if you’re good at a few different things. Sheba Karim is certainly that. Her novel, Skunk Girl, is IMG_0054young adult fiction, and she is also the editor of a collection of erotic short stories. Her literary fiction has appeared in 580 Split, Asia Literary Review, Barn Owl Review, EGO, Kartika Review, Shenandoah, South Asian Review, Time Out Delhi and in several published and forthcoming anthologies in the United States and India, including Cornered, Electric Feather and Venus Fly Trap. Her current project is a historical fiction novel set in 13th century India. All this showcases two different things: Sheba Karim gets really grumpy when she isn’t writing, so she writes a lot, and that the drive to show your parents that writing is a viable career option will actually get you far.

When not writing, Sheba Karim likes to dance, sometimes with an ironing board, get kicked out of nightclubs in Bombay and ending up as a 6 AM extra on the set of a Bollywood movie—all at once. She is obsessive about planning trips, so much that she believes she was a travel agent in a past life. Someday, she would love to go diving. No mention if this is to be done with an ironing board, though. Oh, and in case anyone who has ever taken a Catherine Taylor writing class is curious, her spirit animal is a chocolate eating cat. Please welcome Sheba Karim.

After everyone was wowed by my public speaking skills (you know, the nonexistent ones), the day was ended. Please wait as I shamelessly plug the four authors who read that night:

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Rebecca Makkai, The Borrower ~ Nathaniel Rich, Odds Against Tomorrow ~ Robin Ekiss, The Mansion of Happiness ~ Sheba Karim, Skunk Girl

WANT MORE DEETS? What happened the next day? What did I teach Jane Roper? What happens when Jane Roper is given a book that was already signed? How many writers did we lose in the gorges? What are Robin Ekiss and Rebecca Makkai’s greatest fears?

WHERE’S THAT GIVEAWAY?

Check back in tomorrow and see!