Ways of Reading: Advanced Reading Skills for Students of English Literature by Martin Montgomery, et al


Rated
: Two stars

Publisher: Routledge

Published: December 5th 2012

Edition: 4th (first published July 23rd 1992)

My two stars rating is especially unfortunate as I was eager to delve into what promised to be some good learning. Alas, it did seem I had my hopes up. Ways of Reading was on my required reading for a college course four years ago, I almost forgot about it until I repacked the bookshelf.

I’m working to improve my writing with my refocus on my blogs and I figured better reading made for better writing. I’m primarily a pleasure reader, and while general comprehension and critical reading skills have sharpened over time I wasn’t fully prepared for the likes of ShakespeareThe Odyssey and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

My initial flip-through revealed significant chunks of text but I was somewhat reassured by the clear arrangement of sections and units that outlined specific topics I’d been struggling with like metaphors and intended meanings. This was looking good.

Continue reading “Ways of Reading: Advanced Reading Skills for Students of English Literature by Martin Montgomery, et al”
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Currently reading: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

For about three months, I’ve been juggling a few works of poetry. Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong; Up Jump the Boogie by John Murillo; and most recently Wild Embers by Nikita Gill which I immediately took to.

Now as you might guess, I didn’t finish any yet but I can already tell I’ll appreciate their final masterpieces. Each of the three represents, but not reduced to, a different pair of eyes to separate cultures.

So with Night Sky we’ve got a Vietnamese-born migrant who writes of family, grief, war, and love with overwhelming cadence at times, however, at other times pretty vague (for poetry I dare say) that I can’t begin to guess what I’m supposed to take from it. Again, I’m not finished so this is all subject to change. I discovered him when I came across his poem ‘Someday I Will Love Ocean Vuong‘ on The Yorker and I was hooked on the flow of words from one cleverly crafted concept to the next, and more importantly, the gentle cry of the message on self-love.

John Murillo, a mixture of African-American and Latino-American influences. I have my subscription to Poets.org to thank with the introduction of his Mercy, Mercy, Me. Some works more than others remind me sharply on how vicariously I live through authors, this was one of them. His poems, lyrics to the music you didn’t know you needed to hear, he elicits emotions in naked unpretentious renderings of memory, the basketball blacktops visions, sidewalks conversations, and recollections of family, struggle and identity. It’s warm. It’s soulful, it’s smart and engaging.

Wild Embers: Poems of Rebellion, Fire, and Beauty so far is panning out to be my cup of tea. Nikita Gill, unlike the previous two, is a British-Indian writer, living somewhere in the south of England. ‘Dragon’s Breath’ and ‘Fire‘ were the first two poems I’ve read of her off Pinterest and they stole me away like thieves in broad daylight. Continue reading “Currently reading: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill”

Anthony Bourdain, so long amigo.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

– Anthony Bourdain, 1956 – 2018

Last Friday was a mixed bag that only got shitter with the news of Anthony’s passing. I don’t know if I should be surprised or not at the impact of his abrupt absence. Parts Unknown was a bright spot in my week, eventually, he became a good friend of the family. He was the Uncle that’s never home for the holidays but sends neat stuff and questionable recipes.

Tony’s energy, his nonchalant poetry, gifted storytelling, dry humour, love for people and hunger for both the next meal and adventure… revived a dormant creature within me, the wild thing who knew I was responsible, I’m to be held accountable for my own wanderings that I must set out.

He was hurting at the hands of his demons, whatever they were and I’m sorry that he felt ending his life was the only choice, more so that I could possibly explain. Was it selfish? You can say that but there are a lot of things, aspects of the man, that will always remain a mystery. And who are we to judge?

Most of all? I regret he won’t get to experience another rainfall, to breathe in another lungful of fresh spring air or to taste a new exotic dish, that he didn’t get to meet new folks and immerse himself headfirst into yet another unknown to map and learn and to share with the rest of the world.

I give my deepest sympathy for his family, friends – most especially Eric Ripert-, and colleagues at CNN … and to the rest of us who he’s touched, however briefly. The world may be poorer without him but he’d given us himself in return, and what a gift that is.

Did you guys have a favourite episode of Parts Unknown, do you remember your first one? What interview or meal intrigued you? A favourite quote? 

I know it’s not easy to confide in another person, however close they are to you and perhaps it’s because they are, it’s crucial we make an honest-to-goodness attempt to give ourselves a chance to move past our own demons, to live a happy life, whatever that looks like to you. In the darkest times, we lack perspective, to see how much we can matter to another human being. I know.

So please. Do the bravest thing you might ever have to do. Ask for help. Here’s a link to some excellent resources a good friend of mine sent to me.

HELPGUIDE.ORG | Are you feeling suicidal?

I hope you safe and thriving.

Devina

Check-in #1

Hey guys. How’s it been hanging?

It’s been one of those days. Eyes looking upwards, seeing the otter fur-patterned clouds and not registering some degree of contented awe. The reality? It’s been raining the whole day and the sky’s in perpetual overcast the past week. Probably a good thing though since I like the rain.

Image result for it's not a bad day it's a good life quote

It’s worth remembering that the rut I find myself in eventually levels out, even if it’ll find me again down the road. I keep telling myself that the bad days make me stronger. I don’t know if it’s true, I mean, I’d like to believe it.

I’m just playing with words and ideas here. Perhaps it’s during these times we should reevaluate how far we’ve come and where exactly we want to go. Dreams change all the time and not all survive our equally changing perspectives as we experience what it means to be alive.

Most dreams are obtainable with dedication, or sheer stubbornness if that’s your thing. Things get real when you make them into goals otherwise all we’ll have are castles in the air. It would be an injustice to throw in the towel because of a tough couple of days if not weeks, however miserable.

Anyway, here’s to the hard times. Don’t forget all the times you spat out the dirt and kept moving. Maybe it’s in that same dirt we rise up as our better selves.

I’d like to take the time to give my heartfelt condolences for the victims of the recent school shooting at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

Not forgetting the Palestinian protestors who died/ were injured in the clashes with Isreal four days ago.

There isn’t much that I can do but know that I have you all in my thoughts. For what it’s worth I’ll pray and hope that you all begin to heal and grow stronger in the face of tyrany, what ever it may look like to you.

Wishing you peeps the best possible futures, and hoping you’re all safe.

Devina.

An Adventurous Cub Meets Nessssss by R. N. Dunne

34415783

  • Age Range: 3 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten – 6
  • Paperback: 40 pages

Rated it: 4 Stars

I’ve received a free copy from Author Marketing Ideas on behalf of the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Cubs are eager to go on their very first camping trip. It follows the adventure and mishap of friends Darrel and Troy. The anticipation of the entire group was clearly palpable; I recognize the feeling precisely when I recall my first field trip to the big city when I was about ten. It’s like a new layer of the big wide world is being peeled away, a heady sensation and one easy to get carried away with.

For instance, when it comes to listening to the adults who know better when they tell you to not venture from designated safe areas and to not go beyond the specifically marked ones, in red no less. Unfortunately, these two got the message the hard way when they ignored the warnings. They encountered a certain critter by the riverside and to say the least things took a turn for the worse.

I was especially touched by Darrel’s thoughtful gesture to keep Troy warm before he ran off for help. It was informative also for Troy to note that he must stay calm and still to prevent further complications from a particular injury he sustained, and later in on the importance of not startling the critter with a loud noise. It’s excellent for children to know these useful bits of information when interacting with the environment. Then there’s Darrel’s quick thinking, taking the initiative with dealing with the second threat.

After having read this, kids can take away a reasonable set of knowledge from just thirty-four pages. Initially, I thought Nessssss had something to do with Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster because I’ve never Continue reading “An Adventurous Cub Meets Nessssss by R. N. Dunne”

Fear It: Book Slump | My foray into Stoicism

It’s official. I can’t read any more for or at least for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m forcing myself into non-fiction or that I’m restricting myself to fewer books at once as I’m wont to read at least four at any given time. Which would be counter-intuitive for the very reason I tried that in the first place: concentration.

But I’m inclined to believe it’s because how much I’m living inside my head lately. The saddest thing is that I’ve gotten used to the hole this has left in me, I’ve worn a path around it.

However, I decided to be optimistic or perhaps the word should be realistic. I’m too used to bemoaning things that I can actually change or learn from. Baby steps: a chapter a day of my current primary read “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” by Leonard Mlodinow.

Then once a day introspection from “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom …” which should be simple enough.

Stoicism

As I’m here I’ll get it out that I’m investing time into learning the Stoic teachings of the likes of Seneca The Younger, Epectitus and Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been listening to The Practical Stoic Podcast and signed up for The Daily Stoic newsletters and even joined their Facebook group.

It’s … enlightening. In fact, it’s possibly the most practical philosophy out there and it’s reflected in one of Aurelius’ quotes:

Waste No More Time Arguing What A Good Man Should Be. Be One.”

From my previous readings into the varieties of philosophy, I have noticed much debate about how people should live to the metaphysical probabilities of reality and a great many other interesting facets of thought. Stoicism encourages you to live every day in accordance with nature and to cultivate character to the best of your ability. Don’t just think about how to live, practice it.

To give a super brief overview, courtesy of The Daily Stoic:

The Philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior rather than words.

Continue reading “Fear It: Book Slump | My foray into Stoicism”

grit

Writing by Moonlight

where does body begin

to touch the soul

the last iota of healing

before the death of a bloody scar

nakedness … is not simply skin

it is sometimes when in the shower

i feel the inexplicable tear

in the fabric of me that the wind found

& sent sun-parched leaves

tumbling inside

like duck feather, all the water slides away

vulnerable to the fates that bind me

suspended in time

feet dangling, when

i am a child of the earth

teeth gritted, hands clenched

i will break free

*

Unpublished Work © 2018 Devina Singh

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

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Les Brown: Set Your Mind To Win

Hello everyone, today I’d like to share with you a video of one of the most amazing men I’ve come to know via the internet, Mr. Les Brown. A motivational speaker many of you might be familiar with, if not here’s your chance for a better way of living. I am not exaggerating.

He, with the likes of the late Mr. Jim Rohn, has changed my outlook not merely on my life, but my abilities, who’ve made me realize I can challenge my limits, that with determination, logic, and patience I can be the me I’m supposed to be.

This video is one of his latest uploads, he’s now 72 and is living with cancer and a multitude of other problems that comes with it, as you will hear him speak about. I admire his attitude and fortitude with which he perseveres and that huge heart of his that continues to give, to inspire all of us.

Not to mention that laugh of his! I mean, have you heard the man laugh? A while ago I was down in the trenches, I was barely keeping a passable smile on my face. There was this beautiful video he burst so suddenly into laughter. It hit me in the heart and I couldn’t help it I had tears streaming down my face as I held my side because I was laughing so hard with him!

Les Brown is a Giver, and I’m most grateful to have received his wisdom and kindness. And I pray, for what good that may do, that he recovers fully and that hardship may never bring him to his knees. He’s strong, yes, but he’s human too.

There are lots more videos and I encourage you to check them out.

Keep your head up, folks. I believe in you.

Devina.

Directions …

Hey folks, check out my new academic themed blog!

A Dragon In Progress

I’ve had this blog on standby for a few months. Part of that’s because time constraints, part is indecision and part confidence or should I say a lack thereof.

Time, I battle distractions on a daily basis. Now, if I find something of interest you can bet I’d dedicate a solid few hours of research. The problem lies in my organizational skills, the development of which is one of the reasons why I began this site in the first place. So, work in progress.

Indecision, where do I begin? How in depth should I go? Perhaps I can touch briefly on a subject and at a later date expound on it … yes, that may work with my current frame of mind. And plus I’m simply beside myself, it’s so exciting to actually begin this project!

What subjects will I cover? Will it be exclusively language, and archaeology/anthropology? No, I’ve decided…

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