Everything I read in 2011

I haven’t said much here recently about my exams. I passed them! So thank god. I’ve started a couple of posts about how it was to take them, but it’s a difficult thing to put into words. I feel like I have slight PTSD. I feel like someday I will be really proud and relieved, but I’m not quite there yet. Much of the time I feel like I’m floating just above and to the left of my general life situation. I don’t know if there’s literally a disorder called anxiety displacement but that phrase describes the first month, post exams. It’s still hard to know what to do in crowds.

The short story is that I read and studied until it felt unhealthy. Because at some point I couldn’t study anymore and I didn’t know what else to do, I got a haircut and bought a nice blazer which I wore to my exams. Like how in our twenties we used to put on makeup and wear skirts to work on mornings we were hungover. The week of, driving home from school, I caught myself accidentally deconstructing a song on the radio–I can’t remember which, but that’s when I started to worry that I might be permanently altered in some core, antisocial way. M & some friends gave me a mock exam. When I got home that night, I cried and cried and cried and I knew I would never be able to do it, but it happened anyway. The night before orals I saw the 3D Harold & Kumar Christmas movie which was a good choice because I couldn’t deconstruct it at all, even accidentally.  Weirdly, I had anxiety dreams before exams about M’s committee, but not my own. (Even though I did well on both sections, the thing that was the worst, for a while after, was every time I tried to go to sleep the orals kept replaying in my head–the questions, my responses and a fair amount of revising (had I actually said that? I hadn’t meant that at all. What I meant was…). It was driving me crazy until my anandamide finally kicked in and now it’s all a bit more peacefully hazy.) I took a day off between my orals and my writtens to go to the new H&M that was opening that very day at Fashion Place Mall, but when I got there at 10am there was a line three blocks long just to get into the store. I turned around and drove back home (it’s a long drive) and I don’t remember what I did after that until I opened my exam question at noon the next day. I briefly hyperventilated/cried, then I went for a five-mile walk in a snowstorm which helped immensely. After that, I wrote until my back gave out. 71.5 hours. And then it’s a blank again for about five days, when my committee chair emailed me the good news that I had passed.

There were 123 texts on my list. 100 of them were new to me and by my best guess I read about 95 of those last year proper. After the jump, my reading list–most of which I read in 2011–plus the extras I was able to or had to sneak in around the list.

The Odyssey
Book of Genesis (R. Alter)
Book of Job (S. Mitchell)
The Ethiopian Story
The Decameron (trans. Bondanella & Musa; Norton Crit.)
The Arabian Nights (trans. Haddawy)
Canterbury Tales
Le Morte D’Arthur selects (Vinaver ed. Oxford UP)
The Life and Times of Lazarillo de Tormes
Don Quixote
Robinson Crusoe
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
Tristram Shandy
The Castle of Otranto
The 120 Days of Sodom
Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship
The Monk
The Manuscript Found in Saragossa
Sense and Sensibility
Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus
The Charterhouse of Parma
Arthur Gordon Pym, “Usher,” “Rue Morgue,” “Red Death,” “Telltale Heart”
Wuthering Heights
Jane Eyre
The Scarlet Letter
Bleak House
Madame Bovary
“Family Happiness”
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Against Nature
The Sign of the Four
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Time Machine
“The Turn of the Screw”

Heart of Darkness
Death in Venice
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Ulysses & “The Dead”
The Thin Man
Between the Acts
Go Tell it on the Mountain
Invisible Man
The Unnamable
The Talented Mr. Ripley
A Death in the Family
A Clockwork Orange
The Man in the High Castle
Cotton Comes to Harlem
The Golden Notebook
Lost in the Funhouse
Pricksongs & Descants
Slaughterhouse Five
The Left Hand of Darkness
“The Madness of the Day”
Gravity’s Rainbow
Kiss of the Spider Woman
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
Blood and Guts in High School
The Handmaid’s Tale
Maus & Maus II
The Things They Carried
The Art Lover
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
House of Leaves
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
The Desert
TOC: A New Media Novel

Sydney, Defense of Poetry
Hume, “Of Tragedy” and “Of the Standard of Taste”
Kant, Critique of Judgment
Schiller, On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry
Hegel, Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics
Nietzsche, “The Birth of Tragedy”
Freud, “The Uncanny” and Dora
Woolf, Modern Fiction
Lukacs, Theory of the Novel excerpts
Bataille, Heterology
Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age…,” “The Storyteller,” Arcades Project convolutes A, I, L, M
Bakhtin, “Discourse in the Novel” and “Grotesque”
Frye, Anatomy of Criticism excerpts
Watt, Rise of the Novel excerpts
Ortega y Gasset, “Meditations on Quixote” and “Notes on the Novel”
Robbe-Grillet, For a New Novel
Foucault, The Order of Things
Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text, “Death of the Author” and “From Work to Text”
Todorov, The Fantastic
Gilbert & Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic excerpts (Austen)
Genette, The Architext
Derrida, “Structure, Sign and Play” and “The Law of Genre”
Geertz, “Blurred Genres: The Refiguration of Social Thought”
Fish, “Interpreting the Variorum” and “How to Recognize a Poem When You See One”
Culler, “Toward a Theory of Non-Genre Literature”
Jameson, The Political Unconscious
Levine, The Realistic Imagination excerpts
Fowler, Kinds of Literature excerpts
Kristeva, “Approaching Abjection” and “Suffering and Horror”
Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction excerpts
Huhn, “The Detective as Reader: Narrativity and Reading Concepts in Detective Fiction”
Morretti, The Way of the World and “The Novel: History and Theory”
Rabinowitz, “Chandler Comes to Harlem: Racial Politics in the Thrillers of Chester Himes”
Hutcheon, Historiographic Metafiction excerpts
Radway, Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature
Hunter, Before Novels excerpts
McCloud, Understanding Comics
Curti, “D is for Difference: Gender, Genre, Writing”
Gilmore, The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony
Eds. Schweikart & Flynn, Reading Sites: Social Difference and Reader Response


Father Flashes
The Once and Future King
The Pillowman
I Was Told There’d Be Cake
Let the Right One In
The Chronology of Water
The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary American Fiction

AM/PM & Museum of the Weird

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