Rather Soviet looking back entrance

Sense from Senses

I’m working on a series of posts that I assume will be controversial in nature and probably won’t win me any friends, so before I get into the killing, I thought I’d do a nice pleasant little post about smells.

The link between scent and memory is extraordinary. Recently, around lunchtime, there has been a particular smell in the office that makes me feel like I’m ten and at the Columbus Museum of Art. I don’t even exactly know what this smell is, which is how I started on my being frustrated to describe it. In my mind, it is just “lunch smell.” It reminds me of chicken salad and baking bread. And it is exactly what the CMA’s lunch cafe always smelled like.

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Nele Azevedo: Everything is temporary

It’s Only Temporary

It’s simultaneously disturbing and unsurprising that I haven’t given an update on this blog since basically April. It’s disturbing because this is essentially my digital diary and diary-gaps have bothered me my whole life. It’s unsurprising because the climate of my life has just not encouraged me to want to write updates.

“It’s only temporary.” I started saying those words to myself probably sometime in early 2011. I said it to myself when my internship at the public library was like getting seared with hot coals for a living. I said it to myself when roommate living got claustrophobic beyond belief. I said it to myself when I had no money for food because bills. “It’s only temporary.” I said it starting in June 2012 when I had to finally admit to myself that I had graduated jobless with no prospects. I said it when I conceded defeat and crawled back to my parents’ house. I said it when I accepted a barely part-time position at my alma mater’s campus library.

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Questions About Reading, 50

Yes, I decided to finish on July 31, to finish the challenge neatly on the last day of the month, even though it’s Thursday, instead of awkwardly on August 2 even though that’s Saturday. Hmm — and interesting that this should be the last question.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools? (via)

Are we still talking about banned books? I don’t want this question to be germane to banned books week because I can’t stand it. First of all, it’s more like banned books six weeks, as the entire month before and the entire month following are dedicated to talking about it, and all this just infuriates me because we don’t even ban books in this country. Seriously, there is no such thing as a banned book. There is no censorship — unless it’s the censorship of the liberal media against conservative Christians, but I digress.

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Questions About Reading, 49

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school? (via)

The most controversial book that has ever been written is also the most important book to ever exist. It is hugely neglected in schools and as close to illegal as any book can be, I think. The most ancient text, supernaturally preserved and transmitted from the dawn of time until the end of it — the book is, of course, Genesis.

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A sampling of classics

Questions About Reading, 48

48. Which books do you consider “classics”? (via)

You would not believe how often I’m talking about classics, and usually in a fairly defensive way because it’s just not the in thing to dig classic literature anymore.

Of course, I really hate that classic is treated as a genre when it simply isn’t. So let’s start with definitions, eh? The beginning of wisdom and all that? Apparently the word classic comes from the Latin meaning “belonging to the highest class of citizens.” Now, according to the Wikipedia, classic refers to ancient Greek and Roman literature, and this is not the vernacular sense of the question, obviously. But I like that “highest class” business; I’m going to use that.

“A classic is something that is a perfect example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality.”

Lasting worth and timeless quality are my buzzwords here, because the point I want to get across is that, far from being a genre in itself, the idea of a classic work should convey something worthwhile that has stood the test of time. “Worthwhile” may be subjective, and I’ll dwell on that more, but timeless should be obvious — either something has been carried on its own popularity for more than one generation, or it hasn’t. And anything that hasn’t been around long enough to be considered tested, well, obviously isn’t up for classical status. But let’s look at the concept of worthwhile.

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Questions About Reading, 47

47. What book have you reread the most? (via)

Okay, this is hilarious because I was just talking about Holling C. Holling; this is a diary entry from July 5, 1995: “read Paddle-to-theSea watched Kari play computer, listened to records and colored wached old yeller.” I was actually hoping to find another diary entry about this book, but one doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

I guess I can get right to the point here. While the most technically correct answer to this question is either Coriolanus or the Bible, I’m not really going to count either of those. First of all, I don’t count the Bible as literature and therefore it falls outside of any realm of calculating the number of times I’ve read it, putting it on Goodreads, or  anything like that. Every time I’ve read Coriolanus, it was for work, so that doesn’t really count either, even though it’s something like 80 times.

I actually did go through my Goodreads list in order to calculate a reasonable answer to this question; it lets you sort books based on how many times you’ve read them, if you happen to know. Star Wars books were all predictably at the top of the list. But I still think that answering Old Yeller by Frank Gipson is completely honest. I probably have reread this book more than any other.

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Questions About Reading, 46

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with? (via)

This should not come as any too much of a surprise; I told a coworker this week that my blog is basically the Jane Eyre Hour. A few years ago, the Morgan Library & Museum did this online exhibit about diaries and it includes Charlotte Brontë’s, a sample of miniscule writing on a scrap of paper where she blends her thoughts and feelings with escapist fiction. Myself, I’ve never really read to escape — but boy, do I ever write to escape.

Anyway, the following post kind of expands on my very brief sketch for a challenge back in 2011: here.

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Questions About Reading, 45

45. Which author would you most want to interview? (via)

He’s a playwright, not an author, and I’m usually very strict on differentiating the two, but I just have too much I need to ask William Shakespeare.

As you should well know after even a short time on this blog, I’ve spent about ten years working on Shakespeare as an editorial assistant. I started in December 2004, knowing next to nothing about Shakespeare except what I’d gleaned from watching The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), reading Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet, and whatever brief thing the high school curriculum touched on. Oh, and we went to see Midsummer Night’s Dream at the outdoor amphitheater for my 16th birthday and also one time saw The Comedy of Errors. What impressed Dr. George into giving me the job — apart from the fact that I was the only taker and came on recommendation of his wife — was that I said I’d heard of Coriolanus. Of course, I’d only heard of this because he’d asked me three months before to assemble a bulletin board for him and I read everything on it as I pinned the sheets up, and it was all about Cor. Anyway, I digress.

I went from a young freshman with next to no knowledge to being second only to Dr. George in the county when it comes to Shakespeare, and I think I could safely claim 2nd most expert on Coriolanus in the state.

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Somewhere in the American west

Questions About Reading, 44

44. Who is your favorite children’s book author? (via)

As usual, or “as per ush,” if I could figure out a properly expressive way to spell that, I went through a lot of effort to narrow down the most accurate answer to this question possible. You know I have a hard time picking out favorite authors; I needed someone whose works I had not only read a majority of,  but liked a majority of. I didn’t want to pick an early reader type author, and I also wanted to choose something that I still consider lovable and readable. I thought about the American Girl series, but it just didn’t seem to fit; I didn’t read those because of who the author was, and I think that’s an important element in the favorite author question: reading things just because of who wrote them.

And then I remembered  this writer. It’s not really a series; I still love them and loved them at the time, and it’s definitely something I can tell a story about — a story about riding in the back seat as we covered thousands of miles all over this great land while doing our homework in holodomes and hotel rooms. A story about a man with an astonishingly bizarre name that nevertheless worked for him . . .

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To breathe, to live

Questions About Reading, 43

43. When did you start to read chapter books? (via)

This question feels like a repeat and boring. I suppose because to me, there’s no differentiation between learning to read and reading chapter books. But I do have a bit of a story about the latter. I remember feeling an intense panic when Mom said, first of all, it was time for the dreaded lying-down-in-the-afternoon, and to add to that cruel and unusual punishment, I was going to have to read out loud. (I hate reading out loud. I loathe it. I always did.) And . . . I was going to have to read a book out loud that was a 120 page CHAPTER BOOK! <dun dun dun>

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