The rumors are true — I actually finished another novel

What I’m Reading
I just finished Clive Barker‘s Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War (literally just finished, within the last 15 minutes).  I’ve fallen into a “like it but don’t love it” kind of place with Abarat; I started out really enjoying it, but it seems to be dragging on for the sake of requiring more books at this point. I’m positive I’ll buy and read the third book in the series, Absolute Midnight, but honestly I’m up for taking a break from this series to read something else first. As long as it takes me to finish books once I start them, it may be 2014 until I get around to Absolute Midnight, and that really isn’t much of an exaggeration.

Candidates for Next Book that are sitting on my shelf right now – G.I. Joe: Tales From the Cobra Wars, an anthology of short stories edited by Max Brooks of World War Z fame; Neuromancer by William Gibson; and finally A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

Truth be told, I have a ton more books that I haven’t read that should be on this list. But, y’know, they are all the way upstairs. So, of the three that my laziness makes accessible to me, Neuromancer is probably the leading candidate. It just feels like something I should’ve read a long time ago, back when I was actually reading books. I have Barker’s Coldheart Canyon upstairs as well, and that’s probably a candidate also. I just like reading Barker’s books;  I enjoy his use of language and the worlds he builds, and I’ve always had this notion that his mind works the way I wish mine would sometimes, in terms of the things he’s able to dream up and then produce — either in prose or on a canvas with his paintings.

I also got assaulted with hardcover comic collections today as a result of my birthday cash score from Parents. The four most-recent volumes of Invincible to catch me up with all seven of those; both of DC’s absolutely gorgeous New Teen Titans omnibuses; volume two of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca’s Invincible Iron Man series, which is worth owning not only because it’s a run of very good Iron Man stories, but for Larocca’s absolutely awesome art; and the first volume of Dynamite’s adaptation of A Game of Thrones which I have purchased because Tommy Patterson seems like a great guy I’d like to have a beer or six with, and I like his art — and for basically no other reasons.

What I’m Studying
I’m going to turn in my final research paper for one of my grad school courses tonight, and with that I will close the books on my spring semester. I took a final exam last night, which was the most bizarre test I have ever taken in my life. It was a 30-question multiple-choice test given online with a 75-minute time limit — two and a half minutes per question is obscene, and basically meant there was more than ample time to repeatedly Google any answer I didn’t know immediately. That’s not the odd part. The odd part was that we were initially told that the test would be only 60 minutes, and the questions we were asked were not related to anything we had directly discussed in class, ever, or anything that was even in our textbook or the PowerPoint presentations that served as our “handouts” over the course of the spring. The questions were all tangentially related to the course’s main topic, but almost all involved tiny details that were never remotely part of the coursework. It was almost like the test was specifically designed to mess with us — to the point that after five questions I honestly wondered if the wrong exam had been posted. Still, of the 30 questions, I missed two, and one of the questions I missed was because the instructor wanted a specific response from two that were for all intents and purposes the same — one was a symptom and one was the resulting problem. I answered the problem; he wanted the symptom. So, still — I got a 93 percent on a test that was almost entirely material that I was seeing for the first time when I sat down to take the exam.

But, turning in tonight’s paper will have me 12 credits toward a master’s degree, and as of tonight I am still on track to finish everything in the spring of 2013. I’m taking two summer-school courses, which is not going to be much fun, but that’ll only leave me four classes (and an internship that will likely get written off) to take next year to finish the degree — two in the fall, and two in the spring. I need to check course schedules, etc., to see what the fall will look like, but, really, after tonight I’m going to be 40 percent done with this degree (and I should have 12 credits of As).

That’s about it for now… I’ll save a couple of my other “What I’m (whatever)” for tomorrow.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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2 Responses

  1. John Regehr says:

    Neuromancer is awesome but pretty dated.

    The game of thrones books are definitely fun, though taking a definitely turn downhill after the first three.

    I’ll just throw this into the mix:

    Vance is pretty awesome.

  2. I’ve heard that from others about Game of Thrones, as well; still, it seems like I should read at least the first one, especially with all the hype around the series right now because of the HBO show and the comic, etc.

    Haven’t heard of that Jack Vance book, but I threw it in my cart at Amazon; I’ll keep an eye open for him when I’m looking at book tables at garage sales this summer. 🙂

    Good to hear from you; hope all’s well in Utah!

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