Required Reading: What to Read When You Can’t Read Me (You’re Welcome)

October 22, 2011


Well, hello there.

Long time, no see.

I apologize for being a bit absent on the interwebs lately.

I know you were all terribly worried.

Possibly you thought I was kidnapped by Mongolian street bandits.

Or maybe you thought I had finally succumbed to one of the many Nineteenth Century diseases I’m convinced I’ve contracted since moving to China. (At the moment I’m pretty sure I have either Black Lung or scurvy. Possibly both.)

Or perhaps you thought my couch had collapsed after a long summer of couch-sitting and cookie-binging, and I was trapped underneath one of the massive armrests — kind of like that movie with James Franco where he’s trapped by the huge boulder. Except most of my flashbacks would involve snack foods. And I really doubt I’d have the fortitude to cut off my own arm as I barely had the fortitude to watch that part of the movie. (Okay, so maybe I didn’t exactly watch that part. I was too busy screaming and burying my face in a pillow.)

And, thank you so much for all your emails of concern.

Okay, so maybe only two of you sent me concerned emails.

And, okay, maybe one of those two of you was my dad. (Hi, Dad!)

But, I’m sure you all meant to send me emails, right? You were probably just too busy having bake sales and spaghetti dinners. You know, so you could raise the ransom money needed to pay off the street bandits for my safe return. (Plus, what good is an email when I’m being held HOSTAGE BY STREET BANDITS? Obviously, street bandits aren’t going to let me check my email or anything. They’re notorious for being jerks like that. And don’t even try to ask them if you can check your Facebook page.)

Alas, the reason why I’ve been missing in action lately is not nearly as exciting as all the scenarios you imagined in your head for me.

(Or, ahem, all the scenarios I imagined in your head for you for me.)

(You’re welcome, by the way.)

I’ve just been busy.

And not even fun-busy.

Just like work-busy.

I’m currently in the midst of teaching a research writing class, which means my free time is being spent reading piles and piles of research papers – half of which were written by my students, the other half of which were written by the robots of Google Translate.

When I’m not reading research papers, I spend my time wondering what I ever did to deserve such torture.

Yes.

Torture.

You would feel tortured too if you had to read essays full of lines like this one: “If you even wash his clothes all can’t, that you have the higher GPA, how do you can do?”

Seriously.

How do you can do?

That is the question.

It got to the point last weekend that I was really tempted to just pack up my bags and leave China in the middle of the night so I could avoid any more grading. (But I didn’t. Because I’m a responsible adult who is committed to her job. Or at least committed to getting a few more paychecks. Because, you know, Black Lung treatments aren’t cheap.)

Unfortunately, I have three more weeks before the term ends and about two hundred billion more essays to grade. If you don’t see much more of me on the interwebs in the next few weeks it’s because I’m busy grading.

Or, it’s because I just sawed off my paper-grading arm. (Which also happens to be my blog-updating arm and my cookie-eating arm. So, yeah, I would be really sad to see it go, but, sometimes a girl’s just got to do what a girl’s got to do.).

If, in fact, I am not be able to update my blog in the near future, I thought I’d suggest a few things you could read instead of my blog. So while I’m busy reading research papers and contemplating how many glasses of red wine I can drink before I get sloppy and just start writing, “Why? WHHHYYY? Why do you torture me like this?” all over my students’ papers, you can be reading something enjoyable… and not something that makes you want to stab your eyes out with a red pen.

Lucky you.

(You’re welcome. Again. By the way.)

Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche
I’ll admit that when I first saw Torre on Twitter I felt a little bit threatened. You see, Torre goes by the Twitter handle @FearfulGirl. And, well, the whole scaredy cat thing is kind of my thing, you know.

I was worried we might have to have some kind of Twitter turf war so we could see who was the biggest coward on the Internet. And, while, I’ve never been particularly competitive, I’m pretty sure I could win at a wimp-off any day. (I imagine there would be contests like “Who Can Scream the Loudest While Attempting To Kill a Spider with a Toilet Plunger” and “Who Can Lie Awake the Longest Imagining All the Different Diseases She Has Contracted.” Not to brag or anything, but I have tons of experience in these activities. In fact, I practically invented that first one while I was house-sitting in Thailand.)

My initial wariness wore off pretty quickly, though. You see, it’s pretty much impossible to not like Torre (even if she’s horning in on your Twitter turf). She’s witty and relatable and writes these highly entertaining blog posts about jerky bike riders and her Google search addiction on her blog, Fearful Adventurer.

Her book, which is a memoir of the time she sailed around the world with a guy she met in a bar, is equally witty, relatable and entertaining.

It’s also pretty much impossible to put down. (Just you try to put it down — I dare you. You’ll be all like, “I’m totally going to go to bed now seeing as I have to go to work tomorrow and all. Let me just put this book down. Right after I finish EIGHTY MORE PAGES.”)

As much as I loved her book (which I read in about two days… because, hey, who needs sleep when you have high sea adventures to read about?), I do have to say Torre has kind of lost her scaredy cat street cred with me.

Sorry, Torre, but sailing around the world?

In a teeny little sailboat?

With a man you met in a bar?

I don’t know who you’re trying to fool, lady, but that sounds pretty brave to me.

Bossypants by Tina Fey
It’s kind of freaky how Tina Fey and I have been leading parallel lives all these years.

We both had awkward adolescences.

We both have a penchant for dessert and dorky boys.

We both wear glasses and have “big gym teacher calves.” (Her words not mine. I prefer to call my calves “shapely in a tree-trunk-shaped kind of way” so as not to anger any gym teachers. We all know there isn’t anything worse than an angry gym teacher. Or an angry calf muscle.)

We both got our start in improv comedy. (Of course, for Tina Fey, improv was her start to a successful career in comedy writing and television stardom. For me, improv was my start to a career in… umm… yeah, about that career thing…)

See? It’s like we were separated at birth or something.

Of course, like the author herself, Bossypants is hilarious.

But that’s not why I loved this book.

I loved this book because it gave me hope.

If Tina Fey can write a book while juggling a demanding job in the television industry, a family and the odd photo shoot for Vanity Fair, then, surely, I can write a book while juggling a teaching job and, umm, my couch.

Okay, so maybe her book also made me feel totally inadequate.

But it was that “ha-ha funny” kind of totally inadequate.

So it’s all good.

Sleepwalk with Me: and Other Painfully True Stories by Mike Birbiglia
I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not usually the laugh out loud kind of girl.

I’d like to think this is because I have a refined sense of humor.

Or maybe it’s just because I have this really loud donkey laugh that’s kind of embarrassing.

Either way, I tend to just snicker silently when I find something amusing so as not to alarm the general public.

The first time I heard a story by Mike Birbiglia, a stand-up comedian and writer, I was at the gym listening to a podcast of NPR’s This American Life. (What? You don’t listen to NPR while working out? Come on, there’s nothing like a little Ira Glass while you’re on the elliptical trainer to really get your heart pumping, am I right or am I right? Okay, so I’m a dork. Shut it, you.)

The story, like a lot of stories in his book, was about his adolescence.

It was, as the title of his book suggests, painful and true… but, mostly, painful.

It also made me laugh so loud that the man next to me tripped on his treadmill. (Meanwhile, I had to look around with a puzzled expression on my face as if to say, “Wow, what just made that noise? Did someone just let a donkey into the gym or something?”)

So, yeah, if you do read this book, I really recommend you read it while in the privacy of your own home. I also recommend you double insulate your walls or something. Unless you want your neighbors to think you live with donkeys.

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.) by Peter Hessler
I read this book this summer because I felt like maybe I should, I don’t know, actually make an attempt to learn a thing or two about the country I currently live in.

The book, which is a memoir of Peter Hessler’s two years of teaching English at a university in Sichuan Province with the Peace Corps, had come recommended to me by a number of other people who had lived and worked in China.

And I would really recommend this book to any other expats living in China – especially those teaching at a university.

But, uh, maybe you should read it a couple years after you’ve left China.

You know, after you’ve made it out of here alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed this book. I could relate to a lot of his experiences. And I found his commentary on Chinese culture and people to be both informed and insightful. (Unlike my commentary on Chinese culture and people – which tends to be highly misinformed and revolves around wearing pajamas in public.)

And then I got to the part about halfway through the book where he gets tuberculosis.

Let me just repeat that one more time.

HE GETS TUBERCULOSIS.

Yeah, like did you even know people could still get tuberculosis?

Of course, all I could think about after reading that was, “Great. It’s only a matter of time before I get tuberculosis. In fact, I probably already have it. Well, great. Just great. Here I am trying to enlighten my mind about China, and China goes ahead and gives me tuberculosis. Isn’t that just the way.”

(Editor’s note: Not to worry. I just checked, and I don’t have tuberculosis. According to the internets, the symptoms of tuberculosis include appetite loss and weight loss. And, yeah, let’s just say those two things have yet to be an issue  for me in China. But, uh, do you know what Nineteenth Century disease causes cookie binges and a desire to watch endless episodes of Ghost Whisperer on DVD? Because whatever that is, I’ve got it. Please send medical attention… and more cookies.)

Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay by Adair Lara
As you can probably see from my book recommendations, I’ve been on something of a memoir kick lately. In fact, pretty much all the books I read this summer were memoirs. I thought that maybe by reading a whole bunch of memoirs, I would suddenly be inspired to write my own.

Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be the easily inspired sort.

After months of reading memoir after memoir and getting hardly any work done on my own book, I decided what I really needed was a book on how to write memoirs. (Because, obviously, there was some secret memoir-writing formula that I didn’t know about.)

The only problem was that I’ve never exactly been the type to read how-to books. In fact, every time I’ve attempted to read any kind of self help or advice book, it’s resulted in my screaming, “You’re not the boss of me,” promptly followed by my running out to do whatever the book just told me not to do.  (And that is why I can no longer even look at a diet book for fear that I will instantly start shoveling cake into my face. )

But, whatever, desperate times call for desperate measures… plus this book has the word “naked” and “drunk” in the title so if that’s not reason enough to buy it, I don’t know what is.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t read the whole book. When I first got it, I skipped ahead to the “How To Trick Yourself Into Writing” chapter first as that seemed to be what I needed the most help with at the time. And, despite being the not-so-easily inspired sort, I tend to be the easily tricked sort. So her tips actually worked for me. (For all of a month or so. Until I got clued in to all the tricks I’d been playing on myself and I promptly informed myself that I am not the boss of me. Don’t ask me who the boss of me actually is. I have a feeling it’s cake.)

I’ve since read a few of the other chapters when I’ve been between books or in need of a little kick in the pants. (Which is pretty much always, but whatever.)

What I like most about Adair Lara’s book is that it’s not preachy at all. She includes a lot of personal anecdotes about her own writing career, so it almost feels like you’re reading a memoir not a how-to book. (Again, I’m easily tricked, so this totally worked for me. Now if only diet books could be written like this, I might actually be able to read them… without, you know, all the cake.)

So, there you have it, my reading suggestions for you to keep you busy while I’m busy grading research papers.

Or busy sawing off my grading-paper arm.

Or busy trying to convince the Mongolian street bandits that I really need to check my Facebook page.

Whichever one comes first.

(You’re welcome. For like the fourth time today. By the way.)

P.S. If you click on the little linky-loos in the text above and then buy the books off of Amazon, I get money. I know, pretty sweet deal, right? Not that I’m saying this to pressure you into buying any books or anything. I mean, do whatever you think is right. But, uh, Black Lung treatments don’t come cheap, if you know what I mean.
 
P.P.S. Got any book suggestions for me? I could really use some light, fun reads to take my mind off of research paper reading… and prevent me from stabbing out my eyeballs. I tend to read memoirs, fiction or really any book that doesn’t tell me what to do. Bonus points if the book makes me laugh like a donkey.
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I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On October 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm NLM said:

    I WAS worried about you. Grading papers by English speakers is disheartening enough; stay away from those sharp objects. If you haven’t read Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One, you should order it immediately!

    Hang in there.
    NLM recently posted..Why I Sometimes Take the Bus

    • On October 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm Sally said:

      I haven’t read that one yet. I’m looking at the review on Amazon & it looks great. But, sadly, there is no Kindle edition. 🙁 I guess I’ll have to put it on the list of books to read once I’m back in a land of English books.
      And thanks for the concern! I don’t mind grading papers so much as long as they were written by my students — the ones written by the robots make me really stabby though.

  2. On October 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm Camels & Chocolate said:

    I’ve been reading like a mad woman while living on a ship/being disconnected from the Internet and just finished (and loved) State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, which is a fictitious book about some scientists who find a tribe in the Amazon that leads both to a fertility drug and a cure to malaria. While it’s fiction, I think a fellow traveler would like it for all the great Brazil visual imagery (and it’s appropriate if you’re on malaria meds, too, as there are a lot of references to the hallucinations/bad dreams/side effects)!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Photo Friday: Cape Peninsula, South Africa

    • On October 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm Sally said:

      I just finished that book last week! I love, love, LOVE Anne Patchett books, and I’m always amazed as to how one woman could know so much stuff about, well, stuff. I especially liked that book since I lived in Manaus (and had plenty of fun malaria drug hallucinations) so I could relate. Well, except for all that stuff about science. I couldn’t much relate to that. But, honestly, I don’t know how that woman knows the stuff she knows. She must do so much research for her books.

      • On October 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm Camels & Chocolate said:

        I thought THE SAME THING. Ditto to (of Water for Elephants fame) Sara Gruen’s latest book Ape House, which I read a couple months ago. Girlfriend spent two years studying apes at a language lab in middle America before writing her book! Oh the beauty of having an advance.

        (If you liked State of Wonder, you’ll probably like Ape House, too. While unrelated in topic, the science elements and amount of time the authors spent researching the subject matter are both astounding and similar.)

        On a totally different literary topic (YA reads!), if you dig dystopian stuff like The Hunger Games, you should read Delirium, the first in a trilogy of similar reads.
        Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Photo Friday: Cape Peninsula, South Africa

        • On October 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm Sally said:

          Ooo, the new Sara Gruen book sounds GOOD. I didn’t realize she had a new one out. I’ll have to check it out.
          I don’t generally do YA books — especially more “sci-fi-y” ones — but I’ve heard tons of stuff about Hunger Games that I’m thinking I should really check it out. At least so I can just be in the loop! Maybe if I like that, I’ll check out the series you recommended.
          Thanks for all the recommendations, by the way!

  3. On October 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm Erin said:

    I’m not the laugh out loud sort either, the exception being when I read your blog. I love that you can even make book reviews funny.

    I just read Swept in less than a day so can confirm it’s impossible to put down. Well, that’s my excuse anyway for spending the day by the pool (yes, our new apartment has a pool!) rather than doing any writing.

    The book I loved most recently was The Help, although it’s not funny at all. Also liked Cutting for Stone as I love big family epics and it’s mostly set in Ethiopia.

    Looking forward to reading your book by the way =)
    Erin recently posted..How Much Does It Cost To Travel In Japan?

    • On October 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm Sally said:

      Omigosh, The Help was another one of those books that kept me up ALL NIGHT EVERY NIGHT until I finished it. So good! I’ve had Cutting for Stone on my Kindle for a while now but haven’t read it yet. I haven’t really been in the mood for epic books lately. I tend to go through phases where I’ll really be into a certain type of book. This summer it was mostly light, funny memoirs. But I think with the change in seasons, I might be up for something a bit heavier. Except it kind of sounds like it’s another book that will keep me up all night… which is not good since I actually have to go to work!

  4. On October 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm Christine Gilbert said:

    Well keep a look out for my 20 cents, I just bought River Town using your link! (And they say bloggers don’t make much money pfft).

    Also loved Torre’s book, as everyone probably knows by now since I let her take over my blog for a week. I read it in 48 hours too. I was waiting for her to kick the BF off the boat and just say, “You know what? I’ve got this.” Yeah she kicks ass.
    Christine Gilbert recently posted..‘That Will Never Happen!’

  5. On October 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm Christine Gilbert said:

    I need more China books too… if you have more suggestions. Thinking I’ll be in Beijing by January.
    Christine Gilbert recently posted..‘That Will Never Happen!’

    • On October 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm Sally said:

      I wish I had more China suggestions, but I’ve been pretty lazy about my China reading since getting here. I read Wild Swans a long time ago which was pretty amazing, if you haven’t read it yet. I’ve also read a lot of fiction set during the Cultural Revolution (of course, I can’t remember any of the names of it or anything), but I haven’t read much fiction about contemporary China. I haven’t read any travel memoirs about China yet, and I’d be curious to know if anyone has any suggestions (anyone?). The only one I’ve really heard anything about was Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven — and the reports have been very mixed.
      Have fun in Beijing in January! And definitely bring plenty of sweaters. I was very unprepared for Chinese winter last year when I showed up with only one sweater… that I wore… everyday… for 2 months. Good times.

  6. On October 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm Maggie said:

    If you want to laugh out loud to an easy read, pick up Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella. It’s hilarious!!! It’s one of those books I like to read again every so often just for fun; it’s that good. It makes me laugh out loud like a mad woman and my husband makes fun of me while pretending like he doesn’t know me because we’re usually in a public place. It’s great fun! 🙂
    Maggie recently posted..Travel Photos: Hong Kong Flower Market

    • On October 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm Sally said:

      Thanks, Maggie, for the suggestion. I’ve heard a lot about Sophie Kinsella but have yet to read anything by her yet. Maybe that’s exactly the fun read I need after all these horrible essays! I’ll just make sure I’m indoors…. in a well-insulated part of the indoors.

  7. On October 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm Don said:

    Scurvy Sally? Really? Given you love of magaritas I think that is medically impossible.

    • On October 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm Sally said:

      Don,
      It’s been MONTHS since I’ve had a margarita. You know, I just don’t have the same lifestyle here in China like I used to have in Japan. And, hence, the lack of partying has really deteriorated my health. But I do drink a lot of red wine so that’s got to be good for something…. right?

  8. On October 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm James in Phnom Penh said:

    Hey Sally!
    Greetings from Prague. My $0.02 for marking papers with minimum fuss: Try a matrix. Left column, categories like: content, coherence, grammar, referencing, etc. and numbers 1-5. If you’re feeling extra generous, include a comment line. All the research says students aren’t really paying attention to all our corrections anyway! (esp. if they don’t have to re-write). If all else fails, do faces (from happy to neutral to angry to “I AM GOING TO KILL YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!!”)…

    • On October 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm Sally said:

      Hey James,
      Hope you’re enjoying Prague! Thanks for the grading advice. I do use a matrix (or rubric as we call it in the States) for the final draft of essays & try to stay minimal on the comments (because, really, at that point what’s the point?). My problem is the first drafts (unfortunately for me & my students they don’t have a choice about rewriting — they have to do at least 2 drafts whether they want to or not… and whether I want to actually look at the darn thing again or not). I do try to give the students a lot of feedback on that draft so they can fix their errors (and, quite a lot of them do actually use my feedback… which is comforting… especially during the dark times when I’m considering gouging out my eyeballs). So reading & commenting on the first drafts takes me pretty much FOREVER. And a lot of bottles of wine.
      But, yeah, I will think about using the faces thing — maybe I’ll have a special face for papers that truly make me want to saw off my arm.

  9. On October 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm Lorna - the roamantics said:

    oh sally! i think i know what your laugh sounds like, cuz um, i think you just made me do it with this post! LMAO! you make me laugh out loud every time- thanks for that! aside from SWEPT (which I LOOOOOVE) i honestly have only read “the boss of me” type books lately- ha ha. but this post reminded me of a documentary (i know, falls into NONE of your preferred categories here) called LAUGHOLOGY. it’s on amazon and even online to watch, and it’s freakin’ hilarious and sweet. plus, i’m pretty sure laughing out loud cures black lung and other infectious diseases, so um, you’re welcome. 😉
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..Returning “Home” to the Bay

  10. On October 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm enjiruX said:

    I feel your pain – marking is nothing but pure torture (I have one more week before I get buried beneath essays and have to restrain myself from stabbing myself with my (shiny red) pen).

    But don’t saw of your cookie arm! Cookies are, what brings one through the dark night of marking. Cookies, and a lot of whine. (Seriously, sometimes WHY??!!! is the only thing one can add as a feedback.)

    • On October 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm Sally said:

      I did start to write “This makes no sense” all over some of the papers. I don’t remember this being a suitable constructive comment covered in my grad school education classes. But, really, sometimes it just needs to be said. That along with, “WHHHHHYYY MEEEE?”
      And I will try to keep my cookie arm, but, just in case, I may start eating cookies directly from the box. You know, for practice.

  11. On October 23, 2011 at 1:13 am Christine said:

    Just met Torre in Melbs yesterday and got her book and I’m so stoked to read it! (Even though I now know the ending…)
    Also, will definitely have to check out “Naked, Drunk and Writing”–could spark some inspiration for the day when I actually have done enough cool stuff to write about.
    The current book I can’t put down: Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn. She’s, like, the bravest woman EVER. China in the 1940s, my friend…you have it easy!
    Christine recently posted..Postcard from the streets of Wellington

    • On October 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm Sally said:

      Christine,
      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to check it out. And, wow, China in the 1940’s? I bet you just had to cross the street to get tuberculosis back then!

  12. On October 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm Kyle said:

    When I can’t read your blog, I just sit in the corner and cry myself to sleep. Please re-attach your blogging arm and write more.
    Kyle recently posted..Life as a Minor Celebrity

    • On October 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha. Well, this is actually the preferred reaction, but apparently some people claim they can live their lives without reading my blog. Obviously, they’re in denial or something.

  13. On October 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm Candice said:

    I like your style, Sally. I gotta pick me up a copy of Torre’s book!

    Try “Annabel” by Kathleen Winter. She’s fab.

  14. On October 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm James in Phnom Penh said:

    OK. My final suggestion: Stamps are cheap to get made in China, right? Get a stamp made, simply with “Why!??!”

    Problem solved. You’re welcome…
    James in Phnom Penh recently posted..Spanish People Are Good-Looking! (And other random generalizations)

  15. On October 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm Ken C. said:

    I also was concerned about your absence, and was on the cusp of notifying the Internet authorities, but, I paused because…

    [you know what they say?]

    “How do you can do?”

    Of course, EVERYONE says that, but [great sigh of relief] I’m so glad you’ve been released by those bandits who forced you to grade their papers in exchange for cookies [did I get that right?].

    Whatever. You’re back in fine form. And, I refuse to be distracted by you touting those fancy-schmancy “book authors” and their “published books.” Except for that Torre person…I visited her blog, and she’s really funny! So, I’ll just wait around until your next post; no pressure. You are working on it, right?

    • On October 23, 2011 at 11:57 pm Sally said:

      How do you can do?
      I seriously ask myself that question everyday.
      And thanks for the concern, Ken, it’s nice to know I alarmed a few people with my absence… you know, besides my dad. 🙂

  16. On October 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm Lisa @chickybus said:

    Loved this post–really cracked me up! I teach ESL and sometimes can’t deal with the students’ writing, either. I often (try to) read incoherent sentences, some of which contain 3-5 errors. Anyway, I feel for you! 🙂

    Nice list of book recommendations! Wish I could suggest my own book (which I recently finished writing), but it’s not published yet (still trying to figure things out). I have a feeling you’d enjoy it since the first “ride” on the bus–ie, major trip–is about my experience teaching in Changsha, China! 🙂 Not sure how to put a link to the post on here (or it’s OK to), so I’ll just say that it’s my post from last week–Oct. 16th.

    PS: The best way to cope with icky grading is to have snacks nearby. Perhaps that’s where your cookies come in? For me, it’s kettle popcorn. 🙂
    Lisa @chickybus recently posted..Coming Back to Life at the Dead Sea

    • On October 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm Sally said:

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Lisa! And I saw your post on your book — how exciting! Congratulations! I will definitely be awaiting the moment when I can download it to my Kindle. Until then, I’ll be eating cookies. 🙂

  17. On October 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm Mike said:

    At home or abroad, my wife and I get confused with barn animals. Me, the pig, and she, the horse. I’m glad to know from your book review post that you confessed being a barn animal. We are not alone in this world. I am happy! 🙂
    Mike recently posted..New Kindle Being Raffled off! Come and get it!

  18. On October 25, 2011 at 1:12 am Kyle said:

    I loved Bossypants, just downloaded Torre’s book, and will happily check out the rest of your suggestions! Thanks Sally!
    Kyle recently posted..Matrimonio Espacio Riesco | Claudia y Juan Carlos

    • On October 25, 2011 at 5:18 am Sally said:

      Kyle,
      I’m sure you’ll love Torre’s book. I just hope you have better luck at putting it down than I did! I’ve also been loving all the book suggestions on your blog, too. I love reading about what people are reading!

  19. On October 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm choi kum fook said:

    Miss Sally, Teaching is not so easy as I think! Beside your blog, I am very seldom to read other writer’s blog because firstly, I do not have much time. I have to sweat blood in my work, that is rearing the new type of prawn, no more Yippy Prawn. The investors all come from Kuala Lumpur. Great pressure on me and I have to beat my brain to solve all the problems to face. Secondly,I must confess my English language, Chinese as well, are not so good, have to take a bit more time to comprehend. Thirdly, computer is often out of connection at the farm, wasted a lot of time! So pressure plus Time make me stress! Miss Sally, WHY WORRY!!!??? Ha! Ha! Stress have been released!! Good trial!!

  20. On October 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm Erik said:

    I appreciate the suggestions, but I read nothing except Unbrave Girl. When I wake up each morning, I check my RSS for a new post and if there isn’t one, I crawl back under the covers.

    No, seriously, though, I do love your blog and your writing style.

    I listened to Bossypants on audio, which she reads and nearly fell off the treadmill at the gym a number of times. I actually stopped listening to it there for all the strange looks I got. (I don’t think people understood I was listening to a book. They probably though I was crazy laughing at music…)
    Erik recently posted..Photo of the Day- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

    • On October 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm Sally said:

      Erik,
      Yes, and really the whole world SHOULD crawl back under their covers when they see no blog post from me. But, apparently, some people seem to think there are other reasons to get out of bed in the morning. (And these people would be wrong. 🙂 )
      I definitely couldn’t listen to Bossypants at the gym. It would be like a donkey stampede up in there.

  21. On October 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm Valerie Hamer said:

    Another totally brilliant read. If I could reach into your head and steal that writing ability I’d leave your cookie arm intact, promise!

    Cheers for the book ideas too.

  22. On October 27, 2011 at 2:29 am Eileen said:

    Love this. Must tweet this. =D

  23. On October 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm Megan said:

    Okay, for fiction book recs: The Hunger Games series is *fantastic*. Really. (I can send them to you if you want them for your Kindle!) And any of the Dr. Siri books by Colin Cotterill are really great mysteries. And, honestly, The Game of Thrones books are stupid, but also stupid good and stupid easy to read. (I can send those, too!)
    Megan recently posted..WTF? (What THE?! Fridays): American Tuesday Edition

  24. On October 31, 2011 at 12:48 am Ceri said:

    “If you even wash his clothes all can’t, that you have the higher GPA, how do you can do?” – Um, remind me why I want to get into TEFL again? Holy hell. I wouldn’t even know how to respond to that one with anything other than a blank stare.

    I’m terribly late replying to this… Sorry! I’ve been sooooo busy because my leaving date’s in three days, I haven’t had time to cheeck my Google Reader. But tonight I decided to just check my favourites. 🙂 I’m a bookworm so always love recommendations on aweome books. Thanks muchly!
    Ceri recently posted..8 Days to Go!

  25. On October 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm Priya said:

    So how does the grading work in China? Will you give them all F’s and then pour yourself a glass of wine? Or will you give them all A’s and then pour yourself a glass of wine?

    Thanks for the reading suggestions! Always looking for something awesome to read!

  26. On November 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm Ali said:

    I did actually buy Swept…although I bought it before I knew you had an affiliate link. So I’m sorry I won’t be able to contribute to your Black Lung treatment. If I decide to buy one of the others, I’ll come back here though!

    All I can think of when people mention Black Lung is the movie Zoolander. Hilarious nonsense.

    Glad you weren’t kidnapped by Mongolian (or any other) street bandits.
    Ali recently posted..Balinese Cooking Class in Photos

  27. On November 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm ChinaMatt said:

    Oh, the wonderful ESL essay grading conundrum. At least a quarter of my students in China failed for plagiarism (I even had a plagiarized Chinglish essay). Now the essays I grade are slightly better because they’re written by ESL students living in the US. Unfortunately, they’re so boring that I tend to have a few beers while reading them.
    ChinaMatt recently posted..Travel Cuisine

  28. On November 11, 2011 at 9:35 am Michael Hodson said:

    Books? Of what are these things that you speak?
    Michael Hodson recently posted..What’s Up with the Air Con?

  29. On November 21, 2011 at 3:39 am Kelsey said:

    This post is a great example of why you’re one of the most humorous travel bloggers out there. Seriously.

  30. On December 6, 2011 at 1:10 am Mario Lurig said:

    You already have one of my books (My Zombie Body), but if you want something short to digest, I’m doing a short-story-a-day for 30 days on my blog mariolurig.com and each story is 2-3 minutes. Enjoy!
    Mario Lurig recently posted..Winter’s Kiss (Day 11)

    • On December 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm Sally said:

      Mario,
      What a great idea! I love the idea of a 2-3 minute story everyday. I’ll have to check it out. And, yes, still need to get to reading your ebook. Unfortunately, haven’t had much time to read anything besides research essays lately. Hopefully once this semester is over I’ll actually be able to read stuff I enjoy!

Pingbacks

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