books recently read - jan/feb 2023

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

The Leopard by Guiseppe di Lampedusa

Chevy in the Hole by Kelsey Ronan

The Future is Analog by David Sax 

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Midlife by Kieran Setiya

The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan

books recently read - nov/dec 2022

Ancient Sorceries by Algernon Blackwood 

The Twilight World by Werner Herzog

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Germinal by Emile Zola

books recently read - jul/aug 2022

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins

Remainder by Tom McCarthy 

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

The Employees by Olga Ravn

The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is by Justin E.H. Smith

The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch

books recently read - may/jun 2022

Ground Truth by Mark L. Hineline

The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

Summerwater by Sarah Moss 

Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins

rejected proposal for MLA 2023: Issues of Adaptation in Post-Crisis English

The Summer 2021 MLA Newsletter opened with the following question: “Where Have All the Majors Gone?” A subsequent article noted that, from 2009 to 2019, “the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded across all subjects in the discipline fell by 29%.” The article provided plenty of additional data related to the above question, observing that declines in awarded English degrees is, “particularly troubling.” However, what departments might do to reverse this trend remains “unclear.” As the former chair of an English department that no longer exists and as a tenured faculty member in a program on borrowed time, I want to suggest that maybe there is no reversing this trend, that perhaps we need to consider a different question: “What now?”

Such a suggestion and consideration come from the experience and knowledge that the development of unique and in-demand courses, the diversification of teaching appointments, concerted efforts toward enrollment management, and an active and visible presence at every campus event did not prevent the dissolution of my department. And I worry that such actions are unlikely to stop the end of others. So, much as conversations about climate change have moved from prevention to adaptation, similar discussions are overdue in our field. In therefore drawing upon recent, relevant scholarship on the precarious position of English (broadly construed) within higher education, I hope to highlight and invite testaments of disciplinary survival and to identify the coffins to which we cling while facing our future.

books recently read - jan/feb 2022

The Midwest Survival Guide by Charlie Berens

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Leaving The Atocha Station by Ben Lerner 

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

The City & the City by China Mieville

At the End of the World by Lawrence Millman

Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty by W.L. Rusho

Outside Lies Magic by John P. Stilgoe

After Cooling by Eric Dean Wilson

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

books recently read - nov/dec 2021

The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt 

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett 

The Last by Hanna Jameson

Subprime Attention Crisis by Tim Hwang

Futureproof by Kevin Roose 

Amazon Unbound by Brad Stone

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells 

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells 

books recently read - sep/oct 2021

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green 

Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Wall by John Lanchester

The Complete Mushroom Hunter by Gary Lincoff

Fulfillment by Alec MacGillis

Inconspicuous Consumption by Tatiana Schlossberg 

Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier

Stoner by John Williams