Ah… the charming chime of your 6am alarm clock, making sure you are on your way to first period, or your 7:30am chem class (what were you thinking in scheduling that!?).
Perhaps your mornings would be a little less grouchy if you were on your way to study the science of Hogwarts or the mythical language of Middle-Earth. With the rising cost of education, you can’t help but think WTF to the following classes but… we’re all secretly jealous we didn’t sign up for these literary electives:
1) A New Look at American Culture with The Hunger Games
This class, offered at American University, explores the literary correlation between Panem, the fictional backdrop of The Hunger Games, and the complex American Society. It’s already super easy to see the comparison between some of our red carpet soirees or high fashion runways (Miss Universe, anyone?) and the glamorous life of Panem’s Capitol.
I wonder if they offer class debate on Team Gale or Team Peeta (and what about #TeamKatniss… she don’t need no man).
2) The Vampire in Literature and Cinema
Interested in literary and mythological comparisons of Dracula vs. Nosferatu (and maybe the sparkly Edward Cullen)? Then sign up for this class at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Let’s hope the class is offered during the daytime… and not after dusk… in a basement… or in a batty church belfry.
3) What if Harry Potter is Real?
First of, let’s clear this up–Harry Potter is real, and all our Hogwarts acceptance letter owls are just a bit delayed. But for the faint of heart or non-believer, head on over to Appalachian State University to discuss some actually very compelling questions: “Who decides what history is? Who decides how it is used or mis-used? How does this use or misuse affect us?” etc.
But, like I said, I’ll see you all in Diagon Alley when the post office clears up this drawn out owl delivery kerfuffle.
4) The Science of Harry Potter
5) The Science of Superheroes
University of California, Irvine offered a class exploring the “science” of gamma rays and spidey senses. They also explored what kind of superheroes might be imagined with today’s scientific knowledge. Maybe… Counter Global Warming Man, or A Million YouTube Views in a Minute Woman?
I’d also love to assume the professor was a strong-jawed, horn-rimmed glasses donner who mysteriously disappeared at the sign of trouble.
6) Mother Goose to Mash Ups
If you ever wondered any of the following–“Why did the London Bridge fall down? Is Rub-a-dub-dub really about bath time? Why didn’t an old man live in a shoe?– then this Occidental College class would be for you.
Any class where a paper topic could be Together Again: An analytical analysis of society, race, and Humpty Dumpty is a winner in our book.
7) Far Side Entomology
“If students can laugh about bugs, maybe they won’t squash them,” Professor Michael Burgett says on his class combining the study of bugs with the beloved comics. Burgett’s students at Oregon State University learn science and appreciation of Entomology while laughing along the way – a decisively effective learning tool.
8) Elvish, the language of Lord of the Rings
Sevig thû úan.
If you had taken this class at University of Wisconsin you’d know I insulted you saying “you smell like a monster” and would have an appropriate response like “go kiss an orc!” (Ego, mibo orch of course).
This class was taught by linguist David Salo, the actual person behind the languages for the films. How cool is that!?
eNoters! We are so close to springtime!
Birds, bees, apple trees, and sunscreen. It’s almost in our reach. But when the sun comes back, we lose our (completely viable) excuse to stay in after school/work… with our fuzzy slippers & snowflake jammies, bingeing on Netflix or absorbed in a book all night.
Let’s be clear: coming from an introvert, I never condemn these practices any time of year. But the other people of the world expect, yah know, some sort of human contact every now and then. *sigh*
So, let’s take advantage of the coming months’ gift of socially acceptable pajama-donning YOU time. Here’s some great winter-themed reads to keep you cozied up inside:
1) Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
This “travelouge” from Bill Bryson is a light-hearted, humorous, and endearing tale of a first-hand adventure of the Appalachian Trail. Chock-full of interesting characters and almost a stream of conscious commentary, it will keep you laughing out loud or flipping pages.
You’ll either want to get out and hike yourself, or stay in your reading nook. Either way – contentment achieved.
Not to be confused with the catchy Disney flick, Frozen is the first book in a YA fantastical fiction series is about a mystical, post-apocalyptic world covered in ice (yeesh… I got chills typing that).
You’ll follow along with the protagonist, Nat, as she tried to find a non-frozen haven. Therapeutic, right?
3) Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Obviously a classic, but the Chronicles of Narnia stand the test of time as a wonderful winter-themed read to take you away on an adventure. Author C.S. Lewis sets the stage for conquering the Ice Queen and restoring peace & tranquility (and green things!) to Narnia.
I personally keep my copy nearby all winter for a quick escape into the wardrobe of Spare Oom.
4) Game of Thrones series
If you haven’t been told by a Stark “winter is coming” a time or two (or twenty), then you’re missing out. These medieval fantasy masterpieces have it all: romance, deceit, politics, triumph, endless twists, and dragons. Rawr.
Pro tip: The audiobooks are a wonderful way to digest the complex characters and plots. Narrated by the legendary Roy Dotrice, they are sure to keep you on your toes (and… ears?) for many, many hours.
5) Life As We Knew It
This novel is told through the diary of 16-year old protagonist, Miranda, as a meteor striking the moon causes the world to dive into natural disasters and extreme temperature changes. Life As We Knew It kick starts a best-selling series as Miranda copes with this new, unexpected world.
Sip empathetically on your hot chocolate as snowpocalypse, tornadoes, and tsunamis run rampant.
6) The Golden Compass
Another classic, the Golden Compass is a go-to during winter. Lyra is forced to chase after a mysterious “particle” dust in the Arctic; the dust is rumored to be able to unite the universe. You and Lyra will face shape-shifting soul creatures (Daemons), dimensional worlds, and armored polar bears (of course).
This high-rated graphic novel is a coming of age tale involving first love, budding (and unappreciated) creativity, and loss. The artwork of the graphic novel is as beautiful as the storyline, and might be a good change of pace from traditional novels.
It is a monster of a book (clocking in at 600 pages), but that just means the relatable characters and frosty adventure will keep your fuzzy-feelings around that much longer.
Let’s hear from you: what books help you get through the winter months?
…and the reviewers who actually read them.
1. People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It
There are actually quite a few Goodreads reviews of this one, and it seems to generate love-hate (but mostly hate) reactions:
Anita Dalton rated it 1 of 5 stars
Unusual beliefs make the world more interesting. But there are times when bad, bad writing combine with bad, dangerous information, and I am left with nothing but snark. If Penn Jillette read this book, he would s#@* blood.
Heather rated it 5 of 5 starsAnyone with an open mind should explore the pages of this non-fiction journey. It’ll make you think about things that you wouldn’t naturally consider. I loaned this to a co-worker and haven’t seen it since!
Maybe the spirits took it?
2. How to Avoid Huge Ships
The kicker with this one is that it’s labeled as the “Second Edition.” It’s hard to imagine what the first edition might have left out. Unsurprisingly, Poets & Writers hailed it as the “worst book ever” back in 2011, despite its $131 price tag and huge underground following. They also rounded up some of its snarkiest Amazon reviews, which are well worth a read:
I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer’s other excellent books: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational. After reading them I haven’t been hit by anything bigger than a diesel bus. Thanks, captain!
Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn’t find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined.
Well, no. That title probably goes to this…
However, it is possibly the worst cover of a classic novel ever published.
(Wait, are you saying Henry James’ 1891 novel The Turn of the Screw isn’t actually about screws?!)
No. It’s not about screws.
We’ll let you be the judge: here are quite possibly the worst covers for classics ever.
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