Due to the gargantuan quantity of work I have to do this winter, the book club will resume in March. In the coming weeks, I have to read and translate quite a bit of Old English and in addition to translations and essays, will be attempting to write a feature-length screenplay in a very short period of time. Sorry (to the few that actually read this blog) everyone!
This week, we'll be reading The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin. The link to the newsletter can be found here.
Just as I was feeling like it might be time to give up this resolution, I remembered that I can do this and will do my best to continue to pick interest reads. This week, we're delving into a nice, short, relevant work of cultural theory dealing with art and machines and how modernisation changes how we can view and access art. Very cool.
Last week was Twelfth Night week. Here's a quote from a review for our show here in Oxford:
"Arguably, the beauty of the Shakespearean cannon is its ability to speak to us using the language of 500 years ago but in terms we understand, in settings we can relate to, and with layers of meaning that peel open only for us to peek in. Taylor’s production recognises all that, and more."
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
WEEK 3: JAN. 15-21
Due to an overwhelmingly busy week ahead of me, I will not be reading for the book club this week, but rather performing in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night here at Oxford, so if you'd like some thing to read, you may read Twelfth Night.
Last week I read Landskipping by Anna Pavord. It was a lovely way to get back into a British mindset, as Pavord writes about British landscape and how we relate to it in a deeply insightful way. Last summer, I went on a Stanford seminar entitled Language, Landscape, and Identity and traipsed all through the English and Welsh countryside and towns drawing connections between the land, language, and identity of the Anglo-Saxons. Now, I feel I am on my own journey of realising that I am profoundly moved and deeply drawn to the the English landscape, and am eager to explore more of it this ter
This upcoming week, I'll be reading Landskipping by Anna Pavord and invite you to join me in doing so. View the newsletter here and subscribe by filling out the form to the right.
Last week, I read You Can Do Anything George Anders. I’m en route back to the University of Oxford as I write this, so it is only fitting that I highlight a few of the takeaways from Anders’ book. First of all, there is no shame in being a humanities major. I know that many people out there are humanities majors (myself included), but I always feel like I have to defend myself at Stanford (a hub for techies and a university populated largely with engineering, computer science, and social sciences majors). However, being a minority at Stanford as an English major, I get dug in. I get defensive. I feel a rebel with a cause. I feel it is my duty to argue for the value of a liberal arts education. And while Anders validates and explicates the importance of a liberal arts degree, he also breaks down the so-called barrier between the arts and sciences and encourages his readers to look at where their humanities degrees and the tech sector intersect. He called me out for my stubborn, dead-set ways and inspired me to begin looking for opportunities where my critical thinking skills, eagerness to learn, versatility and adaptability, and story-telling skills might be in needed in fields other than publishing and entertainment. He encourages humanities majors to tell their stories. I giggled when I read that and thought to myself, “Hm, I can do that. It’s sorta what I do.” I made a note in the margins at one point. The note read: “Be an intellectual, and be an opportunity-seeking dare-devil.” I like that. What are we waiting for? Let’s go for it this year. Dream big, fail hard, and never give up. We are the humanists, the people that thrive “where feelings matter” (p. 5). [A nice follow-up read might be anything by Brene Brown, a fabulous author, researcher, and champion of doing hard things and supporting the importance of feelings.]
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My goal for the year is to read, read, read, and write, write, write. If you're looking for a resolution that doesn't involve dieting or selling your soul to Soul Cycle or dropping everything and taking to the great outdoors in full Cheryl Strayed and Chris McCandless fashion, perhaps you'd like to join me in reading what is certain to be an odd, interesting, and intellectually stimulating collection of books. My resolution is to read one book for fun every week (although longer books will be allowed two week reading schedules). Subscribe to the newsletter to the right, and welcome to The Daily Hayley.
WEEK 1: JAN. 1-7TH
You Can Do Anything by George Anders
This is the perfect book to set the stage for a year of bettering yourself and embracing the importance of the non-digital pass-time of reading. In an age of technology, the humanities are more important than ever before, so join me in reading a book designed to soothe the anxieties of every ambitious, but discouraged humanities major... written by a Stanford graduate, of course.