Thursday, August 5, 2010

books for school fall 2009-spring 2010

during school semesters i have no time for extracurricular reading.
it's tragic.
i've decided to include the books i read for school on the blog.
some i finished, some i didn't.

civil war - fall 2009

i was so excited for this class. i've always found the civil war fascinating.
it probably stems from my love of the movie gone with the wind.
and the dresses.
oh, those dresses!
i was sorely disappointed with the class. it was less about the civil war
and more about the politics before and after the civil war.
i hate politics.
politics just remind me that most people are liars
and men should never be in charge of anything.
we maybe spent 2 weeks talking about battles and stuff.
on the plus side, my dad went on one of his random excursions, this time to tennessee
(i can't remember why)
and brought me back a crusty old used minie bullet from the battle of murfreeboro.
good man.

a lot of politics in this book if i remember correctly.
i guess there's information, so it's useful.
but other than there i don't remember much about this book.

another book mostly about politics.
don't remember much.

this book was kind of interesting.
it included the point of views of the soldiers on both sides.
black and white.
first hand accounts by way of journal entries and personal letters.
much more readable that some of the others we read for the class.

tragically, this book was the first time i heard about "redemption."
we always study the "reconstruction" period after the civil war
(which i hate, by the way)
this describes the period after "reconstruction"
in which the country digressed because we hadn't learned anything.
it's enlightening and enraging.

i was sure to love this book.
it was short, which is always welcome in the middle of a semester.
plus, louisa may alcott wrote one of my favorite books ever
(little women)
so i was likely to enjoy it.
louisa is a kindred spirit.
i'm sure we would get along famously, were we ever to meet.
this tell of her brief experience as a civil war nurse
before she got sick and had to return home.

this book was surprisingly really good.
i really wasn't expecting it.
lots of fun little known california history
and the surprising reason california was a free state.
it wasn't a moral decision at all.
it all boiled down to money.
the goldpanners didn't want slave owners coming in
with an army of slaves
bogarting space on the rivers.
i'm trying to convince my dad to read it.

tsarist russia - fall 2009

i was excited to take this class.
i really didn't know anything about russia
except whatever history you can glean from anestasia and that it's cold.

this is what i learned in my class:
russia was, is, and will always be a hot mess.
but they built some cool building in st. petersburg.

the class was a disaster.
my teacher, who seems quite knowledgeable on the subject,
could not lecture to save her life.
i never had any idea what she was talking about.
she would jump from century to century,
topic to topic,
without any indication or explanation.
over 4 weeks of the class were conducted online
in some weirdo experimental format.
the midterm and final were open book.

also, i had to critique 5 fellow students final project before they turned it in.
i do not know who allowed those people out of high school.
they should be shot.
highlights included:
a guy who used the word expunge to describe
the removing of people from a population;
the same guy wrote, "few records persist from this era;"
another guy who compared the defects of an
academic book researching the russian exile system
to harry potter;
and there was one that i quit reading half way through as i had
no idea what she was talking about.

i guess it's okay because i got an "a" in the class.
but at the same time, it's a little depressing, because i got an "a"
but i know nothing about russian history.

this book is an exercise in torture by written word. i didn't finish. it's very academic. i'm sure it would prove quite useful if you were doing a very intense research project on the russian exile system. but i wasn't. apparently this author isn't familiar with the whole idea that if your book isn't readable, people won't read it, no matter how much correct information you have inside.
david mccullough. look him up.

i started crime and punishment before the beginning of the semester in attempt to acquaint myself with russian culture and what not. i didn't finish. the only thing i could think while reading it was, "russians are crazy and their conversations don't make sense." i have no intention of going back to finish it. we had to read fathers and sons for the class. and the whole time i kept thinking, "russians are crazy and their conversations don't make sense." i didn't finish fathers and sons either, which is pretty pathetic because it's insanely short.
i don't think i will ever attempt to read a russian novel again.

Colonial Americas - Spring 2010

i was so excited when i saw we were reading this book.
i've been wanting to read it since i saw amazing grace.
(great movie)
so interesting. what an amazing life!

i actually enjoyed this book, which surprised me.
it's the story of the spanish conquest of the americas from the aztec point of view.
the spanish were pretty brutal. and their colonial policies were insane!
this book intensified my desire to go explore ruins in places like
peru and guatamala.

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