Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm coming back...I promise!

Hang in there with is that time, again: Production.

I will update soon!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes -- Review

Hi, everyone. I have posted my review of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes over at my WordPress blog, The Friendly Reader. Visit if you are interested!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Boring Books

I love to read. All of you know that. But I really hate it when I buy a book and then struggle to get through it!

I titled this post "Boring Books" because sometimes there are just really boring books. Of course, the book I hate could be the book you love. And that is great! But I usually don't force myself to finish something that I don't like, unless it is for school or a book club.

Right now, I am reading Peter Nimble, a children's book that has received great reviews and is loved by some people that I really respect. Usually, I agree with the books chosen as favorites by these particular people and friends...but not this time. It isn't that the book is horrible, but I just cannot connect with it at all. I don't really feel anything for the characters--and that is a MUST for me. The book does have some interesting literary relationships with great classics...but it is all surface (in my opinion, anyway).

Still, I am going to finish it. Then, I will write the review of it on The Friendly Reader.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"The Passion of Miss Augusta," a documentary by Robert Clem

Hi, everyone! You may remember that I participated in the filming of a documentary a while back. I was a talking head for Robert Clem's documentary about Augusta Evans Wilson, the Alabama author I wrote about in Alabama Heritage a while back. In any case, he has provided a fun clip of the film (you will see a very tired--i.e. shortly after Casey died--me in the first few minutes). We filmed my segments in the historic Gorgas House on the University of Alabama campus:

Mr. Clem is trying to raise money to complete the film. He has funding from National and Alabama Humanities foundations, but films are so expensive! If you are interested in helping, please visit this site:

The Passion of Miss Augusta

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A slight change to "Susie's Blog"...

Hi, everyone! There will be slight change in content on this blog. I am experimenting with the WordPress platform for work, so I have decided to start a new blog over there. I will continue to blog on this site--but only personal posts about life, news, events, etc. The new blog at WordPress will be for my book reviews only.

So, you can go over to my new blog at WordPress: The Friendly Reader! I really like WordPress so far, but there are things I like about Blogger, too. So, like I said, this personal blog will continue! But, if you come here for book discussion/reviews, then definitely subscribe to The Friendly Reader. I have placed an E-mail subscription option on the page, and I hope you will stop by! As you will see, the blog also has a link to a Twitter feed, so you can join that too, if you want! The first review should be up in a couple of days.

Also, I have another Blogger blog just for Victorian literature discussion and book reviews, "One Word More", and another about Augusta Webster (though it doesn't have any content yet) called "Destined with the Mission."

Be warned, however: I don't update it as often as I would like!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dear Florida Sen. J. D. Alexander: You should be ashamed.

You are a horrible blot on the already suffering  political system in play. Your bully politics aimed towards the University of South Florida brings shame upon you. You are playing with students' and educators' futures. You are trying to disable a thriving source of employment--the third largest in Tampa.

I only attended USF for one year of PhD studies, but I loved every minute. My professors were and are amazing. Experiencing their talent and dedication for a single year did more for me than most of my years of education combined. I had the privilege of being both a student and an educator while I was there--and it changed me for the better. The memories I have of my former students still inspire me six years after having left the campus. They were amazing and hard working. Their futures give me hope.

I also have a deep love and loyalty for USF, something I had never felt for a school before attending there. For you, Alexander, to push for 58 percent of their budget to be cut is an outrage--especially because you are only doing it in revenge. Everyone understands that cuts will be made statewide, but to singe USF out as part of a vendetta because they dared to disagree with you and fired one of your friends...well, that just proves you are unfit to represent anyone.

NOTE: For those of you who are unfamiliar with what is going on, please see today's Tampa Tribune article:  Sen. J. D. Alexander Plans Mayhem for USF.  OR see: PolitiFact Florida: Understanding the USF Budget Battle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ahh...Valentine's Day: My Love/Hate Relationship

I really cannot stand the "holiday" that is Valentine's Day. I mean, I really don't want stuffed animals or balloons or cheesy cards. I will never turn down chocolate, however.

The holiday is over-hyped and rather dull, and on top of all of that you have to fight to get into a restaurant because this is the "only" day that you must insist on being taken out for a nice dinner.

Oh, well. I guess some people really like it...but it never has been for me.

On the other hand, I do believe that we should celebrate love and not wait around for a designated day of the year to express it in material ways. So, I have a love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day.

Still, in the hopes that I could get into this holiday a bit more, I decided to try to list the five most romantic couples from literature:

1. Margaret Hale and John Thornton (from Gaskell's North and South).

2. Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester (from Bronte's Jane Eyre).

3. Elizabeth Middleton and Nathaniel Bonner (from Donati's Into the Wilderness).

4. Jo March and Friedrich "Fritz" Bhaer (from Alcott's Little Women).

5. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy (from Austen's Pride and Prejudice).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another GreatBook Blog!

I just came across a really wonderful book blog called The Desperate Reader. I found it as I looked for information about Anthony Trollope's The Small House at Allington. (I am thinking of using it instead of Doctor Thorne in my final chapter.) In any case, stop by and check it out!

Madison is not a party girl.

This is what she looked like at 7:15 on Friday night.

Completely exhausted after two walks.  :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mullet Toss

DEADLIEST THROW - Inside the Flora-Bama Interstate Mullet Toss from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.

I have never seen this done, but my intern told me about it (not out of the blue, I might add...we are fact checking an article about the gulf coast, and it mentions the "Flora-Bama Mullet Toss." These people are hilarious!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

It's a girl!

No, I am not pregnant, of course! But, we finally broke down and adopted a new dog. It has been quite a journey, but this is Madison. She is the newest love of our lives! Such a sweet and gentle dog.

I had mixed feelings about getting another dog, especially after it was so hard on me to lose Casey. But I found myself wanting one more and more...esp.when my car was broken into a couple of weeks ago! And, dad has really wanted another dog, and it is so good for him to have one around.

I had already started looking for a new dog, but I had to be very selective. We wanted to adopt or rescue a dog, so I have been checking the PetFinder site for a while. There were some great dogs, but many of them had issues that I just couldn't take a chance on when it came to dad. Basically, we needed another dog like Casey. I knew I didn't want a puppy, but I didn't want to bring in an elderly dog either, as we have already been through so much with Casey. I searched and searched, trying to find a dog that was calm and gentle, good on a leash, good around people and other animals (for when we walk), etc. Well, I found Madison on Monday afternoon. By Monday night, I had set up an appointment with Madison's SPCA foster mom, and mom and I met her on Tuesday night. Shannon, Madison's mom, let us take her that night for a trial. We had the home check today and signed the final papers. So, it is now official! And it has been killing me not to announce it earlier!

Madison is super gentle and sweet. She is just lovely. It is taking her a while to settle in, because she is so shy and she has been shuffled around so much. But she is perfect for us. Actually, for a rescue dog, we know a lot about her background--and that always helps.

So, here we go! Casey was the joy of my life, but I know that he would love Madison. In fact, they probably would have been great friends. Welcome to your new home, Madison!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"Charlie bit me!": Or, my obsession with Charles Dickens

No, my title of today's post isn't about the crazy YouTube video (though it is oddly appropriate that the children in it are British, I think).  No, today is Charles Dickens's 200th birthday!!! Happy Birthday to my favorite dead author lover/husband/etc. We have a sick and fantastic relationship, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!!


As you know, I was "bitten" by the Charles Dickens bug in my first year of PhD studies in Florida. I've already posted so much on this blog about Charles Dickens, so I won't do it again. I just will use this space to discuss my love for his work--and I do love it.

Dickens and I wouldn't have gotten along too well in life, had we known one another. This is for various reasons, most of which have to do with his crazy relationship with women. But as far as an artist and writer...well, for me, there isn't anyone better. He feeds something in me, and there is no other author who makes me so passionate, so enraged, so emotional as Dickens does. He has everything in his work that transcends time and that speaks to his own time. He makes use of the western cannon while at the same time negates the importance of other traditions. His point of view isn't always perfect, but his presentation almost always is. His work presents to us the human condition in a nineteenth-century way, yet in it we find ourselves and our same problems. No, I wouldn't want to teach some of his values to my own children, but if I could teach myself or any potential children I had to write like

So: Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens. Thank you for existing and for making me feel. I may not always feel comfortable when reading your work, but I then I wouldn't think either. Cheers, my beloved author.

For more words about why people love Dickens, see:  The Dickens Blog.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Finally...a weekend!

First of all, I want to say that I have the best family in the world. Jessica, that was the sweetest thing to offer me the plane ticket to go see Elizabeth. If her treatments were under control and I wasn't two weeks behind schedule in production, I would take you up on the offer. Thank you, and I love you.

Friday ended a very long thirteen days of working. I was exhausted, but I needed something to get me out of the work mode. Jeff (my cousin) and I (along with his friend, Katie) went to see The Woman in Black. I LOVED IT!! The film is beautifully shot and scary without too much gore. Amy (at I Ponder the Page) and I had a similar experience, I think, because I, too, had so much fun watching the teenagers around me. They screamed and jumped so much! Anyway, it was exactly what I needed. I love a good Victorian ghost story, and this one didn't disappoint.

On Saturday, I slept a good bit and read. I just finished The Servants' Quarters by Lynn Freed.

This is one of those books that I loved for its quietness and meaning. Essentially, the author gives us a retelling of a mixture between "Beauty and the Beast" and Jane Eyre's relationship with Rochester (also a recasting of "Beauty and the Beast" in some respects, even though Jane says she is plain). The book takes place in South Africa after WWII. The heroine is a young girl who comes of age under the watchful eye of a manor owner, Mr. Harding. It is sad and beautiful...and it is another discount book I found in Books-a-Million. I often have a lot of luck finding unusual books in the bargain sections, and I am so glad I found this one. It is a short and easy read, so check it out if you can. (New York Times Book Review Here)

Yesterday, I read a lot and watched the Super Bowl...well, up through Madonna's awesome halftime show, anyway! I really enjoyed it and loved the homage paid to Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra! Anyway, that is about it for the weekend. I am trying to catch up on some work now...and I need to get back to business on the dissertation, too!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A change of atmosphere

I have been working for almost twelve straight days. True, I was technically "off" last Wednesday, but once I got my mom home from her medical procedure (all went well, thank goodness), I worked at home. So, today, I was trying my best to concentrate and read galleys (VERY important stage...more errors caught the better), but it just wasn't happening. I felt like the walls of my office were closing in on me.

I am sure that it is true of all office situations, but working with words has always required the right atmosphere for the right time--at least, for me it does. Most of the time, I am fine editing in my office. But on a day like today, when I have been at it for so long, I just needed something different--otherwise, there really was no point.

So, I decided to spend half the day at the coffee shop. At first, I thought that I would go to the library coffee shop on campus, but then I remembered that the tables are like bar tables (high off of the ground), and that is no good for me! So, I ended up at Barnes and Noble instead. And you know what? It was great! I finished all of my editing and even added in everyone else's edits to the master copy! (I know that sounds like a foreign language, but trust me when I say that this usually takes a really long time because I feel like my head is spinning trying to get through each reader copy to add them to the master copy.)

I am grateful that I can do this on occasion. Like I said, usually I am fine in the office...I have a beautiful and very large office (an old bedroom). But, I just needed a fresh space (and the iced mocha didn't hurt, either).

So, now I feel productive and like I can finish the week strong tomorrow. Thank you to my coworkers for understanding!!

About our magazine...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The book I am so excited to read?

I have been waiting so long for this to come out! So, as soon as I manage to buy and copy and read it, I will definitely be posting a review. **EXCITED**