Howdy, all! Welcome to a brand new endeavor that I’m super, super excited to get started. For those of you who jumped here from Book Maven’s Blog, I’m so glad you made your way here and I hope you enjoy something of a slightly different flavor. For those of you who are joining me brand new, hello and my name is Chelsea! You’ll find much more about me on the About page, but for now just let me say that I’m a blogger who has been hosting Book Maven’s Blog for a few years now, but some recent life developments have me eager to try something new – a project I’ve been mulling over for a while now.
What Happened, and How it Spawned These Crazy Thoughts
When I graduated in December, I was one of those graduates lucky enough to find a job almost right away. I immediately went to work full time for a local American Family Insurance agency, working at the front desk and studying for my insurance license. Not only that, but I was also accepted in to a master’s program at Emporia State University for my library science degree. It’s a distance program, allowing me to work and live in Lawrence while taking my classes in Overland Park. It’s an amazing program, and I’m totally loving it.
Anyway, because my masters is a two year program, I committed to being with my boss for the next two years. He was on board, January rolled around, and grown up life began in earnest. Flash forward to February, and suddenly things aren’t as smooth sailing as they were panning out to be. Staff changes and slower business and, bobs your uncle, I’m back in the job hunt again. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t just dislike this job. I hated this job. I don’t mind working full time. I’ve worked full time in the past and been successful. But this time, in the insurance business, it just wasn’t working for me. However, unhappy is better than broke, so I’m still really bummed and out and just a little bit more than stressed that my job is gone and we are now officially a one-income household.
Being the kind of person I am, I don’t usually handle major change well. Especially when it happens quickly, and the turn around on this one has been whiplash inducing. But I’m trying to look on the bright side: my parents said they will help when they can, my student loan money should be coming in soon, and at least the reason I was let go had nothing to do with my job performance. Plus, I’ve been able to get all caught on up Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, and done a partial Gilmore Girls re-watching marathon, much to ITGuy’s chagrin. And now, I’ve got this new project to give me some structure, so I’m actually a little excited to see what this next phase of life means!
The Diagnosis: Unhappiness; Unease; a mild case of wanderlust accompanied by strong feelings of being lost; a case of the unemployeds with underlying symptoms of fear.
The Prescription: Reading, closely and purposefully. Daily, more than once whenever possible. Take the great classics, wash down with a swig of global literature, and take a play or two for pain.
Before I go much further, I must give full credit and a shout-out to Allie at A Literary Odyssey, a blog I discovered right around the time I was laid off, and whose example and journey inspired me to try something like this. My list and her list may not be the same, and may have been arrived at in different ways, but nevertheless the influence she has unknowingly had cannot be denied!
Moving on, I’m sure you’re tired of the vague and ready for the specifics! As a way to get my bearings and keep myself sane as I face unemployment and all the challenges that will bring, I’ve decided to read my way through the classics of literature*. This list derives from three main sources: UCA’s Masters in English Literature Reading List, the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels list, and the Telegraph’s 110 Best Books, however it had been revised to include more titles from some authors, fewer titles from others, and some have been eliminated completely. I tried to give attention to a mix between fiction, poetry, and drama, as well as to male and female authors, but I’ll be honest – a large part of the decision making process was a matter of the things I really wanted to be sure I read in the next two years. My goal is to read 150 of the most classc books by the time I complete my masters degree in the December of 2013. I’d like to do at least two-three posts a book, and I also have plans to do features on other books I’m reading/reading for my master’s degree, but we’ll have to see how it all goes! Its a tall order, but I’m confident that, job or no job, come what may with school and my impending wedding, that this will be a hard journey worth taking. I just hope to see you along the way, and feel free to join me in the reading if you feel like you need your own good dose of literary medicine!
*For the record, I’m using Random House Dictionary definition of a classic as it pertains to literature: “an author or a literary work of the first rank, especially one of demonstrably enduring quality”. And while I realize that using this term can get all kinds of panties in a twist, my use of it should be considered nominative, not argumentative.