Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

Review: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie — April 23, 2014

Review: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

When Amazon started e-mailing me a book about picking out a free book every month before anyone else could buy it on Kindle, I figured “why not?” But I still didn’t get in a hurry to read any of the books I’ve been selecting.

Last week, I decided to give Hidden by Catherine McKenzie a try. I probably read a description of the book when I chose it, but I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. The prologue, which ends with the perspective character’s death, totally hooked me in.

The Goodreads summary says:

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.

Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

So, there’s death, a couple of different love affairs, and an interesting set of shifting perspectives between a dead man, his wife, and his girlfriend. It took me a few minutes to get used to the shifting points of view, especially when Jeff’s perspective starting coming through. Where was he speaking from? How was he able to share his story?

To say that shift was a bit jarring is an understatement, but after I got about halfway through the book, it seemed to feel right. However, his perspective is also kind of what ruined the book for me.

I was all set up to love this book until the very last chapter. I could sympathize with both Tish and Claire. While the book was often sad, I enjoyed (doesn’t that sound sick?) watching both of their stories unfold, overlap, and then go their separate ways. Tish and Claire were so realistic, like I could walk out my front door and meet either one of them for dinner or drinks. It’s not often that I feel that way about characters, so these two really worked for me.

But the final chapter ruined it for me, and I won’t explain why here because, in the words of River Song, *spoilers.*

In short, this was a good book. It was great to read and I really enjoyed it, but I was ultimately dissatisfied by the end. I’m glad I didn’t pay anything for this, but I definitely would not be disappointed if I had!


Review: Feminist Rhetorical Practices by Royster and Kirsch — April 14, 2014

Review: Feminist Rhetorical Practices by Royster and Kirsch

I started reading Jacqueline Jones Royster and Gesa E. Kirsch’s Feminist Historical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies as it was selected for March/April by Goodreads Comp/Rhet Reading Group. This is my first time reading along with the club and attempting to participating, but unfortunately there hasn’t been much discussion happening. If you’re interested, you can (and should) check out the club!

I really enjoyed reading FHP, in part because it’s very different than most of the scholarly work I select on my own. That being said, I am seeing many connections between the practices that Royster and Kirsch discuss and my own strategies for research. It has certainly caused me to think more about where feminist research methods come into play and how I can connect those to my own work. Continue reading

Prepping for #4C15: Innovating Rubrics? — April 9, 2014

Prepping for #4C15: Innovating Rubrics?

If you’re a comp/rhet researcher or scholar who hasn’t yet seen the CFP for 2015 CCCC, fear not! There’s still time to get your proposal gathered and submitted (deadline is May 19 at 11:59pm CST for online submission; postmarked by May 12, 2014 for snail mail submission — this is a recent update, not the same as listed on the CFP I linked to!).

I’m really digging the plans for the next conference, and I will probably find a way to go even if I don’t get to present. Joyce Locke Carter, the 2015 Program Chair, has put out an inviting plan for the theme Risk and Reward, and innovation is a key part of the CFP.

I’ve been dwelling on my own proposal since #4C14 wrapped up by thinking a lot about innovation and what exactly that means for me as an instructor of FYC courses. I already see myself as a reflective practitioner, and in some ways that leads naturally into also being an “innovative” practitioner. But what exactly am I innovating? Continue reading

#AdjunctChat Topic Apr 8 ~ Adjuncts Doing Research (with @comprof1) — April 7, 2014

#AdjunctChat Topic Apr 8 ~ Adjuncts Doing Research (with @comprof1)

If you are an adjunct, FT-NTT employee at university, or are someone in higher ed invested in the welfare of adjuncts, you should check out #AdjunctChat!


Twitter_Chat The topic for the #AdjunctChat on Tuesday, April 1 is:

Adjuncts Doing Research

The chat will be facilitated by Virginia Yonkers @comprof1.

Background thinking, readings, and questions for today’s chat may be found at @comprof1‘s posting Adjuncts doing research Adjunctchat April 8 .

All are welcome to #AdjunctChat on Tuesday, April 8, from 4:00-5:00pm EDT.

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Stating Your Teaching Philosophy: How Do We Do it? — April 3, 2014

Stating Your Teaching Philosophy: How Do We Do it?

teaching philosophyOver the past three years or so, my teaching philosophy has changed and developed based on my experiences in the classroom, my scholarly research interests, and my reflecting on both of these aspects of my life. I’m fairly confident in my beliefs of what makes an effective composition instructor and why I make the pedagogical decisions that I do.

I just have trouble articulating those in a concise way in a typed document.

In grad school, we spent a lot of time discussing teaching philosophies in a couple of my classes. I have drafts that show, really, just how much my philosophies (and abilities to state those philosophies) have progressed since the first and second semester of graduate school. I still remember some of the advice and feedback I got on those earlier versions: make yourself more present, good use of examples, “coaching” might be misread or misinterpreted. Continue reading