Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

Top Ten Tuesday: Never Have I Ever — March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Never Have I Ever

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is pretty fun: what popular authors have you never read? This is the first time in a while that I’ve participated in the weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s hard for me to think of authors that I haven’t read. My brain immediately jumped to those authors who I have limited familiarity with (Jane Austen, anyone?). So I went to this list of Popular Authors on Goodreads.


So here we have it: Ten Authors I’ve Never Read. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in 2013 — December 31, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in 2013

Wow. I can’t believe 2013 is over (fewer than 12 hours left!) and 2014 is about to begin.

This year has been a little all over the place: lots of changes, lots of ups and downs.

But we’ll save that post for later. Instead, here are the Top Nine* Books I Read in 2013.



If you aren’t familiar with Top Ten Tuesday, check out the weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish by clicking on the image above.

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR — December 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR

PSST: While you’re here, be sure to go VOTE in my giveaway poll! I wanna know what you guys wanna get!

It’s Tuesday again!

I keep forgetting because I didn’t have to go to school today. No finals, no classes. Wooooo!!!

I did do a lot of work in my favorite coffee shop, though, so it wasn’t like I real day off. I graded seven research papers, so I’m pretty pleased with myself. Only seven more to go!

But more exciting than the grading I did today is that it’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday post!


This week, the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish want to know what’s on our To-Be-Read list for winter.

I know there’s really no chance I’ll get through all ten of these, here are the Top 10 I’d devour in a perfect world full of long breaks.

10. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

I love love love Westerfeld’s Uglies series, and I even enjoyed his novella Stupid Perfect World. Of course I’m gonna need to read this.

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth

I saw the preview for the movie when I went to see Catching Fire. And since I prefer to read books before seeing the movie, I guess I should read it!

8. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

People keep recommending this book to me. I hope I like it!

7. Fahreneit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I loved Ray Bradbury so much, but I’m a little surprised that I haven’t read this book yet. It’s time to get on it!

6. Ettiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

I’ve been seeing this book pop up in various blogs, and I’m fascinated by it! I just need to acquire it, now. 🙂

5. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

I bought this over the summer because Dreiser and I share roots in Terre Haute, Indiana. I had lots of classes in Dreiser Hall, but I’ve never actually read this book. It’s probably about time.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’ve started a couple of books by Green but never finished them. I got TFIOS for $3 on Kindle during a pre-Black Friday Deal (or something), and I’m hoping it’ll be the one that finally gets me hooked. Plus he’s from Indiana!

3. What The Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

Nothing like a little professional development over break!

2. Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield

I was going to read this after Joyland, but I went with MaddAddam instead because I needed a break from ghost stories.

1. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood.

This one is almost cheating, because I’ve technically already started it. But I’m only 100-something pages in, so I’m including it here because it’s going to be read. I’m just milking it a little bit because I love this series so much!

Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Thankful For — December 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Thankful For

I’m honestly not surprised I’m running a week behind. Last week was basically 100 percent chaos, and even though I posted last Tuesday, I never wrote my Top Ten Tuesday post.

But it doesn’t have to be the week of Thanksgiving to be thankful, does it?

Not familiar with Top Ten Tuesday? Be sure to stop by The Broke and The Bookish, who runs the meme, to see what’s officially on the docket today. 🙂

10. Knowing How to Break Mechanical Rules.

I cringed a little bit when I read my title, but whatever. It’s 2013, and we can end sentences on prepositions now. If it bothers you, just put your favorite derogatory name at the end. Example: What I’m Thankful For, Asshat.

9. Wonderful, Excellent, Awesome, Fantastic Holiday-Season Shopping.

I am not a Black Friday shopper. Never have been, and probably never will be. But this year I was a Saturday-After-Black-Friday Shopper and it was wonderful. One pair of Nine West Boots and one pound of Teavana Tea later, I was just getting started. I also snagged a great “Totes Ma Goats” bag, an awesome cat sweater, and a couple of lovely new dresses. All while saving money.

8. Music.

Music is such a huge part of my life. I started dancing when I was about four, and 21 years later you can still find my pirouetting in the kitchen in my socks. Even though I don’t dance in any organized way anymore, you can often find my rocking out driving in my car, working in my office, or even grading papers in the coffee shop. I almost danced into a worker at the Pie Company once, and I’m sure I’ve embarrassed my friends dancing through various stores and restaurants.

7. My Job, Colleagues, and Students.

I’ve always been very school-oriented, so I was (understandably?) nervous about my first year  out of school. It may not count (I am teaching, after all!) as being totally “out of school,” but I’m thankful for the break from being a student and for the opportunity to work in a department I love.

6. Finally Being able to Paint My Nails.

At 25, you would have thought I’d have mastered nail painting by now. I hadn’t. But I recently watched a friend paint her nails, and it was life-changing. Now, my nails no longer look like a five-year old painted them with one of those paint-by-numbers brushes.

5. A Car that Works, and the Ability to Keep it That Way.

I got Rowena brand-new back in 2009 when my Ginevra got totaled. Four years later, I’m so thankful to have a car that runs well and to be in a position to keep her running well. I’m not always mechanically-minded, but I know it’s much better to pay to keep Rowena fresh and happy than to run her into the ground in a few years.

4. Margaret Atwood’s Beautiful Writing.

I finally started MaddAddam and I’m so happy to be reading it. But I’m trying to make it last. There’s just something so engaging about Atwood’s writing style. I have never before been so interested in reading about a man surviving in the wild.

3. My Family.

Obligatory? Maybe. But sometimes it’s nice to remind people that you appreciate them, especially when you snap at them on. . .oh, a daily basis. It’s not easy moving back in with your family, but I’m thankful for the money-saving opportunity, and it’s nice to be close to them again.

Those boots I was talking about earlier? They were suede. I had to walk out barefoot to meet my friend Mark in the rain. Luckily, I had spare shoes in the car!

2. You Guys! 🙂

Is this more cheesy or silly? But it’s very true! I love seeing new followers and getting comments, and I love reading blogs and seeing what everyone is reading, making, doing, dreaming, writing. So thanks for following and writing!

1. My Best Friends.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. I’m sure I could write a lot about them, but I won’t say too much here. Kaylin, Jenny, Kaleigh, Teresa, and Mark. The past couple of weeks have reminded me why they are so important.

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations — November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations

OH HEY GUYS. Before I get to Top Ten Tuesday this week, I just need to share some excitement. I just found out I won a copy of Diane Setterfield’s new novel, Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story through Goodreads “First Reads” contest. I stumbled upon it a few weeks ago when I was looking up the book to add to my shelf, and I never imagined I would win one of the 20 available copies.

I might have even jumped up and down in the department kitchen while making my lunch.

Luckily, no one saw me.

If you are interested in checking out some of their current giveaways, you can do so by clicking here.

Thanks for reading about my geek out. Now on to. . .

This week’s prompt is recommendations, and I’m going to split this into two lists. First: Five Books I’d Recommend to high school girls and new adults.

5. Uglies (and PrettiesSpecials, and Extras) by Scott Westerfeld. I read this book as a junior in high school and I still love it. It’ s one of those stories that we need to tell to remind ourselves that some things are not worth the hype. There are some excellent messages in this series about beauty, self-acceptance, independence, and survival.

4. The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. This is maybe a little intense for some high school students, but the way Atwood depicts female relationships is just so perfect. Tony, Charis, and Roz may not be perfect role models, but they showcase a variety of strong characters that most women will be able to relate to.

3. My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. This is another book I wish I had read sooner. It is startling and a bit unsettling, but is made me think a lot about representation, the food industry, and the way that our beliefs and identities can and are manipulated by other people, often for negative purposes.

2. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Sure to be a tear-jerker, Pausch’s last lecture reminds us why we need to live life to the fullest and appreciate all that we have.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Sorry, she’s just gotta have two shout-outs on my list! The Handmaid’s Tale is so important for women readers, and I wish I had read this book sooner than I did. Atwood makes us pause to think, to consider questions of rights, censorship, and many of the daily activities that we take for granted. This is what happens when many beliefs are pushed to their extremes. Young women should read this if only to help them appreciate the world we live in and understand why we need to work to better it for men and women alike.

And Second: Five Texts I’d Recommend to someone teaching composition. Because I just can’t limit myself to books here.

5. Reflection in the Writing Classroom by Kathleen Blake Yancey. Yancey’s book was foundational for me as an instructor and a scholar. It provides ideas and strategies for using reflection to help teach writing at various points in the writing process.

4. Teaching Writing in High School and College: Conversations and Collaborations. Edited by Thomas C. Thompson. It’s very easy for college instructors to be unaware of the challenges of teaching high school, and vice versa. Although this book is kind of dated now (it was published in 2002, and I’m sure there are a lot of new concerns), the authors of individual chapters provide important perspectives that can help aid college instructors and high school teachers alike.

3. College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction by Anne Beaufort. I waited too long in my academic career to read this. It should be required reading for all first-year composition instructors. It challenged some of my own teaching methods and helped me to think about new approaches to teaching and researching writing.

2. “Teaching About Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)Invisioning ‘First-Year-Composition’ as ‘Introduction to Writing Studies'” by Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle. Publish in College Composition and Communication in 2007. Composition scholars and researchers report on some of the data they collected while teaching a new curriculum in first-year-composition courses. This article was fairly controversial (and the topic, really, still is), but was formative for me as an instructor and scholar.

1. Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act by Rebecca Nowacek. This book reassured me that I was, in fact, where I needed to be. Although not always specifically about writing or composition, Nowacek follows honors students and professors in linked courses. As a writing instructor, this book is helpful in considering the institutional context of a particular writing class and thinking about how our own teaching of composition fits in with other courses at the university.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers — November 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is, officially, Book Covers You’d Like to Redesign. But now that I think about book covers, I can only think of ones that I really, really like. And I definitely don’t want to redesign those.

So, as a slight alteration, I present to you my Ten Favorite Book Covers, in no particular order.

Okay, so right now I can only get to eight covers. But just out of curiosity. . .anyone else notice a trend here?

If you haven’t checked out The Broke and The Bookish, who sponsors Top Ten Tuesday, go do it RIGHT MEOW!


Top Ten Tuesday: Let’s Talk Sequels — November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Let’s Talk Sequels

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is not getting ten responses from me. It only seems fair since the ladies at The Broke and The Bookish list a cumulative ten. And while I am excited to participate, I am not in the midst of reading ten different series. So what I have is what you get, partially because I tend to devour series all out once rather than go through the agony of waiting for the next book to be published (like I did with Harry Potter).

So, here with go: Series Sequels I Can’t Wait to Read

1. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

This is no surprise, as I think I’ve mentioned at least once that MaddAddam is just sitting on my bookshelf, staring at me until I finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (last night, I was 81% finished, so it looks like I might finally be getting close!). I loved Oryx and Crake and The Year of Flood, which I read in a couple of weeks almost three years ago. I can’t wait to open up MaddAddam and see where the story goes.

2. The Winds of Winter by George RR Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire as been around for a long time, but I was only introduced to it two year ago. I read all of the books that are currently published in just a couple of months because apparently I have an addictive personality or something. I have read both of the excerpts of Winds of Winter that Martin has put on his website and am excited to read more. . .whenever that happens. Let’s just say I’m not getting my hopes up.

3. Mysterious, Unnamed Sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling

If Goodreads is an indicator, The Cuckoo’s Calling is not the only time we’ll get to spend with Cormoran Strike and Robin as they solve crimes. I don’t know if there is even a planned sequel, but the Goodreads listing has “(Cormoran Strike #1)” after the title, which seems to be telling me that more is coming. And the potential for a sequel is definitely there in the end of the novel.

4. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

Okay, confession: This is one of the only series I have just given up on. My dad LOVES it but I had a hard time getting through The Gunslinger and stopped about halfway through The Waste Lands when I tried to read it a couple of summers ago. I have been thinking about it a lot again lately, and it seems like it could be time to give it another go in the near future. But I have a lot of other great books lined up to read first, so we’ll see.