My Top Ten Goals for 2015!

Image via The Broke and the Bookish

Every now and then, I make time for participating in “Top Ten Tuesday,” a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week takes a break from books to talk about general goals and resolutions for the new year. They can be reading and blogging-related, but you can also discuss other milestones you want to reach.

Without further ado, here are my top ten reading, writing, and blogging goals for 2015!

Who needs food, anyway?

1. Read 20 more books. I’ve averaged about 20 books for the past four years, and I plan on continuing with this reading quota. Those next up on my TBR list include Invisibility by Andrea Cramer and David Levithan, It Happened One Wedding by Julie James, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf.

2. Read more fan-favorite romance novels. I’ve read my fair share of romance, from authors such as Vicki Lewis Thompson, Christina Dodd, Julie James, Heather Webber, and Meg Cabot. But after reading a Jezebel article on the genre, I’ve been inspired to read some of the greats. According to the article’s comments, I should check out Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I, and Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me. Anyone have other recommendations?

3. Read more classic literature. Not every book I read in 2015 will be a bodice-ripper, and I want to make more time for the classics. I got a “50 books to read before you die” bookmark from the New York Public Library when I visited NYC in October, and I’m disappointed that I’ve only read 17! I’m most interested in checking off Anna Karenina, Huckleberry Finn, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

4. Reach 65,000 total blog views. My reach goal is 70,000, so I hope to create enough high-quality, consistent content to achieve this. I love blogging, and despite the difficulties of keeping up with Book Club Babe with a full-time job, I can’t imagine life any other way.

5. Create more vlogs. At the eager insistence of my loved ones, I released my first vlog for my 25th birthday, which discussed the top 25 things that books have taught me. Tomorrow, I’ll be vlogging my summary of the books I read this year. It’s nerve-wracking and time-consuming to put yourself in front of a camera, but thanks to the awesome video-editing skills of my brother Nick Jarrett, I’d like to continue doing these fun videos once a quarter if I can.

6. Research monetization. I never went into blogging to make money, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt, however how small. I’d love to learn more about online advertising on WordPress and other ways to earn some cents from giving you my two cents!

Story of my life!

7. Make significant progress on my novel. I wrote 19,000 words this year during NaNoWriMo, and I’m finally at a place where I enjoy my story enough to keep going. Although I haven’t set a specific word quota yet, I plan to making writing regularly a top priority!

8. Improve during NaNoWriMo. Speaking of November’s most popular challenge aside from growing facial hair, I would love to redeem myself. 19,000 words was better than nothing, but I can certainly do better than that!

9. Attend more write-ins. Even during NaNoWriMo this year, I only had time in my schedule to attend two write-ins. I’d like to squeeze more into 2015, since the East Bay writing group is full of fun, quirky people who love writing as much as I do. I’m positive that this goal will help me make progress on my novel, because there’s always strength in numbers!

10. Attend more book signings. After having the opportunity to meet Scott Westerfeld and Azar Nafisi, I’m wondering why I never thought about going to book signings before this fall. Now that I’ve got a couple under my belt, I just want to add more notches. Who doesn’t want to hang with awesome authors?

So those are my top ten reading, writing, and blogging goals for 2015! If you’ve got a few resolutions yourself, post them in the comments! I’d love to hear everyone’s plans for the new year!

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In Defense of Classical Studies

The Spartans would know exactly how to shut Rush up!

I have never liked Rush Limbaugh: he’s an ignorant, racist, sexist, homophobic embarrassment of conservatives everywhere. Usually I don’t give him the time of day, but yesterday I read something on his website that infuriated me to no end. It’s called “Deciphering the Sad-Sack Story of a Classical Studies Scholar.”

In the transcript he insults a Wall Street Protester who as a Classical Studies graduate feels hopeless in this recession. He asserts that her degree is useless and calls her “Miss Brain-dead.” He doesn’t even seem to know what Classical Studies entails:

What the hell is Classical Studies?  What classics are studied?  Or, is it learning how to study in a classical way?  Or is it learning how to study in a classy as opposed to unclassy way?

If you aren’t pissed yet, keep reading:

But most of these majors are useless, such as black women studies, women’s studies, whatever studies.

So according to Rush, not only are Greek and Latin scholars worthless, but also anyone who doesn’t worship white male Republicans like himself. I don’t know which majors are acceptable to him, but if you don’t pick one he likes, apparently you’re a socialist.

Since Rush has obviously the intellectual capacity of a dung beetle, I’ll spell it out for him. Because as a Classical Studies minor who spent two years studying Latin and ancient Greek/Roman literature, I’d like to clarify that not only am I highly employable, I have skills the average college graduate could use:

Classical Studies makes you a better reader, writer, and thinker. I have an excellent vocabulary, because I understand the Latin etymologies of English words. This is essential in my job, because I teach high school students how to make educated guesses when they’re faced with an SAT word they don’t know. The analytic skills needed to translate Latin, or any language for that matter, is similar to solving a math problem: you fit together the words one step at a time and the result is achieving a higher level of knowledge–a level Rush can’t even comprehend, let alone reach.

Classical Studies is not dead. If anyone tells me Latin is a dead language one more time, I’m going to go Catullus on their ass. Latin lives in all the Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.) and English to a great extent. The ancient Greeks and Romans created Western civilization as we know it: architecture, art, politics, education, philosophy, the list goes on and on. Next time Rush gushes over an American monument like the White House or references “the Founding Fathers” or “American democracy,” he should thank Pericles and Augustus instead of Reagan and Bush.

Classical Studies is what you make it. Every college grad is struggling right now. I know engineers who can’t get jobs, so don’t make the excuse that it’s all your fault if you picked a major in the humanities or social sciences. We are all victims of this economy, but Rush is too rich to have any pity for the middle class man or woman. That being said, Classical Studies scholars can either further their education to become professors or apply their knowledge to other fields. As a future journalist and novelist, my expertise in grammar and oration will greatly benefit my story-telling. Ever read a little book called Harry Potter? In case you didn’t know, most character names and spells are Latin.

To anyone who’s interested in the Classics, don’t despair. Learning Latin was the best decision I made in college, and now I know a language usually reserved for the most educated and elite people of all time. You can get a job no matter what you study, as long as market your skills accordingly. I’m optimistic that my minor will actually help me stand out in the job market, but I’m also determined enough to make my dream career come true.

As for Rush, I only have one thing to say to you: Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo!

Masterpiece Monday: Catullus

A Modern statue of the roman poet Gaius Valeri...

Bust of Catullus (Image via Wikipedia)

Rating: 5 out of 5

Well, today has sure been an emotional roller-coaster for me. I had a fabulous weekend with friends, but for reasons I will not divulge, my mood’s not so chipper right now. In fact, I was pretty livid earlier, so I thought I would share with you some poetic masterpieces by my favorite Roman poet Catullus.

I took a whole class on Catullus at UCSC when I was studying Latin as a Classics minor, but for those of you unfamiliar with the man, he lived circa 84-54 BCE and was familiar with other famous Romans, such as Julius Caesar and Cicero. He’s most known for his honest, often vulgar poetry about his lovers, friends, and enemies.

I try to keep my blog pretty G-rated, so I can’t share some of my favorite poems because they’re just too raunchy. Catullus was definitely a hot-head, and he had no problem unleashing his anger upon those who wronged him.

So if you’re ever in a bad mood, and feel like reading some dirty Latin poems, I recommend 16 and 42, but beware: they’re definitely NSFW!!! But if you’re not a prude, they’re so hilarious that they’ll cheer you up real quick! So Google those poems…if you dare!

However, for today I’m sharing his 12th poem, in which he insults a man named Asinius Marrucinus for stealing his precious dinner napkin. Sure, he’s petty and melodramatic, but the man can write! Makes me miss studying Latin!

Here’s the poem in its original Latin:

—Marrucine Asini, manu sinistra
non belle uteris in ioco atque vino:
tollis lintea neglegentiorum.
hoc salsum esse putas? fugit te, inepte!
quamvis sordida res et invenusta est
non credis mihi? crede Pollioni
fratri, qui tua furta vel talento
mutari velit; est enim leporum
disertus puer ac facetiarum.
quare aut hendecasyllabos trecentos
exspecta, aut mihi linteum remitte,
quod me non movet aestimatione,
verum est mnemosynum mei sodalis.
nam sudaria Saetaba ex Hiberis
miserunt mihi muneri Fabullus
et Veranius: haec amem necesse est
et Veraniolum meum et Fabullum.

And here’s my own English translation:

—Asinius Marrucinus, you do not make a pretty use of your left hand: you steal linen napkins of the neglectful in joke and drink.  Do you think that this is funny? It runs away from you, silly man: the thing is as vulgar and unattractive as you like. You do not believe me?  Believe your brother Pollio, who would want your thefts to be exchanged for one talent of silver: for the boy is filled of charms and jokes.  Wherefore, either expect 300 hendecasyllables, or send back my napkin to me, which does not move me at its value, but it is a souvenir of my companions.  For Fabullus and Veranius sent Saetaban napkins to me as a gift from Hiberia: it is essential that I love these as I love my Fabullus and little Veranius.