I survived the most pain-in-the-ass class in the history of university. DONE! This class pushed my buttons on so many levels and I'm quite certain that all of my friends will be very pleased that I will no longer be complaining about Psych 222B. This class was held for once a week for 3 hours with a total of 11 classes. It consisted of us having to read 14 chapters of one textbook, 32 short-medium length articles out of another textbook and 9 full length novels. We had a quiz at the beginning of every class and three 10 page assignments due throughout the semester. Yep. This was one class. Are you beginning to understand my pain and horror?
I think the problem I had with this class was not only the large reading assigned but the fact that this class was very loose and did not have a lot of strict rules, structure or outlines. I like schedules, structure and outlines so that I have something to follow and commit to. I don't enjoy the feeling of not knowing what a prof wants in terms of writing assignments! She would basically say, "Here's a book. Read it then write a paper." WHAT???
Twice I did blogs which I called "Book Reviews" which were my opinion of some of the books I read over the summer. Here is a quick and dirty version of that for the books I had to read for this class.
1) A Death in the Family (1955) by James Agee. It was kind of sad and somewhat confusing at some times since the author started writing it in 1948 and it wasn't completed in 1955 when he died so they decided to just throw what he had into a book and sell it...it seemed there were some unfinished thoughts. I give this book a 5/10.
2) Tuesdays with Morrie (1997) by Mitch Albom. A very touching and sad book about a man dying of ALS and the dear friendship between him and a former student. It was an easy read and makes you want to be a better person which I think is a good thing. I think that everyone should read this one. 9/10.
3) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959) by Erving Goffman. Don't read this book. Please. Here's the gist of this very boring book; we are all performers on a stage and the world is our audience. We put on a "front" which is what we portray to our audience but we have other versions of this front for different people in our lives. THE END! 2/10 because it was so boring and I actually didn't read it all.
4) My Sisters Keeper (2004) by Jodi Picoult. A good read but unfortunately most people saw the movie without reading the book and they are very different (completely opposite endings!). I say read it anyway. I got a little teary eyed by the end of it. 9/10...I would give it a 10 but as I read it I kept visualizing Cameron Diaz as the mother and I didn't think that was a good casting call for the part. I guess that isn't the book's fault though.
5) Mother Night (1961) by Kurt Vonnegut. I've read a few of this man's books and I love his writing. A very twisted tale of an undercover agent in WWII who has every kind of misfortune, but luck as well in come cases. It was humourous but I got lost sometimes while reading it...but that's inevitable when reading Vonnegut's books. It wasn't his best novel but still entertaining. 8/10.
6) Gracefully Insane (2001) by Alex Beam. This was written by a journalist who explored the history of the most expensive and elite mental hospital in the USA. Meh. It was ok. The history of the barbaric and strange procedures they did on patients was the most interesting part. Plus there were some neat stories of some of the famous patients (like Ray Charles, Syliva Plath, James Taylor and Susanna Kaysen). I give it...uh...6/10.
7) The Four Agreements (1997) by Don Miguel Ruiz. Honestly, a really good book to read. It's quite short and very simplistic but full of amazing quotes, ideas and statements which really make you think about your own life and the terms by which you live. He has four agreements which everyone should live by and as long as you follow those 4 things then you will find personal freedom. Easier said than done though. 9/10.
8) Man's Search for Meaning (1946) by Viktor Frankl. Another really great book. It's his story of surviving 4 years in concentration camps in WWII. It was difficult to read at some points because the horror was just too much to imagine. Very inspiring though. 8/10.
9) From Brokenness to Community (1992) by Jean Vanier. This is about a man who created homes/communities where people with mental and/or physical disabilities, or anyone who felt rejected, hurt or isolated from society, could come to be loved and find a place where they belonged. It was a short book (50ish pages) but had a lot of wisdom and great teachings within in. He talks a lot about religion in some spots which could turn some people away from the book, but I suggest reading it anyway. 7/10.