Congratulations to Blogathon 2012 Participants!

It was my first time participating in Blogathon and I enjoyed it, though it was a bit hectic. I wrote more than I thought possible (and hopefully at least some of my posts were interesting!).

Since Blogathon is over, I will not be posting every day. In a way, it will be nice not to have to worry about coming up with post topics, but I hope deteriorate into a cycle of not posting for weeks on end, then guiltily writing five posts in one day.

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Is There a ‘Right’ Way to Write Fiction?

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but I did that when I saw this book.

On Sunday, I wrote a little post about a thriller novel I recently read, Rules of Vengeance. Reading that book made me think about other thriller novels I’ve read, specifically those by Daniel Silva. He is another one of my favorite authors and I got started reading his Gabriel Allon series when I saw Moscow Rules in the bookstore.
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Grad School Applicants Anonymous

I’m serious, I want to start a group called Grad School Applicants Anonymous. That’s a bit cumbersome to say, of course, so we can shorten it to GSAA. And yes, a group like this is necessary because everything about the grad school application process is murdering me! GRE, personal statement, you name it.

It makes me wonder how I ever survived applying to university. Perhaps the difference was I was incredibly eager to get out of high school and away from my town, but I was not eager to leave university. (The fact that I am not a student there anymore crushes my soul sometimes.) My life was so much simpler before I graduated…

I would blog more, but I can’t. I have to go study for the GRE. And write my personal statement.

Happy Memorial Day!

Not only is it Memorial Day, it is also Wordle Day for us Blogathoners. Wordle is a clever little service that allows you to create a visual representation of the most common words on your blog. I’m not sure why Spanish is coming up so strongly on mine…

Click on the image to see it larger.

Some Thoughts on Christopher Reich’s ‘Rules of Vengeance’

Is that not the most fabulous cover ever??

There are two things you will learn about in this post: I absolutely adore spy novels and I am incredibly jealous of author Christopher Reich.

I first saw Reich’s novel Rules of Vengeance last December when I was home for Christmas break. After all, how could I fail to notice a book with such a simple, yet fabulous cover? I was too cheap to buy it, though, and I forgot about it, until last night. Last night, I remembered that I have a $40 credit on my Amazon account, thanks to Amazon trade-ins (I got rid of three course books I despised when I traded them in), and I decided to buy Rules of Vengeance on my Kindle. (It was only $7.99!)
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Literary Translation and the Nobel Prize in Literature

On Wednesday, I hosted literary translator Lisa Carter on this blog. I also wrote a guest post for her blog, too, about literary translation and the Nobel Prize in literature. I am too tired to blog properly today, so just read my guest post on her website if you have not already.

After today, only six more days left for Blogathon. Isn’t it crazy? I can’t believe I’ve blogged so much!

What Languages Should a Historian Learn?

Flags at my university. Note the Russian flag.

The title of this post was a recent Google search that led to my blog (I’m proud to say I ranked number one in that search, above the American Historical Association.) Usually the search terms that lead people to my blog are really boring, really strange, or just repetitive (I never knew how many people were fascinated by the Google maps car!), but this one made me think. My undergraduate program did not offer any advice on language learning for historians, so I’m assuming that other programs may not, either.

The most important language to learn is the main language spoken in your area of interest. Obviously, that means Russianists should learn Russian, those studying Mexico Spanish, and so on. Some people don’t immediately know what their area of speciality is. I would advise trying to decide as soon as possible which country you want to research, even if you don’t know the era you wish to focus on.
Continue reading “What Languages Should a Historian Learn?”