October 31st, 2017

Unplugging at home with Ben Elton’s “The First Casualty”

I participated in The Dancing Mind Challenge by unplugging with a book by one of my favorite authors, Ben Elton.  Though I only made it halfway through Elton’s World War One novel, The First Casualty, I enjoyed the opportunity to concentrate solely on reading for an extended period.  I also got to spend some quality time with my greyhound, Lola, who enjoyed the attention! If you’ve never read anything by Ben Elton, you should check out his works.  He has an engaging writing style, and writes novels on a wide variety of subjects, always including incisive cultural criticism.

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October 23rd, 2017

The Dancing Mind Challenge Experience

I spent my time during the Dancing Mind Challenge reading The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It has been sitting on my bed stand for far too many months now, and this challenge forced me to finally give it my full attention for which I am very grateful. Beginning the challenge was definitely difficult. I’m so used to my cell phone and all the distractions it so easily offers. For at least the first half my mind would flit to what was new on Facebook, Snapchat, and other such apps every few minutes. I wanted to know what was […]

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October 23rd, 2017

Dancing with the Past?

Saturday is usually a technology-free day for me, so what I was really looking forward to was spending four hours immersed in whatever book I chose. Of all the books piled on the table beside my chair, which author’s mind did I want to spend an afternoon  dancing with? I chose Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake, a novel set in 1066 and written in a sort of hybrid language combining features of Ango Saxon and modern English. I was familiar with the author from essays I’d read in literary magazines and from reviews of his recent book, Confessions of a Recovering […]

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October 23rd, 2017

Dancing with European Literature

I spent my four hours reading Los surcos del azar by Paco Roca and beginning Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. The former is a new Spanish graphic novel/living interview between the author and a World War II veteran. The latter is the first chapter of a 1913 4,000 page novel entitled A la recherche du temps perdu. Without technology or other distractions, I was able to better immerse myself in both Los surcos‘ history and Swann’s Way‘s detailed descriptions. Not having access to a dictionary on-hand was interesting, as I generally use my cell phone. This forced me to rely purely on context to […]

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October 22nd, 2017

Dancing Past the First Hurdle

I went to Bucknell in undergrad, and I graduated in 2013. When I was here then, I participated in the Dancing Mind Challenge in its last incarnation, and I was really excited to engage with the initiative again as a graduate student at Bucknell. This challenge wasn’t as easy to get into as I remember it being about 6 years ago…It really wasn’t a smooth transition for me to jump right into the reading, what with it starting so early, but after the first hour, I was able to tune into the first book I chose (Spectacle: The Astonishing Life […]

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October 13th, 2017

The Dancing Mind Challenge 2017

Welcome to the Dancing Mind Challenge! It’s time to challenge your mind — to dance. The Dancing Mind Challenge Saturday Oct. 21, 2017 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. or 8 a.m. – noon Where is your mind? Where is it on a Saturday morning when you’re rolling out of bed, grabbing for your iPhone, and scrolling through your email? Where is it on Friday at 11:20 p.m.? Where is it when you’re driving through campus? While you’re running on a treadmill, while you’re printing out your paper, while you’re sipping a latte? Where is your mind when you’ve lost your […]

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