An Unapologetic Autodidact and Book Fiend

I’ve been MIA thus far this week, in part because I’ve been trying to be on top of job searching and in part because I’ve been spending a lot of time on Spanish, HTML/CSS, etc. Normal people graduate and get jobs. I appear to have graduated in order to free up time to teach myself more things.

Learning Resources

For those who are interested, I’ve come across a few resources that have been really helpful in all of this. One is Duolingo, a website that I’ve found helpful in learning Spanish. I’m not always near my house computer, which has Rosetta Stone installed on it, and Duolingo has been helpful in those cases. You can use the website to learn Spanish, French and German, and in return for the “lessons,” they ask that you help translate small snippets from various parts of the internet. As you go you unlock certain skills, and if you’re a more advanced learner you can test out of the earlier parts. I’ve been using it to brush up on French as well as Spanish.

Another resource that’s been really helpful is Codecademy which I’ve been using to keep going with HTML/CSS. When it comes to learning I’m very much a book person, and I’ve found the books I have pretty helpful in that they allow me to then go off and try things on my own. Codecademy, however, offers lessons that allow you to try a few steps at a time, and then put them all together. Once you learn a set of skills there is a small project for you to try, which definitely helps solidify what you learned. Plus it makes me feel like a mathy-coding-engineering person, which any Communications student will tell you doesn’t happen very often.

Book Fiend

On top of all that, I just took a trip to the library, which is always dangerous. Let me loose in a bookstore or library and I’m guaranteed to spend hours contentedly browsing and to walk away with a massive stack of books. Luckily today it was a library and not a bookstore, because I don’t really need to be spending money I don’t have on books right now. I did come away with a few books, and even a few movies. Once the librarian realized I was a recent graduate without a job she was less surprised by my choices (Gravity’s Rainbow and Hitchcock), assuring me that every jobless college grad needs a good mental breakdown. She was my kind of lady.

If you need me in the next few weeks I’ll be reading

My haul had some good variety to it, including the mammoth Gravity’s Rainbow, some Kate Chopin, a book about Larry Bird and Swamplandia! by Karen Russel. I kicked off the summer with a slew of books I loved, and then petered out a bit. Hopefully something in this stack will get me excited again. I figure at the very least I’ll have a hard time not enjoying some Larry Bird trivia.

On top of that I have a stack of books waiting to be read or, in some cases, re-read, at the top of which is Tricia Rose’s Hip Hop Wars and Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz. I’m in need of some good music & culture reading.

Begging to be read

Clearly I can’t get a job since it would get in the way of all my reading! Hopefully trips to NY and Philly in the coming weeks will give me some time to read before summer comes to an end for people in the real world.

Has anyone read anything fabulous this summer I need to add to my list?

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5 thoughts on “An Unapologetic Autodidact and Book Fiend

  1. I feel like I’m in a very similar situation. Not to mention that I’ve also fallen for codecademy. I’ve never learned much programming before, but I’m addicted now and can’t wait to get far enough to start actually USING it for something. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?!

    • Same! I’m thinking I’m going to start by building a website (who knows what for) and then incorporating Java once I learn that better, since I have the best grasp of HTML/CSS right now

  2. Bob Dylan in America is terrible – be warned! I could have written it. It has no insight, no new knowledge to share. What did you make of “Gravity’s Rainbow”?

    • Aw, bummer, but good to know. Do you have any suggestions for good books about Dylan?
      I haven’t made it through Gravity’s Rainbow yet (starting with Larry Bird), and from the mixed things I’ve heard I have no idea if I’ll like it or not. Worth a try though

      • GR is heavy going, but has some humorously dark passages. The best thing I ever read on Bob Dylan was a piece by a Norwegian linguist and folklorist who gave a key to interpreting his lyrics and who showed how you could actually fashion a little Dylan universe out of his stories if you took each image very, very literally… I’ll look it up and drop back

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