Friday, December 24, 2010

Leaving Chicago

I'm thinking about leaving Chicago.

When I first moved here, I thought I wanted to live here forever. I loved the museums, the shopping, the theatre, the food, and the lake. I loved being able to walk down the street and hear at least five different languages being spoken. I loved seeing all the people on the sidewalks and the streets as they headed for their different destinations.

I still love all of those things. But now that I've spent more years than I care to count living here, I've found that I don't love telling random strangers, "No thank you, I'd really rather NOT convert to your religion where people can become aliens once they give up their earthly possessions." I don't love yelling, "For Pete's sake, TURN IT DOWN! I do NOT want to hear Justin Bieber at 3 A.M.!" I don't love pushing my way through crowds, so focused on getting to where I need to go, that I barely look up anymore and I hardly notice the seasons changing.

When I enrolled in graduate school, I knew that I probably wouldn't be living in Chicago permanently. The thing about academia is that there are many, many more Ph.D.s than jobs, so you have to be willing to move wherever the jobs are. That means that you could end up at some Ivy League research university in Boston, or a small liberal arts college in Tulsa.

I just want to teach at a good school where I don't have to remind students twenty times a week that class time is not nap time. I also would like to teach at a school where I'd get to teach more than one type of class and still have time left over to do research and write academic books and articles. I also want to earn enough money so that I only have to work one job, instead of two or three. The prospect of living in a college town rather than a big city doesn't bother me, because I didn't grow up in a big city anyway.

Technically, I'm supposed to stay in Chicago until I finish my dissertation. That makes it easier to meet with my dissertation committee to discuss my progress, and I get free tuition and a stipend for teaching undergrads. But I can't keep working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. I've been working two or three jobs for several years now, and I'm burned out. I want to be able to help my family with the money I earn.

The prospect of moving somewhere else, especially to a place that I've never been to before, is kind of scary. What if I end up living in an apartment with a roommate who starts dressing like me and copies my haircut? And then what if my puppy mysteriously disappears and my roommate attacks my boyfriend with a stiletto heel and -- wait. That's the plot to Single White Female.

So I've started looking around for teaching jobs that are available for people with my qualifications. It's quite possible that I'll still be here in Chicago a year from now, especially if I don't find anything. And it's okay if I don't, since most of the good jobs are for people who have already completed their dissertations. But it's also possible that a year from now I'll be in a completely different place, starting a new phase in my life.

Check out this video by the Plain White T's. I like it not just because it includes cute anecdotes of how couples met, but also because it's set in Chicago in the winter. (So many movies and TV shows that are set in Chicago take place during the summer. I guess that makes sense production wise, but summer only lasts, like, five seconds here.) I like to think that the song (and the video) is a love song to Chicago, too.

Side note: Check out No Way, Cupid, a cool new blog written by fellow bloggers Rock and Doris. They write about relationships, online dating, and life in Chicago.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Toughest Job of All

The other day I was eating lunch at Potbelly's Sandwiches after a long morning of last-minute Christmas shopping (although to be honest, I was actually just starting my shopping that day). As I ate my sandwich, I looked around and realized that I was one of the only single people in the restaurant. I was surrounded by families with small children, and young couples with strollers.

There was a family with several children sitting at the table across from me. I didn't mean to eavesdrop on their conversation, but I couldn't help it; they were talking loudly enough for everyone to hear.

"Mom! Josh drank my soda!"

"That's because she spit in mine!"

"Paul! Are you going to think about someone besides yourself and help me with these kids?"

"Kelly, no, I said NO! Do NOT eat that! That was on the floor! Oh my...TAKE THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW!"

"Haha, she's going to be poisoned!"

"You're getting it all over your shirt...oh, for heaven's sake, now you're getting it all over MY shirt!"

As I watched them, I didn't feel annoyed by the fact that they were distracting me from eating. I didn't feel relieved that I don't have children. Instead, for the first time, I thought about what it would be like to have children of my own.

I admire anyone who is a parent, because I think that being a parent has to be the toughest job in the world. You don't get paid; you never retire; you're on the clock 24/7. Being President or Oprah's assistant would probably tie for second as far as tough jobs go.

But on the other hand, I do like the idea of having a daughter or son (or maybe both) who shares my DNA and maybe even grows up to look a little like me (except my nose would look better on them). I'm not sure what kind of parent I would be though. All I know is that I would love them, protect them, and teach them everything I know.

To be honest, I never really wanted to have children before. When I was a teenager, I always thought I'd want to have a family when I got older. But in the meantime, I focused on my work. I wanted to be a professor and a writer more than I wanted to be a mother.

The only time I remotely considered having children was when I thought about being an egg donor; the problem with that was that there was always the possibility that in eighteen years a young man or woman would knock on my front door. He or she would keep twitching from all the caffeine he or she would always be drinking, and he or she would point a finger at me and shriek, "It's your fault I'm like this!"

But other than that I don't usually feel that urge to become a mother. I see babies being pushed in strollers, and occasionally one of them will smile up at me in that wonderful way that babies do; I always smile back. Maybe I'm thinking about this now because I'm pushing thirty and the clock is ticking. Maybe it's because I'm still single while so many other people my age already have families. Maybe it's because deep down, I feel guilty because there are other things I want to do instead.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Blame Game

Dear Professor,
  I just wanted you to know that if I don't get at least a B in this class, my parents won't pay for my tuition anymore. I really don't want to have to drop out of school and flip burgers for the rest of my life just because of your class. I just thought you should know about my situation.

Dear Professor,
  I hope that my grade won't be lowered just because I was absent for three weeks. I think my absences shouldn't count against my grade because I always had a good excuse for not being in class. It's not my fault if my alarm clock doesn't work. And besides, as long as I get the homework done, does it really matter if I'm in class?

Dear Professor,
  I'm writing to let you know that I'm going to report you to the department chair if you don't raise my grade. You weren't always clear in your instructions to the class, so that's why I didn't do very well in my assignments.

Dear Professor,
  I don't think you calculated my grade correctly. It really shouldn't be that low. I didn't buy the textbook for this class, but I got most of the information from Wikipedia. That's pretty much the same, isn't it?

Dear Professor,
  Did I get a C because I was sleeping in class? I wasn't really sleeping. I was just concentrating with my eyes closed.

At the end of the term, I always get a handful of "grade complaint" e-mails from students who are so SHOCKED because they didn't get the stellar grades they felt they were entitled to. (What really bugs me is when they say, "You didn't give me the grade I deserved." Hearing that makes me want to go out and steal someone's snowman.)

I always write detailed feedback on their assignments, and I talk to students regularly about their progress in my classes. That way, there are no surprises at the end of the semester. Nevertheless, I still get grade complaint e-mails from students who are always convinced that I did something wrong. What bothers me is they don't take responsibility for their own work (or lack thereof).

When I was in college, I got a D on a major math test. Although I excelled in my English classes, I was so bad at math that the sight of a calculator was enough to make me run away screaming. I went to my math professor for help and set up extra appointments to go over stuff in class that I was struggling with. I also got help from math tutors, and I spent hours on my homework. By the end of the semester, I ended up with a B as my final grade.

And fortunately, I do have some students who are like this. They try hard, and they ask me, "What can I do to raise my grade?" and not "I think you made a mistake with my grade." (But I do hear that statement a lot.) When students ask me the first question, it shows that they're taking responsibility for themselves and that they're taking the initiative to work hard and earn good grades. And that is something.

I'd like to say that I never played the blame game. But I have, and sometimes I still do. For example, I've been feeling upset lately because I haven't made as much progress on my dissertation as I should have by now. It would be easier to place the blame on anyone else but myself.

"It's not my fault I didn't finish a draft of my dissertation. The department puts a lot of pressure on the graduate students to accomplish a lot of things in a limited amount of time."

"I couldn't work on my draft. I had to go to the gym every other day, and it's important to work on my health. Going to the gym had NOTHING to do with all the cute guys who work out there. I barely even notice them."

"How could I do research when I had appointments with students, papers to grade and classes to teach? I can't just ignore my students, because how are they supposed to learn if I don't teach them? Not to mention I don't want to end up on one of those rate your professor websites. Again."

"Since I don't earn enough to live on as an instructor, I had all these extra projects to complete for my website job. What, am I just supposed to tell my employer no? I do that and I lose that extra paycheck."

"I can't help it if I didn't get as much work done as I could have. I've been working on a very intricate plot to rule the world, and I should be able to carry it out within the next two years or so. I've been busy."

It would be very easy to blame anyone or anything but myself. And sometimes things really were beyond my control. But one thing I've learned about growing up is that I have to accept responsibility for my mistakes and not blame them on someone else. Like I wrote in an earlier post, I can't make excuses, and I can't keep blaming other people. How else will I learn from my mistakes, so that I can get it right the next time around?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Missing Snowman

I recently read an article about a woman in the UK who called the police because she claimed that someone stole her snowman (I kid you not). According to the article, the woman thought her call was justified because she used "1-pound coins for the eyes and teaspoons for the arms". And all I could think was, Really?

Maybe it wasn't theft. Maybe someone had some kind of vendetta against snowmen and went on a rampage the night before, destroying every snowman in sight, screaming, "You think you're so COOL!"

Or maybe one of the other snowmen came to life, like in that Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Calvin brings a snowman to life. It turns evil and creates other evil snowmen, and then they all go after Calvin and Hobbes until the snowmen are defeated when Calvin sprays them with water and turns them to ice. So maybe there was a whole army of evil snowmen who destroyed the good snowman like the one that woman called the police about. Maybe the good snowman didn't want to join in their crusade to take Frosty down once and for all and they attacked him and...

ANYWAY, it's not like there aren't any people in the U.S. who call the police for stupid reasons. I've read news articles about people who called 911 from McDonald's because they were upset over the fact that there were no more chicken McNuggets. And again I must ask, Really?

911 operators and police officers have extremely stressful jobs. Yes, their job is to protect and help people. But I think that some people are so self-centered that they expect the police to just come running every time there's an "emergency". And as that article I read pointed out, the problem with that is that it takes the police's time and attention away from genuine emergencies. Here are a few examples of how I imagine some of those 911 calls might go:

911 Operator: 911, what's your emergency?
Bridezilla: There's another bride out there who is planning to wear the same dress as mine to HER wedding! I want her arrested! Better yet, I want her to be sentenced to wear one of those poufy bridesmaid dresses so that everyone will laugh at her and then no one will upstage me on MY day!
911 Operator: Um, that's not really...
Bridezilla: Arrest her RIGHT NOW! Or I will throw all the wedding cakes I rejected at you!

Operator: 911, what's your emergency?
Customer: This stupid cashier won't let me use my coupon. Yes, I know it's expired, but so what? I WANT my DVD box set of The Gossip Girl and I want it now! And I think that that cashier should be forced to watch every single episode of this show just so she'll see why this show is so realistic! I mean, this show just speaks to everyone. I know that not everyone cheats on their boyfriend with their boyfriend's best friend while also having secret affairs with their best friends' boyfriends, but it's still so REAL.
Operator: I'm sorry, but the police can't really help you with that.
Customer: I want to talk to your manager! Just as soon as I finish yelling at this cashier's manager!

Operator: 911, what's your emergency?
Cheapskate: I want to report a team of thieves over at this cafe.
Operator: Is there a robbery in progress?
Cheapskate: There most certainly is. They have a tip jar!
Operator: What?
Cheapskate: Did you not hear me? They are expecting customers to give them tips! I just spent four dollars on this cup of coffee, and they expect me to give them spare change. The nerve of these people! I think tip jars should be banned everywhere. It's not like people can't live on minimum wage.
Operator: Well, actually...
Cheapskate: By the way, I'm not getting charged for this call, am I? (I actually did hear a story about a woman who wrote to the Jimmy John's sandwich company to complain about the tip jars, and they ended up taking the tip jars away. Can you believe that? It's like, if you don't want to leave a tip, don't leave a tip. But it's nice if you do leave one. But either way, don't punish the people who are just trying to earn a living.)

I think you can get arrested or at least fined for making 911 calls for non-emergencies. But I respect the people who work in this field, because they do a lot to help people. And they also must have an incredible amount of patience to deal with all the annoying people who call for dumb reasons, because if it were me I would disconnect their phone service or just send the police to arrest them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tummy Rubs and the Bichon Blitz

My parents have two dogs, one of which is a Bolognese (which is a smaller version of the Bichon). In order to protect their privacy, I will refer to the Bolognese as Neurotic Jr. and the other dog as Jane Dog in this blog.

As dogs, they have a fairly easy life, partly because they can sleep whenever they want and they get treats just for being cute. But they have their own ways of dealing with stress if it does come up. For example, Jane Dog is extremely clingy. Whenever I visit my parents, she follows me around everywhere. When I come back after going out, she immediately rolls over onto her back, demanding a tummy rub. When she does get it, she gets this look of pure bliss on her face, as if she's saying, "Ahhhh....."

Neurotic Jr., on the other hand, hates baths. After I bathe her, she goes berserk every time. She does something called the Bichon blitz, where she tears around the room, rolls around on the carpet, and runs up and down the stairs in a fury, as if she's saying, "I can't believe you BATHED me! How UNDIGNIFIED!" Then she crawls under a chair and glares at me for the next hour, as if she's saying, "I wouldn't turn your back if I were you."

Here's a video of a dog doing the Bichon blitz. It's not a video of Neurotic Jr. I found it on Youtube. (The dog's name is Ditka.)

I, on the other hand, am not a dog and therefore do not enjoy tummy rubs. I don't even like hugs because I could get the flu from those. I have done some version of the Bichon blitz, though. It usually happens after I've done a bunch of work and downed several cups of caffeine. But I have my own ways of relieving stress.

One way is by going to my favorite place to write: the coffeehouse. I also like going to the gym, where I have a student discount. It's a worthy investment because I can burn calories, build muscle, and blow off steam. It's also a good place to check out muscular guys with cute ... um ... shorts. (I fell off an elliptical machine the other day because I was looking at one of the hot guys. I did get his attention, just not in the way I wanted.)

At the gym I can get my mind off my problems, at least temporarily. And the endorphins make me feel better too. There's a pool at my gym, but I haven't tried it yet. One reason is because I'm not a very good swimmer; I really only know how to doggy paddle. I even kind of pant a little when I try to doggy paddle from one end of the pool to another, and it's not very attractive. I can't really do the butterfly stroke that people do when they swim laps.

Besides, I'm afraid that if I do show up at the pool in my swimsuit, all the guys will take one look at me, start pointing and laugh. Then they'll all fall into the pool, one by one, just like the women did in that birth control commercial. But then one of the guys might still be laughing and end up choking on pool water, and I'll have to pull him out of the pool.

I'll try to revive him with the CPR skills I learned in a first aid class, but I took the class ten years ago and I really only remember how to do the Heimlich maneuver. And anyway, we only practiced on dummies, not people. So I'm afraid that the guy will suddenly come to, see my mouth aimed at his face and he'll jerk away and scream, "Get AWAY from me, weird girl!" And then all the other guys will come to his rescue and throw me into the pool, and I'll have to doggy paddle my way out. So I haven't tried the pool yet, because you never know. It could happen.

I usually go to the aerobics classes, and I also work out on the cardio machines, like the elliptical, the treadmill, and the exercise bikes. The last time I was on one of the machines, there was this guy exercising beside me. He kept banging on the sides of the machine with his hands, and I thought at first that he was listening to music and was pretending to play the drums or something. But then I realized that he was staring up at one of the TVs on the walls and was apparently watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". So I'm not sure why he kept flailing his hands around like that. I do know that one of his hands suddenly shot out and slapped me in the arm.

He didn't even apologize for hitting me. I glared at him and was all ready to say, "Oh, you WANT a piece of me? Get ready to rumble, JERK!" But he was too absorbed in Rudolph's antics to notice. Loser.

Even though I have a history of embarrassing myself at the gym, I still work out at least four or five times a week. It's a good escape from everything else that is going on in my life, and I don't have to feel like I'm wasting my time when I exercise.

What do you do to relieve stress?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What I Want to Read

It's only natural that writers love to read. After all, if you don't enjoy reading books, then why bother writing them in the first place? I have to admit, though, that I don't love reading some of the scholarly books I have to read for my dissertation research; there are several dents in my walls from where I threw the books at them. I think there should be some kind of Grad Student Dictionary, so that it would be easier to figure out exactly what academic writers are saying. A lot of them make up their own words, as if they're using some kind of language that only know-it-alls can understand.

When I'm not studying, I like reading chick lit. I only watch crime dramas on TV, so it's kind of nice to read stories that aren't about soccer moms who are actually serial killers or lawyers arguing about whether a defendant can be found not guilty by reason of watching too many reality shows.

On the other hand, there are a lot of things that I would like to read about that I don't often find in chick lit. I like reading stories that I can relate to. Maybe I'm being self-centered, but I like reading about main characters who are like me (but who are possibly less neurotic and obsessive, because then there'd just be several pages of description of them drinking coffee, ranting about their neighbors, and yelling at inconsiderate drivers).

For example, I wish there were more books about the grad school experience. One of my favorite authors does write about academia; Jhumpa Lahiri's stories often include charactes who are professors or grad students. Lahiri isn't a chick lit author, but the world she describes is familiar to me.

But there aren't a lot of chick lit books about grad students. Many of the female protagonists work in publishing or journalism, though they often have secret aspirations of writing fiction. I did find one book where the main character went to grad school, but she and her friends spent more time going to bars every night than they did in the library.

I will admit that there is a lot of drinking in graduate school, but I don't usually participate in any of it because it never ends well for me. Once I came out of a bar and tripped and fell into a crowd of people. Another time my face turned red and I started talking really excitedly about everything, because at that moment, EVERYTHING was exciting.

Besides, alcohol costs money that I don't have. As I've mentioned before, university departments apparently believe that grad students don't need enough money to live on, which is why they give them tiny stipends if the students are lucky. They apparently think that we can just live on our love for learning, when really we're tearing our hair out every thirty seconds and shrieking, "Not ANOTHER footnote!"

I wish I could read books about grad students who are as burned out as I am, and who spend years struggling just to keep up while their classmates go on to excel in their classes, publish articles in academic journals, and win fellowships. (And of course, we less successful classmates get to hear all about it.)

Another thing I like about Jhumpa Lahiri is that she writes a lot about loneliness. In her book of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, I think she only used the word "lonely" once or twice. But she was still able to clearly illustrate how lonely her characters were, just by giving small clues about their lifestyles.

In most of the chick lit books I've read, the main characters always seem to have a lot of friends who are always there to provide advice and a sympathetic ear; they often seem to be a lot more well-adjusted than the main characters. I do have friends, but we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like because of our work schedules and personal responsibilities.

I watched the first two or three seasons of Gilmore Girls , which I think were the best ones; the plots didn't always center on who was in a love triangle each week like they did in the later seasons. I liked the fact that the main character, Rory Gilmore, was a loner. She had a boyfriend and a best friend, and she was close to her mother. But she spent a lot of her time alone, reading, and it wasn't portrayed as being the worst thing in the world. She was independent, and I liked that. I wish there were more characters like her in fiction, because I think there are a lot of people like her in real life.

I'd also like to read a chick lit book where for once the female protagonist ends up with the Unsuitable Suitor rather than the Cute Guy Friend who was there all along, or the Competitive Coworker who the protagonist hated at first until they made out in the supply closet, or the Bossy Know-It-All who constantly criticizes the protagonist because apparently she always does the wrong thing (the only Bossy Know-it-All that I actually liked was Mr. Knightley from Jane Austen's Emma, though I'm not sure what the brilliant Ms. Austen would think of having her work classified as chick lit).

More often than not, the Unsuitable Suitor is more fun and interesting just because he provokes the protagonist and makes her step outside of her comfort zone. Usually he isn't given any redeeming qualities, which is why he's Unsuitable, but there has to be some reason the narrator falls for him, right?

There should also be more books about teaching. Most of the books that I've found about teaching were memoirs, where the teacher writes about how the students were difficult at first but then they grew to really care about each other. Then they never gave her any problems ever again because the teacher came up with original ways to educate them. They all lived happily ever after and formed glee clubs where they broke out into song just at the sight of each other. (Oh wait. That's actually a TV show. But nobody's a sociopath on that show - I don't think - so I never watch it. I did try once or twice, but it didn't really hold my interest.)

I'd like to read about people who like teaching but get frustrated with it on a regular basis, to the point where they're tearing out their hair and shrieking, "Not ANOTHER lame excuse!" I'd like to read stories about college instructors who don't love reading fifty papers about the same topic every week or teaching the same class every year. I'd like to know what keeps them going and how they keep from losing control when things don't get any easier.

Thinking about what I want to read inspires me to include those types of things in my own stories. I usually follow the old rule that says you should "write what you know", and this is what I know.

What do you look for when you're deciding which books to read?

Erica and Christy were nice enough to give me the Versatile Blogger Award; thanks ladies! I love awards.
Check out their awesome blog here.

According to the rules for this award, you're supposed to list seven things about yourself, but I actually already did something similar to that when I received the Honest Scrap award from Lilly; you can check out that post here. And I stand by what I wrote in that post, including the part about how Britney Spears deserves more recognition and awards just because she's so awesome.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All I Want for Christmas Is a Personal Assistant

Even though I mocked celebrities in my last blog post for being rich enough to have personal assistants who have their own assistants, I must admit that I wouldn't mind having a personal assistant. I've been pretty stressed out since school started, because I often have to spend more time on my teaching responsibilities than I do on my graduate work.

One reason is that several of my students apparently believe that I never sleep and that I live in my office, which would explain why they e-mail me several times a week and get upset if I don't respond right away. It would also explain why some of them set up multiple appointments to discuss the same paper and then proceed to either not show up or show up twenty minutes late (and then they request more appointments). As a result, I have fallen behind on my dissertation, which makes me feel like I'm going to be in graduate school FOREVER.

So it would be nice to have a personal assistant. It would definitely help to have someone take care of the things that I never have enough time to do, like pick up my dry cleaning, vacuum my apartment, do my grocery shopping, and get rid of the spiders that invade my apartment every time I open my windows because it's like ninety degrees in here and the landlord claims my screens can't be fixed so that I'm screaming "EEEEEEK" at least seventy percent of the time.

Maybe if I had a personal assistant, I wouldn't have to spend so much of my free time "working", i.e., doing household chores and running errands. And then I wouldn't have so much trouble falling asleep at night, because my mind often keeps me awake even though my body is exhausted; I can't relax because I keep thinking of all the stuff that I still need to get done.

On the other hand, maybe it would be better to have a bodyguard instead of a personal assistant. He'd be really big and strong and have a tough-sounding name, like Thor. Then Thor could protect me from strangers on the train when I commute and when I go out at night. He could also make my morning commute a lot less irritating.

For example, during the morning rush hour, the trains are always packed with people who don't get off the train until after MY stop. Even though it is clear that the train is already too crowded, there are always people at the next stop who insist on shoving their way onto the train and yelling at the rest of us to move. Then I end up with my face pressed against someone's shoulder (and can I just say that there are too many people who don't shower on a regular basis?) or I end up elbowing people's faces (although I must admit that sometimes that's intentional if they refuse to let me sit down because it's more important for their bags to have their own seat).

If I had a bodyguard, he could stand by the doors with his arms crossed and then give the death stare to the people who think that a crowded train should be even MORE crowded; he'd glare at them and say, "I don't THINK so." And then they'd back away slowly and decide to walk to work from now on.

There are a few other things that I would like for Christmas. I hate talking on the phone and I hate texting even more, which is why I haven't updated my cell phone in several years. On the other hand, it would be nice to have a Blackberry or a Smartphone. Then, when my students start texting in class, I could send them video messages that say stuff like, "HEY! I'm WATCHING you! PAY ATTENTION!" Or maybe Thor could raise his giant hand and say "STOP!" And then they'd quickly put their phones away and never text again.

You know what else would be cool? A personal chef. Then I wouldn't have to shop in the frozen foods section anymore, and I wouldn't have to worry about setting my clothes on fire. I'd probably be able to eat healthier foods too, and as a result I'd lose weight and feel better. And maybe my personal chef could taste foods that he or she doesn't make for me, just to make sure that the food isn't poisonous or just plain icky. Besides, Thor needs to eat, too.

What about you? What's on your Christmas list?

One of my favorite bloggers, Talli Roland, has a new book out on Kindle, titled The Hating Game. Go to and check it out! (The paperback version comes out in March 2011.) Congratulations, Talli!

Side note: Even though I rarely go to movies, there is one movie that I'm definitely going to watch in 2011. Check out this trailer for Jane Eyre, which is also one of my favorite books. Doesn't it make you wish it was coming out right now?