Duke of Bookingham

Duke of Bookingham Writer, reader, book snob. Welcome, peasants. Read Before You Ask

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In an interview with inc.com, David Karp (Tumblr's founder) admitted, "Being on computers all the time makes me feel gross."

dukeofbookingham·19 hours agoAnswer
Hi duke! *curtsies* I’m a high school junior and i’m starting to look at colleges, but the thing is that i live right next to a really popular university, and all of the established literature about its picturesque scenery and strong academia.... definitely doesn’t match the reality of the school. With experience that in mind, I’ve been looking for more informal reviews of different colleges by actual students. Do you know of anything like that, particularly for colleges in New York? Thank you!!

Hmm. I actually don’t. This is probably why the “college tour” has become so popular with high school juniors and their parents. One thing you can do is email the admissions office and ask if there are any current students who’d be willing to talk to you; most schools are pretty readily prepared to match-make between prospective and current students. I’m sorry I don’t have better suggestions than that, but I’ll post this here on the chance one of my followers does. Friends, feel free to reply/reblog with suggestions.

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dukeofbookingham·19 hours agoText

Reading about “elements of credulity and auto-suggestibility that were widespread in the populace and which could easily provide a basis for panic irrationality under stressful conditions” for the diss, nice to know we’ve learned approximately nothing since 1587

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dukeofbookingham·21 hours agoPhoto

Review | Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style by Kurt Vonnegut and Suzanne McConnell

Genre: nonfiction, writing
Setting: N/A
# of Pages: 432
Rating: 4/5

The skinny: Former student and longtime friend of Kurt Vonnegut Suzanne McConnell complies his best advice on writing and life.

The fat: If you like Kurt Vonnegut’s writing and are a writer yourself, you should read this. It may not hold the attention of anybody who doesn’t practice the craft, but for those who do it’s a treasure trove of sound advice and irreverent jokes alike. McConnell’s intervention is to help contextualize Vonnegut’s singular utterances, occasionally push back against some of his ideas, and provide perspective as someone who knew the enigmatic man in person. Despite being 400+ pages, Pity the Reader is, like most of Vonnegut’s work, a fast and darkly funny read. 

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dukeofbookingham·2 days agoText

Just found out I got accepted to a roundtable with some senior scholars I really admire and the chair wrote back that they’re “thrilled” with my abstract with the word “thrilled” in bold so anyway that’s going to get me through the week as soon as I stop crying because my nerves have reached Mrs. Bennett levels of tension and that’s life in the time of coronavirus, TAKE EVERY WIN YOU CAN GET

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dukeofbookingham·2 days agoAnswer
Hi Duke! I'm most likely going to be attending UMD College Park for undergrad next fall (go terps!). I'm not sure if that's the UMD campus at which you work, but if it is, do you have any suggestions for good study/work spaces? When I visited campus the main library seemed a little sad. Thank you :)

I’m torn between wanting to share all my wisdom and jealously guarding my good study spots. But! That would a selfish thing to do when I have an office at home and at school so: my two favorite places are the reading room on the fourth floor of McKeldin (big tables, lots of outlets, very quiet, and usually pretty sparsely populated except during exam season) and the special collections reading room in Hornbake (this is more like an archive in that you have to leave everything in a locker before you’re allowed in, but if you’re working mostly on a laptop and not on paper, it’s an ~ideal~ study environment, and usually deserted in my experience). You can also book private study rooms in most of the campus libraries. There are a lot of little nooks and courtyards in and around the Clarice performing arts building, which is a quick walk across the parking lot from Tawes and also has a full-service cafe for all your snacking needs. The art library (adjacent to Tawes across the courtyard) has big windows and great light and lots of little tables to claim upstairs. 

Caveat: these places are mostly clustered around the Tawes end of campus because that’s where I spend 99% of my time (if you’re an English major you likely will, too), so there are probably plenty of other places around this huge campus that would meet your needs. There are also some coffee shops and such up and down Baltimore Ave, but I tend to avoid that part of town because it is (1) undergrad central and (2) always a zoo, but since those are your peers, that may be worth looking into as well. (I have nothing against undergrads! I just prefer not to see my students when I’m out at the bar and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.) 

I hope this helps. Congratulations on your acceptance and welcome to UM! Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with. 

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dukeofbookingham·3 days agoAnswer
good evening duke, *curtsies.* just wondering what your thoughts are on pursing a phd directly with no breaks in between as opposed to taking years out at various stages (i.e. maybe a yr off between undergrad/masters or masters/phd or between phd years). do you think one is better than the other or depends on each person’s circumstances?

*Curtsies* You’ll find a lot of past thoughts on this under the gap years tag. Let me know if that doesn’t help!

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dukeofbookingham·3 days agoAnswer
(Curtsies) Hey Duke, I'm trying to offer free math (calculus, algebra, and geometry) tutoring to students affected by covid closures, but I don't have a very big platform to let people know! Can you help me spread the word? I also made a post on my blog about it. Thank you!

Sure thing! Hey folks, if you need some help with numbers in the days to come, drop by @curiousbanzai’s blog. And I’m going to ahead and invite anybody else who has resources/services to share to go ahead and reblog this post adding their links. I can’t post of all of them individually, but hopefully creating a little bit of a chain will help students and tutors find each other. 

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dukeofbookingham·3 days agoText

Just received a response to a conference paper saying I should really check out (!) two relevant sources… both of which I cited in said paper. One was mentioned by name in the first sentence. So this is a good lesson for young academics on how to not embarrass yourself in front of your colleagues: actually read the work you’re commenting on, including the foot- and endnotes. 

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dukeofbookingham·4 days agoAnswer
*curtsies excitedly* Hey Duke, it's the weird-early-modern-stuff anon again - my admiration for your tolerance for weirdness just grew tenfold cause my term paper is, in fact, about early modern medicine. More specifically about early modern medicinal cannibalism which oh boy it's Big Weird. Did you know they would grind the skulls of executed criminals into a fine powder and INGEST IT as a remedy against epilepsy or "bad moods"? Same with human fat. You probably knew but oh man. it's WEIRD.

*Curtsies* I DID because I wrote a term paper during my master’s degree about cannibal banquets in early modern revenge tragedy, so I’ve seen some things. I also have an office mate who does 18th century cannibalism as part of her dissertation (food studies). One thing I would highly recommend if you haven’t gotten around to it yet is Montaigne’s Essays, because the way he talks about the human body is timelessly poignant and strange and relatable (the essay on erectile dysfunction, believe it or not, is particularly good), and also Bakhtin’s book on Rabelais.

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dukeofbookingham·4 days agoText


Hey folks. If you’ve seen normally reliable sources like NPR sources touting the Internet Archive for releasing a free “National Emergency Library,” please know that this is based on a gross misunderstanding of the situation. The Internet Archive does provide access to old books for which the copyright has lapsed, but now they’re scanning/posting things they absolutely do not have the rights for and authors who can’t afford it are going to take a hit. I know free books are tempting, but this is bad. This is basically piracy. Don’t do this. If you want to see a breakdown of why this isn’t okay, I recommend reading the threads by Chuck Wendig and Alexander Chee

Stay informed. It’s hard not to take advantage of things like this when money is tight, but money is tight for a lot of authors, too, and they’re not getting a government bailout, and every sale counts. Piracy is not a victimless crime.

Before I get a bunch of asks about “Why is piracy bad?” and “But I have a loophole!” here is tag explaining why piracy is bad for books and offering alternatives for free reading material. You can also try the resources tag.

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