Semester 2 Update

Semester 2 of my PhD officially ended at the end of March. But as most PhD students will tell you, that does not mean a break from my research. I still have a thousand and one things to do, and an impending deadline this Friday. However, I have to say, I am still very much enjoying my research and even the hard and stressful moments still bring some joy to my life.

The highlights for semester 2 were:

  • I wrote and submitted 4,500 out of 80,000 words for my thesis. 4,500 is not a lot of words when compared to 80,000, however, I am still very proud of my accomplishment and the feedback that I received.
  • I was able to present at Book Group a book that inspired my research. This led to an hour of questions about my research and some very insightful discussions.
  • I revamped my social media to reflect my new life in academia. It was actually really fun to transform my LinkedIn page and to create a new twitter account as well as a ResearchGate account. Academic twitter is a world of its own.

Things I’m looking forward to in semester 3:

  • Doing some more writing and finishing chapter one of my thesis. This will mean 11,000 out of 80,000 completed.
  • Actually setting foot on campus, at least once, this academic year. As much as I love my room, I do miss other people and actually seeing their faces without a computer screen.
  • Finishing year 1 of my PhD with as much (if not more) enthusiasm and motivation as when I started.

Thank you for reading.

Book Review: Song of Solomon

I have been meaning to read Toni Morrison for a number of years now, and I was excited to finally buy her book in February. One of the key reasons why I was so excited to read Toni Morrison was because she was the author that made Michelle Obama fall in love with reading. This was the author that Barack Obama introduced her to when they first started dating, as Morrison was one of Barack’s favourite writers.

Song of Solomon is a novel about an African American family and how they navigate through their past. The events of the novel take place between the 1930s and 1970s as it follows the Dead family and the protagonist Macon Dead, also known as Milkman.

My first thoughts of the novel was that it was longer than I expected, but by the end of the novel, I thought that it wasn’t long enough for me to feel satisfied with the ending.

The title of the novel definitely attracted me to this book. Of all the Toni Morrison novels, I chose this one because it reminded me of the book in the Bible, Song of Songs which is also known as Song of Solomon.  From this title, I expected the themes of the biblical book to feature in the novel, however, the book had very little to do with love or romance. Although singing and Solomon do play a key part in the novel, I was over halfway through the novel, if not 60% of the novel, before any mention of Solomon and its connection to singing was ever made known.

The characters of the novel are not two dimensional and therefore harder for them to be likeable. They all have a history and their own motivations for doing things. Although we do not get a glimpse into all the characters psyche, such as Lena (which I would have loved to know more about), Morrison is constantly introducing us to a different and unexpected aspects of her characters. I particularly enjoyed how Morrison writes and develops her female characters, even in the face of oppression, they still thrive at the life they’ve built for themselves.

When starting this novel, there was no doubt in my mind that it would be a brilliant piece of literature, not only because she came highly recommended by the Obamas but because she won the Nobel Prize for Literature (amongst numerous other awards), which to me is as good as it gets for a writer. I am excited to add more of Morrison’s novels to my reading list and this is a novel that I would recommend. Overall, I give this novel a 4.3 out of 5 stars.


Thank you for reading.

The Gift

Leaving all you know behind

Opening the wounds that closed so long before

Veiling oneself from the corruption of others whilst

Embarking on a grave mission.

&

Finding oneself in the midst of chaos

Realising the strength that lies within

Illusions long destroyed

Everything you thought you ought to be

Never again will they define you

Determined to fight the fight, to

Secure the gifts that happiness brings.


Thank you for reading.

Monday

The constant hustle of back and forth

Kids dropped off and commutes commence

Coffee cups in one hand and briefcases in the other

Long strides down the busy streets

No eye contact with restless strangers

Earphones in to block the noise

The packed out trains and buses move

To their next destination of eager passengers

Offices begin to fill with chitchat and good mornings

Computers turned on and another busy day begins.


Thank you for reading.

The Ideal Saturday

The journey was long but arrival was worth it

To sit and have human interaction

To be free of lockdown restrictions

We continued the conversation

Right where we left off

The sun beamed into the room

As pasta and lemon loaf was placed on the table

The taste of aubergine and tagliatelle

The look of bookcases filled to the brim

The sound of laughter

The feeling of friendship

The ideal Saturday.  


Thank you for reading.