Thursday, July 1, 2010

Progress Report!

Well, here I am, the first day of July. This marks six months since my Daily Show challenge began: halfway through the shows in 2010, a quarter of the way through my timeline.

It’s time for the quarterly review (or progress report, if you will). I’m going to jump right into that, but I also want to encourage you to give me suggestions and feedback. Is there something I do that you hate? What about something you wish I did? Anything you particularly enjoy? Does anyone (besides my mom) actually read this? Let me know!

Progress Report #1:

Timeline: Out of the 68 items currently on my list to review, I’ve completed 29. It’s not halfway, which would be right on target for my goal, but it’s not terribly behind either, especially considering that I wasn’t able to review anything in the month of January. I think my two-year deadline will still be tight, but, as of now, I say it’s possible. Of course, I’m starting grad school in the fall, which might change everything, we’ll see.

Writing: I wish I were a little better at this part. Though I think I’m getting the hang of it now, initially I had no idea how to write a review. I worry that I’m not interesting enough, and I wish I had more opportunities to be funny (or were better at writing humorously). I often struggle with writing reviews for things I really like, and I know I use the words “fascinating” and “engaging” too often. That being said, though, I don’t think I’m doing poorly. There are a few reviews that when I finished, I thought, “Hey, I think I did well on this one.” And I’m starting to think that more and more frequently.

Things I would change: There are some ratings I wish I could go back on. (George Lucas’s Blockbusting, for example, would get a one, not a two). I also wish I had listed books’ subtitles, since they give a good sense of what each book is about. This is something I can go back on, and I will begin including the subtitles. (And eventually go back and insert them into the reviews I’ve already written).

Best Book (that I’ve read for the show): Crazy Like Us

Best Film (that I’ve seen for the show): A Single Man

Worst Book (that I’ve read for the show): Courting Disaster

Worst Film (that I’ve seen for the show): Tooth Fairy

Now for the real question. Am I glad I’m doing this?: It’s a qualified yes.

I have read many interesting books that I never would have read. But I have read even more boring books that I also never would have read. I’m getting tired about reading about the economy and our founding fathers (and, yes, I do know I have more of that ahead). Last week, I was on vacation and allowed myself to check out and read any books I wanted to. I can’t tell you what an exciting trip to the library that was, and what a super week I had (though that certainly wasn’t due only to the books). I miss reading whatever I want to.

But I also feel like I’ve gained a lot of knowledge due solely to this challenge. I have a basic idea of what caused this economic crisis. I know what a “quant” is. I have opinions on pharmaceutical companies marketing American drugs in foreign countries. I know Barack Obama’s mother’s name was Stanley. And it’s nice to know things.

A few brief thank yous:

Let me tell you, libraries are wonderful. Over the past six months, I’ve used cards at the Kalamazoo College Library, Western Michigan University Library, Kalamazoo Public Library, and Chelsea District Library. These libraries (and the wonderful librarians and circulation staff at each of them) have allowed me to read all of these books for free (and worked hard to help me find them). Right now, alone, I have six books checked out, waiting for me to read and review them. Support your library!

My friend Brodie made the Daily Shill logo at the top of this blog. I think it looks really cool, and I never could have made it myself. Thanks, Brodie!

Also thanks to all my pals (and my parents) who ask me how this project is going. I appreciate your support.


  1. Hi Emily--your mission reminds me of a recent HS grad who decided to follow the advice from 17 magazine for i think it was 1 month. Have you heard about that?

    Anyways, i'm wondering if you are using MeLCat to borrow all those books? You could, you know!

    Good luck with your mission :-)

    Deb BT
    MeL Coordinator
    Library of Michigan

  2. Hi Deb!
    I hadn't heard about the 17 magazine challenge. That sounds amusing, though; I'll have to look into it.
    I have definitely used MeLCat for many of the books, especially when I lived in Kalamazoo. Since I've moved back to Chelsea, though, I've found everything I've needed at our public library. It's been wonderful.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Emily,
    I read it! Keep posting that you updated your blog on your Facebook so I know when to read. My one comment is that early-on, I thought your posts were a little short for my taste (but then again, I have a problem keeping my writing short and concise). I wanted a little more of a summary and more specific points about what you did or didn't like. Then I read your "Louie" review and thought it was spot-on. Keep up the good work!

    Always a delight to read!

    Always a delight to read.

  4. Thanks, T!
    My three teeny-tiny posts yesterday must have driven you crazy! But you're right, the longer ones are better. I will work on adding more specifics.
    Thanks again!