Monday, May 11, 2009

Editing letter by Lara Zielin (or, How I Feel About My Bloody Dissertation)

My dissertation has been hanging over my head for AGES. I have finally kicked my butt into gear and done some serious work on it; I thought I was DONE, and I sent the work to my dad and brother to read. You know, to proof, make sure I didn't have stray commas or typos... make MINOR changes and suggestions.

INSTEAD, I was told to add HISTORICAL CONTEXT to all the stuff I was saying. So I had to do ALL THIS RESEARCH and get FACTS and INFORMATION to back up the claims I was making.

THEN I was again DONE -- to the best of my knowledge. Then my dad sends me ANOTHER BOOK, the autobiography of one of the members of the band (whose song lyrics I'm using to reflect the social, cultural, and political feelings of the youth in Chile in the 80s, under Pinochet's dictatorship). I have sticky notes all over the first half of that book, more stuff I can out in my paper to make it better.

So NOW I have to get the lead singer's autobiography too. After all, he's the guy who wrote all the songs I'm talking about, and he's the one with the angry political sentiments.

But, you see, this book isn't really and Amazon Pick of the Week type book. I found one place where I can order it, for $16. Which is not bad. But my two shipping options are: 3-day shipping for $46, or 20-day shipping for $22. There's a bigger difference between 3 and 20 days than between 22 and 46 dollars, don't you think?

(If you'd been working on this bloody paper as long as I have you would very much indeed think, trust me.)

Do I just leave the bloody dissertation as is, or do I fork over $62 for this book?

I found another site that will sell me the book for $9, with $39 shipping, but those amounts are in Chilean pesos (I'm too lazy to look up the exchange rate) and I don't know how long the shipping will take (it does say DHL, so I'm assuming it's relatively not-eternal). Do I go for that one?

I've tried buying the $62 book twice now, but the server can't process my transaction at this time. Is this God sending me a message?

Blogosphere, what say you?

To buy or not to buy, that is the question...


  1. Anonymous4:25 PM

    You never regret the books you buy, only the ones you didn't

  2. I suppose you've already checked the local libraries? Sounds like it's unlikely, but for $62 it might be worth a shot...

  3. The point might be moot -- I tried buying the book, and the website didn't let me! I placed the order on one site, but their PayPal-equivalent, like on Etsy, is separate from the order, and that part didn't go through. Guess I'll try emailing them to see what I do now...

    The book was only published in Chile, so I can't even buy it from Amazon/B&N/Borders (not even

  4. I think there's 2 separate questions. 1) Do you want the book in and of itself, separate from the dissertation? and 2) Do you want to spend more time working on it? How big of a difference will it make to your paper? Will it be big enough to justify turning it in even later? Are you excited to add to it and make it better, or does it fill you with a sense of dread at not being done by now?

    Daddy could probably buy the book and bring it to you for free, if you're willing to wait another few weeks.

    BTW I remember seeing DHL trucks in Switzerland, so they're definitely a legit and trustworthy shipper.

  5. I love anyone's profile that includes the phrase "and she has better grammar." That is awesome. Thanks for putting Editing Letter on your blog. Good luck with the dissertation!