After spending an intense year of grad school reading nothing besides textbooks and Foreign Affairs articles, I was itching to get back into reading for pleasure. Reading was something I’ve always loved, and I was surprised to hard to was to get back into the habit, once I hadn’t for so long. Plus, after reading such heavy stuff for a year, I found it challenging to get lost in a novel. But, while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, I was able to give myself a reading jump-start, which I can hopefully maintain. And, I thought, perhaps committing to posting about what I’m reading would keep me motivated? So, here is some of what I’ve been reading lately:
Bossypants, which probably doesn’t require much explanation at this point. I found it pretty funny, but more remarkable is the fact that, being only a moderate Tina Fey fan up to this point, I bought this book brand new, the week it came out. I guess that says something about how influenced I can be by the opinions of other blogs and reviewers!
I read Housekeeping in the span of a couple evenings, and really enjoyed it. I absolutely adored Gilead, so I tried not to have too high of expectations. Despite the potentially disturbing content (two little girls losing their mother, then grandmother, then living with their strange, drifter aunt), the writing is so beautiful that its lovely to read.
Last Night at the Lobster, about the manager of a Red Lobster on the last night before it closes, was also a quick read, but not one I’m sure I’d recommend. It was alright, but not awesome. I read it after hearing an interview with the author, Stewart O’Nan, on Fresh Air, where he was being interviewed about his new novel, Emily, Alone, which I might give a try here soon.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of the woman from whom doctors took the cancer cells that would eventually become the HeLa cell line. It was Dayton’s 2011 Big Read, but I just got around to reading it. It was incredibly fascinating, and so well written its easy to get lost in the story. I began reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer immediately after that, which is also interesting, but I’ve found it a bit difficult to follow the science at times. And perhaps reading two cancer-related books in a row wasn’t the best decision ever. I might have to read something a little lighter, then come back to this one later.
The last book in that stack is The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, which I’m reading as a part of my thesis research. I’ve only just started going through it, but any book that mentions, “freedom recession,” “the Washington Consensus,” “the Beijing Consensus,” “institutions of democracy,” “laissez-faire approach to democratization,” “resurgent authoritarianism,” and “this new, highly-globalized world” on the first page of the introduction is clearly a book for an International and Comparative Politics student! I’m excited to dig further into it.
What about you–have you read any good books lately? I’d love some recommendations as to what to read next!