Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What are you reading over spring break?

by J J Cohen

A reporter from the GW Hatchet (our student newspaper) emailed me this morning to ask for recommended reading for students over our upcoming "break" (quotation marks indicate that very few of those of us who teach actually take much of a break). Here's what I wrote back.
For those who don't want to turn their brains off for the entire week, I recommend Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. The book challenges its readers to rethink the fundamental and largely unexamined question of what we eat and why. It's also a meditation on shared tables and community, and quite literary in parts.

I'm about to start Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, a gift from my colleague Judith Plotz. And for anyone who is feeling really ambitious, you could plug away at Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, which is taking me, um, over a year so far with no end in sight.
What about you? What are you reading over the "break"?


ken tompkins said...

I envy you having students ask what you might be reading.

I just finished "Wolf Hall" a month ago; I couldn't put it down.

I am reading Matthew Crawford's "Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work" and struggling with Iris Murdoch's "The Superiority of Good" which he mentions frequently. Neither are easy reads.

I'm also trying to get into Gail Paster's "Humoring the Body" which I think was mentioned here.

I am taking small dozes of David Marc's "Bonfire of the Humanities" about which I oscillate between nodding my head and rolling my eyes.

For easy reading pleasure, I am finishing Conn Iggulden's third novel on Julius Caesar -- "The Field of Swords". If the Romans ever swashbuckled, this is it.

dan remein said...

I'm re-reading some of Beckett's short stories as part of my project for a seminar I'm in on Radio. What else? Revisiting Christian Bök's 'Crystallography,' but for the first time Agamben's 'Signature of All things.'

And, going to be paging through any number of books from the library on queer theory and on/of contemporary poetics as part of building my exam reading lists....

Rob Barrett said...

Three Earthsea novels: Tombs of Atuan, Farthest Shore, and Tehanu. For class, but also for fun.

Eileen Joy said...

On the principle of reading something for fun [a novel], I *tried* to read "The Dart League King" by Keith Lee Morris, but I couldn't get through it. It was a little too macho--not that that really matters, but I wanted something more magical. Therefore I *resolved* to read Kevin Brockmeier's new short story collection, "The View from the Seventh Level." Brockmeier is my new favorite author [he wrote the beautiful novel "The Brief History of the Dead"]--the title story of the collection, which I read in a literary journal where it was first published [or maybe, even, Harper's?], is a stunner. Brockmeier specializes in what is sometimes called "slipstream" fiction, which slips back and forth between realism and non- or surrealism. I say I *resolved* to read this book, but instead found myself reading Claude Romano's book [philosophy] "Event and World," which formulates an "evential hermeneutics" [short version: instead of Being or Being-there and world, there is only world; world precedes Being, or something like that--it's very provocative].

Gryphon said...

I'm in the midst of Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach. . . and then maybe I'll finally start Wolf Hall!