Recently, I started reading again. Technically, I never really stopped, but for a few years (yes, years), all I really read was theory and research. Now don’t get me wrong – I like theory and research, but I cannot live by Derrida and Baudrillard alone. I just didn’t have the time or often the brainpower for much of anything beyond what was required for teaching and the dissertation.
Happily, I’ve recently rediscovered the pleasure of reading, whether it be a long afternoon to polish off a whole novel or a chapter or two read on an afternoon break. It took me awhile to get to this point, and it took some real, determined effort to make time for it at first, but now that I’m back at it, I’m as completely hooked as I was in undergrad when I stayed up late on weekends, settled cozily into bed with Jane Eyre, A Prayer for Owen Meany, or Look Homeward, Angel.
Now that I’m back at it, I’m polishing off books at a fairly rapid clip. Sure, I started out with some wonderful young adult fantasy books that I could get through quickly at the start – The Gates and Un Lun Dun were great – but I’ve also started expanding my horizons again to include classics, modern literature, humour, cookbooks, and non-fiction. Given how much I want to read, and how excited I am about it, I’ve also started to take real pleasure in thinking about and planning what I want to read next, so I thought that every month I’d keep track of what I’d read the previous month and set out a few books to read for the upcoming one.
In November, I made my way through:
- John Steinbeck – Travels with Charley in Search of America
- China Miéville – Un Lun Dun
- Michael Chabon – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
- John Connelly – The Gates
- Guy Gavriel Kay – Tigana
For December, I’m planning to read through:
- Annie Dillard – Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
- John Irving – The Cider House Rules
- Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
- Sandor Ellix Katz – The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved
- Heston Blumenthal – In Search of Perfection
Personally, I like having a few books on the go at once, especially when some are fiction and some are non-fiction. I’ve especially been loving the opportunity to read more about food related topics, which I really enjoy on its own, but also presents some interesting research opportunities for future academic work. But for now, I’m going to grab a blanket, settle myself in on the couch with The Cider House Rules, and slip away to Maine and John Irving’s well-wrought world for a little while.