Opinion,  Profile

Lit Review

As some of you may know I have been working on a masters degree in Technical Communication for about eight thousand years now. Happily I’m on my last class – an independent study course – and finishing up the menial tasks required to receive approval in the form of a very expensive and official piece of paper. I might actually frame this diploma – I’m not even sure where my undergrad one is…

Despite the required work still to be done on my final class, I don’t actually have to be in a classroom this semester so it feels very much like… well, like I’m free! And so I’ve turned my attention to some things I’ve wanted to do for awhile but have put on hold: photography, dance, social media meetups, beer meetups, dating, cleaning my house, having a dog. And reading. I love to read but have put most fiction (and the enjoyable non-fiction) aside in exchange for journal articles and seemingly endless text books. I am SO pleased to be able to read for fun again and over the last couple months have made it through a stack of great books, many of which had been waiting for quite awhile.

Fall of Giants
Ken FollettHis latest book, the first in what will apparently be a trilogy. Follett wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Pillars of the Earth. This book wasn’t as good as that one, but it had a similar feel to it and wasn’t nearly so crappy as his Pillars follow-up, World Without End. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the second in the trilogy.
At Home
Bill BrysonAnother of my favorite authors, Bryson has the ability to write about nothing in a completely entertaining and absorbing way. This non-fiction book has the pretense of talking about The Home as the chapters are broken into discussion on the origins of various rooms of the house. However Bryson meanders far beyond those rooms with random stories from different time periods, countries and contexts and yet ties them all up in a beautiful bow.
How We Decide
Jonah LehrerThis book I stole from my brother and therefore had to read on a deadline so I could return it the next time I saw him. Another non-fiction book, this one is part economics, part scientific study on how we make our decisions. From the basic – what’s for lunch? – to the instinctual – which open receiver should the quarterback throw to? – this book looks at it all. Interestingly, I read Katie Couric’s The Best Advice I Ever Got at the same time, which unintentionally provided a fascinating counterpoint in consideration of our major life decisions – those we make in light of the advice of others and sometimes against our own better judgment.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Robert HeinleinThis one had been sitting on my bedside table for some time and initially I did have a hard time getting into it. A sci-fi novel, this book takes place on a futuristic moon colony, fighting for its independence and trying to establish its own government. The political development is very much libertarian, which if I were ever going to argue about politics (which I don’t want to) is the way I would argue. I really enjoyed it and found myself well wrapped up in the characters and success of their little culture.
Joss Whedon (and others)I may have had this book (a graphic novel specifically) waiting for a year. Seriously, it was ridiculous. But once I opened it I couldn’t put it down. Once again I am reminded that everything Joss Whedon does is brilliantly fun and entertaining and this story of a vampire slayer in a new generation was enthralling. I need to find more.
The Eyre Affair
Jasper FfordeI headed to the family lake house in Canada this summer and, as usual, could not possibly pack enough books to last me the week. Happily the cottage has hundreds of books in shelves all over the house and I stumbled on the second book in this series, Lost in a Good Book. Once I discovered my error I bitterly regretted reading them out of order but was too busy being excited that I had found a new author I loved to get too angry. On a side note, I’ve never read Jane Eyre, so this book has also prompted me to read the classic which I downloaded for free to my iPhone. Copyright finally pays off!

Recently, my friends Sarah, Des and I decided that we would start our own club of sorts – a group that meets monthly and talks about books, music, current events, the meaning of life and other general stuff. We totally stole the idea from some other friends of ours who are far cooler than we are (if you can imagine that?!) but we’re super-excited to do our own thing. We’re now on our third meeting/book and it has gone better than I could have hoped. Since we take turns picking the book each month I’m already pondering what my next pick will be – there are so many great things to read!

Ok, my nerdiness has now overwhelmed even me. Only thing left to do is publish this post and go read in bed.