I went to the library for the first time since completing my dissertation, and I have never felt such boundless freedom! I could get anything I wanted! I didn't have to feel guilty about reading anything!
This is what I ended up with:
Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals by Hal Herzog. I started with this one, and it's an interesting read that speaks right to an ethical dilemma I've been trying to sort out for several years. I'm particularly drawn to the way that Herzog positions middle grounders when it comes to the treatment of animals:
We middlers see the world in shades of gray rather than in the clear blacks and whites of committed animal activists and their equally vociferous opponents. Some argue that we are fence-sitters, moral wimps. I believe, however, that the troubled middle makes perfect sense because moral quagmires are inevitable in a species with a huge brain and a big heart. They come with the territory.
Founding Grammars: How Early America's War Over Words Shaped Today's Language by Rosemarie Ostter. This book promises to delve into the way that grammar and the choices we've made about it are foundational to American identity. I was particularly drawn to Chapter 2, "Grammar for Different Classes of Learners," which will examine how grammar has been taught differently to different groups of people, including an overview of a vices grammar fight between Noah Webster and Lindley Murray.
The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures by Louis Theroux. I almost chose this book as the course text for my composition class next semester, but decided against it at the last minute, mainly because all of the subcultures examined seemed to lack racial diversity, and I wanted to think through the ramifications of teaching an examination of primarily white subcultures in a primarily black educational setting. I am still very interested in the book, though, so I'm going to give it a read while sorting through those questions.
Theroux's work gets up close and personal with individual members of subcultures ranging from Nevada brothels to white supremacist organizations.
Stuffocation: Why We've Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More than Ever by James Wallman. I haven't looked at this one very closely yet, but the table of contents promises an examination of how advertising worked to create a culture of desire and how a rise of "experientialists" is calling that culture into question.
The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue. I'm a sucker for horror. I grabbed this one as we were heading to the check out counter. The reviews on the back promise a psychological thriller rooted in the reality of family life. I hope it creeps me out.
So, there you have it. Those are my first choices as a free woman with the ability to read whatever I want. Somewhere inside me there's a 15-year-old version of myself who is shaking her head at the imbalance between fiction and non-fiction and wondering how I went so far astray, but I'm excited about getting lost in some (hopefully) good books over the next few weeks.
I showed you mine, now show me yours. What are you reading?