On the Pile
* Charm City by Laura Lippman. I started reading Lippman a few years ago and got hooked on her Baltimore-based mysteries. Now I'm going back to her earlier books and the start of the Tess Monaghan series. Charm City is the second in the series, and I can start to see some real progression in Lippman's writing. Not sure if she just became more skilled and confident or if her publisher hooked her up with a better editor, but the first book in the series---Baltimore Blues---was sort of dreadful. Charm City is getting better, if still a bit overwrought and redundant. I also have Lippman's latest book---Life Sentences (not in the Tess Monaghan series)---on deck.
* The Social Construction of Reality by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann. According to the reviewers who read my various grant proposals, I have a great topic (voluntourism) but a weak theory (exchange). And unfortunately, I think I have to agree that my theory is a poor fit for my research questions. So I'm in search of a new theory and think (hope?) that constructivism might be a better fit.
* The End of Overeating by David Kessler. My weight has gotten completely out of control this past year. The pants that I swore would be the highest size I would wear are starting to get tight. I'm embarrased by my appearance. And I can feel how the weight is weighing on me: I get tired and out of breath easily; I can't stand for more than a few minutes before my feet get sore. And much of the problem is my overeating, which has escalated this past year as I've turned to food to cope with the increasing stress and frustration of grad school. So I thought I'd give this book a try. Kessler, a former FDA commissioner and respected public health advocate, seems more credible than most diet gurus. But so far I haven't found any great insight: The food industry manipulates the levels of salt, sugar, and fat in the food to make it more palatable so that we'll want to eat more. Well, duh.
* Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild; Nuer Dilemmas by Sharon Hutchinson; and Understanding Contemporary Africa by April and Donald Gordon. I'm the teaching assistant for an African survey class this summer, and these are the course texts. A lot of reading for a four-week course.
* Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag. I've been trying to read this since about September, but I keep putting it aside for more urgent readings. It's only 126 pages; maybe I can finally finish it now.
* Life Sentences by Laura Lippman.
* Tools for Teaching by Barbara Gross Davis and Teaching First-Year College Students by Bette Erickson, Calvin Peters, and Diane Strommer. My co-advisor recommended these to help me survive my first time as a teaching assistant.
Added to the Pile
In addition to a long list of books on media theory and African media, I checked out a pile of books from the public library:
* Deaf Sentence by David Lodge. My favorite satirist of academia.
* Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh.
* A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Conner. I somehow never read O'Conner in school, and all the press around her new biography has made me feel like I should really fill that gap.
* The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever. Ditto.
* Netherland by Joseph O'Neill.
* Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood. Proving that I'll read anything Atwood writes, even if it is on financial systems.
* Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.
And I have issues 18-24 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8.
Because I can never have enough books . . . .
*Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg.
* Once a Runner by John Parker
* The Fortune of the Rougons by Emile Zola. One of my summer projects is to read the Rougon-Macquart cycle. Unfortunately, neither the university library nor the public library has all the books in the cycle.
* Voluntary Madness by Norah Vincent. I'm 16th out of 19 requests for this book at the library.
* Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey. I've already read---and loved---Florey's history of sentence diagramming. So of course I'm psyched for her treatment of penmanship.