Sometimes I wish nothing sat on the nightstand but a remote control and a coca-cola. Of course I can't have caffeine and I'm trying to get back down to my "low weight" (i.e., what I weighed after I dropped a hundred pounds in 2004-2005) so the latter is out altogether. Instead, books books books. I'm not complaining; they bring joy. But the term's off to a hectic start and, well, my head's bouncing with ideas and choices and to-do lists.
I'm in the middle of 'Half the Sky' by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, a text I love. Kristof and WuDunn combine reportage, creative non-fiction, and thoroughly researched analyses of the status of women around the world. It's ultimately a book about how women represent the single greatest potential investment in a more just world. Any interest in foreign aid, gender, or justice issues? Read this book immediately. I'm teaching it so I've been re-reading some early chapters and taking notes for much of this afternoon in anticipation of tomorrow's class. Don't disappoint me, freshmen.
Also in the middle of 'Under the Dome' by Stephen King. This is strictly for fun. I don't read huge amounts of fiction during the term, but I couldn't finish this nearly 1200 page behemoth last week, so I'm finishing up the last couple hundred pages this week. This is easily the most fun I've had reading a King book since I was in high school and adored each of his novels. A town in rural Maine becomes shut off from the rest of the world due to the sudden appearance of an invisible dome around the hamlet. Part 'Lord of the Flies,' part allegory about post 9/11 foriegn policy, part epic good/evil battle a la King's 'The Stand.' Loving it.
For an article I'm revising (thanks to that revise and resubmit letter a few weeks back), I'm reading around in 'Ordinary Affects' (Kathleen Stewart), 'Vision, Rhetoric and Social Action in the Composition Classroom' (Kristie Fleckenstein) and 'The Affective Turn' (Patricia Clough and Jean Halley). Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to be writing a book review of Kelly Ritter's 'Before Shaughnessy.' How about a re-do on Christmas break and this time I don't veg out? I have a love-hate relationship with the clanging of words and ideas that everybody in this line of work must feel. So much to read. So many ideas to use, consider, assess.