Reading List: February 2017

In these waning days of February, I realized I hadn’t posted a single time. Oops.

The good news is that one of my more intense contracts has wrapped up, and I’m emerging with a focus to do more of the things that I enjoy doing, and working less. Because no one ever looked back on their past and thought, Gee I wish I had spent more time working….right?

The good news, though, is that when I curl up into my nonstop-work-all-the-time body, I tend to turn to books more to unwind. So my Goodreads 2017 reading challenge is thriving…

Books I’ve Read in 2017

I’ve set a goal of 40 books in 2017, and already finished 11. Here’s what I would recommend so far:

Not My Father’s Son, Alan Cumming
Yes, the emcee from Cabaret Alan Cumming, Spy Kids Alan Cumming, Masterpiece Theatre, and that britcom about airplane stewards. It’s a fast read, laden with the kind of family drama that borders on the surreal (and Cumming acknowledges that very fact throughout the story). The catalyst for the book was appearing on a TV show that investigates family history, but it takes a darker turn. Cumming details his abusive father and escape, as well as a mystery regarding his mother’s father as well. It’s the kind of rounded analysis that makes for satisfactory and heartening reading.

Swing Time, Zadie Smith
This is my first foray into Zadie Smith’s work. Swing Time kept me engaged for all the 400 pages, although there was curious little insight into the narrator’s own mind. I finished the book feeling that I had more knowledge about the people around her, but little ABOUT her (honestly? I don’t think her name was ever shared). That’s the commentary within the book, though; this person is reliant on others for her own make up, but she needs to stand on her own. It’s a tad infuriating at points, when she makes the worst choices possible.

18 and Life on Skid Row, Sebastian Bach
I was born in the 80’s, so all my exposure to the things Sebastian discusses (like Skid Row as a mega 80’s band?) are second-hand and therefore taken with a grain of salt. However, I was in middle school during what appears to be Sebastian’s heyday on VH1, from Supergroup to Celebrity Fit Club to all of those I Love The 80’s episodes, so I was familiar with his enthusiasm and somewhat off kilter approach to things. I still like to refer to rock and roll as a *Savage Animal* for example.

At any rate, this autobiography is a great for light reading for fans of the 80’s hair band era.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari
I think I stumbled over this book on a Reddit sub, and it happened to be available for download through the digital library. Fortuitous all around, because this is one of the best books I’ve read in my life. No exaggeration. But it’s a hefty read, and not a light one. I usually read pretty quickly, around 40+ pages an hour, and this was a bit of a slog for me. It’s heavy stuff, literally the history of humankind. It reminded me a little bit of the book Lies My Teacher Told Me except not framing Western ideas as lies, per say, but misconceptions. And Harari wastes no time setting the record straight.

Books I Plan to Read in 2017

Absolutely on Music, Haruki Murakami

A Book of American Martyrs, Joyce Carol Oates

The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubes

300 Arguments, Sarah Manguso

Get on the Goodreads Train

Goodreads is the social network for book nerds. You can keep up with what people you know are reading as well as check out news from your favorite authors. Best of all, it helps you track books, and pushes people to read more instead of turning on the TV.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s