Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Few Books

Reading has lately been an intense pleasure.

I finished Packaging Girlhood by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown recently, which was about raising girls with marketing and media being they way they are, which really got me thinking. It was very frightening, but I think it's most important to be prepared. It was written in 2002, and I think things have gotten even worse since then, if that's possible. And I also know that I'll have tons of Disney stuff in my home, no matter what books like these say.

I absolutely devoured the biography James Madison by Richard Brookhiser. Little Mr. Madison, as everyone called him, loved to read and pretty much wrote the Constitution and was generally awesome and we should get married and it’s too bad he lived a hundred and fifty years ago and yeah.

Before that it was American Eve by Paula Uruburu (this is the best last name to say out loud that you will ever find) about Evelyn Nesbit. That biography made me feel physically ill at how badly I had misjudged Evelyn due to the way she was represented in Ragtime. I wrote a whole post about her, but it was really long and her story is definitely a little disturbing and filled with sexual violence, so it will not be published here.

I’ve been working my way through The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker, which is very heavy reading. It’s about how mankind has actually gotten less, not more, violent through the ages. Reading about torture, death camps, and the body counts of war is not exactly filled with laughs, but it’s really made me think about this. I read slowly, much slower than I normally have to, and reread sentences that I don’t understand until I feel like I get them. It’s frustrating to go so slow, but I think it’s good to challenge your worldview once in a while.

To take a break from that I picked up Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Like most books that I’ve read after hearing lot of hype it was both very the same and wildly different from my expectations. It was just....wow. Disturbing and brilliant and WOW.

Currently I'm on The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Mary S. Lovell. Turns out that Amelia is a pretty cool lady. My favorite quote from her so far: “How does ‘being in business’…affect marriage?…It seems to me that the effect of  having other interests beyond those exclusively domestic works well. The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.”

Bottom line? I honestly cannot imagine my life without books. I cannot imagine what it is like to *not* love reading.

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