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I know that the idea of reading for fun might be cringe-worthy at this stage in the application cycle (crunch time!) while also trying to balance exams/coursework/term papers for those enrolled in programs as well. I find that it's so easy to completely forget why we are even in this discipline at this time - and I spotted a thread like this in the Philosophy forum ages ago, so I'm hoping to bring the ~*christmas cheer*~ back to this death-zone-five forum of academic anxieties aha!

 

I've just finished one book and one poetry anthology: Their Eyes Were Looking At God by Zora Neale Hurston, which was absolutely incredible, and The Poetry of the Taliban, which was strangely intimate. I'm planning over the winter holidays to try to start slamming through my gaps in Modern Library's 100 Best Novels (http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/) for fun and also for the challenge.

 

What is everyone reading for fun these days?!

 

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Also - if your reaction to this thread goes along the lines of this .gif, then that is completely acceptable and I am sorry and I will derp off now.

 

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Their Eyes Were Looking At God, the "In Other Words" series version of Their Eyes Were Watching God! Found right next to Stowe's Uncle John's Cabin and Alcott's Tiny Women. (Sorry, if an English major can't tease another English major about a minor typo, who can?)

 

Yeah, I'm between books right now, but read quite a few novels this past semester. Jane Eyre and Northanger Abbey were a couple of "should-have-read-earlier" novels that I quite enjoyed, while Henry James' short story / novella "The Pupil" turned out to be my favorite of his works so far. Wasn't too big on What Maisie Knew, however.

 

As for things I'm planning on reading for pleasure... Believe it or not, I'm actually going to set aside time to read Sidney's A Defence of Poetry. It's short, and it's something I should have read by now already. And a former professor of mine, who I've pretty much become friends with, told me I should "treat myself" over break by reading it. So I probably will! Beyond that, I've got a lot of books I want to get to at some point, so I'll probably just pick one and go with it. Indeed, Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of those books. So maybe I'll give it a shot! My library is starting to fill up with more books that I haven't read than ones I have, so I've got to remedy that somehow.

 

Mind you, a quick glance at my courses for next semester reveals 21 required texts so far (four out of five courses reporting). So maybe I should get a head start on those...

Edited by Wyatt's Torch

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Believe it or not, I'm actually going to set aside time to read Sidney's A Defence of Poetry. It's short, and it's something I should have read by now already. 

 

Consider reading it alongside the Harvey and Spenser's 1580 Three Proper, and wittie, familiar Letters - one of the letters in this volume (can't remember which of the top of my head) contains some remarks on English prosody which complement those Sidney articulates in the Defence. I'm really intrigued by Harvey/Spenser/Sidney's efforts to integrate classical prosody -- it proved to be a foolish endeavor, but it's fascinating nonetheless. 

 

As for me, I'm currently working through Hobbes' Leviathan. I read some of it a few years ago when I was interested in Milton's ontology, but haven't returned to it since. So far I've been amazed at how smoothly it reads. I was really intimidated when I first attempted it, but it's turning out to be much more approachable than I remember. 

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As for me, I'm currently working through Hobbes' Leviathan. I read some of it a few years ago when I was interested in Milton's ontology, but haven't returned to it since. So far I've been amazed at how smoothly it reads. I was really intimidated when I first attempted it, but it's turning out to be much more approachable than I remember. 

 

I too was surprised at Leviathan's accessibility! Milton could've learned a thing or two, I think...

 

My pleasure reading right now is Rey Chow's Sentimental Fabulations. What a great book. I can't recommend it enough. It's like talking to a nerdy theory friend about my favorite Chinese movies. 

 

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Edited by 1Q84

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Turns out, most parenting books are really exposés on the many ways newborns can kill themselves. So that's fun. 

 

For my light reading, the hubs and I are listening to Amy Poehler's Yes, Please whenever we are in the car. I don't usually enjoy audiobooks (I am just not an auditory learner), but I find comedy books (like Bossy Pants and Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me?) are super fun to listen to, as the author is usually the narrator. And speaking of listening to things, yes, I am in the cult of Serial, warts and all. 

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As for me, I'm currently working through Hobbes' Leviathan. I read some of it a few years ago when I was interested in Milton's ontology, but haven't returned to it since. So far I've been amazed at how smoothly it reads. I was really intimidated when I first attempted it, but it's turning out to be much more approachable than I remember. 

The Leviathan is dope.  Hobbes is definitely one of the most fun social contract philosophers to read. 

 

I'm currently reading William Langland's Piers Plowman (B-Text) and His Master's Voice by Stanislaw Lem.  One thing I hate about school being in session is how little time I have for pleasure reading.  When I'm working a 9-5, I still manage to swallow novels whole... when there's research to be done, not so much.  I have a whole long super long "I need to read this before grad school so I don't feel like an idiot/science fiction/contemporary poetry/James Baldwin" reading list for this spring and summer though that I'm stoked to dive into...

 

 

Turns out, most parenting books are really exposés on the many ways newborns can kill themselves. So that's fun. 

^^ (confession: I had to try really hard not to laugh out loud at my desk at work.)  Ugh.  I'm sorry.

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I'm currently reading William Langland's Piers Plowman (B-Text) and His Master's Voice by Stanislaw Lem.  One thing I hate about school being in session is how little time I have for pleasure reading.  When I'm working a 9-5, I still manage to swallow novels whole... when there's research to be done, not so much.  I have a whole long super long "I need to read this before grad school so I don't feel like an idiot/science fiction/contemporary poetry/James Baldwin" reading list for this spring and summer though that I'm stoked to dive into...

 

Yeah. This. Totally. I mean, I've always been fairly "well-read," considering that my life until the age of 30 was surrounded by non-literary (and even non-literate!) people. I always had a taste for literary classics. AND YET...there's so much I need to read! I'm constantly encountering books that I feel I really ought to have read by now. It's daunting, really, though also a bit exciting, because it means that it will take all of us a hell of a long time (read: never) to effectively "run out" of important or interesting books to read...

 

I died a little inside when I looked at Queennight's Modern Library link. I've read maybe 1/3 of those novels. :huh:

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I died a little inside when I looked at Queennight's Modern Library link. I've read maybe 1/3 of those novels. :huh:

 

Same! I went through the list and ticked off the books that I had read, and I was startled by how many gaps I had. Definitely around 2/3rds I hadn't actually read. I'm excited for the challenge of trying to catch up though!!

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Same! I went through the list and ticked off the books that I had read, and I was startled by how many gaps I had. Definitely around 2/3rds I hadn't actually read. I'm excited for the challenge of trying to catch up though!!

 

Funnily enough, I just double-checked my assigned reading list for next semester and THREE of the works on the Modern Library list are on there. Progress!

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I'm going back and forth between Richard Farina's dated but satirical and whimsical odyssey of an alienated student at a thinly disguised Cornell (Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me) and Richard Ford's characteristically enthralling and emotionally involving Lay of the Land

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My "fun" reading consists of finding extra/better secondary  and historical sources for my papers that are due next week. I'm looking forward to a trip to Barnes & Nobles after the semester is over! Anyone have any good historical fiction to recommend? Its my guilty pleasure.

 

ETA: I just realized that the copy of The Book of Common Prayer that I ordered from Amazon 2 months ago never arrived....strange...That was supposed to be my winter break fun reading.

Edited by jhefflol

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My "fun" reading consists of finding extra/better secondary  and historical sources for my papers that are due next week. I'm looking forward to a trip to Barnes & Nobles after the semester is over! Anyone have any good historical fiction to recommend? Its my guilty pleasure.

 

 

Not "traditional" historical fiction, but boy do I ever love the Baroque Trilogy by Neal Stephenson. Basically, it tracks a few interrelated stories from the mid-17th to early 18th centuries. Isaac Newton is a character, as are several other personages from that time period. A lot of it is about the formation of natural philosophy -- the first "scientists," really. But a major subplot features a vagabond and his various hijinks amidst other historical happenings.

 

I've read and enjoyed everything by Stephenson, so I'm biased, but since the three books can (in theory) be read independently, start with Quicksilver and see how you like it.

Edited by Wyatt's Torch

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I've been working my way through The Faerie Queene and re-reading Paradise Lost (both of which are utterly fantastic), as well as The Knowledge of the Holy.

 

Also recently read The Abolition of Man, A Preface to Paradise Lost, and That Hideous Strength, all by C.S. Lewis.

 

just found out that this is the crazy season for grad school applications, so I've had plenty of time for leisure reading ;-D -- but that's probably about to disappear.

 

 

The Poetry of the Taliban is just one of those arresting titles that you just can't help wonder about. That's going on my list. Thanks!

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Just finished Alice Munro's latest short story collection and starting James's The Bostonians. Although let's be honest, I'll probably be reading a lot of fluff books over break, too.

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Has anyone read any James Purdy?  I'm fixing to read some more of him once I get done with some of the loads of stuff on my plate right now.  In A Shallow Grave and Eustace Chisolm and the Works are devastating even as they are heart-warming (in a weird way) but he's the first writer in years to make me cry honest tears.  The former I read in one day with my jaw dropped for half of it.  I feel like Purdy is one of those Great American Novelists that everyone forgot.  I was visiting my folks in Los Angeles last month and managed to pick up The Nephew and Malcolm for buck each at the fantastic Last Bookstore in downtown LA (worth checking out for anyone in the area or visiting the area, along with the Iliad in North Hollywood).

 

Although let's be honest, I'll probably be reading a lot of fluff books over break, too.

^^ Yep!  I'll certainly be busting out the pulp science fiction and comic books as palette cleansers.

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I'm dying to read Murakami's _Strange Library_ whenever that comes out. And more diaries of Anais Nin. I love the authors and theorists I've been working with for the last few months, but I am in serious need of some fun reading!!!

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At the moment all my reading is for my swiftly approaching paper deadlines. Email from a (wonderful, dear, helpful, etc) prof last night, for a paper due Monday, though: "I left you photocopies of some more chapters I think you should read in my campus mailbox. Enjoy!" Honestly, right now the only pleasurable textual consumption I'm doing is binge watching episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race over and over until my mind has reached a nice pudding consistency.

But over break, I'll be tackling the Prose Edda, an Old Norse reader, a Modern Icelandic grammar, a collection of Lydia Davis's short stories, some Lord Dunsany, and whatever books I've managed to wrench out of my family as Christmas presents.

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Honestly, right now the only pleasurable textual consumption I'm doing is binge watching episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race over and over until my mind has reached a nice pudding consistency.

 

You don't know how excited I am for February!

 

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Ahem... Back to what I'm reading:

 

I'm still working on a paper myself concerning the affect of shame. Lots of Tomkins and Sedgwick on my desk.

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Ahem... Back to what I'm reading:

 

I'm still working on a paper myself concerning the affect of shame. Lots of Tomkins and Sedgwick on my desk.

 

Off-topic, but...have you read any Kathryn Bond Stockton? I think she has a few essays in that ballpark.

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I haven't, Wyatt, but it looks fantastic. I don't know if it relates to my paper at this point (it's on Paradise Lost, yet again) but definitely for my interests in race and queerness for other research projects. Thanks! 

 

Looking her work up has also reminded me that I need to get on more Berlant.

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This past semester I read an essay by her about homosexual themes in Henry James' The Pupil. I was initially shocked (in a bad way) by the brutal frankness of her language, but realized after the fact that it's so damn memorable that it is worthy of admiration. I'm not a big fan of theory to begin with (in that I don't like the tendency to retroactively apply new theoretical constructs to old works), but Stockton's breakdown of The Pupil was so bold and stark that it's impossible to look at the novella without thinking of some of her assertions.

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Ah! I loved this book. I admit I'm a bit of a science nerd when it comes to free time. Right now I'm finishing up Tristram Shandy (never got around to it before) but I'm already staking out my next book. This is the time of year I usually treat myself to science-y stuff like Sam Keane or something similar.

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