arduinna: a stack of books, with the top one opened (book stack)
[personal profile] arduinna
Both [personal profile] dorinda and [personal profile] rosaw asked what I've been reading lately, so it seemed like a good one to tackle next. I've gotten weirdly out of the habit of reading novels in the past few years, but started picking up nonfiction. Sloooowly, though; and huh, I just realized it's because I have a mental block against getting too involved in anything in case I need to drop everything and Go Do The Thing (whatever the thing may be). That is an incredibly useful thing to know, so yay for this question!

Anyway. Novels/fiction may finally be working their way back into the mix, as I settled in a few days ago with Anne of Green Gables (♥) on the theory that I could really use something gentle and charming to sink into in the midst of this political miasma - and wow, good call, I felt much better afterward. I have oodles of fiction on my to-read list, so am looking forward to getting back into that. I got Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life and Others for Christmas, after loving The Arrival, so that will be up soon.

But other than that, it really has largely been nonfic for a good while now. I am still reading Ron Chernow's biography of Hamilton - I was going great guns with it but put it aside and haven't gone back to it yet. I will, though. It really is that good. (And then up: Chernow's Washington. Good writer, Ron Chernow!)

I'm also reading (about 3/4 done with) And Then I Thought I Was a Fish by Peter Welch. I got there via a metafilter post about something else this guy posted to his website, and in the comments someone linked to his essays recording his psychotic break. I went to read them (still online for free here) and got so sucked in that when I hit the point where he posted a link to the $2.99 kindle version, I had to buy it.

I'm ALSO reading (well, listening to - it's good highway listening) Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance. She does the Audible narration herself, which is sort of fabulous. I just kind of want to follow her around like a puppy, really. She is amazing.

As for stuff I've finished more-or-less recently (past couple of years):

I'd been hearing about 1491 and the sequel, 1493, off and on for years, and finally pushed 1491 to the top of my list to see if the hype was really justified. It was; I have to force myself not to shove copies in people's hands and tell them to read them. I knew I'd been taught mostly incorrect history, and had picked up bits and pieces of better information as I could, but these laid things out as a cohesive whole I'd never seen before. It was one of those worldview-shifting experiences for me.

A whole bunch of epidemic/disease-related books, of which my favorites were:

* The Great Influenza: The Story of the Greatest Pandemic in History

* Polio: An American Story

* On Immunity: An Innoculation

* The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time

* The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

And not a disease but my favorite of the disaster books I read during the same phase: Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 (true story!)

And finally to lighten things up a bit, two books by Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess). Both draw heavily but not exclusively on her blog, and her writing just cracks me the hell up.

* Let's Just Pretend This Never Happened

* Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things


... and now I've written this list up and am suddenly re-interpreting the request to be "talk about the actual content of things you're reading", but it's nearly midnight and that will have to be another night. *g*
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