Unintentional Month of MemoirsYou ever do that thing where you're really proud of yourself for getting something accomplished and you're patting yourself on the back, all chuffed on a job well done, and then you realize that you haven't actually done the job you think you have? No? Just me? Well, that happened at the beginning of February. I had been working on an abstract for a call for papers that a member of my dissertation committee sent to me, and I was polishing it up, ready to turn it in, when I realized that the CFP hadn't, in fact, called solely for an abstract, but also for an actual 6,000-8,000 word completed essay. Upon this revelation, I promptly drove to the library, picked up a book I'd put on hold (and, as usual, bought several books from their ongoing lobby sale), came back home, poured myself a glass of wine, and drowned my sorrows in a paranormal mystery set in the Reconstruction era. I'm generally a careful reader of instructions, but somehow this CFP outwitted me, and it's a darn shame because I would have been perfect for the book, given my particular research. Such is life, though. Guess I'll hafta look for a window to make up for that closed door.
|No, I definitely needed these, you guys.|
|Actual photo of me signing up for the reading challenge.|
Nerd Do Well | Simon Pegg
It's uplifting, it's funny, it's wicked crass. Nerd Do Well gives insight into how totally happenstance success in the entertainment industry can be (the story of how he met Nick Frost being an excellent example), while also demonstrating the importance of perseverance and hard work. Plus, it's Simon Pegg, so it's self-deprecating and tinged with whimsy. This memoir features an entire alternate storyline in which Pegg imagines himself a super spy with a robot butler. It's delightful.
Between the World and Me | Ta-Nehisi Coates
Oof. This book is important. Trying to explain why everyone should read it feels futile. You have to read it to understand why you need to read it. What I will say is this: Coates has a way of articulating black consciousness and reality that is unmatched by nearly any other voice in 2016.
Why Not Me? | Mindy Kaling
Mindy's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, was alright. It had some good tidbits, including giving a name to the exit strategy I have used to avoid saying goodbye to people for pretty much my entire adult life ("the Irish exit"). Why Not Me? is a far better book. It's relatable and inspiring, and not in the typical Hollywood starlet memoir way, where for two weeks you think a juice cleanse, hot yoga, and the power of positive thinking will totally transform your entire life. Instead, this is a book about hard work, being honest about strengths and weaknesses, and knowing when you damn well SHOULD feel entitled.
United | Cory Booker
This is absolutely the book you write a decade or so before you run for President. It does all the things it politically should do in order to introduce him to people who have never heard of him and answer questions about his life for those who have been following his public image for a while. If you've read Barack Obama's books, you'll recognize a lot of the same techniques for painting a picture of a flawed, but overall good man. Booker casually confirms his oft-questioned heterosexuality with an anecdote about a woman he briefly and unreasonably fell for. He explains the ineffectiveness he showed on Newark's city council, as well as Mayor Sharpe James's vendetta against him (which is effing BANANAS, btdubs). He is appropriately critical of his own ego and shortcomings. He name checks God and the Bible. He accentuates his idealism, showing how it could be a weakness at times, but ultimately pointing to how much he cares about people. Having followed Booker's life and career for a decade or so and not really needing to be persuaded of his politics and character, mostly, this was an interesting glimpse at the events and ideas that led a fairly privileged kid from the 'burbs to intentionally move to the wrong side of the tracks and become a politician. #CoryBooker4PresidentWheneverHeFeelsLikeRunning
BTDubs, I finally caved and made myself a bookstagram, so if you have Instagram and want to see constant updates about what I'm reading, follow me @agoodlibrary! And also on the Twitter!
Ta-Nehisi Coates photo by Brett Simison | http://archive.brettsimison.com/?url=/#!/index/I0000BW5D1WSzA6o