At the end of the Fall 2013 Semester, The Mirror & the Lamp asked everyone in English & Journalism what they read this semester, and what they plan to read over the winter break. Here is what English and Journalism had to say.
ARK is Ronald Johnson’s (appropriately epic scale) epic poem on the “all in all.” ARK is highly inventive both in terms of form and metaphor and yet as deeply invested in the past. It’s also a beautiful object, published by the Chicago publishing house, Flood. Also reading now: The View from the Train by Patrick Keiller. Keiller is the director of several films (London, Robinson in Space, Robinson in Ruins) dealing with the changing English landscape. The View from the Train is a series of essays on England’s changing landscape and architecture. Keiller works from the tradition of the surrealists, materialists, and art history. He is much like Iain Sinclair–though his style is not as rococo.
Currently I’m reading: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. 1) I haven’t read any Franzen before, but his name often comes up in connection with David Foster Wallace, whose essays I love. So I’m interested in thinking of these two authors alongside each other. 2) My sister recommended it. Over break I plan to read from Best American Essays, 1996. 1) There’s a great essay in the 1996 collection about Elvis Presley that I want to reread in anticipation of a winter or spring pilgrimmage to Memphis/Graceland.
Currently, I’m reading Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace. I have been reading the work of David Foster Wallace and thinking about the work of David Foster Wallace and writing, just a little, about the work of David Foster Wallace for the last eight months, and my goal now is to read all of his work by the end of the Spring term, and have an article on his work written by the end of summer 2014. One book I am going to read over break is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I try to read all of the Man Booker Prize winners, and this is the winner for 2013.
Currently, I’m reading Getting the Girl by Marcus Zusak. I read Fighting Ruben Wolfe last year and liked it, so I wanted to read the sequel. Over the break I Plan to read Willow Volume 1: Wonderland by Jeff Parker. The story line in Willow Volume 1 takes place at the same time as Volume 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 which I read recently.
I am currently reading Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, by José Esteban Muñoz. This study, which draws on Frankfurt School Marxism to contest the political pessimism characterizing much of contemporary queer theory, is relevant to a critical book I am completing, Modernity Beside Itself. One of the books I plan to read over break is Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate. This tale of a witch trial, told by a literary stylist of the first order, a vibrant contemporary lesbian voice, just might be as dark as my all-time favorite novel, Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood.
I am currently reading: The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth: A Life, by Frances Wilson. This was the prelude and is the follow-up to a summer of reading bios of English Romantic poets–Coleridge, Byron, and of course Dorothy’s brother–as well as Dorothy’s Alfoxden and Grasmere Journals. What will I read over winter break? Maybe I’ll just watch early Doctor Who and knit.
Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth.
I’ve been an avid football fan for as long as I can remember, but I can’t ignore the impact the game has on players, especially professionals. Though this is pleasure reading, it has some interesting implications for academics like me who want to write for the public. Over the the break: Lisa Mooney Smith’s Knowledge Transfer in Higher Education: Collaboration in the Arts and Humanities. I’ve read a lot of research about transfer in American higher education. This book will help me get outside that very small sphere.
I am currently reading Diablo III: Signature Series Guide by Doug Walsh, Rick Barba, and Thom Denick. I am reading it to enhance my gaming experience with the Playstation 3 version of Diablo III and, I hope, to increase my chances of sending all the fiends and demons back to Hell where they belong! During the semester break, I plan on reading Bad Monkey, the most recent novel by Carl Hiaasen. I really enjoy Hiaasen’s combination of humor, hard-boiled detective (although few of his protagonists are actually detectives), and mystery writing styles.
Actors Anonymous by James Franco. Why? James Franco makes me laugh. And, I really had to see what craziness he was allowed to publish. The horrificness of it does not disappoint. I’m also reading The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. What I’m reading over break? Fun stuff: Morrissey’s Autobiography and Coreyography by Corey Feldman. I’m reading these because I’m somewhat obsessed with the celebrity memoir so I always have at least one in my reading pile. Plus, how can you not want to read a memoir by someone (or their ghostwriters) who feels the need to use their own name in the title.
I am currently reading William Gaddis’s amazing novel The Recognitions. It is a dizzying meditation on art, authenticity, and the meaning of mimesis in our everyday lives. One of the greatest novels of postwar America! Over the break, in spite of all my better judgement, I will read John Updike’s disgusting novel, Rabbit is Rich. Sometimes, reading what inspires real hatred can lead to passionate writing. More soon about Gaddis, Rabbit, Franzen and more.