I’m headed off tomorrow morning to Logan Airport, for my Christmas Day flight back to Michigan. As Hanna remarked as we were hauling book-heavy her duffel bags down to the rental car last Saturday, “oh, the terrible cost of literacy!” My suitcase and carry-on will, similarly, bear an over-representation of books. A quick (and no doubt incomplete) survey of what’s on the reading agenda for my winter break:
- Monster Island, and its two sequels — Monster Nation and Monster Planet — by David Wellington. These are apocalyptic zombie novels about what happens to earth after human beings, infected by a mysterious virus, stop staying dead and instead come back hungry for human flesh.
- Good Omens, co-authored by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett which Hanna has warned me to read with circumspection on the airplane, since spontaneous giggling has been known to occur during reading. Giggles will be welcome after a trilogy about zombies!
- As will Little Women and Little Men which Hanna and another friend from Simmons, Laura, have impressed upon me the need to re-read and re-evaluate since I never enjoyed them much as a child. I have promised to give them a second pass . . . perhaps with an historians eye they’ll prove more enjoyable (who says scholarly analysis ruins literature?)
- Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville. I bought this last summer after reading The Scar (set in the same world) but didn’t have the emotional energy to tackle it during the term (Mieville’s fantasy world is a dark one) . . . so I’ll be trying again!
- On the non-fiction front, I have the new feminist anthology Yes Means Yes, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, which asks its contributors to meditate on how a world that promotes authentic sexual pleasure and agency can help combat sexual violence.
- Likewise, feminist Linda McClain’s book on the relationship between family relationships and politics, The Place Of Families, was cited in something I read recently on childhood and sexual agency (the exact reference is escaping me) and the copy I inter-loaned at the library has finally arrived — so I’ll get to indulge in my penchant for footnote wandering.
- Finally, I practically had kittens when I was in the brookline booksmith a couple of weeks ago and saw that Nick Hornby’s third collection of “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” columns, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, is out. I’m saving this one for the airplane, though my seat-mates may not thank me.
And what winter break would be complete without a movies as well as books? My friend Aiden and I were thinking about trying to see Milk before he left town for the holidays, but it didn’t happen. I’m still hoping to catch it in the theater at some point, as well as the new Bond flick. Hanna and I are in the midst of Dr. Who (Season Four) with the second season of Torchwood in the offing as well . . . and it’s been called to my attention in recent days (as somehow we got involved in a debate about the morality of Vader’s death scene in Jedi) that I’m overdue for a review of the six Star Wars films. On a slightly more historical note, I have plans to show Hanna both Goodbye, Lenin! and The Lives of Others, both of which I think are interesting companion pieces to Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n Roll.