My husband teases me relentlessly about my Sunday routine. I get up, grab the New York Times from the front stoop, make coffee, put on jazz, and sit at the dining room table in the seat right in front of the window, where the sunshine is brightest. I get it. I'm a caricature of an academic.
Unlike my life as an academic, however, in my new life as a teacher and entrepreneur I cannot be an expert on only one narrow topic. I need to be informed about the broad range of contemporary issues that interest my students, that Living Room Learners want to discuss, and that my editing clients are writing about. And that necessity is a pleasure, especially when it's paired with coffee and a good album.
One of the greatest joys I've discovered since finishing my doctorate is the freedom to read widely and to explore new topics without feeling guilty. In order to get the dissertation written expediently, I had to narrow my reading to journalism and history. Over the past two years I picked up novels infrequently, and rarely made it through non-fiction books outside my particular area of study. But this year I have read a book about being an astronaut and one about surfing. I've read three books about the Kardashians, and three decades of David Sedaris's diaries. I've read about the rise of women in the American economy, and women poisoners in seventeenth century France, and a graphic novel about Harriet Tubman. I've read two novels whose protagonists are immigrant women, and two novels where the fictionalized capers of prominent 20th century intellectuals are central to the plot. And, most Sundays, I read the New York Times.
Here's what captured my attention this morning...
I'm reading: This op-ed in the today's New York Times, "The Nazi's First Victims Were the Disabled," makes a persuasive historical argument for why we must defend the rights of frontline communities. And last night I started Celeste Ng's new book, Little Fires Everywhere, which I chose as my Book of the Month for September. It's been getting great buzz, including a shoutout from NPR's Barrie Hardymon on Pop Culture Happy Hour.
I'm listening to: I was in the mood for something a little different this morning and put on two great albums by the Argentine band Femina. Spotify then led me to this amazing album by the band El Kuelgue that's unlike anything I've heard recently.
I'm looking forward to watching: Ken Burn's documentary The Vietnam War premiers on PBS tonight. I'm not a huge Ken Burns fan, but I've been hearing good buzz about the film and frankly could stand to brush up on this conflict.
What are you reading, listening to, or watching this week?