Friday Reads ¦ 21st November 2014

So since I am feeling very ugh about my face today I have decided not to participate in making a Friday Reads video. For a few weeks now I’ve wanted to jump on the bandwagon because, as I understand it, these videos are intended to be very casual and quick to make and watch. So I thought ‘oh hey here is a chance for me to actually make a video that’s under 5 minutes’ but, alas, another Friday is upon us and by the time I’ve been to my morning seminar, I don’t especially feel like subjecting anyone else to what I look like after I’ve forced myself out of bed at 7am which, for me, is early. It really says a lot about how much I love the Early Modern period that I would willingly go to a 9am class on it.

Returning to the point, then, I want to really make a concerted effort to update this blog more. Making at least a post about Friday Reads seems to be an easy way to do that. It also, I said it once before but it bears repeating aah-ah-ahh-oh (sorry), means I am more accountable with what I am reading because weirdly if I tell the internet I want to read it, I tend to make an effort to finish it. This should probably be taken with a pinch of salt though because, looking back, I seem to be notoriously bad at sticking to monthly TBR lists – ooops. Maybe I lack the discipline or maybe I’m just too easily distracted by shiny covers. But without further ado here are my Friday Reads for 21st November, that is to say, books that I will certainly be reading this weekend and that I will make progress with, if not finish, this coming week.

fr2111_2Robin Sloan’s Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (x)

I like to have something to read on my tablet/Kindle for any lulls at work and, since I am on a Sunday shift this week, I expect the 3-hour shift to be one long lull so I have this loaded up and at the ready, just in case. I’ve actually already read about 20% and I love it so far, it’s exactly what I like. For one, it’s set in a bookshop (as if the title didn’t give that away), and I do love me a good book about books (see The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak etc.). I’m intrigued by where this book is going to go and looking forward to getting there. Side note: if you have any recommendations for books about books or books about bookshops, please do pass them onto me. Side note #2: if you haven’t read any of those three books I alluded to, go read them, you won’t regret it!

George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (x)

I’m using this as my ‘light read’ this month – seems ridiculous I know but, trust me, compared to John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, it’s practically chick lit. I tend to like to casually read whilst I’m making food or eating food (very food based habits, yes) and Game of Thrones is my book at the moment for that specific occasion. I’m enjoying it so far but I’ve basically just read the same narrative as up until the end of episode 2 of the first series so it feels a bit pointless given that I have seen the TV show. But obviously that is my own fault for watching the TV series (at leas the first series) first. Bad Emma, bad!

Maggie Gee’s The Flood (x)

This is assigned reading for my Posthumanism course. I don’t know a great deal about this but considering the seminar next week will be focused on the idea of apocalypse in fiction, well, I could probably hazard a guess as to what events and themes this book will deal with. I will definitely be picking this up this weekend as my seminar is on Tuesday so this is a weekend must!

John Donne’s The Complete English Poems (x)

I adore several of John Donne’s poems and have had the pleasure in the past few years of studying his work at various points, now I get to revisit his oeuvre through the lens of Early Modern bodies and spirits which should be especially interesting given poetic examples of his such as ‘The Ecstasy’ and ‘The Anniversary’ to name but a very few. I may need to pop into the library and scout out a physical copy of some of his sermons because unfortunately my edition of his work doesn’t include those but other that that I’m looking forward to diving back into some familiar Donne.

Gail Kern Paster’s Humoring The Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (x)

Yes we are now firmly in the realm of my Early Modern research interests. Here we have an interesting and influential book regarding Early Modern understandings of Galenic humors and the discourses regarding temperament and passions. Again, brought out by my Bodies and Spirits MA course, my interest in understanding this humoralist discourse was piqued and since I feel wholly ill-informed about the subject it seemed a good idea to pick up one of Gail Kern Paster’s works because she is seen as an authoritative figure with regards to this research area. This has been recalled by the library so I have to get to it by Sunday or else wait to pick it up again, boo!

Jonathan Sawday’s The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the human body in Renaissance culture (x)

I don’t think I really need to explain what this book is about, it’s basically all there in that rather long title. Side note: I love how you can spot the pattern of how any academic text is titled – this is something that was joked about in our undergraduate dissertation lectures but it’s so true! If you want to title your work first think of a snappy 3 or 4 word phrase – if it’s controversial or wacky, even better! – then place a stately colon, then proceed to explain your work in more acceptably formal and *cough*boring*cough* expression. Voilà, you have a great book title! It’s true though, come on. Anyway, I’ve read Sawday’s work before and find it quite easy to digest so hopefully this will be similar – I definitely hope so because this too has been recalled for Sunday at the latest.

So that was my Friday Reads. As you can see, it’s mostly required reading but that’s no matter because obviously I came back to university and picked things I actually wanted to study! Yes, I do actually want to study Galenic humors and how the discourse plays out in Renaissance poetry, I kid you not. Now I should possibly actually get to reading this small mountain of books, a hill, an incline if you will, so I will end this here.

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