Friday, 7 October 2016

What I'm Reading: Autumn Edition

Now that I've handed in my Masters dissertation and no longer have a reading list as long as my arm (literally - my bibliography was 8 pages), it's nice to introduce varied bedside and tube-time reading to my daily routine of writing, eating, and knitting. It's also nice to do more than only reading the relevant chapter of a book because you're running out of time. There are many texts that I'd like to revisit, and I'm sure I will; but for now I'm having a little bit of a break from academic writing. Here's what's on my nightstand now.

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein (2014)
I heard Klein give the Edward Said Memorial Lecture at the Southbank Centre earlier this year. I'm now reading her latest book, which the lecture referred to. She is a compelling speaker and a meticulous writer, quite incorruptible. This book, about the climate crisis, is kind of depressing as it demonstrates how much power has been taken out of the hands of people thanks to corporate legislation. As she puts it, truly effective green solutions are not going to be achieved by middle-class people shopping at farmer's markets. It's an important book; we need more people like her.

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934)
As I summarised on Twitter: 'Horny young man wanders around Paris, feeling hungry and trying to write.' I don't love Henry Miller anything as much as Ana├»s Nin, but I'm still enjoying Tropic of Cancer. It feels ruthlessly contemporary, in many ways showing how little we've moved on since 1934.

Tales of Two Cities, Hong Kong and Singapore edited by Alice Clark-Platts, S. Mickey Lin, Edmund Price, Harmony Sin (2015)
I often have a book of short stories on the go. I think that I actually prefer them over novels. I found this book in the big Kinokuniya in Takashimaya mall in Singapore. Kinokuniya is an international Japanese book chain, but I always visit it when I'm in Asia because it has excellent pan-Asian contemporary literature published in English. Tales of Two Cities is a collection of stories set in Singapore and Hong Kong featuring authors chosen from the respective local writers' groups. I don't love all of the stories, but it's an entertaining insight into life in these two cities, that I spent time in over the summer.

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