Home remedies: Ennui

1. Best old book?  I wasn’t reading grown-up books before 1992, so it’s all old to me before that.  Kafka comes to mind as an avenue to explore.  Who else?  Generally more interested in non-fiction than in novels, though a short story collection or novel that is breathtakingly well-written could be an exception.  I’m going to give Jane Austen one last chance, since she’s perpetually hip and that must say something.  Please leave W. Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens off the list.  Bonus points for the marginally obscure.  Balzac, for example… not unheard-of obscure, but not widely read for fun, either.

2. Cultural criticism and recent history.  I love Joan Didion.  Who else should I be reading?  Think essays and journalism.

3. Non-fiction that makes you want to read the stuff in the endnotes (footnotes, bibliography, what-have-you).  The history of NYC stuff was good this way: one book made me want to read the next.  I’m looking for doors that I haven’t opened yet, and I’d like there to be interesting hallways or chambers behind them…

4. The periodicals conundrum.  I’ve chosen sleep (and, on the subway, Gnarls Barkley, and cheesy R&B, and old-but-new-to-me punk in the iPod) over reading anything for the last few weeks..  The last thing I really need is the guilt that comes of dozens of sheets of glossy paper arriving weekly, bi-weekly, monthly in my mailbox.   But lord, am I hungry for bite-size neuron snacks… at the moment, I get nothing.  Rejected New York Magazine after four issues (they sent me more and are still trying to bill me, but really I just wanted the trial subscription).  Probably replacing Glamour with Bust or suchlike.  Atlantic, Harpers’, & New Yorker are usually interesting reads, but what else is out there?

5. The blog that is NOT related to education that you can’t stop reading.  Bonus points for the marginally obscure (ie, avoid famous political and fashion and gossip blogs).  Bonus points for blasting open a new corner of the internet.

6. Other???

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9 Comments

Filed under blogging, books, music, New York, randomness, what I read

9 responses to “Home remedies: Ennui

  1. Miss Teacher

    check out dooce.com. She writes really well. She is a former LA web designer turned at home mom who supports her family with the blog….totally crazy I know, but it pays the bills!

  2. I really like bearbones.blogspot.com. She doesn’t post that often, but she’s been at it for a long time, she writes really well (I think) and I love the quirkiness and New-Yorkiness of her posts.

    I’ll get back to you on the other questions. I’m mostly a fiction fan, but I’m thinking about it.

  3. Well, for a non-teacher blog, my new guilty pleasure is thepioneerwoman.com. Try it.

    As for books, once again, I’ll recommend Mayflower, esp. if you liked that Russell Shorto book about NY.

    I’m still reading The New Yorker over here. Never get tired of it!

  4. I love Smithsonian Magazine. There are plenty of short tidbits at the front and then longer more in depth pieces throughout the rest. Really interesting stuff! Recently I read a riveting excerpt from an Eisenhower biography, and I’ve been going through an article about the Gilgamesh tablets. I highly recommend it!

    Also, I really love National Geographic too. I can finally read their really long articles! There was a fascinating piece on the Tongass Rain Forest that I just read and loved, and after reading a photoessay about narwhals, when a student randomly mentioned unicorns, I pulled out the magazine and showed them a picture. “Guess what? The unicorn myth came from narwhals!” They were like, “wow! That is so cool!”

    Man, I love science stuff. 🙂

    Some of my most favorite blogs:
    http://www.onenjenifer.blogspot.com/
    http://theunderweardrawer.blogspot.com/
    http://www.mooseinthekitchen.com/
    http://thisfish.ivillage.com/love/
    http://jamelah.net/blog1/
    http://www.jasonfortheloveofgod.blogspot.com/

    Books–I definitely read mostly fiction, but I have read some great nonfic. Adam’s Navel by Michael Sims talks about each body part and its history/significance. Join Me! by Danny Wallace is hilarious, as is the follow up Yes Man (both memoir types). If you don’t mind a teacher memoir, The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy is amazing.

    Have you ever read any good young adult books? The Georgia Nicolson series is so freaking hilarious I laugh out loud (Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging is the first one). The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is quite a good series too. I have a zillion more recommendations of those kinds. Sorry I don’t fit into the categories you like. 🙂

    And oh, one more! One of my favorite books of all time is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. HILARIOUS and so so awesome. I will lend it to you, because I promise you will love it!

    erm. sorry to go on so long. 😀

  5. The Miss

    You might like North to the Orient, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Charles Lindbergh’s wife. In it, she describes her first air voyage with Charles. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, I’d definitely recommend the last chapter (or maybe just the last few pages), as there’s a very interesting passage about why she wrote her books. I don’t remember exactly where it is, but it’s close to the end.

  6. 1. Pale Fire by Nabokov. If you’ve ever known a really neurotic college professor, this one will really entertain you.

    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Technically a kids’ book, but still awesome.

    2. Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. I’m only 10 pages in, but it’s interesting so far.

    3. Language in Thought and Action by S.I. Hayakawa.

    4. Honestly? Lucky magazine.

    5. Not reading anyone but my own crowd (parenting) and ed blogs these days. And GoFugYourself.com, obviously. I’m totally out of the blog loop. Oh, and I read my friend Scott, who’s worn a nametag every single day for 7 years and turned it into a career: http://www.hellomynameisscott.blogspot.com/

  7. Ivory

    1. Gene Stratton-Porter (novels), Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Izabel Allende, Helen Cresswell (only in print in the UK but worth looking for in used book shops), Eleanor Porter (Oh Money Money), Jean Webster (Daddy-long-legs- get a copy with illustrations), for non-fiction science, David Quammen, Joshua Buhs, Sue Hubell, Rachel Carson if you haven’t picked her up in a while and Margaret Sanger if you want to get your blood up. Isaac Asimov’s book of facts is also fun if you are interested in learning extraneous things.

    2. and 3. The Tipping Point, Blink, anything by David Sedaris. Laurie Garret – if you want to get really into infectious diseases.

    4. I like mysteries so Alfredhitchcock’s Mystery Magazine is perfect – short stories every month. Discover is my favorite popular science magazine. You could also try the Guiness Book of World Records.

    5. How about medical blogs?
    http://medicscribe.blogspot.com/
    http://ernursey.blogspot.com/
    http://tundramedicinedreams.blogspot.com/
    Or Dadblogs?
    http://metrodad.typepad.com/
    http://www.sweet-juniper.com/
    Or Knitters?
    http://www.daviddemchuk.com/klam/
    http://emileeknits.wordpress.com/

    I also really like the biography of Mark Twain that was published not too long ago and a book I found on the history of parenting advice.

  8. Old books: It’s a novel and not that old, but one of my favorite books ever is Angel of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Beautifully written story that tells a lot about the history of California and the West. Also, if you’ve never read some of the Russian classics, I love Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenina, and Fathers and Sons.

    Recent history/Nonfiction/Cultural criticism: Don’t know how recent is recent, but Taylor Branch’s series on Martin Luther King is amazing, and so is the book Freedom Riders by Raymond Arsenault. On a very different note, Chuck Klosterman’s book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto is hilarious. His essay about the marketing of cereals is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. For current politics, Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas is interesting. Also, I’ve been wanting to read Jonathan Franzen’s book of essays How to be Alone.

    Other footnote-reading nonfiction: Two great science-y books that I read within the last year are both about migration among animals (and I don’t really read that much about science, but I loved these well-written books): The Voyage of the Turtle by Carl Safina (who also wrote a book about oceans that I want to read) and Living on the Wind by Scott Weidensaul (about birds). Another fascinating book about migration, this time of people, is Coyotes by Ted Conover. The author followed a group of Mexican men migrating to the U.S. for work. Their stories are amazing.

    Non-education blog: For fun food reading, I like http://www.davidlebovitz.com/.

    Happy reading!

  9. llm8167

    Two of my favorite books:

    Fiction–The Agony and The Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It is a biographical novel about Michelangelo. If you are at all interested in Renaissance history, Italy, Florence, etc. you might just love it as much as I do. I’ve read it three times and am sure I’ll read it again.

    Non-Fiction–From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman. This was one of the first books I read when I started getting interested in the Middle East. Reading it you get a good overview of recent history of the Middle East through the eyes of a journalist. I’ve recommended it to three friends (my roommate is currently reading it) and they all really enjoyed it. It was published in 1990 but is still relevant.

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