I’ve got to be careful. I have a bit of a gut feeling that in my attempt to quiet my meme obsession, I’m going to spend 2007 taking on all sorts of challenges I can’t possibly finish. However, one of my blogging goals this year is to be less afraid of challenges, so it might be a good idea if I take on at least one and see what happens. I was inspired by this Nonfiction Five Challenge I discovered through Ms. Blossom over at The Library Ladder , basically because I read an awful lot of nonfiction as it is, so the task didn’t seem too daunting. I had a very hard time making my decisions, but I’ve finally come up with five titles I plan to read.
Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich. I read Nickel and Dimed last year and just loved it, not only because I love Ehrenreich’s wry take on things, but also because I learned so much about the hard lives of working class Americans in this day and age (who says we rid ourselves of slavery in the 19th century?). Oh yes, and then there's that whole thing that always fascinates me: getting to pretend you're something you're not and then writing a book about what happens.
The Lady and the Panda by Vicki Constantine Croke. As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, I love pandas. How could I possibly resist a story, featuring pandas, of a 1930s dress designer who decided to take over her dead husband’s expedition to China?
The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers Are Like Gossip by Keith Devlin – sounds like a fascinating take on math, and if I don’t make it part of a challenge, fascinating or not, I’m afraid I’ll never get around to reading it.
Pleasure of Ruins by Rose Macaulay. I read Macaulay’s Towers of Trebizond years ago, which is a wonderful read, for anyone who likes to read novels about independent, hilariously slightly mad women traveling about with their entourage. I haven’t read anything else by her, but a friend of mine recently lent me this and two of her other books. Macaulay, I am sure, will make a wonderful armchair traveling companion for sites of dead cities and palaces.
Salvador by Joan Didion. The same friend who lent me Macaulay also gave me all his Joan Didion books. I’ve read a few others by her (if you’ve been wondering, The Year of Magical Thinking is well-deserving of all the praise it received. That book and her thoughts will stick with you forever. I paired my reading of it with C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, which made for a great combination, as one was about the death of a spouse after many years of marriage and one was about the death of a spouse after very few years of marriage). I know nothing about El Salvador, so hope to and should learn quite a bit from this one.
Anyone else want to take on the challenge?