The break between the fall and spring semesters used to be one of my favorite times of the year; now that I am Chair it won’t be quite as long or restful. When you’re a professor, you think about your courses a bit and write up the syllabi, but this January I’ll be doing transfer evaluations, a bit of scheduling, advising, meetings, correspondence, and planning for the semester to come. Woe is me! Nevertheless, there’s still time for some reading so I have assembled my year’s end list of books. I probably won’t get through all of these but they’ll sit by my bed all year long and put me to sleep (no slight to the book; I fall asleep almost instantaneously and very forcefully). As usual, it’s a list (exclusively) dominated by nonfiction, and the first two BIG books will probably take me through most of the year: the first volume of Victoria Wilson’s Barbara Stanwyck biography (I’m a huge Barbara Stanwyck fan) and the recently-updated Field Guide to American Houses. The latter probably won’t leave my bedside for years to come–in fact, I should probably buy two copies of the latter, one for my bedside and the other for the car.
Two popular histories/biographies of gilded-age people on either side of the Atlantic (and around the world): I see a lot of parallels between Prince Edward and Prince Charles (though not the playboy characterization).
Fauna and Flora, past, present, future:
I’m not really a cook or a foodie, but I do like reading about food: its production, its history, its role as a cultural force. Of all the food books that came out in this past year, these two titles appeal to me the most: one is quite specific and narrative in its approach, the other more general and historical:
What could possibly be more interesting than the story of punctation!!!??? and epistolary history (Simon Garfield is always on my list)?.
December 27th, 2013 at 12:32 pm
Possibly one of the most appealing aspects of the holidays… All those beautiful books (I just started reading The Telling Room). Have a glorious time!
December 28th, 2013 at 12:57 pm
I’m curled up with Book of Ages, Jill Lepore’s history of Jane Franklin Mecom, Ben Franklin’s less fortunate younger sister. While telling what happened to one eighteenth century sister she is telling what happened to women’s history and why history seems populated only with men.
December 28th, 2013 at 7:50 pm
Hey Nina–it’s true; it’s a lot harder to research women! Jill is lucky to have those letters…
January 4th, 2014 at 10:34 pm
You could try a great local historical book filled with intrigue…
How about Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City It even has a great Salem walking tour showing you the route of the tunnels and the homes that are attached to them.
January 5th, 2014 at 11:31 am
Yes, I’ve seen this little book and been in some of the tunnels.