Read Harder – May Progress

May saw a marked uptick in RH reading. I blew through 7 books (leaving 2 left to knock out in June!). My husband and sister each managed one book. Improvement! We even managed to knock out another task across the board – #2 Science fiction/nonfiction. Here’s to hoping the trend continues in June.

Emma
Sapiens – an absolutely phenomenal book! My husband read it, recommended it, and then made me watch the TED Talk video. The premise of the book is that humans are set apart from other living beings by our imagination, culture, and ability to engage in mass cooperation. We create an intangible world, with no concrete value, that rules our lives. Economics, religion, and money are examples discussed. Bananas are concrete – we eat them. We cannot eat economies, religions, or hard currency. Culture is also an artificial construct. The idea that culturalism is the new racism, was thought-provoking. Instead of framing things through the lens of skin color, we now frame them through the lens of culture.

Throughout the book, other books came to mind when Harari discussed:

  • the mistaken belief that American Indians had no physical impact on the natural world around them (1491 by Charles C. Mann)
  • how wheat domesticated humans, and not the other way around (The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan)
  • and just in general as to how well Sapiens complements Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins by Ian Tattersall. The former focusing on the creative and imaginative aspects of humanity; the latter focusing on the messy and complicated evolutionary development.

All the Single Ladies – This will pretty much be a regurgitation of what I wrote in my May Books post, but I wish this book existed when I was in my early 20’s. I needed this book. A large part of my subconsciousness was devoted to worry that I would never find a husband (the running joke was that he was dying somewhere on another continent, and thus I would never meet him). Marriage is not the only path available for women. And if women desire marriage, it doesn’t need to be a straight shot out of high school or college. Following on the theme of complementary books, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick fits in nicely with All the Single Ladies. Spinster is about one woman’s personal journey to accepting singlehood, whereas All the Single Ladies looks at from a historical perspective, and how that history has shaped singlehood for women today.

Sophia
The Wasp Factory – This book is brutal.  But having had the time to think on it, I’ve found that I almost love it.  It’s as funny as it is creepy, as fascinating as it is violent.  Iain Banks very skillfully crafted a true psychopath of a main character whose narration is compelling despite the graphic content.  I read it on a plane flying through a thunderstorm (insert atmosphere pun here) and was glad I had the row to myself, because there were many moments where I had to look up from reading and try to process what was happening on the page.  Definitely a “WTF did I just read” book.

With out further ado:

Me 22/24
My Husband 7/24
Sophia 15/24

#2 Science, fiction/nonfiction

sapiens

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

#3 Essay collection

i was told cake

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

#8 Published in birth decade

wasp factory

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

#10 Book more than 500 pages long

queen of the night

Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

#14 Author from SE Asia

sorcerer_front mech.indd

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

#19 Feminist themes, fiction/nonfiction

all single ladies

All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister

#20 Religion, fiction/nonfiction

zealot

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

#21 Politics, fiction/nonfiction

march 2

March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

 

 

 

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