Reading Plan: September 2013

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
As Summer draws to a close, my favourite time of the year rolls in: Autumn. I suspect this has a lot to do with much of my life still being governed my academic cycles. September always signals rejuvenation as new students start courses. The peaceful campus where I spend most of my days bursts to life with enthusiastic young people, arriving for a new academic year full of hope and energy (or cynicism and vodka, if you want to put the idyll to one side). Whatever the reason, I love Autumn nights drawing in as we glide towards winter; the comforting darkness under which I travel to and from work. This year I’ll feel more a part of the crackling excitement that accompanies the start of a new academic year, as I hope to dip my toe, tentatively, back in to the ever-enriching pool of academia. Should my plans come together you might well note a more structured slant to my reading habits – so make the most of my haphazard approach while it lasts!

Besides from building up to the new academic year, I’ve been (ironically) snowed-under by work over the summer months. I’m having a great time working with authors at Electric Reads, and have enjoyed seeing the books we’ve been working on come to market. This does, however, mean a little less time has been devoted to the blog here – beyond slapdash, I know – and the more eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I failed to post the promised review of Slaughterhouse-Five last month. Although I read the book, I didn’t manage to muster sufficient free time or brain power to devote to writing the review the book deserves. Still, I’ll leave that in my to-be-written pile, if no one objects.

So let’s look at this month afresh. As I say, it’s likely to be another busy one, so reviews may be sporadic at best, but here’s what I’d like to read.

First up, one of the summer’s most popular beach reads in my entirely unscientific straw poll: The Rosie Project, which follows a thirty-something scientist with Asperger’s as he attempts to select a wife through a process of scientific deduction (read, a carefully designed questionnaire, which applicants for the wife-role are scored on to pre-judge suitability). Reviews have, unsurprisingly, compared this to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh Time, which is encouraging if a slightly lazy comparison.

In preparation for the courses I’d like to be studying by the end of the month (it being listed as preparatory reading), I’m currently working my way through The Reluctant Fundamentalist. This slim, subtle book is a look at cultural displacement and the deep-rooted need to belong, through the eyes of an American-educated Pakistani, whose experiences of the USA and its people have led him back to his homeland, disillusioned.

Finally for this month, I’m going to read Hitch-22. Those of you who have been following the blog for a while will be aware that I’ve read quite a few of Christopher Hitchens’s books over the past year, and enjoyed most of them thoroughly. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of autobiographies, but Hitchens – as one of the most charismatic yet reasonable public intellectuals that I have enjoyed in my lifetime – is certainly someone for whom I could lay such reservations aside. Not only am I interested in the rationale behind some of his positions, but also in a life so fully lived.

That’s it for this month, although if I find myself with more time than expected, I shall certainly try to post an extra review or two. Hope you all have a smashing September – Will you be starting a new course this month (or returning to one)?

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