On My Nightstand: February 19, 2020

Hello and welcome to another edition of: Hannah is reading too many books at once.  Currently, my nightstand is a complete mess of books–who am I kidding, when isn’t it?–and I’ve been busy busy busy with work, school, and summer internship applications.  Right now we’re rolling with the punches and trying to find a good headspace and a decent sleep schedule amidst the chaos.

Right now I’m reading THE NEW ME by Halle Butler.  I tore through the first fifty pages during a powerful bought of insomnia and only put it down because I finally started feeling sleepy.  I’ve been loving the whole “millennial workplace novel” phenomenon–Ottessa Moshfegh’s MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION and Ling Ma’s SEVERANCE are two of my all-time favorites–and Butler’s THE NEW ME is similar in tone.  I’m finding it frighteningly easy to relate to main character Millie, who feels stuck in a cycle of shitty temp jobs, waiting for her “real” life to begin so she can start shopping at Whole Foods.

My latest library checkout is Patrick Radden Keefe’s SAY NOTHING, a chunky investigative journalism book that delves into the conflicts of The Troubles in Northern Ireland during the late twentieth century.  It’s been so well-received and I was in the mood for some more heavy-hitting investigative work after SHE SAID by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey;  when I saw this one on the “books you may have missed” display at the library, I knew it was meant to be!  I’m currently roughly a hundred pages deep and I’m learning so much, though I’m finding it hard to keep the various characters and their stories straight!  It’s a challenging read, for sure, but one I know will be worth it.

Speaking of challenging… Classes started four weeks ago, which means I am knee deep in coursework again.  This semester I’m taking all upper-level classes for my major (English) and minor (Communication), which is proving to be A Lot.  For my Shakespeare in Film class, I am re-reading Shakespeare’s HAMLET, which I read for the first time back in November.  I love this professor and I’m starting to love Shakespeare too, which is exciting.  Hamlet himself is such a complex character, and it’s fascinating to study the original text alongside several film adaptations, from Cold War Russia to contemporary Bollywood.

I’m also taking a Film Adaptation of the Novel course, for which I’m reading ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan.  I’ve seen the movie so many times but (sadly and sinfully) have never read the book!  I bought it last summer for $1.00 at my library’s book sale after a friend of mine raved about it, so I’m happy to have the excuse to read it (and probably write my midterm paper on it!).  So far, it’s not quite what I was expecting, which makes it all the more interesting to compare with the film.

Lastly, I am reading the fall issue of Lapham’s Quarterly, which focuses on climate.  Climate change is an issue I care about deeply, and the magazine has gathered years of writing about climate and weather into this issue, from ancient Greek philosophers to Mark Twain to Greta Thunberg.  It’s been a very enlightening read.

So there we have it: the current state of my nightstand.  I wish I had more room for non-required reading, but I’m glad to have some variety.


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