Growing up I had always loved reading and would dive happily into any series of books aimed at young readers. As I grew older and busier I found it more difficult to incorporate reading into my routine lifestyle; however, finding pleasant company in the different characters of my favorite fiction novels or unique and interesting anecdotes from my favorite non-fiction works always provided me a sense of enjoyment. When the pressures of school became more intense, I was still reading constantly for assignments and coursework but rarely found the opportunity to leisurely enjoy a book without an ominous deadline approaching in my mind.
I began to notice that when summer vacation would roll around, I would breeze through books and read more in mere weeks than I would throughout the entire year. I often found myself becoming engrossed in a book at the end of the summer, and then once I returned back to usual routine, the same book would remain untouched on my shelf for the weeks to come. This year, however, I decided to make it a goal of mine to try and integrate reading for pleasure back into my normal schedule rather than reserving it for vacation or time off, which we all know comes too infrequently.
In the first few months of 2019, I have read a few great books that I’d love to share, as a way to encourage you all to pick up a new book and to document my progress with this new goal!
The first book I read this year is titled Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer in which unpacks what it means to eat meat in the capitalist and industrialized fashion we operate under currently. What distinguishes this book from other works on the same subject matter is that Foer is first and foremost a writer who subsequently became fixated on the topic of animal agriculture and the social costs of eating animals, which leaves the reader with an inviting read that seamlessly guides the reader through the biggest components of a complex problem. As Foer’s family grows with the birth of his son, he begins to contemplate the best diet to nourish his young child and if that diet should include meat. What he unravels go far further than the diet of one individual, and attempts to discuss the multi-faceted ethical, social, environmental, and health-related problems that arise from our food production, that can be compelling to both meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike.
The second book I read this year is Cat’s Cradle, a work of science fiction by Kurt Vonnegut, that discusses the life of a fictional co-creator of the atomic bomb, Felix Hoenikker. The narrator, attempting to write a novel about what important American citizens were doing the day the atomic bomb was dropped, becomes obsessed with the life of the eccentric scientist and his surviving children. The novel deals with themes of religion and culture as Vonnegut develops the themes of ‘Bokonism’ – a peaceful yet cynical and mysterious religion that the narrator becomes deeply inspired by. Vonnegut’s writing is humorous at times and flows quickly through many succinct chapters.
I’m currently about 100 pages into Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, by Chuck Klosterman, who effortlessly creates intriguing cultural analysis from sometimes seemingly mundane subject matter. Let me know what you’ve been reading lately!