On Being Halfway: War and Peace and Reading in a Pandemic

In the fall of 2021, my friend told me about a new book called Tolstoy Together. It was a record of a group read of War and Peace, Tolstoy’s 1869 masterpiece. In the very early days of the pandemic, writer Yiyun Lee invited anyone who wished to join her in a slow read of WarContinue reading “On Being Halfway: War and Peace and Reading in a Pandemic”

Reading the future: The Handmaid’s Tale and All Our Wrong Todays

Like everyone else in the world, I’m rereading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, inspired by the release of the new Hulu series to rediscover something I first read, oh, about fifteen years ago, I think. I was not assigned to read this book in high school, unlike many people, but when you grow up Canadian,Continue reading “Reading the future: The Handmaid’s Tale and All Our Wrong Todays”

My year in books: 2016

This was an interesting exercise last year, so I thought I’d do it again.  Obviously, 2016 is widely considered to have been a pretty terrible year for the world, and it was also a challenging year for me, personally, and for many people I know and love.  There will no doubt be a lot ofContinue reading “My year in books: 2016”

In which I enthusiastically recommend an advice book from the 1930s

In troubled times, sometimes the best thing you can do is open a book and pretend you live somewhere else. In these particular troubled times, I have a feeling almost anywhere else would do—even Mordor. Now feels like a really good time to climb into a long fantasy series and never climb out. But forContinue reading “In which I enthusiastically recommend an advice book from the 1930s”

By and about women: books and International Women’s Day

I was at my book club meeting on the weekend, and we were talking about David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. This post has nothing to do with DFW, by the way, and let me say that I genuinely liked about half of that book, so no literary bros need to getContinue reading “By and about women: books and International Women’s Day”

Books, lately: 2016 so far

At the beginning of every new year, I think about what I want to read in the next twelve months. I usually decide that I want to read “better” books. (Yes, I set reading goals, I’m a dork.) And then I spend weeks devouring some YA fantasy series. This year is no different so far!Continue reading “Books, lately: 2016 so far”

My year in books

Here are some random thoughts about a few things I read this year. Best book I read: I’m going to give this one to A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, which is a modern(ish) retelling of King Lear set on a farm in Iowa. It works way better than that sentence suggests. Smiley masterfully creates layer uponContinue reading “My year in books”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Hi, my name is Kathleen, and I like stuff. Not all stuff, admittedly—my problem areas are clothing (specifically dresses) and books. I mean, that’s the reason I started this blog: my overwhelming piles of unread books. I’m happy to say that since I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, those piles haveContinue reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo”

Two books about diseases and public health

I’ve mentioned a few times that my research focus during my MA was disease (specifically rabies) and the Victorian novel. I’m still very interested in diseases in general, especially how we construct narratives of disease and how these narratives—often deeply ingrained—influence our ideas about public health. Old (research) habits die hard: whenever I see a newContinue reading “Two books about diseases and public health”