Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer Reading List!

Well, it may only be April, but my summer began the minute I handed in my dissertation. This summer is going to be a big transitional one- I still have to defend and deposit at the end of April, I'm graduating next month, moving down south in July, and start my new professorship job on August 1st.

We're also considering going down south for a week or so in May and trying to find a house to buy (We're also going to look at rental places while we are there, but if we find a place we totally love we might put in a bid). In the Fall semester I'm also teaching two entirely new courses that I've never taught before, including grad statistics, which I'm trying not to be too nervous about, but which I'm somewhat intimidated about teaching- you mean I'm smart enough to teach OTHER grad students something? :)

So this summer's main activities will be: Packing up my house up north, looking for a place to live/possibly buying a house down south, prepping two new classes, and of course moving itself. Also a few fun things in the works; a music festival or two, a trip to D.C. with B my brother and his girlfriend, and a trip to NJ for a show and a hippie BBQ.

Meanwhile, now that I've handed in my dissertation, I have about 2 weeks of free time until I have to do any work again. And a couple of days ago I got a big shipment of books. And for the first time in almost a year, I have the TIME to read a book that ISN'T directly related to my dissertation/teaching!! :)

So here's what's on the summer reading list so far:

Unchosen: The hidden lives of Hasidic rebels by Hella Winston. This book has been reviewed by many OTD bloggers, so I figured I should finally check it out. I didn't realize it until I started reading it, but this book was actually originally a sociology dissertation! If you haven't heard about it yet, it's about Hasidic people who don't want to be religious and are either orthoprax to some degree, OTD to some degree, and some which leave the community entirely. I'm a few chapter in and it's a fascinating read so far.

Nolo's essential guide to buying your first home by a bunch of lawyers. Yeah, this one should be pretty self explanatory. I figured I might as well pick up at least one book on this instead of relying purely on the internets/random advice from friends which may or may not be good.

The new joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten. I'm not planning on reading this book cover to cover as it's more like a dictionary, except with jokes and stories. This book came recommended by a friend of mine when I randomly made a comment about maybe taking a yiddish class one day. I've looked through it a bit, and there are tons of jewish jokes which I suspect might only be funny to Jews. But I find them freakin hilarious.

A Quaker book of wisdom, by Robert Lawrence Smith. I first got interested in Quakers when I lived in an area chock full of them, and our wedding ceremony last year ended up being a kind of hybrid Quaker ceremony. At Quaker wedding ceremonies the couple exchanges promises to each other (not vows, cause Quakers don't take vows) and sit together in (mostly) silence for an hour along with their guests, and anyone can talk if they feel moved to share something. At the end of the hour, all the guests sign a wedding license. We didn't do a whole hour- more like 10 minutes. But around 5-6 of our guests spoke during that part of our wedding ceremony, which was nice. Anyways I've read a bit about Quaker beliefs on the internet and I've liked what I've seen, and I've met a lot of Quakers, and the area I'm moving to ALSO has a lot of Quakers, so I thought it might be nice to know a little more about them. And this book came highly recommended by amazon.com

Finally, Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men by Michael Kimmel. Michael Kimmel is an awesome sociologist and I would say probably the foremost expert on masculinities studies. He also occasionally blogs over at the Huffington Post. I was fortunate to see him do an author-meets-critics at a conference a few weeks ago for this book, and it sounds fascinating and also essential for any gender studies person to read. I'm glad I finally will have the time to read it!


  1. Just a lurker chiming in to say that I highly recommend the book "The Virgin Homeowner," if you are indeed going down that road. It's both a really fun read, and it gives some really good advice on buying that first home. Definitely gave me some guidance on things such as what to ask in my home inspection!


  2. I'd recommend renting for a year till you get used to the town and really know where you'd like to live. But I guess if it is a really small town and you are really sure you want to live there for at least the next 6 years then go for it and skip having to do another move.

  3. You refer to yourself as a Jew in the blurb about the Yiddish book. Is that indicative of what you'll tell people who ask about your religion after you move?

  4. sorry should I edit that to "only funny to jews and former jews" so you people can chill out for a minute?

    I know identity politics get people up in arms, but I'm going to continue to identify as an atheist and if I get to know people real well, maybe as an atheist who was raised jewish.


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