I’ll admit it. I can be a boring date.
When Saturday night rolls around, I’m generally, if not always, up for dinner and a few hours reading away at a local bookstore.
While Dunreith and I very much enjoy frequenting The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, last night we were carless and decided to go in the afternoon to Border’s, and, after a tasty meal at Dixie Kitchen, to Barnes & Noble in downtown Evanston.
At Border’s, I finished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s exquisite Half of a Yellow Sun. I wrote about this book earlier in the week and don’t want to give away the plot, but will say that it provides an unflinching look at the war in Biafra from 1967 to 1970.
In the book’s afterword, Adichie explains that her parents and other family members lived through the devastating conflict, which saw an estimated 1 million people die from death, disease and starvation.
“May we always remember,” she writes in the afterword’s final words before supplying a list of books she consulted for the writing of Half of a Yellow Sun.
Thanks to her magnificent work, that permanent memory is more likely.
For those who want to see and hear the 2008 MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winner, here is her Ted talk in which she draws on her childhood reading experience to discusses the danger of a single story.
I didn’t want to launch right away into another novel, so instead picked through the new arrivals and ended up reading the following books, each of which I may write more about later, at Barnes & Noble:
-Hal and Judy Runkel’s The Scream Free Marriage. In this book the authors argue against the idea of tending exclusively on your partner’s needs, but rather focusing on one’s own feelings and representing them authentically in a calm and connected way.
-Edward Hallowell’s Shine. Harvard psychiatrist Hallowell, whose previous work Driven to Distraction was a national bestseller, identifies a five-stage process for leaders to get the best out of the people they supervise.
-Richard Whitmire’s The Bee Eater. This admiring biography of the former Teach for America and DC schools chief describes her background and years leading the beleaguered school system in the nation’s capital.
-Henry Cloud’s Necessary Endings. Business guru Cloud encourages us to embrace endings, which are an inevitable part of personal and professional life, and to get in the habit of doing the pruning necessary for ongoing growth.
I got about a third of the way through Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, the book on which the Academy Award-nominated film The Social Network is based, before Dunreith had had enough, and it was time to head home.
Once there, we ate fudgesicles and watched and dozed through Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, a documentary about the late radical activist and pioneering academic.
Shortly before going to sleep, I finished off Fundamental Freedoms, Facing History and Ourselves’ book about Eleanor Roosevelt and the negotiation process behind the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For others, this evening may have been a tad slow and unexciting.
But for me, two nights before Valentine’s Day, walking, eating, reading and watching a film with my honey was sheer bliss.
What have you been reading these days?