These are not bubble-gum reads. No light and fluffy romance, quirky amateur sleuths, or orphaned heroes with magical swords will be found between these pages. I won't devour these in a day or even three. No, these books will require a dictionary or, more likely, a Google search or two. They will require a little more brain power and attention to detail.
And I'm excited to read them.
See, total nerd moment. I warned you.
I started the first book last night. Because the cover art isn't the easiest to read, I'll help you out a bit. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, by professors Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, is described as a "pathbreaking book of feminist criticism" (Amazon). I was first introduced to their theory of the Madwoman in the Attic in my Modern Lit Theory course. Of all the theories we covered that semester, their brief passage in the massive collection we were exploring stuck in my memory. So much so, that I knew someday I would read the book and not just an excerpt.
When I discovered Amazon had the Kindle version on sale, I decided it was time to pick it up. I went with the Kindle version over the print for a couple reasons. The most obvious is that it's easy to keep the book on the Kindle's memory and access it whenever and wherever I want. More importantly, though, is that while I rarely use the highlighter when I'm reading my bubble-gum reads, I love, love, love the idea of being able to use this feature on non-fiction books. Accessing the quotes I want to remember, use, or share is easy when they're in digital form. I can access them from my Kindle or, if I so desire, online. (I had to login to view them, so I'm not sure if you'll be able to see what I've highlighted or not.) I can also add notes and access them from the same screen.
One last note on the Madwoman in the Attic: I'm still in the introductory section and I'm already writing notes to myself to look up a few things, like who is this Bloom character what model of literary criticism does he use. Also, dictionary has been used multiple times. Yikes!
Book number two is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Again, this book also happened to be offered at a discounted price on Amazon.
Brown's book is not something I would normally pick up. I'm really not into self-help books and this book strikes me as something you'd most definitely find in the self-help category at B&N. So why, then, did I pick it up? Well there's this...
And also this...
I am fascinated with the idea of vulnerability. When I had to write up my teaching philosophy for a course on teaching college composition, I started my piece by reflecting on the instructors I admired most and what characteristic they all seemed to possess. It was a willingness to be vulnerable, to be human, to admit mistakes or even a lack of knowledge. These admissions of imperfection were so damn courageous that they were, for me, the most profound teaching moments these instructors shared with me.
As someone who hopes to someday approach the front of the classroom with the same humility and humanity, I found Brown's study and insights into shame, guilt, and vulnerability to be mesmerizing. I've listened to these TED talks more times than I care to admit. How, then, could I not buy Brown's book? (Yes, I'm aware she's written more than one, but the pocketbook can only take so much abuse at once, if you know what I mean.)