Photo by Alistair Blacklock/The Gazelle

Kindles plus other attempts to read in Short Spurts: A Summer Reading Wrap

There is a pile of five books sitting on my bedside table, each with a bookmark marking the end of my dismal attempt to gain any sort of page-turning ...

Aug 17, 2013

Photo by Alistair Blacklock/The Gazelle
There is a pile of five books sitting on my bedside table, each with a bookmark marking the end of my dismal attempt to gain any sort of page-turning momentum — mostly less than twenty pages in. Rather than actually finish a title, I have resolved to see how high I can grow my pile and so I turned to my classmates for some recommendations. Here is what juniors Amel Yagoub, Mohit Mandal, Ben Leb, Roshni Dadlani and sophomore Diana Gluck sent my way. Check out these recommendations to see what NYUAD students are reading, how they read and what they intend to read during the upcoming semester.
What they are reading
Amel: “Theophilus North” by Thornton Wilder, 374 pages. “It's a great read and I'd recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Wilder and early twentieth-century New England. The chapters function as individual interactions between the protagonist (the author himself) and the people he meets as he takes on various odd jobs and the so-called nine cities in Newport modeled after ancient Troy.”
Mohit: “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, 432 pages. “As a psychological thriller, this one is outstanding and will repeatedly make you question your sanity — as all good books should.”
Diana: “Passionate Journey” by Frans Masereel. “It was first published as Mein Studenbuch in Germany. It's a story told with 165 woodcuts from 1919. My mom gave it to me.”
Ben: “Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking” by Daniel C. Dennett. “I would highly recommend it. It’s a great book on all the tricks we use to think and how they are used in Science, Philosophy etc."
Roshni: “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts. “It's really long so definitely a challenge to take on and whether I can recommend it or not remains to be seen. (I am only 100 pages in. Based on these, however, I think this novel is pretty marvelous and engrossing).”
How they are reading
Amel: “I tend to read in short spurts just getting in a chapter whenever I'm free —  usually at home or whenever I'm forced to go shopping —  except when I'm travelling in which I case I just grab a book or two to occupy my time.”
Mohit: “I prefer reading for long stretches over short spurts, but generally the book makes the decision between one or the other.”
Diana: “I tend to read in long blocks. I always try to read in short spurts. It just doesn't end up working and I usually have to read over those bits again.”
Ben: “I read in long blocks when I have lots of free time.”
Roshni: “A lot of my downtime here comes in small periods so I try to get in as much as I can. On my way to work and my commute home, about 45 minutes each way.”
Kindle or paper?
Amel: “I usually get my books secondhand from yard sales or used bookstores, but if I ever have something specific in mind I just head over to the public library [in my hometown]. I've tried reading on an e-reader but I always forget to charge them.”
Mohit: “I love reading on my Kindle, and I will have a long and circular argument with you on why book piracy is a good thing.”
Diana: “I get most of my books from this great second-hand bookstore chain that has its headquarters in Dallas called Half Price Books.”
Roshni: “Usually borrowed or second-hand but this summer my mother let me have her old Kindle and I have never been happier.”
What’s next?
Diana: “I'm excited to read the ninth volume of Veneer magazine, 160 pages. It was given to me for free at Marfa Book Company [in Marfa, Texas] by one of the employees. We had a long conversation about literary magazines and in the process he pulled out copies of F.R. David magazine, recommended a few others for me to check out, and gave me Veneer to keep. Veneer is published by ArtSpeak and Yale Union and it's pretty experimental. I've glanced inside and there is a perfume testing strip in a small ziplock bag and a dried flower stuck in between the pages.”
Mohit: “The Cuckoo's Calling because I'm a fanboy and I'll read anything that [J.K. Rowling] ever writes.”
Ben: “The book I want to read is the untranslated version of Etgar Keret's, Suddenly a Knock on the Door. It is about 150 pages, but it is in Hebrew, so I will probably never complete it.”
Roshni: “Half Broke Horses, more because I love memoirs and I recently reread Jeanette Walls' 2005 memoir, The Glass Castle —  which I get a lot of grief for because it's mainstream but who cares? Books are books and I should be able to read whatever I want without people judging me —  and I really loved it.”
Amel: “Another book on my to read list is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, 208 pages. I've been meaning to read it forever. The idea of being able to sum up a life by people or lessons has always interested me.”
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