Knights, Moderns, and Newts 10.14.16

img_2847This category–updated every Friday– is where I’ll be featuring some of the things I’m reading or recommending!

Grad school has come with its own long list of books, and thankfully, many of them are stories or great pieces of literature. Here are my top recommendations from the past month:

  1. Perceval by Chretien. What can be so exciting about a medieval Arthurian legend? Just read the first few pages of Perceval and tell me you’re not entertained. Picture this: an ignorant farm boy becomes a knight, sees the holy grail, fights for some ladies… you know, the typical Arthurian lore. But this author’s tongue-in-cheek narrative had me reading lines to Will (my husband, who puts up with me reading things to him constantly) with tears of laughter running down my face. Here’s a sample: “And Kay, who was being nasty, as he always has been and is and will be…” buy it here.
  2. Modern Social Imaginaries by Charles Taylor. Taylor, a Canadian philosopher, is mostly known for his longer work, A Secular Age; but this shorter work is a good entry-point to his concept of the social imaginary. I particularly appreciate his perspective on the modern person as individually-focused. Some critics say his statements are too generalizing, but it offers an interesting starting point for understanding the modern mind. Buy it here.
  3. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse. I cannot count the times I have recommended Wodehouse, but let me add another one. Will and I started reading this during our trip to Scotland, and I finally had him laughing out loud at this masterpiece of British humor. In fact, I think I’ll pick it up again to defeat mid-semester blues. The plot consists of pinching policeman’s helmets, a collection of newts, and an antique cow creamer. If that doesn’t convince you, here’s a sample: “He gave me a dying look, a kind of wide-eyed, reproachful look, such as a dying newt might have given him, if he had forgotten to change its water regularly.” Buy it here.

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