What is A/S Reading? – No. 17

Oh hey! It’s spring! Oh wait, no, it’s winter again. GREAT. Oh wait! No! It’s definitely Spri—no, no, it’s still just winter. This weather has us all sorts of discombobulated, but man have we had some fun this season. Earlier this month we had a great time at this with our friends at Greenlight. And now, we have another special event coming up on May 19th as part of Lit Crawl NYC where you’ll see us get a little… silly. And we never get silly. (We don’t understand why you have a look of disbelief on your face right now.) But, enough of this tomfoolery! This is, What is A/S Reading?

This Week’s Episode: Vicki, Adam, and Laura study up on how to take over the WORLD! Sort of…

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Publicist Vicki Lame just started Robert A. Caro’s  The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York and is already finding it insanely addictive considering it is a serious non-fiction book that has 1,344 pages. In fact, it’s so damn good she might just lug it on the subway to read one morning.

The Power Broker is one of those books that people always reference, and constantly, whether they have read it or not. (Mostly not.) But OH MY GOD, I have only read the introduction and I want to sit in a ginormous leather chair (Mulhauser) and drink a whiskey (Woodford Reserve, neat) ALL day and just read about Robert Moses and the awesome/terrible things he did for/to New York. I don’t know how long it is going to take me to read this, but I can guarantee I am going to read the entire thing. Maybe I’ll have time to see you all again one day far, far away?

Managing Editor Adam Read-Brown is… uh… well… to quote him: “Do YOU really want to suffer through reading about what I’m reading? Think about that long and hard before you continue.”

I am reading (and have been for some time) International Political Economy, 5th Edition, by Thomas Oately. The broad, sweeping political and economic theories presented in the early chapters gave me that giddy feeling that comes with easily acquired intellectual capital, but the nuts and bolts of exchange rate policy and currency value explored in later chapters make my head spin. Who am I kidding? It’s a TEXTBOOK. Don’t read this book. Why would you? Unless, you know, you’re reading it ’cause you want to/need to learn about these things. This is a literary blog, not an economics blog. Go read a book about the human condition.

Managing Editor Laura McMillan is reading Pure by Julianna Baggott.

I picked this up primarily because the relentless Hunger Games marketing was stoking a need for more post-apocalyptic girl-protagonist YA. This has some sloppy writing moments and it’s pretty heavy-handed with the anti-fascist allegory—think 1984 plus The Handmaid’s Tale—but it’s probably perfect for an audience that hasn’t yet read those. And its vision of how nuclear detonations have transformed the survivors is fabulous: gross body horror abounds, but there are flashes of poignancy. A grandfather with a breaking-down fan in his throat, slowly killing him. A moody boy with birds embedded in his back.

I also just finished Children of Dune by Frank Herbert, which I found immensely frustrating. Herbert seemed to have stopped caring about the reader altogether. His cast of potentially brilliant female characters are left to do little but plot endlessly and incomprehensibly while occasionally being kidnapped. Muad’dib’s son turns himself into Creepy Immortal Superman. The book is full of machinations by which the characters plan to rule the universe for the good of humanity, but they are so vague and pseudo-philosophical that I came away from the book feeling like I’d just read 400 pages of someone telling me not to worry my pretty little head about it, the Kwisatz Haderach will take care of everything. Needs more fighting and sandworms.

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