Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Library Run! Nonfiction Overflow!

Go read about everyone's Library Loot at Eva's! Click on the image to hop over there.

Ung!!!!!!!!!!! That's the sound of one sick Andi. I'm still trying to shake this multiweek cold/sinus infection/disaster I've had in my head. Methinks a very expensive doctor appointment/prescription bill is in my future. *making the appointment now* 9:15 tomorrow morning. Done!

Even though I feel like the lowliest pile of poo, I still have work to do. Four of my five online classes are open, and I have student e-mail up to my hoo-hah. They're all answered right this minute, but we'll see how long that lasts.

I was forced to leave the house this morning to go pick up a syllabus, so naturally I stopped by the library. I needed to grab my first book for the World Citizen Challenge, The Post-American World, by Fareed Zakaria. You might remember that Obama was caught reading this one a while back, and if it's good enough for Obama, it's good enough for me. It actually looks really interesting:

"This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." So begins Fareed Zakaria's important new work on the era we are now entering. Following on the success of his best-selling The Future of Freedom, Zakaria describes with equal prescience a world in which the United States will no longer dominate the global economy, orchestrate geopolitics, or overwhelm cultures. He sees the "rise of the rest" — the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, and many others��”as the great story of our time, and one that will reshape the world. The tallest buildings, biggest dams, largest-selling movies, and most advanced cell phones are all being built outside the United States. This economic growth is producing political confidence, national pride, and potentially international problems.

When I was grabbing this book I happened to lay eyes on a book I've wanted to read for what seems like FOREVER...The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. I've lusted after it since the very first time I heard an NPR interview about it. I'm sure you're all familiar already, but for the sake of continuity here's the blurb:

"Let us try a creative experiment," Alan Weisman proposes on page three: If humans disappeared from earth, what would happen? To your home, for example. To our cities, farms, and oceans. To the animals that remain. Or to the billion tons of plastic we'd leave behind. Deserving of the lively conversation it will inspire, rich with spectacular detail — from the edge of the universe to the underground city of Cappadocia (spacious enough to house 30,000 people!) to the forests of New England — The World without Us is, in Bill McKibben's apt words, "one of the grandest thought experiments of our time."

And if you care to see it, here's a video:

On a fiction note, I started Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates, last night. I desperately want to see the movie, so I thought I'd tackle the book first. So far I can't really say what I think of it. I'm only lukewarm at this point, but it's too early to call time of death.


  1. The Post-American World is awesome.


  2. I really want to read The Post-American World! My library has a long-ish wait list, though, so I'll be patient. :)

  3. Glad to see you saying so, Lezlie! You know I trust your opinions.

    Eva, good luck with that patience thing. I suck at that!

  4. Definitely some books I want to check out. I think The Post-American World sounds especially interesting since Americans seem to think the world revolves us. No world power lasts forever.

  5. Feel better! I hate sinus problems.

    I tried to read Revolutionary Road a few years ago and couldn't get into it. A review somewhere (maybe Salon?) talked about how dated it is. I can't wait to see the movie.

  6. The World Without Us is a terrific book. It sounds like it would be depressing, but it's really a story about how resilient the earth is, despite our best efforts.

  7. Amen, Kim! I hope I can start The Post-American World today. It looks like a conversation starter for certain.

    Thank you, Nik!!! I got a z-pack at the doc today, so hopefully I'll be on the mend soon.

    KnittingReader, it is coming across as pretty dated, but it's sort of nostalgic in that way, too. Very 1950s Levittown. And very sad. Definitely a downer thus far.

    Dennis, it's good to see you write that because that's my hope for the book. I think about Sarah Teasdale's poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" and Ray Bradbury's story of the same title when I think of The World Without Us. We always read that story and poem in my introductory lit classes, so I might take a chunk of The World Without Us if I find a fitting one.

  8. Hubby really liked The World Without Us... Not my cuppa tea, though. LOL.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  9. I agree that The World Without Us is great. as you're in Texas you might like/be shocked/hate the part about what all would happen south of Houston with all the oil refineries. It has some great imagery.

  10. I totally want to read all the books you mentioned in this post!! Hope you're feeling better.

  11. I hope you feel better (I have the same sinus thing, going on two weeks now!).

    I wanted to read the Post-American World book, too. Maybe I need to get on board.

    Happy 2009, Ani!

  12. Sorry to hear you're sick--doesn't it always happen when you can't get out of work! The Zakaria book sounds interesting (as does the Weisman. Hopefully my nonfiction reading will extend to books like these and not just biographies and memoirs. And oh, I want to read the Yates, too!

  13. Thanks, Melissa! I can understand why it might not be everyone's cuppa.

    Melanie, I can only imagine! I can't wait to read it. I have a few others to clear away first, but we'll see if I can focus and actually stick to that.

    Thank you, Heather! Looking forward to what you think of these when you get around to 'em!

    Thanks, LK!!! It's great to "see" you!

    Danielle, but your biography reading is SOO GOOD. I love reading about your bio reading since I so rarely get around to those books. Not sure why. Hmmmmm.

  14. Both of these books I'd love to read. I actually did try to read The World Without Us - or actually listen to. I just couldn't handle the audio version though so maybe one day I'll get the actual book. It seemed like it'd be so interesting.

    Hope you are feeling much better by the way!

  15. First off, I hope you're feeling a bit better. My husband had that crud for two weeks! I've managed to stay healthy, which is amazing since I work in retail and probably came in contact with a lot of sick people last month.

    Speaking of my husband, he just finished The World Without Us and said it was VERY good. And very scary. I think it might be a good nonfiction selection for my f2f book group. He said it would provide a lot of discussion fodder. Now I'm off to watch that video clip and then pass it on to him.

    Take care, Andi!

  16. I look forward to your review of World Without Us. I have been longing to read this one as well.

  17. Thank you, Iliana! So far I feel much better. Sorry you couldn't get into The World Without Us. I hope you have better luck with the book. :)

    Les, it's miraculous that anyone in retail, education, or healthcare can stay well. The Cutie is an ER nurse and works in the clinic sometimes, and I can't imagine how he's not sick all the time. Glad to hear your hubby enjoyed the book! I can see how it could be a potentially fabulous choice for discussion groups. Maybe I'll suggest it to mine when I finish!

    Thanks, Rebecca! I'll keep y'all posted!

  18. Both of these books are on my To Read list (along with "End of America") as well, so I'll definately be looking out for your reviews on them :) Can't wait to see what other political books you've got up and coming!

  19. I came back to tell you I bought The World Without Us last week with a gift certificate I had and then left it at boyfriend's house. I've been thinking about it all week...

  20. I just started Revolutionary Road, and hope to finish it before I start classes again (Tuesday). So far, I love it. The writing is just...delicious, and I don't want it to end.


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