1. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - Mary Wollstonecraft. I started this book in January, and haven't gotten far, although I admire the hell out of Mary Wollstonecraft. I confess, her long labyrinthine 18th century sentences tire this 21st century reader. I feel like I've been driving a large team of horses after a few pages. I also feel a bit sad thinking about how she had a lot of time to refine her thoughts and hone her logic and perfect those sentences because she was probably lonely. Most women wouldn't (and couldn't) have understood her, and a fine mind such as hers in a woman's body would have been anathema to most men.
2. Flight Behavior - Barbara Kingsolver. She's judgmental and preachy. She can be a little condescending, too. She's pedantic and didactic. Furthermore, Kingsolver has never outgrown that clunky way with dialogue and characterization that I chalked up to first novel-itis when I read (and loved) The Bean Trees many years ago. In other words, she's driving me crazy with this novel about monarch butterflies who mysteriously migrate to a small town in rural Tennessee, but I can't quit reading, because it is interesting and I am learning so much, and I do agree with what she says (and says and says and says). Overall, I prefer her nonfiction.
3. World English 2 - Publisher: Heinle. This one is for work. It's the new textbook for the EFL classes. Thank goodness it's not that mind-numbing lowest level. Our topics here include: food, communication, cities, the body, challenges, transitions, luxuries, nature, life in the past, travel, careers and celebrations. Lots of opportunities for a riff when things get stale. On the grammar side, can't get away from the present perfect, but there are two chapters (!?) of modals and a section on real conditionals (although unreal conditionals are more fun). Oh no, the dreaded passive voice was just spotted. For the past few semesters, I've been approaching these textbooks unit by unit in a workmanlike manner, but I've decided to burrow into World English 2 as if it were the choicest novel and really get to know and appreciate it. Maybe that familiarity will inform my teaching. Fingers crossed.