Interviewing ourselves with the Historiann NYTimes meme

Here’s the meme.

What books are currently on your night stand?

#1: The Far West by Patricia C Wrede

#2:  Every Day Is for the Thief: Fiction by Teju Cole; To-Do List by Sasha Cagen

What was the last truly great book you read?

I’m gonna have to go with my fifth or so reread of Frederica here.

Who are the best historians writing today?

Martha J. Bailey, Dora Costa, Claudia Goldin, Michael Haines, Rick Hornbeck

What’s the best book ever written about American history?

ummmm… dunno

Sorry–I didn’t realize.  Maybe I should ask if you have a favorite biography?

Bossypants was pretty good.  Maybe not the favorite, but a recent fav.

What are the best military histories?

I greatly enjoyed Herodotus.

And what are the best books about African-American history?

Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950: An Economic History is pretty good.  Probably not the best ever written, but an important one.

During your many years of teaching, did you find that students responded differently over time to the history books you assigned?

I’ve only assigned them one year so far, but they loved it.

What kind of reader were you as a child?


If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?

#2: Jane Eyre (really?  How?)

#1: Brave New World …(really? Meh!). It taught me to think like an anthropologist.  I didn’t take away the messages that I was supposed to.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

#2: Currently?
Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (And What We Can Do to Fight Back) by James Delisle.

#1: I think I would try to find something on how to do better propaganda.

You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?

Martin Gardener *assuming you can bring him while he was still alive*, Dorothy L. Sayers (ditto)

Alive: Mary Robinette Kowal and Gail Carriger and  Nora K Jemisin and Neil Gaiman. Ok, that’s more than 3. I have a big table.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel as if you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

#2:  I should have liked Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells but didn’t.  Unfortunately (as it is a favorite of #1), I found it a tedious sausage-fest.  Men angry with other men and getting in fights with men and then other men are involved and men want revenge on men for things men did to men a long time ago when men were men and some men were boys and there’s two henchmen who are the same character… bleh.  I liked Wells’ other books that I’ve read though!

#1 isn’t enjoying the book that #2 liked more than Bossypants.  She’s finding it boring and not particularly funny.  At least it was only $1.99!  How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.

What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?

#2:  The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

#1:  Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Mullainathan and Shafir

What do you plan to read next?

new YA fantasy, probably — and probably from the library.

Grumpeteers, what do you plan to read next???

23 Responses to “Interviewing ourselves with the Historiann NYTimes meme”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    When I have the cataract out of my other eye and get new lenses for my glasses, I will be able to read for the first time in about five years. Oh, I read food labels, articles on the internet, magazines, and short articles that don’t require long sessions or sustained interest. My plan is to read all the writing of Faulkner. Years ago, I took a Faulkner class and want to read those and the rest of his works. Of course, I will have to read books about Faulkner–biographies and critiques. There is a list of other books to read somewhere here.

  2. Liz Says:

    After the typical August hot-weather reading break, I now have an ever-growing pile of things I want to read RIGHT NOW!!! as opposed to the stack of books I just haven’t read yet but own, some way or another. On the list:
    I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
    Death and the Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov and translated by George Bird
    Paper Towns, by John Green
    Something by Teju Cole – probably Open City
    On Such a Full Sea, by Change-Rae Lee

    I’m fascinated by many of the recommendations in Historiann’s NYT book review post.

  3. Chelsea Says:

    Girl Gone maybe? It’s gotten so much buzz with the movie, I admit I’m curious.

  4. Miser Mom Says:

    I’m (re)reading Jane Eyre right now! Well, not *right* now, because I’m typing. But I’m sneaking chapters of Charlotte Bronte’s fab novel into the nooks and corners of my day. Because it’s so much more relaxing than reading tenure files, which is the other pile o’ reading looming over me.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I just finished writing up a tenure file for other people to read! (Now I feel like I should be done for the day, but work has other ideas… just got some caffeine to encourage those ideas.)

      I enjoyed Jane Eyre, and have read it many times (including aloud once to friends), but I didn’t find it life-changing. Like, I was the same person with the same philosophies before and after.

  5. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I would also like to know how Jane Eyre affected #2.

    What do I plan to read next? Let’s see…

    My best friend brought Anansi Boys for me to read at the last book club meeting. So there’s that. And it looks like the Book Club members are choosing The Wicked Girls over Discovery of Witches for the next meeting. I also want to read Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country because I heard that it’s being turned into a movie or tv show or something? God I’m awful at pop culture. Anyways it reminded me how much House of Mirth affected me and how I never did read more of her books and I’m overdue. I’ve also got some comics to go through like Guardians of the Galaxy. I just finished Saga Volume One and LOVED IT so I need the rest of that whole thing. Lots more but yeah that’s a good starting point.

  6. Historiann Says:

    Loved Jane Eyre. I read it as a child and was kind of “meh,” but I was clearly too young for it. I re-read it in college as part of a class on women’s autobiography, and LOVED it. There’s so much going on in there. And especially among women academics, I’ve learned that more than one or two of us have a mysterious Rochester in our romantic pasts. . .

    Thanks for your contributions!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #1 loves Jane Eyre too, but didn’t find it life changing. She is seriously wondering how it changed #2’s life. It’s a great book, but life-changing?

      • Tragic Sandwich Says:

        I read Jane Eyre in the fourth grade and loved it. I’ve read it any number of times since, and my views on it have changed–I still love it, but what I love now is not what I loved then.

        For example, I now hate Rochester.

        But I think it probably changed my life in this way: apparently, when I told my teacher that I had read it, she said, huffily, “I would NEVER recommend that book to a child of your age.” And that must have taught me to block out other people’s opinions of my reading material, because the only reason I can tell this story is that my mother remembered how crestfallen I was at the time. But me? I don’t even remember it happening.

        I do read whatever I damn well please, though.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Hahaha, my mom was pressuring me to read it and I didn’t want to but then I read the first chapter and was hooked through the entire thing. It’s a classic British hook with the plucky abused heroine overcoming her tormenters. It would stand J K Rowling well in the first Harry Potter. And Roald Dahl with most of his novels.

        p.s. Yes, Rochester is kind of a douche. I always preferred Darcy, who starts out as a douche but matures and atones. IIRC, #2 preferred Rochester. I think today maybe she doesn’t anymore, but she can answer that.

  7. J Liedl Says:

    Frederica, yes! That’s a keeper.

    Next up is probably something random from my to-be-read list. I have The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett on my nightstand so that’s a possibility but I also have a bunch on my ereader so I might get suckered into starting another one of those instead of getting the marking all done today. . . .

  8. Linda Says:

    I’m next on the library waiting list for Connie Willis’ All Clear, so that will be my next book to read. In the meantime, I’ve downloaded Caitlin Moran’s book (thanks for the tip!). Earlier today I also downloaded The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook because I have to start working on my intense fear of driving/walking/cycling on high bridges and twisty mountain roads in order to live in the Bay area.

  9. plantingourpennies Says:

    oooh, the next read I’m REALLY looking forward to “Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography”. I <3 Doogie Howser.

  10. chacha1 Says:

    I am just finishing Robert Knox’ account of his nearly-twenty-year detention in late 17th-century Ceylon. After that I plan to read something utterly fun, probably something by Jennifer Crusie.

  11. #Historiannchallenge update, with loads of linky goodness! | Historiann Says:

    […] Mysterious economist and other social-sciencey scholar nicoleandmaggie at Grumpy Rumblings respond with their own joint self-interview. […]

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