I’ve been a bad reader recently. Not with all types of books, mind you, but my attention to academic literature began to wane in the spring and hasn’t quite picked up. I’ve been carrying around a certain highly regarded recent text (not by an anthropologist, for the record) for approximately three months now and I’m maybe 50 pages in. Much as I sometimes need to mix up my workouts or writing habits, it’s time to shake things up with my summer readings. I’ve decided to take a break from scholarly studies relating to disability to delve into fiction and non-academic non-fiction.
Memoirs, novels, short stories, narrative nonfiction – I’m looking for it all. Below, you’ll find a short list of my top picks. Additional suggestions are welcome!
Family Life: A Novel
This gorgeous memoir by Akhil Sharma was the game-changer in my summer reading impasse. Sharma pulls the reader into his childhood memories through descriptions of his family’s life after his older brother had a swimming accident. You can find the publisher description here. Sharma described his writing experience in this beautiful New Yorker piece, which all writers should read, and Louise Kinross of BLOOM recently posted this fascinating interview with him. I look forward to reading more of Sharma’s work soon.
Blindness (José Saramago)
I tried to read this a few years ago and simply wasn’t in the right head space. It’s been on my list ever since. Here’s a fantastic NPR piece by a reviewer who claims never to re-read books, but has read this one three times.
One of my medical anthropology students recommended this book last fall. It is one in a slew of new books written by, for, and/or about people with autism.
Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery (Rachel Adams).
This memoir by a Columbia professor and mother of a child with Down syndrome came out in 2013. Here is a New York Times review. I’m always curious about the role of disability in academics’ private lives.
Additional books on my to-read list include:
Sun Shine Down (Gillian Marchenko)
The Shape of an Eye (George Estreich)
Everything I can find by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Note: This has little to nothing to do with disability, but her writing is so incredible).