I’m probably jumping the gun a bit, but I’m already looking forward to the dissertation defense in late September/early October. The addition of a second small child and a transatlantic flight have made my getting to Ithaca to defend a bit more of a logistical dance than I’d expected: I’m planning to visit my parents for several weeks prior to the defense and may leave both kids there while I fly to Ithaca and back. Sydney may or may not be going for any or all of this adventure, since tickets aren’t cheap and he may have other duties here. At the moment I’m trying to keep my head down and focus on the remaining writing, but I couldn’t help but allow myself to order some “fun” reading from Amazon to be sent to my parents’ house.
Books along the themes of my dissertation (grief, mourning, and elegy):
– Joyce Carol Oates, A Widow’s Story: A Memoir
– Joan Didion, A Year of Magical Thinking
– Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary
Books by recent Cornell classmates from the writing program whose novels are making a big splash:
– Tea Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife
– Alexi Zentner, Touch
A collection of short stories (I’m a sucker for inter-related short stories) recommended by a colleague:
– Erika Dreifus, Quiet Americans
And, finally, a writer whose short stories were admired by both Faulkner and Woolf, and whose influence can be felt in their own stories:
– Anton Chekhov, Stories of Anton Chekhov
Your guess is as good as mine as to whether I’ll actually get to finish any of these books during my stay (while taking care of little ones, preparing for a defense, and visiting old haunts and friends), but at the moment I’m feeling optimistic.