My Most Recent Reads - February, 2014

As I move forward with my 365 Short Stories a year porject, I'm still trying to keep my reading on track too, though clearly not as intense as I did last year  So this month read about 16 books (here are my last month's reads). 

My graphic novel reading has taken a serious hit and I currently have a stack of eight graphic novels that need reading before they are overdue at the library (have I mentioned, I love the library).  I'm also losing interest fast in many of the series I was reading last year.  I read lots of DC's New 52 series and a hefty portion of Marvel NOW content.  This time around, I'm being a bit more selective in the titles and have stopped following some of the ones I was really into previous.  I'll be curious how long I'll stay with it before I stop reading most of DC and Marvel--which is a usual cycle for me.  It just gets so overly complicated and tedious.  


All right, onto my highlights this month.  I've only got two books that really shined and left an impact on me:  

College Unbound - Jeffrey Selingo - Source-Goodreads

College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey Selingo

It's a cliche that a book should be read by all folks in a certain category, but I do need to say.  All people in higher education need to read this book.  I don't necessarily say that because I agree with all of Selingo's points but he does provide a panoramic view of the changes and challenges currently going on throughout academia.  And I see many colleges failing to recognize, adapt, or respond to these changes which in the end does our students no good.  There are definitely parts of the book that can grate nerves for different people (e.g. the reiteration of college as prep work for a job can feel frustrating, particularly for people in the Liberal Arts), but Selingo does provide a lot of things to consider when it comes to higher education and its problems.  One of the biggest things that I find relevant about Selingo's writing is his discussion of bloat.  In particular, I see many colleges trying to continue to grow and this raises a variety of questions about growth for growth's sake and does that jeopardize the nature of the college (or even the larger college system).  


Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him by David and Joe Henry

Furious Cool - Richard Pryor - Dave-Joe Henry - Source-GoodReadsThe other book of this month is in a very different category than College Unbound.  Furious Cool was a fascinating look into the life of Richard Pryor.  I was somewhat familiar with his comedy and more familiar with him as an actor in a handful of movies I watched when growing up (e.g. See No Evil, Hear No Evil).  However, the Henry brothers provide a rich history around Richard Pryor that marks him as one the best comics along with George Carlin.  What I found most fascinating is how they are able to contextualize Pryor's work within the broader range of African American entertainment of the 1960s and 1970s and also mainstream culture while also being able to speak to the effects of his personal life around love and drugs that also filtered into his performances.  The book is powerful enough that it is leading me to go back and watch some of the older Richard Pryor performances to see exactly what they were referring.  What made the book equally chilling and fascinating was that I listened to it.  It was narrated by Dion Graham who did some great impersonations of Pryor while also (as always) provided a strong narrative voice to keep me engaged.  

That's all I got for February--keep your eyes open for my March reads next month!  And don't forget, you can always subscribe to By Any Other Nerd by Email to stay up-to-date on everything going on here!

Books

  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock

Audiobooks

  • One Was Stubborn by L. Ron Hubbard
  • The Ultimates: Tomorrow Men by Michael Jan Friedman
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him by David Henry
  • These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman
  • College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey Selingo

Graphic Novels

  • X-Men: Battle of the Atom by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Avengers Arena, Vol. 3: Boss Level by Dennis Hopeless
  • Fables, Vol. 19: Snow White by BillWillingham
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld by Mike Carey
  • Superior Spider-Man Team-Up: Friendly Fire by Christopher Yost
  • Uncanny Avengers, Vol. 2: The Apocalypse Twins by Rick Remender
  • Justice League of America, Vol. 1: World's Most Dangerous by Geoff Johns
  • Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1: Revolution by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Justice League, Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
 

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