Reading for Pleasure Wednesday, Thursday Edition

I’m a day late to the “Reading for Pleasure Wednesday” meme suggested by Dr. Crazy and also seen at George’s place, but because I’ve only briefly mentioned two of my summer reading books, I thought I’d mention them again. My picks risk bending Dr. Crazy’s rules to some extent because I originally picked up both of them for their unique approach to documentary, a subject that’s important for my research interests, but both books also have proven meaningful to me in ways that ultimately have little to do with my scholarship. Plus, it’s a really cool idea and many of the books suggested by other bloggers will now find their way to my reading for pleasure list.

The first is Joe Sacco’s 1995 graphic novel “documentary,” Palestine , which seeks to represent the Israel-Palestine conflict from the perspective of the Palestinians, a perspective we rarely see in the US media. I read Palestine about a month ago, well before Israel and Hezbollah began fighting again, but Sacco’s intelligent, insightful attempt to represent a myriad of Palestinian experiences is truly illuminating (as is Edward Said’s thoughtful foreword).

Also worth checking out: Margaret Sartor’s Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing Up in the 1970s,, a compliation of diary entries Sartor wrote as a teenager while growing up in Louisiana I first learned about through Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. My initial attraction to the book grew out of my interest in memoir, autobiography, and popular culture, but the book grew into a more pleasurable reading experience, one that benefits from Sartor’s careful crafting of these journals into a larger narrative (and one that seemed to comment on my own experiences of growing up in another part of the south about a decade later). Both books are relatively quick reads, especially Sartor’s, which I read in a couple of afternoons.

2 Comments »

  1. Shaun Huston Said,

    July 27, 2006 @ 6:53 pm

    I’ll be reading Palestine this summer as well, but not entirely for pleasure. It is one of the books selected for the first-year learning communities course I teach (along with two other members of the social science faculty). One of the pitfalls of being an academic is that some strange part of you gets excited when inescapably tragic events like the War in Lebanon, not to mention rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, happens to coincide with your course planning or research.

  2. Chuck Said,

    July 28, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

    Shaun, that sounds like an interesting selection for the FY learning communities course. Maybe a better way of thinking about the “excitement” you describe is reading it as excitement that there are books such as Palestine that provide such a productive way of thinking about the history of that region.

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