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Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Literary Vesicle returns!

Hey readers! Remember the "literary vesicle" of the synapse? Thought I'd bring back books to the synapse. Here are some I'm reading, and then some I'm hoping to read soon:

What is Populism? by Jan-Werner Muller
A Princeton pre-read. Muller demonstrates how populism must be differentiated from simply appealing to the popular masses. Populism is about excluding others to reinforce a "truer" notion of a (national) identity. Case examples include: yes, Trump.

A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr.
After reading Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama, I thought I'd explore the life and mind of one of Obama's greatest role models. I was also curious as to how Lincoln drew on the Bible teachings in the challenges of the Civil War, while maintaining an independence from the institutions of religion like the church.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
In the midst of reading Lincoln's biography and stumbling upon this piece of fiction in the bookstore, based imaginatively around Lincoln's relationship with his son Willie, I decided to pick it up as a flight read. The supernatural aspects have derailed me at times at night, but that's more of a statement on my own vulnerability to supernatural thoughts than anything book-related.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kamir
Picked up from my sister. The poetry is so easy to read that it doesn't really feel like poetry, but more like self-help or friend's tumblr for the broken-hearted and healing. Not a bad thing when you're looking for something raw.

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
When Dr. Arnold Gold passed away, a New York Times obituary noted how he was deeply impacted by this book. The story features a young aspiring doctor who tries to balance the ideals of research (for the sake of discovery and learning) with medicine (for practical outcomes). To be honest, I'm not entirely captivated by the prose and it doesn't portray medicine in a very appealing light (not a bad thing, but intriguing considering its influence on Dr. Gold). I am only 1/5 of the way through...

Evicted by Matthew Desmond
So humane and eye-opening. One of those books that reshapes not only how I think about the particular topic of poverty and eviction by transporting me to real places, but also how I think about a field—in this case, my admiration for what sociology can look like at its finest. 

On my to-read list...
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Intern: A Doctor's Initiation by Sandeep Jauhar
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
Against Empathy by Paul Bloom
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thein