Blame it on being surrounded by millions of enticing materials everyday, but I just can’t resist the urge to read more than one book at a time. Books teeter on every stackable surface of my home, and most of them with bookmarks tucked halfway through. Right now, I’m in the midst of several very different and very interesting titles. Every single one is unputdownable (except, of course, to pick up the others).
The World Without Us, Alan Weisman
Do you ever wonder what it would take to erase all traces of humankind from the planet? In this intriguing thought experiment, Weisman walks through the processes Earth would undergo without human interference to deconstruct and decompose every human creation, from a single house to a landfill to New York City to carbon emissions.
The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, David Abram
I’m still in the introductory, theory-heavy portion of this book, but the perspective of an author who relates to a “more-than-human-world” is refreshing and inspiring enough to keep me enrapt. So far, Abram has discussed interacting with one’s environment with the awareness that we are always both seeing and seen, and that sentience may not be as simple as scientific, objective thought traditionally views it.
The Opposite House, Helen Oyeyemi
Oyeyemi’s poetic prose is immediately arresting and surprising, even breaking mid-line like a poem in some places. The characters’ position as Cuban immigrants to London, and the tension between the narrator’s mystic, Santeria-practicing mother and analytical professor father create incidents of thought-provoking cultural conflict. The real hook of the novel is that their storyline interweaves with another one, where a Yoruba goddess lives in a mysterious house that opens to both Lagos and London.
Even though I’m only halfway through all of these books, I’m confident that they will continue to deliver on their though-provoking entertainment. It’s possible that I might finish reading faster if I limited myself to one title at a time, but what would be the fun of that?