I’ve mentioned a few times before that when I get assigned reading, no matter how interesting it may be, I usually dread it and don’t want to do it. I think I may have finally gotten over this, though. This semester I have a lot of reading to do for class, but luckily for me, a lot of it looks incredibly interesting. What books do I have to read this semester that I’m looking forward to?
Books for HI214: History of Piracy
I had to buy six different books for this class. But come on, how can I possibly be dreading reading about pirates? Not only are we studying individual pirates like Blackbeard, but we’re also looking at the societal and especially economical reasons why piracy exists. I’m really looking forward to this course.
This is an incredibly thick book so I don’t really see myself doing any reading beyond what I’m actually assigned for the class. But this is basically a collection of stories and information known about specific pirates. I actually had no idea that Daniel Defoe wrote nonfiction before I had to buy this book. I’ve read one of his novels, Moll Flanders, but don’t really remember much about his writing style. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing what kinds of stories are told here.
This looks at the social and cultural aspects of piracy. I think it’s kind of trying to understand why we romanticize pirates and what aspects of their culture and society are things that we idolize. The blurb on the back isn’t totally clear though, so I’m not 100% sure of that. I think generally it’s just kind of trying to place piracy in a cultural and social context.
This is the last book for this course that I’m really excited to read. This one focuses on the economic reasons behind piracy. Not only how economics made people turn to piracy, but also how it influenced specific things about piracy (like flying flags with skulls and bones on them). I’m actually really, really interested in learning more about the economic influence on piracy so I’m looking forward to reading this one quite a bit.
Books for AN290: Children and Culture
I have three different books for this course, but this is the only one I’m really looking forward to. This is a book that centers around the Beng of West Africa, a group who believes in reincarnation (and I think they also believe that as a young child, you can choose to leave this life to go back to the afterlife, which is super interesting to me). The book looks at how their belief in reincarnation impacts their childrearing practices and compares their parenting to Euro-American parenting practices. I love learning about different cultures, especially when they have beliefs or practices that are really different from our own so I really am excited to read about the Beng. I’m actually supposed to have started this already, but I haven’t had time (shh, I’ll start it today).
Books for SO314: Social Problems and Change: Drugs in the Americas
This class is the last one that I’m taking this semester that has some interesting reading material. I had to buy five books for this class and three of them look really interesting.
Those of you who are friends with me on Goodreads may have seen me talking about this a little bit. I’ve already started reading this one and I’m already really fascinated by it. It’s basically a history of different spices, stimulants, and intoxicants and how they became either mainstream substances (like coffee) as opposed to being prohibited drugs like cocaine. The next chapter I have to read is about coffee and tea and I’m so, so excited for it. It’s always been really interesting and kind of puzzling to me how some substances are accepted and others with similar effects are banned and you can end up with life in prison if you’re caught with it. I can’t explain how excited I am to read the rest of it.
This is another historical book, but I’ll be honest: I don’t really know what it’s about. Its blurb is really vague, but it seems to suggest that the book focuses on how drugs have been discovered and commercialized throughout history. This whole course seems so interesting to me that I think pretty much everything I read for it will be good.
This is the last book that I’m truly excited for. The rest I’m either dreading or not really sure how I feel about haha For this course, we’re focusing specifically on cocaine and this particular book looks at how cocaine became global. It goes through its whole history, starting with its creation as a medical drug through today where it’s a really popular and illegal drug.
All of these books look so interesting and I’m really happy that I was assigned them for classes because none of these are books I would’ve picked up on my own. I may end up posting reviews of these on here when I’m done reading them, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. Let me know if you’d like to see reviews for any of them. 🙂