Unsurprisingly, University life has dealt me a bit of a wild card.
As I noted in some detail, I was informed of some of the textbooks I was supposed to procure and read prior to my arrival, and I gave it a yeoman's effort. In the end, I completed something like six of the nine books that were confirmed by the updated welcome letter. As it turns out, two of the additional three that I didn't read are on the required reading list for the first sequence, which means I'll have to buy them and read them, post haste.
Beyond just that, one of my two classes this sequence (to be discussed in detail later) is a brand new class, never taught before, and do you know what that means? Bingo: more textbooks, and lots of 'em.
So, here's the run down:
Modern Military Strategy and Intelligence in War were both available on Kindle... Which, due to the University's Internet setup and Kindle's lack of proxy support, can only get online at Starbucks. At any rate, the former cost me $38.93, which saved me two cents off the American paperback list price ($38.95), both of which are more expensive than it would have been to buy the paperback at Blackwell's (£23.99/$38.71). Intelligence in War cost me $15.99 on Kindle, compared to the £10.99 ($17.73) it would have cost me to buy the paperback at Blackwell's.
So, what about the rest of the books? Well, I'm hoping to be able to skip Thomas G. Mahnken and Joseph A. Maiolo's Strategic Studies: A Reader entirely, although it's the first book I bought and the first one I started reading. I'll also be able to skip Beneath the United States: A History of US Policy Towards Latin America by L. Schoultz and Policing Democracy: Overcoming Obstacles to Citizen Security in Latin America by Mark Ungar, because I won't be taking the course on "Latin" American security (at least, not for credit). I'll likely need to purchase and read International Law and the Use of Force by Christine Gray for my course on said topic next sequence. I'm not sure yet whether I'll need to purchase and read Cables from Kabul by Sherard Cowper-Coles for next sequence's course on Global Security Issues.
At the behest of the Director, I also broke down and finally bought a copy of the The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations. Does anyone want to take bets as to whether I'll ever so much as crack it? Also visible on the shelf are:
I obviously have my work, and many hours of reading, ahead of me.