Friday, June 7, 2013

The Books: Summer Reading

Between now and when I head back to the States, I want to read a few books for leisure (and one that hits both the "leisure" and "work" categories). I rediscovered recreational reading as a young undergrad (after doing almost no recreational reading whatsoever in high school), and I don't read as much as I'd like. With reading for classes over, I hope to finish a few books. Here's what's on the agenda.

Arabian Sands: Arabian Sands is my leisure/work combo book. I've been working on it, quite slowly, since late last summer. It's the monograph of Wilfred Thesiger's travels in the Rub al Khali, and discusses Oman, Dhofar, and Salalah in extensive detail. It will work into my dissertation as a record of what Dhofar was like before the Rebellion and the Omani Renaissance.

Starship Troopers: A few weeks ago, I decided to purchase a copy of this, one of my favorite books of all time. I haven't read it since I was a senior in high school. It's not very long, and I'm already about a third of the way through it, so I hope to finish it in short order - maybe over the course of a couple of evenings.

American Sniper: A few months ago, at the urging of somebody back home, I read No Easy Day. The same individual was bugging me to read American Sniper by the late Chris Kyle. I've read three or four SEAL autobiographies over the years, and they tend to be pretty repetitive, but I figured I'd give American Sniper a shot... Once I finish the other two.

Saving Private Sarbi: Knowing that I love dogs - for example, Jack the Wonder Dog - and having spent some time in Australia earlier this year, CN Bones recommended that I pick up a copy of this book about an Australian military working dog (MWD) that was captured by the Taliban for over a year before being recovered. (You can read a brief account of the story here.) My brother recently lost his dog to a chronic illness, but while the dog was alive, I used to make cartoons using pictures of the dog. One such cartoon involved... Well, I'll let the picture speak for itself. (By the way, if you're interested in MWDs, check out Kevin Hanrahan's website and blog.)

If I finish those, my standby books are as follows:

Quantum of Solace: I started reading this when I was in Beirut in January of 2012. I read about half of the stories in the book in 2006, in the form of Octopussy and The Living Daylights. (As I read this, I realize that the beautifully covered Bond collection published by Penguin in the mid-'00's appears to have been superceded, so I may need to order the old ones to complete my set before they're no longer available.)

Where the West Ends: Independent journalist Michael Totten is an acquaintance of mine, and in 2012 he expanded a number of his best articles and published them as a book. I'm probably a quarter of the way through my copy, and it would be great to finish it before I head home.

I obviously have a lot of quiet hours ahead of me... Hopefully.

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