Wednesday, April 9, 2008


One thing I think is fascinating is how much things are censored in America. I still recall being in London when the war on Iraq broke on March 20, 2003. The coverage on the BBC and other British news programs was much more graphic and real than the things that were being shown in America.

My friends and I went to Speaker's Corner that weekend and discussed things with people, which was really eye opening for me. It was my first time in Europe and the fact that something like Speakers Corner existed was an interesting concept.

Sure some people are there for theatrics and rocking next to their signs declaring they had been abducted by aliens, but there was dialogue without aggression and anger. I'm a visual person so it's always nice to put a face to a cause, but it was really interesting to be able to talk to people who are directly affected.

The reason I thought of that is because I really love to read, and entering a German book store with an English section is quite an experience. The books seem more controversial and dynamic. Perhaps on occasion they are hiding in the shelves at other shops back home and I neglect them for less heavy reading. Here there are limited options, so things stand out, and if it looks remotely interesting I'll jot down the title or buy it. I'm especially partial to non-fiction, which isn't so plentiful here.

Every time I come home from the US my bags are packed to the gills with books. It's not even unheard for me to pay extra for a bag simply for this purpose. Some months I will read a book or two a week.

I never thought I would read books online, which is a bit strange since it takes that tactile quality away. I'm pretty old fashioned with things like that.

Then I came across this online book by a professor at Clemson named Skip Eisiminger. It has short stories about random things in life that resonate with me. The book is called Felix Academicus.

Maybe it's my need to read and feel like I am doing something intelligent from time to time, but I've found many universities have interesting things that are free. Even if you're not enrolled you can still take advantage of materials like this. So if you find yourself needing to read something to read you can check it out.

I'm always up for more suggestions too if you're reading something great!


Troy said...

Book advice is tough because it always depends on what genre you're into. If you like historical novels, the best one I've read is Pillars of the Earth - a great epic story about the building of a Cathedral in 12th century England, and all the lives, politics, royalty, and outlaws that come into contact of this center of life in this British town. BTW: There's a decent English bookstore in Maxvorstadt called Munich Readery.

Emily said...

Thanks Troy. It's been a while since I was at the Readery. Maybe I should check them out again.

Vivianne said...

I know you said you prefer non-fiction, but you may want to check out Project Gutenberg (just google it), which publishes literary works for free online once their copyright runs out. Also, the Making of America Project (in part at the University of Michigan) has a lot of (historical) non-fiction online. I personally really enjoyed P.T. Barnum's autobiography, in which he's pretty liberal in using the term 'true'.

Emily said...

Thanks for the suggestions Vivianne! I'll definitely check them out!