What we’re reading: Christina Hendricks

“What we’re reading” is a regular feature in Dialogues, CTLT’s bi-monthly newsletter. In each edition, one staffer at CTLT will share what they’re currently reading and offer some poignant suggestions for your reading list.

Christina Hendricks, CTLT Academic Director and philosophy professor, shares her reading list from the January 2019 edition:

 

What books are on your bedside table?

  • Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: a curious account of native people in North America. I’ve been reading this book off and on for about a month, learning about the past and present of Indigenous peoples and colonial governments in Canada and the U.S. It’s funny, irreverent, and also crucially serious.
  • Thomas King, The Back of the Turtle. I just finished this novel about a week ago, after having read King’s Green Grass, Running Water (yes, I’m on a bit of a Thomas King streak lately). The Back of the Turtle is about a number of lost and lonely people involved in various ways in an environmental disaster in an Indigenous community. It also has a generous dose of hope.
  • Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere. I read this book awhile ago and am re-reading it, realizing I’ve forgotten a lot of it. I didn’t have any other books in the house over the break so I started re-reading this one! I read Gaiman’s American Gods last summer and really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d go back to this one again.
  • Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows. I’m in a book club, and we’re reading this one right now. It’s about sorrows that are not, in fact, puny at all. I am not yet sure (because I haven’t finished it) if there is a generous dose of hope in this one. I have this one in audio book form and listen to it when I go for long walks.

 

What’s a great read for starting the new year?

I am not sure whether it’s a good book to start off the new year or not, but I am planning to get a copy of Eden Robinson’s Trickster Drift. It’s the second book in a planned trilogy, following Son of a Trickster, which I read last summer.

Son of a Trickster is set in Kitimat, BC, where the protagonist (an Indigenous teenager who plays a kind of parent role to the rest of his family) experiences some strange (to him) events and wonders if he is indeed the son of a trickster. I really enjoyed the slow introduction of seemingly fantastical elements in Son of a Trickster, creeping up on you and making you wonder what to believe. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy!

 

Who is a writer that inspires you?

I have a friend I’ve never met in person, though I’ve talked with her many times over social media, Slack, and video conference: Maha Bali, who lives and works in Cairo, Egypt. She is an associate professor of practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at The American University in Cairo, and she blogs at http://blog.mahabali.me She also has publications in several teaching and learning journals, including Hybrid Pedagogy.

Her writing about teaching and learning inspires me because she frequently brings up questions and problems that I may otherwise miss because of my place of relative privilege where I live and work (and the position I have at my university). She also blogs frequently and candidly about her own teaching and learning, trying out ideas to get feedback from readers, asking difficult questions about how to best treat students fairly and respectfully and compassionately, explaining when things may not have gone as well as planned and why. I manage to blog about my own teaching and learning sometimes, but not nearly as often as she does and not always with the same level of perspicacity into the blind spots of dominant discourses.

Her blog is well worth a read!