Yeah, I’m still neck-deep in grading. My cell biology course is pretty well in hand — I’m all caught up there, I’ve posted preliminary grades so students know about where they are, and I’m fielding questions from them all day long — but I also give them a final tomorrow, which I aim to have graded by the next day. I’m still wading through my backlog of essays in cancer biology, and they turned in more yesterday, but once I’m done with those, I’m done. So my goal is to wrap up the whole semester by Friday.
Then early Saturday morning, before the dawn, I get on a plane and zip off to Christmas in Boulder, Colorado for a few days. I am going to turn my brain off during that flight, so I want recommendations for a good book to download into my iPad — the kind of thing a science fiction and fantasy fan would enjoy. Or whatever; the last novel I read, oh these many days long gone, was one of Lindsey Davis’s Falco books. So I’m not entirely bounded by one genre.
Also to discuss: people say that you should judge a book by its contents, and not the author’s political views. But I’ve found so often that the author’s views bleed into the pages — an author so pure in their craft that their personal ideals do not inform their writing is probably an author who treats writing as an abstract exercise, and isn’t particularly interesting to read — that I cannot enjoy as much books by people who are less than humanist and progressive. Mark Twain, for instance, is one of the greatest American authors because his personality suffuses his work and the author is inseparable from the stories he tells.
So maybe you can also tell me about writers who you know to be good human beings. Or maybe you know of an author of worth who completely contradicts my general principle.