Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lynn Hunt

Lynn Hunt is Distinguished Research Professor at UCLA, former president of the American Historical Association, and author of numerous works, including Inventing Human Rights and Telling the Truth about History.

Her new book is Writing History in the Global Era, which "offers an inspiring declaration of interdependence for historians—to understand the global present collaboratively, using all our tools to unscramble the entangled past” (David Armitage, author of Foundations of Modern International Thought).

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Hunt's reply:
I always read more than one book at a time. I recently finished a novel by one of my favorite authors, the Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng. The Gift of Rain is about the Japanese occupation of Malaysia and its effect in particular on a half English, half Chinese young man. I read it because I loved the author's novel The Garden of the Evening Mists, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. I count it as one of the most beautiful and compelling novels I have ever read, and I've read a ton of them!

Now I am reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, which frankly I resisted because I didn't think I would like it when I read the reviews. But one of my close friends had really liked it so I started it and found it surprisingly engaging. I can hardly put it down and that's a problem because it's very long.

I am also reading a book by Alice Conklin, In the Museum of Man, about French anthropology and the problem of race. I've long been interested in the history of anthropology — maybe because anthropologists tends to be more interesting people than us historians.

I am about to begin the latest by Louise Penny in her Inspector Gamache series, set in Quebec. I think I've read them all. I read a lot of detective novels, though other than Louise Penny, who is just too good to ignore, I tend to prefer those set in the past.

And last but far from least, I am reading The Book of Life by my friend and fellow historian Deborah Harkness. How could I not? I read the first two in the trilogy and witches and vampires so I have to find out what happens to Matthew and Diana.
Learn more about Writing History in the Global Era at the W. W. Norton website.

--Marshal Zeringue