Sometimes I think grad school broke my brain, because I'm not reading as much as I used to. In any case...
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco. This one I keep picking up and putting down, so I finally brought it to work and started to read it during my lunch breaks. Little chunks, 50ish pages at a time.
Burger's Daughter, Nadine Gordimer. Betsy Morgan used to talk about her during Post-Colonial Women's Lit, and she's one I haven't tried yet. Gordimer is a white South African, and Burger's Daughter is about the daughter of two anti-apartheid activists. I'm only about 50 pages in, so more on that later.
Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides. Picked it up at a used bookstore. In the middle of it right now.
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins. The end of the Hunger Games series. I went to a B&N after work, picked it up, and read the entire thing in the bookstore.
Also just finished Ellison's Invisible Man. This is one of those books I should have read a while ago. I mean, really, it's one of the seminal mid-century African-American novels, and I hadn't read it 'til now? Shame on me.
It's said that Ellison took a lot of his ideas from Notes from Underground (I think Ellison said this himself), and I can see the influence. The nameless, faceless narrator is Dostoyevskian, but unlike the (also nameless, faceless) narrator from Underground, he's not cruel--he doesn't want to inflict harm on anyone. He's young, eager to please, and powerless. He gets manipulated on all sides (by the white people around him, by the president of his college, by the Brotherhood, the sort-of Communist group that sets him up to be their hero and their pawn and then deserts him). When he finally rebels against everyone else, he ends up underground, literally and figuratively.
This is the kind of book that makes me wish that I were back in school. I put it down and thought, I need a class to discuss this with. It makes me squirm as I look back on the US's sordid history in terms of racism, and it makes me want to apologize for benefiting from that history.
Also, when I read good books, I want to write, and for some reason, my brain's gone wonky and hasn't let me write anything substantial for the last week or so.