Okay, so this question requires a bit of explanation of my reading habits. There are four types of books that I read: Dime Store Novels, of Literary Merit, Smart Books, and Reference Books.
Dime store novels: Books that are written to tell a story and just to tell a story. They’re not out to challenge the genre or blow our minds with inventive structure. Currently on my nightstand:
Patricia Briggs (Alpha and Omega series): Actually anything by Patricia Briggs. I love her. Everything she’s written is the sort of strong, female characters that I craved growing up.
Tamora Pierce (ALL): Same as above, she’s got wonderfully strong female characters and I love her.
Victoria Laurie (Ghost Hunter series): Simple, straight-forward series with exciting characters and premise! I read her books super fast, I’d say it takes me about two, three hours to read one of hers.
Mira Grant (Parasitology): She’s always so wonderful about building worlds through character/character relationships. Fun read, edge of the seat in a lot of ways, can’t wait to get to book two! Probably takes me 4-8 hours to read one book.
Of Literary Merit: Books that do defy genre, blow our minds, are probably going to win a handful of awards. Currently on my nightstand:
George Saunders (10th of December): One of my FAVE short story collections, it won something like…three? awards including like best short story collection of the year.
Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You): I actually don’t know if this has won an award but it was AMAZING NO SPOILERS GO READ IT
Flannery O’Connor (Wise Blood): I’m actually just starting this! I’ll keep you posted~
Jennifer Egan (A visit from the goon squad): One of my all time FAVES, got me into intertwining narrative, I love it.
Smart Books: Books that make me look very intelligent (or pretentious) when I go home for the holidays. They tend to be fairly controversial in subject matter and/or wildly misunderstood to be smart in the first place. Most of them I even like which is a bonus! My go to books:
Candide by Voltaire: Great book, hilarious and people think it’s not filled with A plus satire because Voltaire sounds very fancy.
The Dubliners by James Joyce: Short story collection of classic narrative, big themes of imminent death, man vs. nature, etc.
The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo: About the Stanford Prison experiment. It’s okay, I don’t necessarily agree with the stance Dr. Zimbardo takes on his experiment/actions, but he doesn’t expect you too, I don’t think.
Reference Books: Books that I read over and over again because I WANT TO WRITE LIKE THAT:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman: What the fuck. What the fuck. The detail?????? The characters???? Shadow???? What the fuck.
Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison - I cry every time I read this book. It’s so raw and honest, it takes my breath away. Every time.
The Earth and Everything Underneath by K.M Ferebee: So gorgous, the imagery is incredible and it’s about witches. It’s actually a short story that you can read here (X) and I really recommend you check out Shimmer in general because it’s a great magazine.
As always, there’s a ton more that I enjoy, but these are in my rotation right now! Ask me again in a month and they’ll be all different.
The Stanford Prison Experiment + effect on participants.
On August 20, 1971, Zimbardo announced the end of the experiment after only six days.
I ended the study prematurely for two reasons. First, we had learned through videotapes that the guards were escalating their abuse of prisoners in the middle of the night when they thought no researchers were watching and the experiment was “off.” Their boredom had driven them to ever more pornographic and degrading abuse of the prisoners.
It happened that the uniforms faded their individuality and personality. Guards feel the need to abuse of their dominance and prisoners started feel the duty to obey even if it wasn’t real.
The quotes are from the movie but were based on the real patients interview as the prison #416 reaction :
I began to feel that I was losing my identity, that the person that I called Clay, the person who put me in this place, the person who volunteered to go into this prison – because it was a prison to me; it still is a prison to me. I don’t regard it as an experiment or a simulation because it was a prison run by psychologists instead of run by the state. I began to feel that that identity, the person that I was that had decided to go to prison was distant from me – was remote until finally I wasn’t that, I was 416. I was really my number.
“We like to think there is this core of human nature – that good people can’t do bad things, and that good people will dominate over bad situations. Infact, when we look at the Stanford prison studies, that we put good people in an evil place, and we saw who won. Well, the sad message in this, is in this case is the evil place won over the good people.” — Philip Zimbardo
The Stanford Prision Experiment (2015) dir. Kyle Patrick Alvarez
If the goals of the criminal system are simply to blame and punish individual perpetrators - to get our pound of flesh - then focusing almost exclusively on the individual defendant makes sense. If, however, the goal is actually to reduce the behavior that we now call “criminal” (and its resultant suffering), and to assign punishments that correspond with culpability, then the criminal-justice system is obligated, much as I was in the Stanford prison experiment, to confront the situation and our role in creating and perpetuating it. It is clear to most reasonable observers that the social experiment of imprisoning society’s criminals for long terms is a failure on virtually all levels. By recognizing the situational determinants of behavior, we can move to a more productive public-health model of prevention and intervention, and away from the individualistic medical and religious “sin” model that has never worked since its inception during the Inquisition.
Philip Zimbardo- Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment: a Lesson in the Power of Situation
Learn more about The Stanford Prison Experiment — the acclaimed Sundance breakout that Malia Obama’s apparently a fan of — from director Kyle Patrick Alvarez and actual study doctor Phil Zimbardo here.