There is rarely a waking moment that I do not spend read. I read incessantly, voraciously. Currently, my reading diet consists almost exclusively of non-fiction, particularly critical and rhetorical theory. Difficult texts energize me, especially when the author manages to avoid obtuseness through clear, even artful prose and vivid examples. I am an active, critical reader, who–for better or worse–can rarely take off her analytical hat and let herself be completely absorbed by a book. The most recent work of fiction I read were José Saramago’s novels Blindness and Seeing.
What books would you recommend?
Paul Eisenstein and Todd McGowan’s book Rupture: On the Emergence of the Political. For a terrific and continuously updated sampling of great reads, I recommend visiting the website Brain Pickings–ʺa cross-disciplinary LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces spanning art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology, and moreʺ– maintained by my Bulgarian compatriot and MIT Futures Entertainment Fellow Maria Popova at www.brainpickings.org.
Do you remember the first book you read or any childhood favorites?
Growing up, I loved Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, because of her irreverent, audacious, imaginative character. There were many wonderful Bulgarian children’s books, as well.
Have you always liked to read? Was there ever a person in your life who really inspired you to read?
The short answer is: yes. I learned to read very early, and I remember my conscious efforts to decipher the letters and words in the story-books that my parents and grandparents would read to me.
Did you read any interesting/memorable books when you were in college?
The work of Julia Kristeva was a major influence during my undergraduate years in Bulgaria, where I studied English and Linguistics (or what is referred to as philology). During my undergraduate years in the U.S., I found Naomi Klein’s work thought provoking. It sparked my interest in global ideological, political, and social justice issues.