Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Head Will Follow

What reading material is currently on your nightstand?

It's rare for me to have more than one book on the go. I prefer to finish one before starting the next. But I've spread myself thin this week, reading a bunch of books on boxing.

The most influential book I've read recently is Rene Denfeld's Kill The Body, The Head Will Follow. It's partly a memoir of her integration into a Portland boxing gym (she's a Golden Glove winner), and partly a Susan Sontag-esque critique of cultural myths surrounding female aggression. The book demystifies a lot of assumptions about whether women are less violent or less aggressive, and if not, why they're perceived as being so. She name-checks Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky in the introduction, as creating more active, physical female protagonists (and role models). Definitely a lot to think about.

I'm also reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Croxley Master," about a medical student who turns to prizefighting to pay for his tuition. Doyle is an entertaining writer with an underrated prose style, even separated from his most famous creation.

I'm also reading a biography of Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, and George Plimpton's memoir Shadow Box. And yes, these books are all for research, but they're also a hell of a lot of fun.

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