One of the few upsides of quarantine living was the time for more reading. I’m sure many of you surpassed your reading goals quite by accident, others because as with everything else, reading has also become a competitive sport as has cooking, design, fashion, and other arts. I'm just hoping I never see a reality … Continue reading My 2020 Good Reads List
THE IMMORTALISTS BY CHLOE BENJAMIN The central question of this ambitious novel is this: if you were told the exact day you were to die, how would that influence the way you lived? Intertwined in this, of course, is all the complicating subtext of what drives your life in all its facets—overarching to the mundane. Would … Continue reading Would You Want to Know How Long You Have to Live?
I found this book purely by accident. Intrigued by the long reserve list on multiple digital library sites, coupled with book woman in the title, I wanted to see what all the interest was about. I didn’t read anything about it in advance so I had no idea what the story was about and just jumped … Continue reading ADD BLUE TO OUR SPECTRUM OF PREJUDICE The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
This week’s blog is a hard one for me to write. I’m breaking all the rules I set for myself. First, I was going to stay away from best selling books. There are so many books worth reading that could use light beamed their way, I prefer to concentrate my efforts there. Second, as I’ve said … Continue reading Mary Trumps Them All Too Much and Never Enough
This is a story of sisters like no other. As anyone who has ever had a sister, known someone with a sister, a read a book about sisters, it is one of the most complex relationships. This book takes the relationship into unusual territory. A story of sisters like no other. This book takes the relationship into unusual territory. To give you the enticing flavor of the story, this is the novel's first line, "My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamy." It is a fascinating story of deception, family's complicity and the girls caught in the middle.
The title and cover intrigued me in this time of staying home during the Covid pandemic. I live in an area where cases are spiking so you can see why these opening pages spoke to me: " Through long, solitary evenings, Nina gazes in boredom and voyeuristic longing at the building across the street, hoping to see not just the outrageous or the extraordinary, bu any truthful moment of the ordinary."
2020. It will be known for many things. But mainly it will be the year of BREATH. The loss of it. And how and if we will regain it.When breath just happens, when you don't have to think about it, it is miraculous. That is...when it happens naturally... when you don't need the help of a ventilator or oxygen or when you don't have someone choking off that delicious air you need to breathe by standing on your neck.But it's 2020. Death. Grief. It’s all around us in all its forms. Although we mainly associate the word with loss through death, it’s definition is more all encompassing. The dictionary definition: keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. Loss seems to be the 4 letter word of the day so this week's blog will deal with a beautifully written novel on the subject.
Whatever I felt when I was reading Samuelsson’s book has absolutely changed for me. I read it the first time with my bias against the genre fully intact. I resented him skimming over the surface of his life, leaving so many parts of his journey unexplored, his lack of introspection, the un-memoir of it all, the lack of any emotional feel. On my second read, I was so aware of my white privilege, struck by my easy passage through life, blending freely without a thought. I wore it on every page as Samuelsson went from one white inhabited kitchen in Sweden to Austria to Switzerland to France to New York. Shame on me.
Ask Again, Yes could be said to be an absorbing twist on the Romeo and Juliet story. The basic premise is there—two feuding families (with good reason) not wanting their children to see each other, let alone become romantically involved. Wound into this is the American dream story that may or may not have gone awry.
The Other Americans by Pulitzer Prize finalist, Laila Lalami, gives us a fresh look at familiar stories. What separates it from others is how the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant reveals the fault lines of our culture through family, love, ingrained prejudice, and the problems parents create for their children.