I’m currently fighting off a cold, so I’ve been curled up on the couch all weekend. It’s meant plenty of time for reading, but the sun is finally out after days of rain, so I’d much rather be out enjoying the sunshine and ocean. On top of that, I learned today that the historic African Meeting House on my little island was vandalized last night with racial slurs. The community came together to remove the hateful language, but it’s a reminder that racism and the racist terror that stems from it happens everywhere. Many people in this little town thirty miles to sea think we are immune to such things; we are not, and we never have been. I wish I was surprised, but I’m not.
So it hasn’t been an amazing day, but I did read some amazing books this week. I talk a lot about how meaningful books can be, and how reading can be a form of resistance and activism. But reading certainly isn’t enough. What happened to the African Meeting House today isn’t going to stop happening if we just keep reading. We also have to talk to each other and hold each other accountable and show up when our communities are under attack–and especially, when they’re not (or don’t appear to be).
So that’s what I’ trying to do, on this beautiful and imperfect island that I love so much.
BOOKS I FINISHED
The books I finished reading this week. Links go to my full reviews.
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
3/5: If you’re a writer, or fascinated by writers and the writing process, this is a book for you.
Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)
3/5: I enjoyed this one, but it’s not the Bujold book I want to press into the hands of everyone on earth.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
4/5: I highly recommend it! Just a phenomenal novel, and if your’e kinda so-so on science fiction, this is actually a great place to start, because it’s so character driven and relatable.
Passing by Nella Larsen (audio)
4/5: I highly recommend it. The audio is fantastic, and this was a quick, engaging, moving, and fascinating read.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
4/5: I recommend it–especially if you’re into fairy tales.
The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon (audio)
3/5: Eh, I think audio was really the wrong format for this one. Three stars because I think I would have enjoyed a lot more if I’d read the print version, dipping in and out of it over several weeks. Also, because the creatures described in this book are simply incredible, despite the writing being…meh.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
4/5: I highly recommend it.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (audio)
4/5: I highly recommend it, and the audio is spectacular.
BOOKS I’M IN THE MIDST OF
The books I’m reading right at this very moment.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (33%)
I gotta say, I’m forcing myself to pick this one up every day. I know it’s a staggering literary achievement and all (“considered by some the greatest novel ever written,” brags the back of my copy) , but at the moment, I just don’t care. It’s so boring! In three hundred pages, two people have fallen in love (instantly! why? it’s so odd and sudden!), and another person has refused a marriage proposal. Am I missing something? Who needs three hundred pages for that?
I’m going to keep at it, because some part of me still believes it is going to be worthwhile, but I am not enjoying it, not even a little bit. Well, I did really love the scene where Levin spends the day scything with the peasants. That was beautiful.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
WHAT I’M READING NEXT
Next up in the never-ending cycle of too many books and too little time.
The Mountain by Paul Yoon
Why I’m reading it: I loved Yoon’s first collection of short stories. Even though story collections that I truly, truly love are few and far between, I’m still constantly searching for them.
White Rage by Carol Anderson
Why I’m reading it: This one has been on my TBR for a while. It’s one more perceptive in my never-ending journey to understand race in America. There’s no such thing as too many perspectives or too many books about race–the more I read, the better equipped I am to fight injustice.
Books published this week that I cannot wait to get my hands on.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Why I’m exited about it: The bookish world is all abuzz about this one. A West African-inspired fantasy epic that people who love books are raving about? Sign me up.
Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
Why I’m excited about it: This is one that I put on hold at the library a while back, when I saw it on a list of “2018 releases to watch for” somewhere. And I just noticed that Roxane Gay gave it five stars on Goodreads, which is always a sign that I should push a book to the top of my TBR. Luckily, it’s on its way to me now…
OVER AT BOOK RIOT…
Nothing from me this week, but I really enjoyed reading my fellow Rioters thoughts on Black Panther. I’ve seen it twice now. It is so good.
MEANWHILE, THE OCEAN:
That’s it for me this week. How was your week of reading?