For the first time in a very long time, I have nothing bookish to share. Oh, I’ll get to what I’m reading this week, but my reading last week was so uninspiring it left me without a book to review today. Quite honestly, I feel drained. My ability to enjoy reading faltered in the early days of the lockdown as the COVID numbers rose across the country. Then the economy cratered, but somehow my mind had settled and I was reading again. George Floyd’s murder and the attendant awakening of white America to systemic racism and broken criminal justice and policing institutions have made normalcy feel like a quaint and long-lost concept. We need drastic changes and educating ourselves to the truth of what has been and is going on around us is critical.
Suffice it to say, my nonfiction reading has pivoted to include more books on racism and Black Lives Matter. This is profoundly bleak reading. The statistics alone feel impossible to absorb, but it is vital to learn and then act. I encourage you all to find reading that takes you to uncomfortable places and challenges your privilege—especially if you don’t think you have any. If you’re white, you do. Beyond that, as a white woman, mine is not a voice to listen to. There are loads of reading lists, organizations, NGOs, and community action ideas from black writers and leaders that can easily be found on Google. Make the time to listen, learn, and act.
While this is necessary reading, I also need to balance it with entertaining reading. I haven’t had success with that in the last few weeks. What I found, if it was good was heavy, and everything else was meh. This means I’m running dry. I’m hoping that this week’s books will provide some respite and replenish my reading mind.
(for a more in-depth synopsis of each book, click on title link to go to Goodreads)
Set in Japan, What’s Left of Me is Yours looks to be a literary thriller. The victim is known from the beginning—a wife whose husband hires a man to seduce to her so he can win the advantage in their divorce proceedings. Much of the story is told 20 years after the fact when the daughter, now a lawyer, tries to find out what really happened to her mother.
I’m moving from the dark side of Asian culture to what I hope will be all sunshine and unicorns and embarrassing displays of wealth. Sex and Vanity is the book I’m most looking forward to this summer. I’m hoping this story about a wealthy American girl who suppresses her Asian heritage, but meets a mysterious Chinese man after she’s already engaged. Given how 2020 has gone so far, the lighter and frothier this book is the better!
Girl Decoded is the memoir of an Egyptian-American Muslim woman who breaks all the barriers as a scientist working to humanize technology. Rana el Kaliouby is trying to create software that recognizes non-verbal cues. So far, it is fascinating in so far as how she has navigated her traditional Muslim upbringing in Egypt and yet still been able to work towards her goals.
I’ve heard great things from numerous sources about Anna K. It’s a young adult modern day re-telling of Anna Karenina but set in NYC with Anna as a teenager. Again, wealthy people behaving badly and love gone wrong sounds right for me right now.
How is life in your area? Have you read anything great I need to know about?