Currently Reading

A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn 

WinterTown – Stephen Emond

A Clash of Kings – George R.R. Martin 

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie 

Parable of the Talents – Octavia Butler 

Advertisements

100 Books in 365 Days

Finished Books 

Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Winter Town – Stephen Edmond

Dear Mr. Knightly – Katherine Reay

Books to Read in 2017 

Snow Country – Yasunari Kawabata

Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury

On Writing: Notes of the Craft – Stephen King

Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John Le Carré

Woman at Point Zero – Nawal El Saadawi

An Academic Question – Barbara Pym

A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway

Affections – Rodrigo Hasbún

The Year of the Hare – Arto Paasilinna

Suddenly a Knock on the Door – Etgar Keret

The Queue – Basma Abdel Aziz

Revolutionary Suicide  – Huey P. Newton

The Moving Toyshop – Edmund Crispin

 

Inauguration Day in America

Today, 44 became 45 and America officially has a new President. I’m not going to lie and say I’m happy. I’ve vacillated between sad and angry and heartbroken and overwhelmed and terrified and feeling vomit rise in my throat.

Instead of watching the mind numbing coverage and listening to a bunch of overly coiffed talking heads, I’ve decided to spend my January 20th – or as I’ve been calling it Fascist Friday – reading and preparing.

I started Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower last week and it is phenomenal. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any of her work previously. Within a page I knew I had a new favorite author. Her words are so important. The message prophetic. I’ve actually found the book hard to read because it hits so close to home. I’m excited to read and learn from her though. Fiction is where I’ve learned the most. Books like Sower are the ones that stick with me for the long haul and keep making me think, even after I put them down.

Thank you again to Sherril Smith for her Book Club this year and for the recommendation. I’m so excited to see what other books I read over this year with her guidance.

Today, read something that makes you think. Turn off the tv. Step away from the timeline. Go outside. Remember what you hold dear and believe to be important.

 

“The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, “Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.” Most of us can’t rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Writing My Wrongs

There are times you randomly come across a book that totally rocks your world. There are other times when someone hands you a book specifically to rock your world and other times when you seek that special book out. Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor falls into all three categories for me. I’ve had someone suggest it to me, I’ve looked for this masterpiece myself and last week, I ran across it at the library and snached it up. 

I read really really fast. Always have and always will. It’s really handy when taking standardized tests or trying to read the whole newspaper. It’s not such a handy skill when tying to savor a book. Senghor’s memoir of his 17 years  incarcerated in Michigan’s prison population is one of those books I wish I had read slower. Except that I couldn’t stop. Even when my eyes were burning and I was fighting sleep from dropping my eyelids, I kept reading. 

Senghor is honest and vulnerable – he lays everything out. There is no romanticism of his past drug dealing days. Sure, he talks about how hood he felt at the time when he was young, free, with pockets full of cash. But he adds how he felt abandoned by his mother, broken and scared. Throughout his writing, he tells his readers a story of how he grew out of that broken littl boy into a strong powerful man who understands his mistakes and is actively working to prevent others from following his path. 

Each chapter starts with a header with a location and time. He flips his reader back and forth from the streets of his Detroit neighborhood to his cell of different prisons. We move seemleasly across his life, helping him sell crack with his friends to waiting excitedly for the library cart while locked down in solitary confinement. 

Senghor doesn’t sugar coat his crimes – he honestly discusses what he has done and how he learned to move away from his violent past. He’s an incredible story teller and I loved how he was so honest with his readers. 

I would highly recommend this fantastic piece of literature. Senghor gives an amazing look into what it’s like to spend 17 years incarcerated and how the system has potential to change. I look forward to reading more of his work. 

When The Snow Flies

This was my first Avalon Historial Romance. And I liked it.

I’ve noticed there are quite a few zillion think pieces on romance novels of all sorts floating around the universe. I promise this isn’t one of them. 

I found Snow one afternoon when I was wandering through the library. One of my favorite ways to find new books or authors is to walk through the library, picking up and reading random books. My library has quite a large romance section so I spent a good amount of time there.  

I’ve found with romance novels that some of the books are just too sappy for me. I get bored with the sap – however, I do enjoy them on occasion. 

When The Snow Flies by Lairie Alice Eakes was a really fun read. I picked it up one afternoon and finished it before I went to sleep that night. Snow tells the story of Aubrey Sinclair Vanderleyden – a lady doctor in the years following the Civil War. She’s spunky and takes no ones crap. And she’s a widow tryingto rightfully   take over a business she bought with her now deceased husband. Of course, she ends up falling in love with Nathan, a local doctor who lost is eye sight to a tragic accident. 

I liked the character of Aubrey. Sure, she swoons quite a bit, but I would swoon too if I had to wear a long black dress and crazy old timey undergarments in the summer. I like how she sticks up for what’s hers and won’t give up on her dream of practicing medicine. 

One of the reasons I love romance novels (of all sorts) comes from the feminism of the ladies. Aubrey is definitely a feminist of sorts. Sure, she needs men to help her navigate the world she lives in. That was the time. But she also doesn’t give everything up and stay home, much to the discouragement of her family. In this book, Aubrey has a quiet form of feminism. Aubrey could even be a nice introduction of sorts to a reader that might not be assertive. Stick up for yourself like Aubrey! 

Anyways, that’s enough of me blabbering on. I liked When the Snow Flies. It was a fun easy read and I’ll definitely read more from Eakes. 

Welcome to Bad Literature

I’ve always found it interesting that there are books we consider literature. You know the type – usually written by a white dude, about some family drama with vague resolution as the ending. Why are those books literature when similar stories written by ladies, sold at the grocery store are defined as “Genre Fiction.”

I love all books – those deemed literature by critics and intellectuals or mass market paperbacks devoured by book clubs. I think different occasions call for different book choices. Somedays I want to read a thoughtfully crafted masterpiece and other days, I want to devour some brain candy. It’s about balance, people.

On this blog, I’ll do both. I’ll honestly review and write about each book I read, giving my opinion and take on the story. If you have any suggestions, send them my way. I always love adding to my reading list. You can reach me in a comment here, on twitter @weezeramb or send me an email at anna.boarini@gmail.com.