Tag Archives: reading

(story)time: summer reading

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Here’s what I’m currently finishing up – sometimes it’s nice to deep dive into crime fiction, particularly with such a well developed collection of intelligence castaways. I can’t claim that it was a total diversion from reality – terrorist plots, intelligence agencies, London – but I’m a big fan of Mick Herron’s work.

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I’m about to emerge from the fog of a too-busy spring and early summer at work. I’m ready to beef up my book bag, so I thought I’d share with you what I have on my library list. But I’m also open to suggestions from you all. So spill it. What else should I include?

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American Eclipse – a timely read with the solar eclipse coming this August 21st – and we’re RIGHT IN LINE to see it. We need to stop by the Science Center soon to pick up our free viewing glasses.

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From the NPR piece I listened too: In his new book, The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South, Edge attempts to pay down what he calls “a debt of pleasure to those farmers and cooks who came before me, many of whom have been lost to history.”

Sold. I can’t wait.

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The Wonder was recommended to be by several people, and I just noticed it’s been on my virtual library shelf, but not requested, for awhile now. Looking forward to finally reading this one.

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I’ve always enjoyed Richard Ford’s writing, but his interview on Fresh Air about this book really spoke to me. I can’t remember who recommended The Awkward Age, but I noticed it was on my virtual shelf so I’ve requested it.

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I’ve always been an Alan Alda fan, and as a child of the seventies, I mostly see him in his role on M*A*S*H. But I found myself really engaged in an interview he gave on this book, and could always use help in the area of communicating and relating to others.

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Orphan Train is another book that’s been hanging out in my queue. I’ve requested the children’s book of the same title as well.

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You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me was another NPR summer book recommendation, and I had Dept. of Speculation before, but couldn’t finish it before it was due back. I’m ready to revisit it again this summer.

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E read and loved The Hate U Give, and so now it’s my turn to read it.f043712f-4655-4c8a-b60f-fca1e4c6ca9f

And everyone has loved Homegoing, and I’m glad to have some more time to pick it up.

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That’s the current list – what are you up to this summer?

(story)time: The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

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“I was afraid of the sea when I was a girl. Someone said it went on forever and that frightened me. I wondered why my parents had chosen to live at the beginning and the end of the world.”

In contrast to Broken Verses, with its flowery, poetic prose, The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy has a very spare and simple writing structure. It was interesting to read the two, back to back. I read Broken Verses over the course of a week and a half, most of it over breakfast in a hotel, or in small quiet moments in the car. I read The Illusion of Separateness in two nights – the first half while sitting in the tub until the water ran cool, and the second half in bed the following night. This book can be read in two hours – it’s up to you where you want to surrender those hours – soaks or sheets.

I just finished the series opening podcast of Harry Potter and The Sacred Text (Book 3, Chapter 1), and the text was discussed through the lens of “mercy”. The act of mercy is the centerpiece in this novel – each chapter is devoted to a character and a story, and the people in these stories are woven together through several generations and across oceans and battlefields. I plan to read the novel again – to look again at the text through the lens of mercy, and to fully understand how these acts bind the characters together and bring others to life as a result.

“Then, breathing slow, and almost deliberately, stops. But for a moment the old man doesn’t realize he is dead. He can feel Martin’s heart and mistakes it for his own.”

A lovely book to read, and read again. If I implied that this book lacks poetry in my opening paragraph, then I must clarify that. It is replete with it.

“He realized this early on, and realized too that what people think are their lives are merely its conditions. The truth is closer than thought and lies buried in what we already know.”

(story)time: Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie

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Last week the blog was silent because we took off on a family road trip over spring break. I posted some photos on IG, but I’ll do a trip post soon, probably this weekend. In the meantime, I got some more reading done, so I thought I’d do some quick posts here.

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Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie was first published over a decade ago. I came across it on a reading list somewhere recently, and I’ve been waiting for my turn to borrow it from the library. The book is set in Karachi, Pakistan, post-9/11, and focuses on a young, upper class woman working on a local television quiz show. Aasmaani is still grappling with the disappearance of her mother, a famous Pakistani activist, and the brutal murder of her mother’s lover, the beloved Poet of Pakistan, two years before her mother goes missing. Because of the mysterious circumstances around their death / disappearance, Aasmaani has been unable to move through the grief process, and is clinging to any hope of a future reunion – seeing clues in both the real and imagined.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, because I think it’s important for the thoughts and letters and search to unfold in Aasmaani’s time. But I will tell you that this is a book to linger over, and to reread in sections. Shamsie’s prose is rich and textured – the lines are really blurred between the Poet’s work and his words, and the words of others. The themes of grief – and grief avoided – as well as clinical depression and familial love are powerful and real. The undercurrents of political movements throughout the 70’s and 80’s, and into the 90’s/post-9/11 are a timely read (aren’t so many things these days, if we’re being honest?).

I’ve been on a bit of a mother-daughter / parent-child run in my reading lately. Unintentional, but very powerful.