Reading and Writing. Hold the Arithmetic.
Book Whose Title I’ve forgotten and can’t find on Google. It was easy and entertaining, which is what I needed. A young woman travels to Columbia to visit her maternal family. Her mother, who died when she was young, had a second life previously unknown to her daughter. Also, of course the young American falls in love with a narco’s son, and is lured into a dangerous life. So memorable, obviously. 2.5/5 bananas.
TED: The Empowerment Dynamic. My housemate BJ suggested I read this. He is not a reader, but loves this. (When a self-described “non-reader” makes a book recommendation, I take note.) Again, an easy read. This reminds workers how to react to difficult situations at work. En sum: don’t be a victim. Create your happiness. Learn to react in a positive, productive manner. If you are into these types of business, good-attitude, pump-you-up books, you’ll dig it. 3/5 bananas
The Sunflower: A coworker years ago gave me this novel. Again, total vacation reading. It is about a woman who travels to Peru to volunteer in an orphanage after her engagement is called off. I enjoyed it for what it was: romantic, spiritual, fluff. (Who doesn’t need an entertaining, easy read from time to time?) 2.5/5 bananas.
Season of Migration to the North: This was our book club selection for February, and surprisingly — most of us read it. This novella is considered part of the classics for African literature. Set in Sudan, it is the story of two men who return from the west to reintegrate into their villages, with colonization haunting their every move. I didn’t enjoy this book, but it has made me better for having read it. The brilliance is how much heavy thematic layering the author crams into a basic story of two men in a Sudanese village. At the end, you have to reconsider each of the character’s actions, and what influenced their decisions. I’ll think of this book for years to come. 5/5 bananas.
Shantaram and The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. The T.S. book is beautiful, but an odd shape and heavy. It is too big to hold at night when I normally read, or the tub. My sit-at-a-table-and-read-a-book time isn’t often. So, it’s going to take a while, even though the story is enchanting. Shantaram I’ve wanted to read for years and just haven’t gotten around to it. (Found a copy the other day at the Boulder Bookstore and literally jumped up and down. The last copy I’d seen was in the Joberg airport and I didn’t have the room for yet another heavy book.) Also, the next book club book looks pretty darn good: Peace Like A River.
Oh, and hey! My second novel is at 190 pages. Woo! Colorado has been so very good for my writing life. I’ve had the chance to join some great writing groups, take classes and become a member of a writing cooperative, and spend countless hours in mountain coffee shops surrounded by pines, distracted only by the steady stream of attractive, rugged bearded men who could be lumberjacks. Or my next boyfriend.
I consider reading good books training these days. Like a golfer who drives several buckets of balls after each round because he knows it makes him better — reading fiction, nonfiction and the cereal box at breakfast is my writing workout. Writers who say, “I don’t read! Who has time for reading?” are frauds at best.