I have no other words for this month other than the inelegant: CLUSTERFUCK.
I spent the first two weeks of the month majorly concussed and with a broken nose. It was a wrong place wrong time situation and I got hit in the face by a grown man. Seriously! I have been mending fast, the bruises were gone after those first two weeks and while my nose is still broken, I can breathe *almost* normally. I consider myself so lucky.
Secondly, I lost two of my biggest support systems at work and a 3rd is on maternity leave. (Really, guys? Really?) I’ve just kicked off my largest, most important, most highly visible project at work yet and it is requiring me to travel a LOT. As I write this I am in Boston. I soon go to Miami, San Fran, Honolulu, and Key West. This is only the beginning. But I spent the month planning for these moments and really not sleeping. It has been wild.
Needless to say, my reading took a dip. While I normally finish anywhere from 3-4 books a month I only got through 2 this month. Though! I do want to say! What Is The What is incredibly lengthy and has a lot of depth. So cut me a little slack.
Last month I read only westerns as inspiration for my own novel. (Yes, you heard that.) This month I just grabbed stuff at the library.
Goodbye, Vitamin – I’ll be honest, the cover got me first. The inside sleeve got me second. And my pure boredom got me third. I wanted to try something new and contemporary after all those westerns and this one fit the bill. I found the story itself very sweet and while not super meaty, it was compelling enough that I stayed invested to see what would happen. This is a gentle ride. Sure, there are surprises, but they are the surprises that many of us are “used to”. They are real life drama problems. I did have a hard time finding any of the characters likeable. I am not saying they have to be for a good book, not at all, but I wanted someone to root for. Maybe it was all those westerns. I guess what I am saying is, this hit kind of close to home in some ways and getting close to my own ugliness was tough for me. The writing itself is refreshing and different than any I have experienced. I loved the structure and the narrative choices made there. Really, really, beautiful writing.
What Is The What – I do not have the time or space to share all I want to about this book. It is a masterpiece. While it is technically shelved and sold as a fiction book, because they didn’t want a Oprah call out situation I’d assume, the book is LARGELY (like, entirely) based on the life of a Sudanese refugee who later immigrated to the US. The story is artfully woven between our main character, Achack’s, life as an adult in Atlanta and his life as a child refugee starting in Sudan, then traveling to Ethiopia and Kenya. The depth and detail of this story alone is enough to cause awe, but it’s truthful look at politics, humanity, immigration, love, family–I really mean EVERYTHING. Is stunning. Must read. (Long but worth it!)