Saturday, April 15, 2017

Reading Update

Book 22 of 2017 was Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  This is a terrific, vivid, heartbreaking book about the Biafran War, which took place during my childhood but which I knew nothing at all about.  Highly recommended.

Book 23 was The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief, by Jan Richardson.  A beautiful book, and one I'll be returning to many times, I'm sure.

Book 24 was Susan David's Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.  This was a very useful read, and David says a lot of the things my counselor said.

Book 25 was Years Later, by Gregory Djanikian.  These poems, though sadder and darker than others of Djanikian I'd read, were great on first reading, and I'm sure they'll grow on me even more as I reread.

Book 26 was Omeros, by Derek Walcott.  As soon as I started reading Walcott's work, he died, so there were lots of articles about him showing up in my newsfeed.  He was the grand old man of Caribbean poetry.  This was a retelling of the Odyssey - sort of.  Actually, there's a whole lot going on in this work, and sometimes it was difficult to switch gears with Walcott and follow, wait, who's talking now?  Where?  When?  In spite of that, individual sections were incredibly vivid and beautiful, and I was highlighting like crazy in my Kindle edition as I read.  I was very much aware that once is not enough to get everything, but I loved it.  Impressions include the yellow of butterflies and the dress of the maid Helen, the green and blue of Saint Lucia, Maud's embroidery of birds.

"I miss the light northern rain, I miss the seasons,"
Maud moaned, implying the climate lacked subtlety.
Some breeze reported the insult, since the monsoon's

anger coarsened the rain, until between the sty
and water-roped porch grew an impenetrable
jungle that drummed with increasing monotony,

its fraying lianas whipping from each gable,
the galvanized guttering belching with its roar,
Then, soaked like paper, the hills were a Chinese scroll

and she saw a subtlety where none was before.
Bamboo strokes.  Wet cloud.  Peasant with straw hat and pole.
Fern spray.  White mist.  Heron crossing fresh waterfall.

Here's another section I loved:

 ...I ladled the fragrant steam

of my stew in thick portions, the dark full of fireflies
that never catch the leaves.  It's as clear as a dream,
but more real.  Well, folks lived for centuries

like this with candles and airs on the piano,
the love-songs fading over a firefly sea,
their mouths round as the moon over a black canoe
like the one I smiled at today: In God We Troust.
But then we all trust in Him, and that's why we know
the peace of a wandering heart when it is housed.

That boat, In God We Troust, belongs to an islander named Achille, by the way.

(I wrote a bit about books number 23, 25, and 26 in this post.)

Book 27 was Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler.  I went through a big Anne Tyler phase at some point in the past (in my twenties or thirties - I'm not sure, because it was before I started blogging, back in the days when I kept no record of my reading), but it had been a long time since I had read one of her books.  This one, a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, was fun and clever, a quick read.

This post is linked to the April Quick-Lit post at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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