Oh my, I get worse and worse at this. I think the trend will continue, unfortunately, and I feel bad about it because without being diligent with this blog, I really do lose track of what it is that I’ve read since my last post. I can only come up with a few titles. I think that’s because I’ve forgotten some at the moment, but also think that I’ve actually been reading less. Part of that is election trauma; my attention span isn’t what it used to be because I often devolve into panic and send more money to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU during times I’d otherwise be reading. Also, because I’m going to have a baby in March, I have been doing a bit of pregnancy-related reading and it is less comfortable to curl up with a book than it used to be! But–I have the time now and might not like, ever again, so I better step it up.
So let’s see. In addition to some baby books, in late fall I tackled Bruce Springsteen’s memoir, Born to Run, and loved it just as much as a huge Springsteen fan who grew up in New Jersey should. I found his writing really affecting; there is no one else in the entire world I would forgive such an abundant use of ellipses and capitalization, but because it was Bruce, it just added to the charm. I was so taken with his deconstruction of his own masculinity and the mythology that surrounds it, as well as his confrontation of his own whiteness and the whiteness of the majority of his audience, often juxtaposing his experience with that of his dear departed bandmate Clarence Clemons. Especially in this current political climate, reading someone like Bruce investigating his privilege was really moving. Much has been made of the way he laid bare his struggles with depression and his father, and these were bold important parts of the book, too. I also loved reading the respectful, profound way he wrote about his wife and children. I am not quite sure how anyone could not be a fan of Bruce, but even if one hypothetically was not, I don’t think that would preclude them from enjoying this book.
To prepare for what turned out to be an all-too-prescient Halloween costume as a pregnant handmaid, I re-read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Talk about an important, timely book. Holy shit. I guess I recommend reading it again and firing up those NARAL and Planned Parenthood donations.
I read Jacqueline Woodson’s beautiful, brief Another Brooklyn, and enjoyed it. About a foursome of girls growing up friends in Bushwick, as well as the protagonist’s family and their intersections with place, Islam, mental illness and much more, I really enjoyed it.
Currently, I’m finishing LaRose by Louise Erdrich. My husband observed that it is taking me a very long time to read it, which is true as compared with my normal speed. As with many (all?) books by this author, it is a very intense story, dealing with death, ancestry, addiction, mental illness, and incredible pain. It is also funny, precise, carefully observed, and spectacularly written. For all of the reasons I mention above, I just have to consume it in smaller doses than usual.
Next up? Either Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad or Kaitlyn Greenidge’s We Love You, Charlie Freeman. In 2017, I can’t wait for new books by Morgan Parker, Hossannah Asuncion, Melissa Febos, Julia Fierro, Lauren Grodstein, and so many others! What did you love in 2016 and what are you looking forward to in 2017?