For over a year, I was a member of a book club that read books like “Hidden Valley Road”, “Dear Edward”, and “The Death of Vivek Oji”. We continued on through the pandemic via Zoom, so I didn’t miss a month. With pandemic woes, I grew restless. I could not concentrate long enough to read a chapter, much less an entire novel. I usually strive to read at least 25 books per year, but I completely gave that up during the pandemic.
I recently started getting back into my life-long love for reading. The book that helped with my breakthrough was “Parable of the Sower” followed by “Parable of the Talents” both by Octavia E. Butler, a Black woman who published her first book in the 1970s. I found these so compelling, I was open to reading more. Indigenous authors followed the Parable duo which included “To You We Shall Return: Lessons About Our Planet from the Lakota” by Joseph M. Marshall III and “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. (Side note: if you want to read Marshall and Kimmerer’s books, consider listening to them in audio book because their voices are lovely and calming.)
Since then, I decided to continue my journey with authors from around the world. Next up was “Death in the Andes” by Mario Vargas Llosa which won the Nobel Peace Prize in literature. I’m currently reading “Rooftops of Tehran” by Mabod Seraji and “The Girls of Riyadh” by Rajaa Alsanea. Next on my list is “Hard-Boiled Wonderland And the End of the World” by Haruki Murakami. These have all been translated from the author’s native language. I’m learning so much about the authors’ cultures. For example, I learned of “taking a fahll” with an author of a book. It’s a customary tradition in Iran in which one closes their eyes, makes a wish, opens the book to a random page, and finds the answer to one’s dilemma. I also learned about food native to the Andes that I’d never seen before.
This has been such a rich reading adventure, I think I’ll continue on my trip around the world via novels.
What have you been reading lately?