When summer vacation began around here, my oldest daughter took up her station in the corner of our couch, pretty much reading all day (punctuated by meals, exploring breaks outside, and some antics with her siblings).
With a two-year-old and five-year-old, not to mention a myriad of other adult & business responsibilities, I am not quite at that life space of blissful, lazy reading all summer (and I try to keep the envious glances to a minimum). But, for many of us, summer provides a respite from the year of run-around busyness, and AT LAST a chance to dig in to a good book.
Looking for a quick read, easy to pick up & put down while you’re often interrupted? Try essays from funny ladies Tina Fey (Bossypants) or Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Why Not Me?). For light, easy novels, there’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (Maria Semple) or the Rosie series (Graeme Simsion), The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows) or Beautiful Ruins (Jess Walter).
Simply looking for solid fiction for the summer?
My mother’s book club is tackling A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth) over the summer – it comes in at a whopping, nearly 1500 pages! If summer is the time that you want to tackle an epic, then I’m sure you have one or two that have been on the bookshelf or bedside table waiting for you. But, if not:
Roots (Alex Haley) or The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) might be satisfying choices. The must-read A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) deals with Indian caste system, like A Suitable Boy, but weighs much less. Or there is the more recent, Pulitzer prize-winning The Goldfinch(Donna Tartt). Though, I personally wouldn’t recommend that unless you want to journey through a major character study all summer (read: it’s depressing). In my opinion, if what you’re looking for is depressing (yet incredibly compelling), then the book you’re looking for is We Need to Talk About Kevin(Lionel Shriver).
Maybe instead, you're out for a little brain expansion or self-improvement this summer? Give these a try:
In ANY case, pick up a book & enjoy your summer!!!
This post was written with gratitude for the input of two of the most voracious readers I know: my mom & Caroline. It's taken me a while not to take it personally when someone doesn't like my book reco, but now I'm a grown-up, so I think I'm ok now. That said, all suggestions are utterly subjective, and if you start a book and don't want to finish it, no worries. :)
(Photo courtesy of Friends of Basha)
Reflections from my experience visiting a Brothel in Bangladesh
As impossible as it is for me to believe now, earlier in 2020 I flew around the world. The primary objective was to visit Bangladesh and see, in person, the life-changing work in which dignify has had the privilege to participate over these past 8 years.
A friend recently asked on Facebook for “the most challenging and enlightening resource you have read/watched about the problem of racism in America”. This question received numerous responses within the day: half a dozen films, dozens of books, podcasts, courses, and other hubs of information resources (as well as the astute reply, “Conversation”, which is, of course, the most relational and human of “resources”).
I think that this experience was shared by most people in early June (as protests & concerns over racial injustice had reached a critical volume): so many resources, so much to learn.
But now, 2 months later… what have we done with the magnitude of worthy, fascinating, perspective-altering information & insights that have been brought to our attention?
And this it only in the area racial injustice. In other interests & concerns: How much do we know? How much have we learned & read & listened to already?
Approximately 25 years ago (in March 2020), we did a customer/reader survey. I asked what you like to read on the blog & one of the respondents suggested a post on "living generously". What a fabulous idea and perfect for this time in history!
[The title of this post implies some kind of authority or expertise — ha! Nope, no experts here... just some thoughts on generosity from a fellow human, trying to make my way!]