5/52: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz

I didn't take this picture... source  here

I didn't take this picture... source here

I will keep this overview short and sweet, not because this book isn't worth a longer post but mostly because I started a new job this week and I have been quite busy with that. 

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was such a fun read! When I call a book a "fun read" it usually means that it either made me laugh a lot, was a "page turner," or kept me at the edge of my seat. This book is written by Junot Diaz who is a Dominican American author. He tells the tale of a family that immigrated from the Dominican republic to the U.S. You learn a lot about the Dominican Republic; its culture, political history, and its relationship with neighboring countries like Cuba and Haiti. Most of this history is in the footnotes, which I love. If I ever write a book I will definitely use footnotes. 

So, with my lack of time this week, I am going to link you all to this video by an awesome book reviewer.  And a link to the same book reviewers quotes on the book. 

Buy it here.

Borrow it here.

3/52: The Thing Around Your Neck - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Thing Around Your Neck is a book of short stories by the incredible Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This woman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her style of writing is beautiful, raw, and powerful. 

These stories are themed mostly around Nigerian women's exploration of their own reality, whether that be as an American immigrant, a modern day Nigerian women, or as a mother in pre-colonial Africa. Chimamanda develops her characters in a strong and seamless fashion. I highly recommend reading anything by her. If short stories aren't for you, then try reading her novel Americanah, it was one of the best books I read in 2015. 

Chimamanda also gave a TED Talk entitled "We Should All Be Feminists," which she then turned into a little book. Give it a read or a watch if the "F" word freaks you out. 


Quotables: 

"'Is it a good life, Daddy?' Nkiru has taken to asking lately on the phone, with that faint, vaguely troubling American accent. 'It is not good or bad, I tell her, it is simply mine. And that is what matters.'” 

“It is one of the things she has come to love about America, the abundance of unreasonable hope.”

“You wanted to feel disdain, to show it as you brought his order, because white people who liked Africa too much and those who liked Africa too little were the same—condescending.”

"American parenting was a juggling of anxieties, and that it came with having too much food: a sated belly gave Americans time to worry that their child might have a rare disease that they had just read about, made them think they had the right to protect their child from disappointment and want and failure. A sated belly gave Americans the luxury of praising themselves for being good parents, as if caring for one's child were the exception rather than the rule."

"How can you love somebody and yet want to manage the amount of happiness that person is allowed?"


Buy The Thing Around Your Neck here.

Borrow it here.

Gilead - Marilynne Robinson

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Where was this book read? While tucked cozily in bed beneath twinkle lights, where often my eyes faded and I woke up with this book on my face.

Where did this book come from? Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR

The Specs: Fiction, the beauty in simplicity, Christianity, multi-generational dynamics, all written with reverent grace.


Quotables: 

"I want your dear perishable self to live long and love this poor perishable world."

"The idea of grace had been so much on my mind, grace as a sort of ecstatic fire that takes things down to essentials."

"So it is a rejection of the reality of grace to hold our enemy at fault. Those things can only be true. It seems to me people tend to forget that we are to love our enemies, not to satisfy some standard of righteousness."

"You see how it is godlike to love the being of someone. Your existence is a delight to us."

"But their must be angels there too, and springs of water. Even that wilderness, the very habitation of jackals, is the Lord's. I need to bear this in mind."

"It is true that we all do live in the ruins of the lives of other generations."

"There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal."


How important is it that I read this book? Beyond important, vital perhaps.

Check out Marilynne Robinson's interview with President Obama, or should I say Obama's interview with Marilynne Robinson... Part I and Part II