I was going to do a new currently post, but I got really carried away writing about what I have been reading, so this will just be a post about books.
I’m taking an amazing sci-fi class called “Black Women and the Fantastic.” Our reading list so far has included: The Gilda Stories, Parable of the Sower, My Soul to Keep, and An Unkindness of Ghosts. Unkindness has been my favorite. The main character is neurodiverse and I adore her. I relate to her. I love her. I just want to hug that book. Rivers Solomon is a new favorite, and I cannot wait for their next book to release this year.
I have also been obsessed with Katherine Arden’s trilogy, via audio, starting with The Bear and the Nightingale. The second book, The Girl in the Tower, was equally beautiful. My library doesn’t yet have the third book on audio, so I am impatiently awaiting that. I love listening to these books, because the accent and language is just gorgeous, and my brain cannot do it justice.
I have been reading some interesting non-fiction as well. As I am working on this manuscript that deals a lot with how teens interact within friendships and in conflict, not to mention the gray areas rarely discussed in teen sexual relationships, I really loved Text Me When You Get Home. It reminded me so much of my own female friendships and why they matter. I also listened to American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Life of Teenagers. This made me predictably glad that we didn’t have smartphones when I was in middle and high school. It also filled me with a lot of anger and sadness for young teens growing up thinking so much of this crap is acceptable. I am about halfway through Not That Bad, which I am reading during my writing retreat to help me stay in the right frame of mind for writing a book that deals with rape culture.
I finally gave in and read Hillbilly Elegy, but I wasn’t in love with it. It wasn’t untrue, and it was certainly well written, but the overall tone of the book felt a little paternal. Like the narrator could simultaneously explain my family background and condemn it, if that makes sense. Empathy and judgment carefully combined in a delicate dance. Or maybe I was biased from the get-go. I’d heard plenty of negative reviews before I even read it. If you want to read about that area without that tone, I suggest: Creeker or Hillbilly Gothic.
I also read a whole book in Spanish. I mean, other than the picture books and that one Junie B. Jones novel I managed a couple of years ago. My class read Aura, and I really enjoyed it. I had to look up less words as the book went on, and it helped my confidence a lot. I am looking forward to our next read: La Casa en Mango Street. I already read it in English, and I loved it.
So, that is my current life in books. I am on my own little writing retreat in a tiny cabin at camp, and I managed 1500 new words this morning (and it is only 10:30). Also, I found a cat and lured it to me with pork jerky, and we sat together in the cold and it was perfect.