Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
Since February, I’ve read 26 more books. I am currently at 66/125 books for my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge. With a little over half my goal, I’m not doing so bad. The image above is a screenshot of my current shelf. I gave an average rating of 3 stars on the books I’ve read in March and April. Below are some of my 4-star reviews on Goodreads.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
|Delilah Dirk is awesome! Girl power? Sure! A Turkish soldier who is also a tea connoisseur? Delightful! Love the art and humor. What a fun read!|
Hey, God? Yes, Charles by Rebecca H. Cooper
“At church today, Daly asked Becky how she was. She said she was good. She lied.”
“I forgive her,” God promised.
Hey, God? Yes, Charles is a bittersweet compilation of the author’s notes after her husband’s death in 2007. It contains short, imaginary conversations between Charles and God that Rebecca Cooper “overheard” after Charles’s passing.
I felt Becky’s pain and sympathized with her as she mourned for her husband. People have different ways of coping with death. For Becky, writing these “conversations” helped ease the hurt. I like how Charles’s personality and God’s loving and enduring presence were reflected in each page. There is something comforting about that.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
|“He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and willful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight.”– James Joyce, on Stephen Dedalus, his artist as a young man
It’s been a few years since I watched the movie. When I saw a copy of Jon Krakauer’s travel essay, Into the Wild , which the movie was based on, I did not hesitate to grab it from the shelf. It took me a few more years to finally read the book. I don’t usually read travel essays but I think that Jon Krakauer did an excellent job narrating the tragic story of a young traveler of the road and a worshiper of beauty. I admire McCandless for his courage and conviction but I wouldn’t go as far as calling him a “hero.” To this day, one can only speculate his reasons and motivation for going into the wild. I enjoyed reading Krakauer’s narrative, his eye for detail in trying to piece together McCandless’ story, and Krakauer’s own reflections as his way of understanding McCandless’ yearning for adventure. This is one of the best – and hardest to put down! – books I’ve read this year. I look forward to reading more travel essays.
Reading Challenge Update: 9/24
Task #16: Read the first book in a series by a person of color
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
|It started really good but turned into a bad X-Files episode.|
Task #20: Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)
The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis by Garry Wills
|Pope Francis does not see the church as changeless, as permanent, as predictable, but as a thing of surprises. And he has, in his pontificate so far, surprised many by things he has said or done.
This book itself is full of surprises. I would like to point out, as other readers may already have, that this book does not entirely focus on Pope Francis. In fact, Pope Francis was only mentioned in the introduction and the epilogue.
I don’t normally read books about religion. I’m a Catholic and I like Pope Francis so I borrowed this book from the library in high hopes that Garry Wills would indeed shed light on the future of the Catholic Church with the current Pope. I must admit that I was initially disappointed. However, this book contends that the history of the church is a history of change. It traces the different changes that the church has undergone over the last centuries. If you look past the title, you’ll find that the book also discusses topics that are relevant to today’s society: the church’s stand regarding human sexual intercourse and abortion, and the church’s view of women in general and the exclusion (or possible inclusion) of women in any offices in the church. Garry Wills concludes that the kind of pope who follows the penitence of Peter, the sinner (such as Pope Francis), and not someone who sits on the throne for power, is one that bodes well for the future of the Catholic Church.
Task #14: Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
|In this novel, Haruki Murakami tells the beautiful story of a young man named Tsukuru Tazaki and his remarkable journey in life. Tsukuru has always had confidence issues, which I think is more troubling than his fixation on death. Tsukuru believes that he has no sense of self, no colorful personality unlike his four friends in high school, and that he has nothing to offer. What Tsukuru fails to realize is that he is a “refugee from life.” He has survived the pain, heartbreak, and loss that he experienced over the years. Murakami weaves past and present to portray the transformational journey that Tsukuru undergoes in order to find peace and accept himself the way others perceive him to be. The book offers moments of epiphany about human interaction, about close friends who drift apart, and about the way man sees himself in relation to the world. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is not as strange as other Murakami novels I’ve read. It is raw, profound, and hauntingly beautiful.|