Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monthly Reads: June 2014

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
Not one of my favorite Murakami novels, but still somewhat enjoyable. As I was reading through it, I couldn't help but think that it was predictable in terms of how Murakami novels often go. So I was surprised to learn that this was his third novel. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth analyzing these books or if I should just accept them at face value for the trippy dreamworlds they let us wander around in. I think this person's review on Goodreads is actually more accurate than I could ever articulate: "Reading Murakami is like experiencing someone else's dream. Trying to review Murakami is like trying to remember your own -- scattered events, confusing narrative lapses, inexplicable elements, petrified whale penises. A series of images..." (You should definitely click on the link to see the full review).

Drifting House by Krys Lee
It is difficult to reconcile the gap between how well-written this book is and how difficult it was to finish it. There were many times where I had to take a break from this book because the stories were so raw and disturbing to me. In a very real way, Lee shows just how desperate and unhappy people can become, or just how far people will go for someone they love, and what that can look like. I think part of what was so disturbing about this book for me was how close to home it hit in some ways. I could never imagine publishing a book like this, something that mirrors so much family trauma and inner turmoil. I'm glad I read it, and I did feel compelled to finish, but I'm also glad that it's over.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
"When I dare to be powerful--to use by strength in the service of my vision, then is becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." I have looked at these words on a poster juxtaposed to Audre Lorde's image Monday through Friday for the past three years, and I have finally gotten around to reading her work. What's not to love about this fierce Black lesbian poet warrior librarian?

The essays that particularly moved me:
     - "Poetry is Not a Luxury"
     - "Scratching the Surface: Some notes on Barriers to Women and Loving"
     - "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic and Power"
     - "An Open Letter to Mary Daly"
     - "The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Black Racism"
     - "Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred, and Anger"

I've been thinking about the way she talks about pain vs. suffering. She describes pain as the experience of a moment in response to something that harms us. But suffering is what happens when we relive that pain, when we don't heal and we hold onto it. That's stayed with me. 

nejma by Nayyirah Waheed
islam. is still in my life.
we are old soulmates.
who could not work out the knots against skin.
who could not believe in each other. while believing in ourselves.
who could not make each other happy. without.
making each other a sadness.
were born to each other. and never fell in love.
we still sip tea.
share our hands.
touch hearts.
every now and then.

I was delighted to receive Nayyirah's new book in the mail the other week. My favorite poems by her make me feel like someone is whispering a secret to me. I found the poem above to be particularly beautiful, so I thought I'd share that one (out of the many). Definitely different from salt. But still worth a read.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Heart Archives. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.