Ramblings


So I technically returned from vacation late Wednesday, but it’s taken me until now to kind of get back to east coast time and to sit down and let you know what all I read on vacation.

In case you don’t follow it, The Morning New Tournament of Books (The Rooster) released the short list of books that will be in the tournament for 2019, so I’ve begun trying to read at least half of them before the tournament starts. I’m still smarting over the fact that An American Marriage didn’t make it into the tournament, but I’m putting that aside since it means that I have read literally none of the 16 books in this year’s tournament.

So, first up on vacation was Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. I took this one on vacation because it sounded like it might not be too heavy, which since the main character is a slave, should tell you how heavy a lot of the books in the tournament are this year… Washington Black (Wash) is an eleven year old boy who is a slave on a Barbados plantation. The master is cruel, but it turns out that his brother is an abolitionist and a scientist. He ‘borrows’ Wash from his brother to be his assistant with getting a flying machine to work — and in the process teaches him to read, a little about science, and discovers that Wash has a gift for drawing.

The book is not exactly light hearted, but it really is an adventure story that spans the globe — after a man is killed, a price is on Wash’s head, and he and the brother travel to America, to the Arctic, and ultimately London and Morocco also play a role.

Wash is a fabulous narrator, and completely sucks you into his world, and he’s apparently telling the story later so he has a little more insight than one expects from an eleven year old:

I could not have described him so then, but [the master’s cousin] was merely a man of his class, nothing more. His great passions were not passions but distractions; one day was but a bridge to the next. He took in the world with a mild dissatisfaction, for the world was of little consequence.

I think I mostly bookmarked that as a note of how to not live your life, but what an interesting comment on an Englishman at the time that the sun had not yet begun to set on the British Empire.

On a similar note, Wash considers the life of a slave hunter:

He was a wretched man… He too had been a boy once, desirous of understanding the world. And how he had wasted all his talents, all his obvious facility for learning, twisting every new fact and arranging it into senseless cruelty. … he had lived his whole life in avoidable savagery.

How easy it is, to waste a life.

How true. Both of the quotes I’ve picked focus on the white men in the story, which isn’t quite right, although a lot of this novel is focused on how each of these men are different, and yet how each fails to see Wash’s full humanity. Wash really comes into his own in the end however, and stops being an eleven year old who is completely controlled by the world he lives in.

I read this entire book in one sitting, so I can definitely recommend it. It reminds me a bit of The Underground Railroad, because the flying machine and some of the science give it a bit of a sense of the fantastical (most slaves did not escape slavery in this exciting manner, they lived and died as slaves) although there’s no magical realism here.

Next I read The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling which I also enjoyed. The story is set in California and takes place over ten days. The main character, Daphne is a young mother to Honey a 16 month old. She works for an Islamic Institute affiliated with a university in San Francisco. Although she herself is not Muslim, she speaks Turkish and is married to a Turkish man, who was intimidated into giving up his green card and through a ‘click of the mouse’ error has so far been unable to get another — resulting in their 8 month separation. Daphne basically has a nervous breakdown on Day 1, and spends the next ten days in a fictional high desert town where she meets secessionist activists (who want the northern part of California to leave the Southern part) and an elderly woman named Alice who is trying to visit the camp where her long dead husband worked during WWII.

I spent a good chunk of the book identifying with Daphne while also being kind of annoyed with her for not pulling up out of her tailspin, until I kind of admitted that, this is what tailspins are like. If you could just realize, oh my behavior is irrational, sure you can right yourself, and at time Daphne tries, but really, when you are just at your breaking point, you break.

The book jacket told me that “more than anything, this is a story about motherhood,” but I (who read almost everything as a story about motherhood) really felt there was more here than that. Maybe because it delves so much into the unrest of the world we currently live in — state’s rights and authoritarianism, racism and discrimination against the ‘other.’  I strongly recommend this one, and it’s another pretty quick read.

A rounded out the week with non-fiction – Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper. I would say the downside of this book is that I’m not exactly sure what the thesis was. It’s not exactly a memoir, it’s more of a collection of essays. But parts of it were very powerful. Parts of it were also kind of hilarious, in talking about her love of the Babysitter’s Club books growing up she writes, “They fought sometimes, but always made up. And in the end, no matter what, they rode for each other.” Not how I, an extremely white person, who also grew up reading the books ever thought about it.

The chapter White-Girl Tears was one of the more powerful parts for me:

White-lady tears might seem not to be a big deal, but they are actually quite dangerous. When white women signal through their tears that they feel unsafe, misunderstood, or attacked, the whole world rises in their defense. The mythic nature of white female vulnerability compels protective impulses to arise in all men, regardless of race.

I am definitely the beneficiary of being a very non-threatening looking white woman. I try hard not to forget this, and to be honest I have at times been quite grateful for it. Although this book also makes the point that this, the power of white-lady tears really stems from patriarchy, the idea that white women need to be protected. And when you lean into that power, are you really leaning into power?

This was one of many, many books written about rage in the last few years, and it’s the first one I read, so I kind of feel like I need to read This Will Be My Undoing before I can definitely recommend this one.

I also read Expecting Better, which is  a great evidence based pregnancy book. But, if you’re not pregnant, you’re probably not that interested. If you are though, skip What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Read this and Like A Mother. Then call it a day, there aren’t any other good books out there.

Currently reading: Conversations with Friends and The Interestings.

Richard Power’s The Overstory felt like kind of a slog to me. I liked the book, but at over 500 pages, it is not a short novel. Although it took me a while to get through, I did like this book and would recommend it to all the nature lovers out there.

The novel is the intertwined story of nine strangers (well, eight strangers, two are married to each other and their story is pretty much always told together) in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Some of them end up coming together, some of them never meet or meet only briefly, but all of them are part of this larger story about deforestation and trees.

The novel opens with a section called “Roots” which fittingly, gives us a chapter on each character — (1) Nicholas Hoel a Midwesterner who grows up with a family Chestnut tree and does amazing tree-related art work, (2) Mimi Ma a second generation Chinese-American engineer who loves a specific little grove of trees, (3) Adam Appich a boy interested in science and psychology who goes on to research group think, (4) Ray Brinkman and Dorothy Cazaly who are married and start planting in their yard each year on their anniversary, (5) Douglas Pavlicek a Vietnam veteran who is disguised to find out that all the time he spends planting seeds is really hurting the environment (because companies can then log more older trees – “What do I do now, for the next forth years? What work can’t the efficiency of unified mankind chop into pure fertilizer?”), (6) Neelay Mehta an India-American who loves computers and is inspired in his programing by trees/nature, (7) Patricia Westerford a scientist who discovers that trees communicate and writes several best selling books about trees (which all the other characters read), and (8) Olivia Vandergriff a girl who after not doing much has a life changing experience that causes her to devote her life to activism for trees. Man, and that’s the first like 100 pages.

Nicholas, Mimi, Adam, Douglas, and Olivia all end up engaging in eco-activism together, and their stories kind of provide the plot. I still enjoyed Ray and Dorothy and Neelay, but I kind of felt like, this book didn’t really need those plot lines, I’m not totally sure what they added, other than that they are interesting characters. Although I guess having Patricia be the only one who doesn’t join everyone else would have been weird.

This novel is definitely a downer in a lot of ways, not only is it about deforestation (not uplifting, as Olivia explains, “Exponential growth inside a finite system leads to collapse. But people don’t see it.”), but lots of horrific things happen to each character basically from the word go — dead parents, near-death experiences, severe on-going health issues.

Much of the book is really beautifully, if densely written, here’s Nick talking about working in a warehouse:

The aisle rises on girders into an endless chasm of books. Dozens of aisles in this Fulfillment Center alone.  And every month, new Fulfillment Centers across several continents. His employers won’t stop until everyone is fulfilled. Nick squanders a full five precious second of his time-motion gazing down at the gorge of books. The sight fills him with horror inseparable from hope. Somewhere in all these boundless, compounding, swelling canyons of imprinted paper, encoded in the millions of tons of loblolly pine fiber, there must be a few words of truth, a page, a paragraph that could break the spell of fulfillment and bring back danger, need, and death.

I love this passage, while also feeling like, Powers could have killed a couple fewer trees himself to make this particular book if he’d been more able to convey and idea in a paragraph instead of ten pages.

I will also say that, not unlike The Sixth Extinction (non-fiction by Elizabeth Kolbert), this book conveys a sense that humans are only going to win for so long. It’s not the earth that’s in danger — we are. If (when?) we make the planet uninhabitable, the planet spins on, trees will be a big part of the environment recovering from the big species die-offs that are happening now. Give it 65 million years or so, some new cool stuff might be happening on the third planet from the sun.

Currently reading – Still working on Not that Bad and now starting N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy (time to get some lighter reading in).

Oh man. October was a bad month for reading books. Which was due in part to the fact that I am DEDICATED to reading all of She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer (it’s the book you would want to have with you in a situation where you had to defend yourself with books) which is kind of good because although it’s slow going, I’m really enjoying the book and it’s good to mix things up and read 600 page books about science sometimes.

But, reading has also been down because civic engagement has been up! Which is also good, but it’s so freaking depressing. I’ve had some good experiences knocking on door and phone banking. Some great conversations that have given me so much hope. But, ug. I’ve also had some terrible interactions. There are so many people in America who think that everything that keeps me up at night is fine (war in Yemen, global climate change, women’s bodily autonomy, families torn apart at our border). And there are so many people who just don’t seem to care at all about other people (literally, all anyone wants to talk about is property taxes). Case and point, I was walking around in a neighborhood about 10 minutes from my house today, knocking doors, being super friendly!, and carved into the sidewalk on one block, a swastika. It just really, really upset me. Because who just lets that sit there? Who doesn’t do anything about having a symbol of such powerful hatred carved into their sidewalk? I mean, Pittsburgh tragedy ringing any bells?? I’m not Jewish. I’m powerfully white. Like, I accept that I have many privileges because I’m that sweet looking white girl, and also my skin could burn your eyes in winter. Possibly also summer. But the idea that there are people out there who think it’s cool to put swastikas on things, and the idea that there are people who just don’t care that there’s a swastika on their sidewalk? Well, frankly it makes me seriously consider a long winter of solitude with book and no human interaction…

So, rant over, back to books for now. My last October read was This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us by Edgar Cantero. This is Cantero’s third book in English, and you may recall that I’ve read the other two and LOVED Meddling Kids and liked The Supernatural Enhancements, and I’m going to say I actually really really liked This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us. Yeah, it’s a very refined rating system I have going.

Cantero’s third novel is another pretty big departure, you know how some authors really have a style or write like fifty books about the same character (whether openly or not), yeah, Cantero isn’t like that, other than maybe his focus on the supernatural, although that’s less at play in this book.  First, he wrote The Supernatural Enhancements which is VERY supernaturally focused and told entirely via letters, journal entries, transcripts, etc. Then he wrote Meddling Kids which is very obviously based on the Scooby-Doo Gang, but a sort of, what if one of their cases really WAS a ghost/supernatural thing. And now, his third novel is the story of A.Z. Kimrean, private eyes. And yes, the grammar is confusing because A.Z. is actually Adrian and Zoey who both inhabit the same body. A.Z. isn’t mentally ill, rather, they are chimeric twins — so sort of like Siamese twins but they only have one of everything (but say the left leg belongs to Zoey, the right leg belongs to Adrian). Adrian is all left brain, logical, and Zoey is all right brain creative.

Honestly, this book is enjoyable because Adrian and Zoey are interesting characters and the plot isn’t much better than your average PI novel, but it does zip along pretty well. There’s also some fun genre bashing:

“Femme fatale? It’s an archetype: the devious, beautiful woman with a dark past and compromising knowledge, playing other characters like chess pawns and getting the hero into trouble. That’s who you are now. Innocent but dangerous.”

“But I don’t want to cause you trouble.”

“Oh, please – trouble is necessary. It’s what moves the plot forward. And your presence is a breath of fresh air; this case oozes testosterone. Drug cartel, undercover cops – this would be a sausage factory without you girl. Don’t worry about us, you’re doing great. You do you.”

Essentially, A.Z. is called in to try to stop a gang war — there’s a undercover cop imbedding in a gang, the police want to take out the ringleaders, but fear that a gang war will just result in lots of bloodshed and new gangs rising up, negating all the work they’ve put in. The gang leader’s son has been killed and the police want A.Z. to figure out who it was/convince the gang leader that it wasn’t the fault of the rival gang. Yeah, it’s not the best plot ever. But it’s a fun book!

And for a book written by a man with like 1.5 female characters, this book actually said some interesting things about women (and well, a lot of interesting things about gender). Primarily this is through the eleven year old girl who is smarter than everyone else in her family (her dad is the gang leader):

“I used to be everyone’s favorite; the staff, the bodyguards, everyone complimented me. . . . I’m supposed to be proud of all the new things going on in my body, but if I talk tampons, everyone’s embarrassed. I cuddle with my friends, everyone stares; I bump against my PE teacher, he jolts like I’m toxic. Everyone’s all happy I’m turning into a woman but freaked out I’m not a child anymore. Like I’m in the gray area, and anything can happen.”

It’s been a while since I was an eleven year old girl, and Cantero never was (as far as I’m aware), but this says such interesting and terrible things about how society sees girls and women. Zoey actually turns out to be pretty great with pre-teen girls telling her, “You will take the reigns. You will write your own story.”

Currently reading: She Has Her Mother’s Laugh and From the Corner of the Oval

So my September reading has been a little slow, it’s not been the best few weeks and I let myself do some re-reading and possibly watched the BBC 5 hour Pride and Prejudice mini-series multiple times. Until I started challenging myself to read a certain number of books a year and arbitrarily decided re-reads wouldn’t count, I definitely re-read a few books many, many times. It’s an odd mix —  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, all the Harry Potter books, the Outlander books, The Thurber Carnival, perhaps most embarrassingly, the Gracelin O’Malley books. Oh geeze. If you like historical romance like Outlander, you will like those books.  So, I let myself re-read some books.

But, never fear, I also read three new books – Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neal Hurston, Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes
and The Position by Meg Wolitzer.

You should read Barracoon, it is very short, and I think it’s a helpful reminder that slavery both wasn’t that long ago and that slavery was a choice, made by white people. Literally, Cudjo Lewis became a slave because a couple white guys made a bet that even though it was at that point illegal to import slaves from Africa, they could get away with it:

[Tim Meaher] bet ‘any amount of money that we would import a cargo in less than two years, and no one be hanged for it.’ It was Meaher’s dream to own land and become wealthy and to use slave labor to do it. He believed it was his birthright.

It is a very depressing, but very short book. I think if I’d been feeling less sad, I would have read this book too quickly, I’m actually glad I read it over a few sittings. The book doesn’t actually talk too much about Lewis’ time as a slave, I think at least a third of the book is his stories about his family and growing up in his village in Africa, and then a good chunk is about the decades he spent in America after he was free.

Insomniac City is a very different book, although also sad, and also a memoir. Bill Hayes was Oliver Sach’s partner for many years and book is about Hayes love of New York City and his life there, but it is also about Sach’s illness and death. And I knew that was coming for the entire book, so the whole thing made me sad. Hayes is actually pretty upbeat though. I’ve read a lot of memoirs, a lot about grief and death this year, and I actually though Hayes’ postscript made the most sense in terms of “what is the point of all this?” The point of life is to be alive. And so, we live. Sadly, I got the second most comforting thing of the year from Hope Never Dies, although I think Biden actually wrote something along these lines – it will never make sense that someone is dead, that they are gone, that they aren’t here. You just learn to live with that feeling. So, those two pieces are kind of my philosophy for moving through grief and trying to live your life: it’s not going to make sense, just focus on being alive yourself. And alive is a pretty low bar. Like, when people start talking about living your best life, about not wasting time, ug, that stresses me out. Just be alive. That’s the point.

That doesn’t really tell you much about the book. Basically if you like New York, Oliver Sachs, or memoirs, you will enjoy this book. Hayes is also a photographer and there are many interesting pictures of New Yorkers. The book actually reminded me a bit of the Humans of New York.

I won’t say too much about The Position. I continue to enjoy Meg Wolitzer, this wasn’t my favorite of her books. It was a little different than others I’ve read by her because there were significant male characters who got to narrate.  Basically, this is a book about the four adult children of a couple that in the 70’s (when their children were children) wrote a very famous book about sex. The book is sort of a, where are they now, how did this impact everyone story set as they are considering re-releasing the book in a 25th anniversary edition. The four adult children were all interesting characters, I was invested in them, I found the sad stuff that happened in the book a little much for my current emotional state.

Currently reading: So You Want to Talk About Race and The Supernatural Enhancements, still waiting on many hold books from the library 😦

Also, should I read Bob Woodward’s new book? I feel like I should because you know, everyone is going to. But, ug. I kind of don’t want to – I read Michael Wolff’s book and I feel like my time could have been better spent. But hey, maybe you were hoping I would summarize it for you?

I think I’m happy that I discovered Meg Wolitzer just recently, because I’m hoping that I’ll enjoy all of her books as much as I liked The Female Persuasion, and I have so many of them ahead of me, unread! I heard a lot of good buzz about her book The Interestings when that came out, but for some reason never picked it up. So, now maybe I will. After I plow through the other million books I have…

 

I really liked this book. I typically mark a few passages so I can blog about specific parts of a book I liked, but about 100 pages in I had to slow down my passage marking because it was getting out of hand. This novel tells the story of Greer, a college freshman who meets Faith Frank (a sort of Gloria Steinem figure) at her college after being sexually assaulted (I considered written “sort of” sexually assaulted, but I’m just going to say that what happens to Greer isn’t rape, I think in this #MeToo era I’m not going to pretend someone touching you sexually when you’re not interested or consenting isn’t “real” sexual assault). The novel goes on to focus on Greer’s post college years, also flashing back to her childhood/teen years. Her long-term boyfriend, college best friend, and Faith Frank all also get some sections of the book told from their perspectives.

I identified tremendously with Greer, although I enjoyed getting in the other character’s heads and was glad to see all of them get some closure/growth/whatever to their story-arcs. Greer and I both worked emergency hotlines, we both love marking passages in books “things that stir me” as she says. Greer’s love of reading sounds like my childhood:

At night she stayed up in bed reading by a flashlight, its beam quickly dwindling. But even as the light bailed, Greer read until the very last minute, consuming a yellow circle of stories and concepts that comforted and compelled her in her aloneness which went on year after year.

And, weirdly I met Gloria Steinem in college, although sadly I did not end up working with her and being mentored by her. I guess there’s still time… The book, like The Ten Year Nap, did depress me a bit at times because Greer ends up at 31 in a place that I am not. (Although I feel like the timeline is a bit rushed, I think Wolitzer didn’t want to write too much into the future, but I would have found Greer’s ending a bit more believable if it took her a few more years).

Additionally, Wolitzer just keeps hating on the lawyers (not that I blame her per se… we aren’t a happy bunch), Greer’s college friend Zee really doesn’t want to be in the legal world:

I know how much I don’t want to be a paralegal – it doesn’t excite me – and I know how much I don’t want to be a lawyer, at least not the corporate kind. I see these young associates, the ones who work really late and do corporate law, and they’re on call like doctors, except their work isn’t in the service of humanity, unless it’s the pro bono stuff they’re allowed to do once in a while. I mean, they’re like the opposite of Doctors Without Borders. Lawyers Without Souls, I think of them. … [I]t all takes too much away from you, and doesn’t give you fortification. Or a good feeling. Or a sense that you’re actually doing something decent during your two seconds on earth.

So… I guess reading Wolitzer is how I’m going to remind myself not to go back to being a lawyer in private practice?

Of course, SPOILER ALERT, someone dies in this book. Someone dies in a lot of books; you never notice until you’re looking always for someone to put into words how you’re feeling. This is Greer’s long-term boyfriend Cory’s story arc — he’s a hot shot Princeton grad, off to make bank as a consultant and hoping to do some programming work of his own someday, but instead someone in his life dies and he ends up stuck at home, picking up the pieces and taking care of everyone. So, I guess I identified with him too:

How was it, Cory kept thinking, that when a person died they were no longer anywhere? You could search the entire world and never find them. It was one thing for a body to stop working and be carted away under a sheet; it was another thing for the sense of that person to evaporate.  The textural and indisputable sense, as strong but as hard to pinpoint as a gas.

It is impossible to explain to anyone who doesn’t feel this way how, I was with my Mom when she died, I sat with her after she died, I sobbed as they took her away. And I still feel like – But how can she be gone? But I think anyone who has lost someone recently knows this feeling exactly, like your lost person might just turn up. Can’t really be gone. Does not compute. I’ve come to feel that this is some sort of human brain failsafe; the loss is too much and so you just can’t believe it even though you know it’s true.

Finally, before this gets too long, I’ll say that Wolitzer’s style reminds me a bit of Celeste Ng — sometimes the characters get together and say things to each other in a way that I don’t think real people always do. Real people don’t always have those heart to heart moments where they try to understand, really understand this person they love. Greer and her Mom do come to understand each other more:

Greer – “Why didn’t you and Dad ever find something that you really wanted to do? Something you could throw yourselves into?

Laurel got quiet, her mouth a little wavy. “Some people never do. I don’t really know why… We never had an easy time. We both had a way of retreating. Though we did do some things. And we did have you. That’s not nothing.”

If you’ve enjoyed other books that I’ve enjoyed, I think you will like this book.

Currently reading: No Time to Spare and I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death (jeeze, she is NOT going to be able to get life insurance, she obviously partakes of many risky activities…) Also on deck – An American Marriage and You Think It I’ll Say It. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker is a much scarier book than Spineless — jellyfish have nothing on a bad night of sleep apparently.

I actually read this book sort of by accident. I had read this book review in The New Yorker and when I saw this book at the library I assumed it was the book reviewed, The Mystery of Sleep by Meir Kryger. Although I think both books posit a similar argument — sleep is very very important. Also, I probably won’t read that book now because I feel like reading this book made my sleep objectively worse because, while I knew sleep was important, I now basically feel like every minute of sleep I don’t get takes ten years off my life…

I also thought this book would talk more about why people sleep, like, why did all life evolve to need to sleep? The first part of this book does talk about that a bit, but doesn’t come to much of a conclusion other than, it must be really good for us because natural selection wouldn’t waste so much on something that didn’t help us out…

The book is broken up into four sections: This Thing Called Sleep (covering general science of sleep), Why Should You Sleep (the terrifying part of the book that covers both how great sleep is for you and how bad not sleeping is for you), How and Why We Dream (discussing REM sleep), and From Sleeping Pills to Society Transformed (covering sleep disorders, how modern life impacts our sleep, and steps we should take to improve our sleep).

Learning about REM sleep and dreaming was pretty interesting, but parts two and four of the book are what are going to stay with me — even one night of six hours of sleep has terrible consequences for your ability to be you know, awake the next day. And we are wildly not good at recognizing our own impairment. Drowsy driving kills way more people than drunk driving, and we have the same sort of, I feel fine, I’m okay to do this. And drunk driving wouldn’t be good, but drinking just slows your reaction time, when you drive while drowsy, you actually experience microsleeps, so you’re just completely not reacting at all during that time. And if you manage not to kill yourself and others, even low levels of sleep deprivation increase your risk of cancer, dementia, infections, and all kinds of fun stuff.

Although, this book has also convinced me that our current president might just be really really sleep deprived:

Under-slept employees are not only less productive, less motivated, less creative, less happy, and lazier, but they are also more unethical … Previously, I described evidence from brain-scanning experiments showing that the frontal lobe, which is critical for self-control and reining in emotional impulses, is taken offline by a lack of sleep. As a result, participants were more emotionally volatile and rash in their choices and decision making. This same result is predictably borne out in the higher-states setting of the workplace. Studies in the workplace have found that employees who sleep six hours or less are significantly more deviant and more likely to lie the following day than those who sleep six hours or more.

So, next time someone brags about how little sleep they ‘need’ I guess you can evaluate for yourself… 🙂 If you want to dig in more on all the ways sleep is good for you, and not sleeping is bad for you, you should read this book. And although it is full of terrifying facts, it does also include lots of helpful advice for sleeping better (things you probably already know: cut caffeine, cut alcohol, set a bedtime, make your bedroom dark, cool and gadget free,  don’t take naps after 3, don’t exercise too close to bed time).

Well, off to bed to get my 8 hours in.

Currently reading: The Ten Year Nap and The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore.

Finished Pachinko last night, and I essentially stand by my prior brief summary and that you’ll like this book if you enjoy historical fiction.

Writing just to say, one criticism of the book is that the later characters seen rushed, and I can definitely see that. Having finished, I was thinking this book reminds me of the three book series by Jane Smiley (Some Luck, also covers about a century of one family, but in the American Midwest) and I kind of wish Lee had written this as a three book series.

Currently reading : Spineless, just finished Eat the Apple.

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