It was 93 degrees today, on September 30th. Every year it is this hot and every year we Southern Californians bitch and moan about how it's not fall weather and how we just wanna wear our hoodies. So there we are. Got that over with.
This month was a weird one, reading wise (and maybe in terms of life, too, now that I think about it). I was reading multiple books at once for most of it and ended up coming to a conclusion that I already knew- I'm a serial monogamist in life and when it comes to reading. Four books at one time? No thanks. I did manage to finish three, though, all by female writers, all dealing with issues of race/ethnicity, but still very different.
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
Harriet is a smart, sullen, sassy little thing, but for good reason. She has lived under the black cloud of her older brother's tragic, unsolved death since she was tiny. Her parents are separated, her mother is an emotional wreck nearly a decade later, and her older sister's main hobby is sleeping. So, she decides to solve her brother's case, which leads to an exploration of class, race, and family bonds. There are several side plots as well, dealing with her aunts, grandmother, and the housekeeper, but in the end everything connects in it's own way.
Verdict: This book felt very reminscent of To Kill a Mockingbird- there was a Boo Radley, there was a Scout, there was issues of morality, there was a Southern-gothic kinda of feel. Unlike Mockingbird, though, The Little Friend is much longer and much denser. I liked it, I really did, but you know that feeling you get after eating a Thanksgiving? Like you've had too much of a good thing and you just want to get out of the house into the fresh air and walk away from the turkey? That's kind of how I feel about this book right now.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I've read this two other times before as a teacher and have written about it before, so I'll spare everyone the summary (I am teaching it right now).
Verdict: I love the book and I love teaching it. I know there are issues with her potential misrepresentation of race relations and she has been accused of pandering to a white audience, and I this does bother me. But she did do a lot for African American writers, and African American female writers. So, at the end of the day this book raises many of points through it's content and context.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christine Lamb
Given the media attention paid to Malala over the past few years, I'm assuming every know her story of being shot while on a school bus by the Taliban in the Swat Valley. Malala was a political activist with her father prior to her attack, and has been a voice for educating all girls, in all countries.
Verdict: I found this book to be incredibly interesting, both in regards to Malala's story and the region's politics and history. I went into the book thinking that there would be more on her attack and recovery, but that actually only ended up being the last fifty or so pages.