Hello Bumpidee Readers!
I've been putting off posting about what I'm reading because the only thing I've actually managed to finish in the past month is another unsatisfying memoir but here is a hopefully brief list of what I've reading and/or thumbing through in recent weeks:
1. Cities of Salt by Abdelrahman Munif I am currently on page 64 and have been reading a chapter a day every few days for a week or so. It's really amazing so far....only 520 pages left to go, ha.
2. Today I read Admiral, a short story by T.C. Boyle. It starts off really great--this woman who has just graduated from college on scholarship finds herself back at her old high school job as a dog sitter for rich people. Nothing has changed, except her and the dog--it is a clone of the dog she used to care for. They hire her for $25 an hour plus full benefits because they are determined to recreate their dog's formative nuturing experiences. The premise is the best part of the story. It doesn't really go anywhere with this idea, but it's an interesting scenario to contemplate. I appreciated the race/class analysis in story about the ethics of technology/life. It's sort of the Mary Shelley Frankenstein theme, but updated to a reflect the mundane reality of working at a crappy job. That Boyle uses the worker's perspective to tell the story makes it sorta interesting.
3. I am also readingCity of Widows: An Iraqi Woman's Account of War and Resistance by Haifa Zangana, at an extremely slow pace. This book is very short, but extremely depressing. I feel an obligation to finish it, so I will do so and post a review some time in the next month of two, but it's very sad and so terrible to face the reality of how the U.S. war in Iraq has impacted people's lives. The focus here is on women, so it's really hard not to totally empathize, which is super heavy and fucked up. I find that it is really hard to get out of bed when I am in touch with the reality of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. I know that I am not alone in this, but I also don't know what to do. I really hope Obama wins, but even more than that, I hope that he wins and that he is able (and willing) to do what it takes to end this immoral, brutal occupation.
4. I checked out a few more books along the lines of City of Widows, but really haven't managed to get through any of them. They will probably go back to the library unread, solely because I can't face the world. I will try and read them at some point when I m feeling more solid. They are: My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me by Mahish Rukhsana Khan and
One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers Edited by Tara McKelvey.
5. Poems by Stevie Smith and Mahmoud Darwish. Letters by Allen Ginsberg.
6. More graphic novels by Alan Moore and the Hernandez Brothers from the library. Yay for graphic novels being available through the public library system! I love these authors/artists soooo much that it is indescribably exciting to keep reading more and more of their work as the years go by. I remember how Love and Rockets changed everything. Reading fiction like this gives me faith in the power of the imagination. I truly believe some of the best fiction is being done in this format, it's still really exciting to me and I've been reading comics my whole life.
7. On top of all this, I just got another book of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri and a copy of Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuhiwai Smith.
Clearly not all of this will get read in it's entirety, but I am delving into this stuff deeply, exploring ideas, forming questions, seeking answers. Listening to how people tell stories, to the stories themselves and learning so much every day. You don't have to finish every book to learn from them. Sometimes throwing yourself into everything at once is a way to figure stuff out. I probably do that too much, but I've been pretty focused on my work lately, so I think it's productive for me.
I'm also still reading Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine (which no one commented on so I stopped writing about) as well as The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World by Vijay Prashad, which is just really slow reading as I have to take all these notes. I guess I could post some of those when I have time.
Oh, the book I actually finished was Life with My Sister Madonna by Christopher Ciccone. It is hella trashy and I read it all in a single day. It made me feel really gross, but it was totally engrossing, ha. More soon I hope.
Thanks to everyone for keeping things going. I've been distracted because school started and I'm trying to learn how to speak Spanish, which if you are serious about, takes a lot of time. I also started a music blog in the form of my fanzine Jigsaw, here. Other than that I've been working and taking guitar lessons. Looking forward to a productive winter, full of reading and writing!!!!