Summer Reading


Yesterday was my first day with nothing scheduled. I chose sleep over church and went back to bed with my book, after an early morning call from Mr. Understanding. Reading, for me, is the ultimate in escapism and relaxation, a way to totally ignore pressing issues and chores, and to recharge my crapulous battery. As I said in one of my first posts, my grandmother was a librarian and my mother an avid reader, so I grew up around women reading. Long before I was an expat, I visited China with Pearl S. Buck and The Good Earth.

In the 3 weeks I’ve been home, I’ve managed to escape into 3 books:

1) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, lent by my sister MCV. This is her book club’s choice for the month. Wow. A glimpse into the life of women in Afghanistan in recent times, it is a must read for everyone claiming to be concerned with the plight of women in that region of the world. Anything else I might say would be considered political and Lord knows, based on my recent blog stats, I would not want to offend my small but loyal readership.

2) Boomsday by Christopher Buckley. He’s a muckety-muck at ForbesLife, a publication I do not ready by virtue of my overseas life; I might just have to subscribe though. Obviously, the man’s publishing company has a lot of moolah to spend on cover artwork and marketing. That is not why I bought the book, however. I bought it because I’d read one of his other books and thought it hilarious. Political satire at its wittiest, it is fun for the whole Republican/Democrat/Independent family. Mr. Buckley also has a delectable vocabulary and is a learned man. There are plenty of “f” words, though, so think about your language/subject threshold before passing it on to your teenager. I’ll bet he is a Yalie. Someone, please prove me wrong (I haven’t googled him).

3) Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Also lent by MCV. Sucked right in! Ms. See writes about the value of Chinese women (negligible at the time of the story), footbinding, a female language keep secret for 1,000 years, and Chinese traditions and customs. I am not going to spoil it for you. Ms. See also has a sequel out,Peony in Love, that I will be purchasing this week for when I am feeling sorry for myself in China. The story of how and why she wrote the story is equally fascinating.

A few books purchased for my air freight shipment at the Elliott Bay Book Store:

Infidel by Aayan Hirsi Ali
The Opposite of Fate, Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

I purchased all three books before readingSnow Flower and the Secret Fan but after
A Thousand Shining Suns. Subconsciously, the right to read must have been on my mind. I am thankful I am an American. Now, go grab a book, find a hammock, tell your kids to run through the sprinklers, and blow off all your chores and take advantage of your civil liberties. My free advice to you for the day.



Filed under Family, People, Reading

5 responses to “Summer Reading

  1. MCS

    I’m reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter right now, and it is riveting as well. A Thousand Splendid Suns is my next book, but I’m holding off until right before book club because I know I’ll be done with it soon after I start. Thanks for the additional recs.

  2. SmartAlecAngela

    I’m reading “A Thousand Splendid Suns” now. Awesome book! I just finished “Nineteen Minutes” by Piccoult. Talk about a disturbing book, although I definitely would recommend it.

  3. Picoult’s last book, the one about the daughter with leukemia, was genius. I am not sure I am up for gutwrenching at the moment (Hosseini’s book took care of that). I think she’s a great writer.

  4. SmartAlecShub

    If you thought “1000 Splendid Suns” was good, try “Palace Walk” by Naguib Mahfooz. I haven’t finished the book yet, but it is also really good. The book is a deep-dive into Muslim family life in early 20th century Cairo. Mahfooz won the Nobel Prize for literature in the 80’s and, similar to Rushdie, was persecuted by the Islamic extremists for his writings.

    Lately, I’ve been intrigued by Islam-related writings. For good non-fiction, try “The Looming Tower” or for something edgier “Why I am not a Muslim?”.

  5. SmartAlecShub: thanks for the suggestions! It is great to hear from the other gender and even better when discussing books. My edginess (is that a word?) has extended to the Carl Bernstein book about Hillary, purchased at Costco because I only want to feed one machine. I need to be able to articulate convincingly just exactly why it is I feel Mrs. Clinton is unfit for office, of any kind. I wouldn’t even let her be the Post Master of my zip code. Whooosh!v Did you hear that noise? That’s the sound of me losing half my readership. On a related note, I would vote for Barak Obama over Hill just because of his name. It’s much more fun to say.

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