Things have been busy with the wedding planning and stuff, we’re only a month away! I’m so unbelievably excited. I went to Connecticut this past weekend and we got our marriage license, we met with the priest for our catholic wedding and went over a lot of the details, we made the dandiya for our garba—all very, very exciting! I’ve been reading a bunch though, on my commutes to a from work when I’m not riding my bike. Check out some of my latest reads:
The History of Love: A Novel, by Nicole Krauss—This was such a delight to read. It’s about an old man, Leo Gursky, who grew up in Poland during World War II, and still carries a lot of emotional trauma with him from his time there. during the most intense times of the war, he had to hide in an effort to make it seem like he wasn’t really there, like he didn’t exist. Now much older, he purposefully does random things to make sure other people recognize his existence, like spilling a full bucket of popcorn at the counter at the movies to see if people will turn their heads to notice, helping him believe he does in fact exist. his story unfolds as his son, an established author who’s never known Leo, passes away and leaves behind chapters of a never-published book. a parallel story of a young girl name Alma who was named after the main character of a book call ‘The History of Love’ unfolds as her single mother who works as a translator gets a random letter in the mail requesting her to translate ‘The History of Love’ into English. The two stories eventually come together in the end, after a long unravelling of the history of the book this book is about. It’s really good! Really well written, with funny, quircky characters who are also at times deeply saddening.
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini—Good Lord, what a depressing book! It starts in the 70s in Afghanistan. Amir is a son of a rich man who has a servent who also has a son who lives and works for them, Hassan. Amir and Hassan, although from different class backgrounds are best friends, but Amir has a lot of mixed ideas of what it means to be friends with someone of a lower class. He comes to points in the book where he has to decide to publicly stick up for Hassan or not, and his decisions follow him throughout the rest of the book. Amir eventually flees Afghanistan after the Russia’s invasion and ends up in America, where decades later he has to return to Afghanistan and confront his past in a new way. It’s very well written, with a lot of historical detail expressed through very real characters who were easy to connect with, especially being South Asian as a reader. The class dynamics within the culture of the characters, and how oppression propagates itself in many ugly ways through non-action was a screaming example of how messed up our world is, and how it gets to be that way generation after generation. But good Lord, what a depressing book! Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does… but still, probably a very real depiction of Afghanistan over the past 30 years.
In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alverez—A less depressing book than the Kite Runner, but sad nonetheless. It was about 4 sisters that helped fight against an oppressive dictator during Dominican Republic’s revolution, told through the perspectives of each sister as the story progresses. Another fictional book that was filled with history that was interesting to learn, written through a story that keeps pulling you through.