Sunday, February 10, 2008
My reading thoughts today are a reflection of the types of books I have been reading lately, all of which are good, but depressing. First there was The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (linked to my review), a post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son...well, just surviving. This morning I just finished The Sky Isn't Visible From Here by Felicia C. Sullivan. I will be reviewing this book on Tuesday as part of the MotherTalk's blog tour. It is a memoir of Felicia's childhood living with a mother addicted to cocaine, and her own personal struggle to overcome addiction. Not the cheeriest of topics. And now, I have just started The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison for the My Year of Reading Dangerously challenge. Morrison is an amazing author, but not quite known for an upbeat story.
After I stopped and thought about it for bit, I realized that many of the books I read and love are downright heart-wrenching. One of my favorites of 2007 was Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, about the disintegration of African culture due to colonialism. A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua, another favorite of 2007, revolved around a woman killed in a suicide bombing...and no one even noticed she was gone for days.
So why do I spend countless hours reading about horrible, awful events? Why do I frequently emerge from a book that I read for pleasure and thoroughly enjoyed, saying, "Whew, I need to read some light fluff now! That was hard!"
To answer that question, I must look at the reasons why I read. Yes, I'm a voracious reader, but why? One reason goes back to my early experiences as a budding reader. As a child I devoured books. I loved exploring new world's through someone else's imagination, it helped to stimulate my own. This still holds true. Imagination is a wonderful thing, and I love reading what other people come up with.
But, that's not the only reason. Books also call attention to perspectives and people that are different from myself. They highlight aspects of society often overlooked, truths that are hidden from most. Even if it is fiction, these are stories that need to be told. And, more importantly, they need to be heard.
I don't want to read a book that sounds like it is about myself. I like to explore different view points. And, books that tackle serious, difficult subjects are not just sad...they are often inspiring. They challenge my own way of thinking, and that is what I love about them.
To end on a lighter note, here is my
Book Coveting Around the Blogisphere: