Saturday, December 06, 2008

RAWS: Read Along With Satia

I am going to visit my mother for a very short visit but even a short visit means time spent at the airport and on the plane so I need to have something to read on the flight. So most of what I’ve chosen is the type of material that will fill the time without my running out of reading because in the past I’ve finished the book one way and had to buy another book to bring me home. Not this time, dammit! The following are in no particular order. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is the first novel ever written and I love that it was written by a woman. This is an epic tale of the emperor’s son, a classic in Japanese literature. I have this in one massive paperback but I can also borrow Marc’s two volume hard cover and take just the first book. I keep saying I’m going to read this book and then don’t so this would be the chance to take it with me and get it at least started and hopefully started enough to actually come home with the desire to finish it completely. But I have recently read a collection of haibun and am further inspired to read this classic because of its blend of prose and poetry. Definitely a book I want to read and maybe if I don't this year then I shall make it a priority for next year. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is another in the long list of “I want to read this before I die” books. I’ve read some of Marquez’ other works but this one is the one I’ve wanted to read most so why haven’t I read it already? I don’t know. Here is what they say on amazon.com: “One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.” Given its epic scope, it is very likely a good choice to carry me through the entire trip, there and back again. Red Azalea by Anchee Min I picked up after hearing her discuss her experiences in China during the more militant times under Chairman Mao. This is her memoir of that time in her life during the 1960s and 1970s in Shanghai, her youth in the Red Guard, and her love affairs both personal and political. I definitely want to read this book soon because I had forgotten I even owned it and I am once again excited about learning more about Min’s experiences. I remember reading a novel she'd written which was based on one of her life's experiences which is detailed in this memoir--Katherine. I also know that her book on Madame Mao received excellent reviews when it was released. This would actually have been an interesting book for the book group to which I formerly belonged but I don't belong to it anymore so I can't recommend it as a future choice. Oh well. The Temple Bombing by Melissa Fay Greene is a non-fiction book about the bombing of Atlanta’s oldest synagogue and its implications during the early days of the Civil Rights movement. I saw Greene lecture once and was fascinated by her passion for bringing history to life and also make it relevant to contemporary readers. I recently read a book about holocaust denial and this seems to dovetail from that one rather nicely. I mean, if one can use the word "nicely" within the context of racism and violence. There is a sort of thematic quality to reading this book at this time but is it the sort of light reading one takes on a trip? Probably not. still, I am not one to do the typical.

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