Last night as I finished up a long day of graphic design work, I hopped on Facebook, out of habit mostly, and (unlike most days this week) was rewarded with something that didn’t depress me or make me feel belittled — a live stream of the National Book Awards Ceremony. Oh books, how I do love you and how I’m sure you will be my bastion of sanity as I escape into you over the next few weeks or months or years (or whatever).
How lovely to see not just one, but five extraordinary books that celebrate and tell the stories of a varied culture. And how lovely that we live in a culture where people are able to astoundingly show their appreciation for literature that challenges us and brings us new perspectives.
I don’t really want to talk about politics here. Actually, I’m pretty sick of talking about it. I know there are a lot of people who are happy and a lot of people who aren’t. And a lot of the conversations I’m seeing are preaching to the choir, but not really listening to the other side. It’s exhausting. But I think books give us the platform to talk earnestly about difficult and differing subjects.
The Throwback Special, by Chris Bachelder—a novel about the complexity of “manhood”
News of the World by Paulette Jiles—which speaks to the complexities of family, honor, and that the rules that dictate right and wrong can’t be simplified to black and white when dealing with humanity.
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan—a book “of terrorism on victims and perpetrators,” and what it means to feel devastated and helpless, charmed and empowered.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead—”a narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.”
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson—poetic and heartbreaking, a narrative about friendships, race, and memories of places.
We should all pledge to read more. To make our worlds and perspectives ever expansive & ever inclusive. One little subversive act of reading at a time.
be good to yourselves (and your neighbors)