On The Other Side of Freedom by DeRay Mckesson (audible)
The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson
Sea Prayer by Khaled hosseini
Yes We (Still) Can by Dan Pfeiffer (audible)
It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by: Lynsey Addario
Happy October Bookworms! Anyone delving into a super cozy grand read they want to share with me? I’m suddenly craving that kind of read! The kind where you can get lost in it and that you’ll remember this season of your life by it. Last night I saw a music show and in the last song, this little string of delight fell out of the singer’s mouth, “And you don't put your book down even after it ends…” and it was so sweet to me that I let out a gut wrenching sigh of wonder. And both of the beautiful souls I was with nudged me recognizing that those words were me, or touched that they spoke to me anyway. There was a moment where the singer, Gregory Alan Isakov called out Patty Griffin onto the stage and the two sang a song together, and at the end of it, after Patty had left the stage… Gregory Alan said, “That brought me such joy.” And I thought that was the cutest way of saying that. So simple. So sweet.
Let’s get in to this last month’s reads, shall we? Are you impressed that I’m actually posting this on the first day of a new month? I am. :-)
First up, I listened to the brand new book by Black Lives Matter activist and former candidate for Mayor of Baltimore- DeRay McKesson. This book was good, and I need to read more like them. Sometimes I see issues individually that affect black people in my country, but rarely do I think about how the whole system, all the issues, are intrinsically linked and feed off of each other ultimately perpetuating the oppression of a whole race of people. In honor of this book and to bring attention to matters and be an active ally I’m going to attend this yoga class put on by Sameside in Denver, if anyone is interested in going with me, here is where you can find out more: https://onsameside.com/experiences/downdogs-and-democracy-old-school-hip-hop.html
Next up was my poetry book for this month, this time I decided to delve into something with a little more meat to it, so I went with an old school Andrea Gibson book. Many of these poems I have heard them perform live but it was nice to slow down and hear it read in my own head and without all the energy of an Andrea Gibson performance. Don’t get me wrong- their performance is magical and the energy of the crowd- how they are moved is powerful- but sometimes overwhelming if you are sensitive at all. But sometimes that’s what we need right? To be moved into a space of uncomfort… (is that a word?)… anyway, I loved this book. I always love their poems. I am convinced that Write Bloody Publishing runs the corner in the poetry market. All of the best contemporary talent comes from there, I’ve found you pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the books from their collection. If it’s published by them, it has my stamp of approval!
Sea Prayer came out the same week that the Trump administration said that for the FY2019 they will drop the maximum number of refugees allowed to enter the US to 30,000... a record low since the program began in 1980. Hosseini’s book was inspired by Alan Kurdi, the three year old Syrian refugee who drowned in The Mediterranean Sea, and whose body washed up on shore in 2015. The book is a letter from a refugee father to his son. Though it is a picture book, and though it is brief... it is full to the brim with beautiful words...
“We woke in the mornings
To the stirrings of olive trees in the breeze,”
“You wouldn’t have forgotten the farmhouse,
The soot of its stone walls,”
“The crowded lanes smelling of fried kibbeh
And the evening walks we took
With your mother
Around Clock Tower Square”
“My boy, your eyelashes like calligraphy”
Though it be short, it is sweet. Khaled will be donating all of his author proceeds to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency . If you have a couple of extra bucks to spend, I recommend purchasing this one…. and if you have kids I recommend reading it to them and maybe just talking about how other kids around the world have different kinds of lives, and maybe come up with a sweet way that you could do something to make a difference. I think if I had kids I would do that.
Next up…. Yes We (Still) Can by Dan Pfeiffer, President Obama’s former White House Communications Director and Senior Advisor. I liked this book a lot, but for different reasons than you would think. Sure, the parts where we can commiserate about Trump feels therapeutic, but I liked the telling of how one becomes someone that gets involved in campaigns and then works in administrations. I’ve loved politics since I was a little girl and it just is fascinating to me and made me wonder who I might of been under different circumstances. Anyway, I love Pfeiffer and the whole crew at Crooked Media (which DeRay McKesson is also a huge part of). I highly recommend all of the “Pod Save” podcasts. Check them out here!
And lastly, but certainly not least was Lynsey Addario’s beautiful photography memoir. Lynsey started documenting the human condition around the world pre 9/11, but being a photo journalist and an American woman in the post 9/11 world Lynsey found herself in many of the places that my ex-husband used to (probably still does) go. She talks of the affairs diplomats and military members would have abroad and the connection they would make with each other that lovers, partners, and spouses back home in the states would not be able to relate to. Those parts came a little too close to home, and I would find myself gritting my teeth, and remind myself to focus on the time period, the history, and the perspective this woman’s voice brings to the table. There are pictures throughout this beauty of a book and so I highly recommend having a physical copy of it- where you can linger over the pages. I LOVED this book, I love the idea of someone who is so dedicated to their work that it is the most important thing… why am I always drawn to people like that? To care for something. To bring stories to the world. To wake us up. Thank goodness for people like this. This book is full of descriptions and the people that belong to faraway places, of their struggles, of the role we all play in each other’s lives, and there’s even a couple kidnapping stories. It’s entertaining, and it’s a beautiful collection of a very painful time in our nation’s history. If you read it, let me know your thoughts!
Otherwise, I would love to hear what books you guys are going to dig into this Fall!