March Reading

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu

started 3/2/07 finished 3/7/07 (I read this fast; good sign)

Lots of good fiction out this year! I like to read books that take place in cities that I’ve lived in. You feel so sophisticated and urbane. When the character is running down the street and you know just what direction he is going in just from the description and you can actually see the buildings as they go by. Sepha Stephanos is an Ethiopian who came to America to flee the war there and go to school. He opens a small convenience store in the Logan Circle neighborhood and begins to carve out a life. Logan Circle (one of a million “circles” in D.C.) is undergoing gentrification (in the book and in real life). This novel then goes on to tell two stories: an immigrant’s dream & nightmare of America and a neighborhood’s dream & nightmare of gentrification. Neither handle it well.

The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

started 3/8/07 finished 3/21/07

The conclusion of Parable of the Sower. The teenager from the first book is now a woman who has successfully created a new community based on the belief system that she created. Will Earthseed survive the challenges from the US government and the bigoted right-wing church that seems to be taken over? Will her child and family survive? I am mad at myself for not reading these books earlier.

The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer

started 3/22/07 finished 3/24/07

Yes, I read chick lit, too. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better than the mini-series that aired last month. Way funnier! Way darker! Way more realistic! (for chick lit). And now, way more ironic now that the author is divorcing from her husband, producer Brian Grazer. I hope she is looking on the bright side of this divorce: she is no longer at risk of having an eye put out by that spiky hair of his when he rolls over in bed.

The Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy

started 3/26/07 finished 4/3/07

I love books about second generation citizens. The children of parents who emigrated from their home country to England or America to create better lives. The children usually turn out one of two ways.

  1. They take to their adopted country and its culture so well that they become embarrased of their parents and their old country ways. Usually the parents realize that their plan has backfired and they have raised children they don’t recognize.
  2. They take to their adopted country but feel something is missing in their lives. They start to explore their birth culture, much to the parents dismay, and set off to take a trip back home.

This book is sort of a combination of both. Born to Jamaican parents in England Faith does every thing a proper English girl should. After graduating school and landing what she thinks is her dream job. But the racism on this job starts to smack her in the face and she starts to really see the injustice all around her that she never noticed before. It starts to affect her life so dramatically that her parents, who never shared their past with her, send her to Jamaica to find herself. Very good book.

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