10:30 AM – My Lord, after several late nights and a few early mornings yesterday’s sleep-in-Sabbath failed my necessities. Had coffee with Tito this morning. Talked about christians and media, infidelity, and insecurity. Nothing too heavy for a Monday. Nothing a little strawberry scone and four cups of dark roast can’t maneuver. Final Final Exam today. Grades posted completely by midnight. Last day of school, and I didn’t shower or deodorize or nothing. School’s out for summer, chumps!
I have started a new page above that could be considered a bit self-indulgent, to say the least. My goal for 2013 is to read a book a week. I’m 12 books into 16 weeks, so I’ve got some catching up to do. The page above is my attempt to give more than a head-nod to the books I’m declaring worthy of time and attention. I’d be pleased as punch if my reviews and recommendations assist anyone else’s readings, or if they spark conversations via the comments pages or email – firstname.lastname@example.org. What follows are a few of the most recent titles added to the list. Enjoy.
8. Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones – Jones visited our humble Texas town on a recent book tour. She was funny, sassy, and when posed with an audience question she considered irrelevant she simply skipped it. Admittedly, I was more impressed with Jones’ reading and Q&A than her actual novel, but Leaving Atlanta offers an interesting lesson in narrative perspective. Broken into three parts, and told from the perspectives of three different characters, Jones’ novel also makes us of all three narrative points of view – beginning with third person, moving into second person, and ending with first person. Somehow Jones fluidly transitions and expertly moves through altering vantage points, telling a story that welcomes the variety of vision, never once tipping to feel pushy or prideful. Jones’ subject matter – the real-life Atlanta child murders in the early 1980s – is difficult material emotionally, but Jones holds out the story to us in such an intimately, matter-of-fact fashion, that it’s hard to turn away or distrust her handling of her readers. She does not spare our emotions, but she never manipulates either. Actually, the more I write about it here, the more impressed I feel with Leaving Atlanta. Consider this a recommendation. 3.5 shoplifted penny candies out of 5.
9. The Conquering Worms by Brian Keene – I had a dream once that the ground opened and Hell spilled out onto the earth via giant insects and worms. Guess what? Brian Keene wrote my dream before I could. Originally titled The Conquering Worms, Keene has since retitled his cult classic Earthworm Gods. This was a fun pulp horror page turner, good Spring Break reading. I look forward to more from Keene. Also, I think the guy likes Jesus, which – as readers of Kiki Mornings know – is a fun horror find for me. 2.5 Leviathans out of 5.
12. Once by Alice Walker – I’ve got a stack of Alice Walker on the bookshelf over there, beside the Skittles jar and the framed portrait of Santa holding my pug-dog. I started with Once chronologically. Published in 1968, Once is Walker’s interwoven reaction to a trip through Africa and her experiences in the American Civil Rights movement. Walker’s tiny verses in Once flow as a stream of Tweets and Facebook statuses – “Very American / I want to eat / The native food – / But a whole goat!” – that are worth dollar bills when collected and bound. Short, poignant, full of energy and drastic motion – “Looking up I see / a strong arm / raised / the Law / Someone in America / is being / protected / (from me.)” – Walker makes brevity appear a necessity rather than an option for communicating the largeness of the human experience. Her poems are a wall eye view into an entire world, and she offers just enough landscape, just enough of the room, to leave her readers scratching to put together the peripheral for themselves. Good stuff. Get this into yourself. 4 Hymns out of 5.