Sunday, March 16, 2014

Good Things Come in Fours

If you read my blog from a few days ago, you know that I read some random books that didn't work out. I will not be reviewing those, as they are not really worth mentioning and were obscure finds that should remain...obscure. I am, however, going to talk briefly about the last four good books I read.

First, I read Langston Hughes' The Ways of White Folks. If you've never read this book, you should. It is a collection of short stories and, while it is difficult to read realistic fiction that depicts the truth of a time in America's history, I do think it's important to read about it and learn from it. I remind my students all the time that if we do not learn from history, history will repeat itself. I tell them it is the responsibility of their generation to know the mistakes of the past to make sure they don't happen again in any way. It is the responsibility of every generation. (And, it is at times like this that I find myself so grateful to have had Mrs. Meeks for my middle school history teacher. Wherever you are, Mrs. Meeks, thank you for what you added to my life. It continues to serve me, and my students, well.)

Second, I read L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. If you're thinking that's a far cry from the first book, you'd be right. Oddly enough, I even chose to begin reading my third book, The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, as I was reading Anne of Green Gables. I guess, you might say, it kept me grounded. Montgomery's book was published in 1908, and I couldn't help but wonder who "Anne" would have been for little African-American girls. While little white girls grew up dreaming of being Anne or Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House series, what did little black girls dream of being? Who were their role models? Who did they relate to? These are good questions that should be asked for they answer other questions.

Did I enjoy Anne? Of course, I did! When my friend, Tammy, recommended it to me, she told me I remind her of Anne. I had to laugh a few chapters in because the fact Anne loves to most definitely a good comparison to me! I think it's a delightful book about a precocious child that anyone would enjoy reading, just as I think that Maya Angelou's work should be read and enjoyed by everyone. I don't always combine two books to read, but I find it does make me think more - which is always a good thing. It's important to see things from different perspectives.

My fourth book, which I just finished, is Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Now, before you think I now combined the oddest of books ever, let me explain...

Remember when I blogged that I had read some "fluff" and wanted something more? Well, right after that a friend of mine posted the BBC's list of 100 novels you should read:

So, I took the list challenge and found that I'd read 34 of them. Then another friend of mine mentioned to hold off on reading The Bell Jar, but I'd already read it a long time ago. I decided I should pull it off my bookshelf and read it again. (After all,...I am still that precocious child and, if you warn me away from something, I'm heading straight for it! ;) )

Now, I can't go into all the ways my brain works when it comes to why I read what I read and how I get out of it what I get out of it. I am aware all of us approach a book from our own angle, our own life experiences, our own perspectives. Again, like Hughes' and Angelou's works, it isn't a read that is easy on the heart or the mind, but I do think it's an important voice that needs to be heard. I especially think it's an important voice for women to listen to. If you research Plath's life and her death, you'll gain even more understanding about what I mean. Her life is a lesson for us all.


If you wonder what I'm up to next, I didn't really know until just a moment ago. I saw a quote of Don Carpenter's posted on Goodreads. Along with the quote, it mentioned that Anne Lamott dedicated her bestselling novel Bird by Bird to Carpenter. My brain said, "Wait, I've read that book!" So, I searched my "favorites" bookshelf...(yes, of course, I have a bookshelf just for my most favorites, don't you??)...and, sure enough, there it was! I opened it up and found I had made notes to myself back in June of 2006, I even noted they were "important" notes. I also found tons of notes I'd written in the back and throughout the book.

Wow,...SOOOOO much has happened in my life since 2006...

I've decided it's time to take a journey through this book again. My "to read" list is going to have "to wait" a little longer. As my note in the book says, "this is important." :)

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. You already know that I adore reading your "thoughts!" You posed great questions while reading the two books simultaneously. It took me a long time to understand why history was and is important. A college professor at TCC actually made me appreciate history and think critically about it.

    I usually add most of the books you blog about to my "Check them out when I am out school" list. :)

    "I am aware all of us approach a book from our own angle, our own life experiences, our own perspectives." This quote of yours is quite true and is almost universal when applied to our lives.