What I’ve been reading
I’ve read a few books this month. One I loved. Another was pretty good. And one I read ONLY because it was this month’s book club selection. Ugh. It was a doozy.
I’d never paid much attention to the big names in cable television, and I’d never heard of Peter Barton before my friend loaned me Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived. It’s been sitting on my tbr pile for a pretty long time now, and when I finally picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down again.
This is an unflinching look at a man who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the prime of his life. Barton, with the help of author Laurence Shames, doles out an honest and moving account of what it’s like to come to terms with your own mortality. Sometimes you feel like you’re looking at home movies of Peter’s life. Sometimes you feel like you’re reading his diary. Other times, his friend is talking to you about Peter. It’s through these three paths that the reader gets to know and care about Peter.
This book is a beautiful example of courage and honesty. I feel like I was witness to an amazing grace through reading it.
Still Life With Rice by Helie Lee is an ode to her Korean grandmother’s life. This biography is rich in Korean history and told through the voice of Lee’s grandmother. She witnessed so much in her life; and lived to share her memories of being a wife, a mother, a daughter, an opium seller, a prisoner, and so much more.
A large portion of this book happens during the Japanese invasion of Korea and during the time that the country first became divided. It is interesting and educational, as well as being a page-turner. The strength and courage of this woman is astounding. She lived through incredible experiences and triumphed over them.
Her most painful moment seemed to be the separation that was forced on her when her oldest son was trapped in North Korea while she and the rest of their family escaped to South Korea. There is actually a second book called In the Absence of Sun which chronicles the family’s journey to be reunited. I haven’t read that yet, but it’s definitely on my wish list now.
And, alas, my book club pick for this month was Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
Honestly, I can’t even give you a synopsis or a review or anything for this book. I don’t even know what to say. I guess if you’re a fan of fantasy, you might like it. Apparently, I’m not in that group in any way, shape, or form. On page 402, I found one paragraph I liked. Seriously. This book was just not for me.
If you’ve read it and loved it, please leave me a post. I really would be interested in what you loved or what appealed to you. Most of my book club gave up trying to read it after about 50 pages. Only two of us even got through the whole thing. That’s a first for us. And, hopefully, a last.