FemLIT: Their Eyes were Watching God Review

This month for FemLIT, we read both a feminist and an African-American classic, Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, to celebrate Black History Month. Here were my thoughts. 

L'Etranger & Reading in French

A few weeks ago, I finished reading my third complete book I've read in French,  L'√Čtranger by Albert Camus. It was the first French book that I read that I felt had complex literary meanings, and it was pretty daunting to try and absorb that in a different language. But it was so worth it.

New Zealand: The Bone People Review

Title: The Bone People
Author: Keri Hulme
Genre: Fiction

Blurb: In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor—a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most precious possession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon's feral charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father Joe, who rescued the boy from a shipwreck and now treats him with an unsettling mixture of tenderness and brutality. Out of this unorthodox trinity Keri Hulme has created what is at once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge. Winner of both a Booker Prize and Pegasus Prize for Literature, The Bone People is a work of unfettered wordplay and mesmerizing emotional complexity.

Me: Unconventional and groundbreaking, but also confusing and unresolved.

ReRead: My Life on the Road Review

Title: My Life on the Road
Author: Gloria Steinem
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Random House

Blurb: My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria's growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality--and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women's Conference to her travels through Indian Country--a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world.

In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and "on the road" state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other.

Me: Revisiting this old favorite was such a necessary decision. It has brought me clarity and a solid foundation in navigating the new year.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Review

Title: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Author: Anthony Marra
Genre: War, Fiction
Publisher: Hogarth

Blurb: In the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbor Akhmed - a failed physician - to the bombed-out hospital, where Sonja, the one remaining doctor, treats a steady stream of wounded rebels and refugees and mourns her missing sister. Over the course of five dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonja reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal, and forgiveness that unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate. 

Me: A striking novel with astonishing prose that made me fall in love with characters in a world I'd never even known existed. 

I am the Messenger Review

Title: I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction

Blurb: protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

Me: And Zusak's done it again...my heart's in pieces, my mind's blown, my eyes are just sweating, I promise. 

FemLIT for December: Bad Feminist Review

This month for FemLIT, we visit one of the icons of contemporary feminist commentary: Roxane Gay. Here are my thoughts on her most well-known read, Bad Feminist.