Not that I need an excuse to get lost and found in a book, but a broken elbow offers many opportunities. I think I went overboard a little. But there is not much as mouthwatering delicious as some good stories waiting for your attention.
I have enjoyed a few lately.
Susan Rosenberg true story of her 16 brutal years in prison: An American Radical: political prisoner in my own country. This story of unbelievable brutality and soaring courage will wrench your heart. If you haven’t already, it will also make you question what justice is in our country. Susan gives us a powerful look at activism, AIDs, our justice system and what we have done to human beings in prison. These atrocities have been done for you and me…in our names and with our taxes while we look the other way. Chains, torture, degradation, isolation, and so much injustice. Lucky for us, they couldn’t take away Susan’s memory and she recounts it for us. Read it. And then we must talk about prison reform.
Okay now we can move to something much lighter. We earned some fun. How about AJ Rich, The Hand That Feeds You. Turns out AJ Rich is a pseudonym for 2 authors, Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment . They wrote this in honor of their friend Katherine Russel Rich who was dying. It is a fast paced ( a tiny bit gruesome) story about what sociopaths are like and how they can charm the pants and the money off of people. But is also about our love of dogs and some hard insight into animal justice. Just like people, animals get silenced and unfairly condemned. Several years ago, the writer Katherine Russell Rich made an alarming discovery about a man she had fallen in love with. She grew suspicious when, after they had been dating for a while and he had proposed marriage, he said that he couldn’t spend the holidays with her, so she paid a hacker to get into his e mail and find out that he had proposed to a number of other woman also. This is a fast paced, witty story if you can get past the opening scene, a powerful example of situational trauma. I think this one will be a movie soon.
Moving on to Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life by Brad Willis. Okay I was a little skeptical of this one. You know the genre of somewhat full of themselves redemption story. So this guy was a high powered foreign correspondent and he includes lots of photos to prove it… the first Gulf War, Afghanistan, Columbian drug wars, Thailand sex trade. He had a fall and fractured his back but kept working as he faced increasing amounts of pain with a corresponding increase in alcohol and pain meds to compensate. Then he was diagnosed with incurable cancer. and then of course, finally, over weight and crippled and dying he discovers yoga. His yoga includes full day schedules of meditation, exercising, poses, breathing , fasting and purifying. And I don’t think it will ruin it for you if I tell you that he loses a lot of weight, cleans himself up and is cured and has now gone on to lead others through the process. ( I am trying to keep Ms. cynic reigned in here). Really, it is a good story.
And then there’s Dead Wake by Eric Larsen. Mr Larsen is an exceptional writer and he is nothing if not thorough. I started, but have not yet, finished this extensive and intricate story.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new highly hailed book, Between the World and Me is waiting for me, but if, like me, you haven’t gotten to it, try listening to one of his interviews like the one with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.
Okay, your turn. What are you reading?