Reading Round-up 3.3.15

March 3, 2015

As of this date I have accomplished the monumental task of reading two books from start to finish. It might seem counter- intuitive for a writer to have a problem completing the reading of a book but such is the nature of my life now. The two books read were Watershed by Percival Everett and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

Watershed – I don’t know what I think/feel about this book. I read it and continued reading it waiting for some “action” to happen.  Considering that the story involves Black Panther history as well as the Indigenous struggle at the Pine Ridge reservation, some action was bound to happen, was it not? However, whatever action did take place seemed muted by the main character, a hydrologist named Robert Hawks’ emotional disconnect. I am not yet sure whether that is an indication of the author’s talent or my response to the novel’s very understated action scenes. I will say this: at the end of the novel, after wading through various chapters being prefaced by hydrologist jargon, I felt like the author was smacking me, the reader, by stating that the prefaces were fictional. In researching the author, I discovered that he is considered a satirist or at the very least includes aspects of satire as one of his literary tropes. I’m just not sure yet whether I appreciate that or not. I shall have to read another book or two of his to figure it out.

Brown Girl Dreaming – First of all, chalk it up to my ignorance that I was surprised to find out on opening the book that it was poetry. I don’t pay as much attention as I should. That aside, from start to finish, Brown Girl Dreaming was a delight. So much so, I plan on it being the foundation of a poetry unit for my home-schooled son.

Deeper than that, however, is the strong sense of love and peace I felt upon finishing the book. In that way, it reminded me of how I felt when I finished Clare of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat. Some writers have the incredible ability to write in such a way that reading their works opens up the gentleness of the world. Considering that the world isn’t truly a gentle place, that is a remarkable achievement.

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