Cruel Summer

As I had mentioned before, I had a perfect summer reading plan: adventure novels intermixed with classics.  As I was going down this road, literarily speaking, I took a sharp right turn and decided to go off-roading.  The books I have on my Kindle are so far off the beaten path for my reading tastes, it even took me by surprise.

My heart, in a way, was beaten up a few weeks ago (no worries, The General and I are fine) — while I’d rather not get into the gory details of the proverbial “thorn in my side,” I’m struggling.  And with these struggles, I’ve decided to read about other women who are also struggling against the universe.

My 1st read is actually a classic, “Anna Karenina,” by Leo Tolstoy.  Reading Tolstoy is very much akin to drinking high quality vodka straight: small sips, easy does it.  Heavy, heavy stuff.  I’m probably missing most of the important philosophical content, but I’m doing my best to read between the lines.  It’s a very long book and while I know nothing about it, it was free on Amazon — so far it seems to deal with adultery and one’s own question of “What is right and wrong?  And how do I personally define those?”  I’m 10 chapters in, and this Anna Karenina character hasn’t even shown up yet.  I have no idea where the story is going, characters keep changing and it’s all rising action.  Also, it’s translated from Russian, so everyone has these long crazy Russian names and it’s hard to keep track of everyone. But it’s good stuff.  I forgot how much I love literature.

The other book is “Motherhoodwinked” by Anne-Marie Scully.  It’s her memoir of her struggles with infertility.  I’ve known many people who have walked this road and I have no idea about any of it.  I hope to glean some knowledge from this.  And she’s from Dublin.  Love, love that city!

The last book is “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  Written by Herself” by Harriet Jacobs.  I was drawn to this story because she is from Edenton, NC — about 4 hours north from Wilmington.  Growing up in Illinois, slavery was as real to me as communism.  It’s in another land, so long ago, so far removed from my own little world.  Now that I live in south proper, it’s different.  I enjoyed a bowl of ice cream downtown last night right next to where they used to buy and sell human beings 150 years ago.  Crazy.  One of my favorite classes in college was the Antebellum Theatre, which explored much of the black experience in theatre and life pre and post Civil War.  It made such an impression on me because it never dawned on me half  of the stuff that happened — I grew up in a lilly white cornfield.  It really opened my eyes and mind.  I think this book may be hard to read at points (she suffered much abuse) and I almost didn’t download it — but I read the introduction she wrote and was so drawn into it that I’m having a hard time not reading this book.  Right now.

So much for light summer reading.  But I look forward to sitting on my back deck reading by oil lamp.

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One thought on “Cruel Summer

  1. Pingback: The General’s Bed & Breakfast – Welcoming Friends, Family, and Tropical Cyclones since 2010 | stories from the waves

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