Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Three For Feburary Reading
So it's the middle of February. It seems like I so often forget what month it is until I'm in the middle of it. Not that I forgot that it was February; but I did forget that it's Black History Month. And while my ancestry is Euro-American through and through, I have this thing about other peoples' cultures - that is, I love them. I love trying to see the world through someone else's eyes, and I've found the most fun way to do that is to celebrate with them. From the Lunar New Year to Los Dias de los Muertos to Rosh Hashanah, I love love LOVE the reasons that people celebrate.
So. Black History Month. Is February. And so, in celebration, I offer recommendation of these three books I have read and loved.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I know, everyone's probably read this one. But it was probably required reading for some high school or college class, and has probably been long forgotten. Read it again! This time just because you want to. There is so much experience in this book that is so different from mine, I find something new to learn every time I read it.
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. A memoir of the author's childhood in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). While I drank up every page of this book, I have to say right out, I hesitate to recommend it to people in general. It's unsentimental and unapologetic, often even raw, and there is most certainly some, um ... "colorful" language. If you are a reader who gets distracted by such details, this is probably not the book for you. I loved the honest, often funny, sometimes poignant remembrance of a time and a place that is forever lost to me, but never ever to the people who lived in it.
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton. This one's about South Africa, a place I feel like I have had a little piece of in my heart ever since my brother served as a missionary there in the mid-1980's. And it's about apartheid. And it's about a man and his son. And it's about hope. And courage. And love. Just thinking about this book makes me want to pick it up and read it again and again.
My brother said of his two years in South Africa, that Africa is a place that never leaves you, it gets under your skin and just stays there, and there is always an itch to go back. These books, in their way, are a little like that.