Recent Reads that Resonated with me and Helped me to Travel Vicariously

I am happy like a pig in dung when I have a good book in my hand or on my Kindle. I dive in and lose myself in other times and spaces for hours. Reading is just so wonderful, to take you away from the present into other worlds. It is just so cleansing.

This post is all stream of consciousness but why not, since this is a big part of many books that I consume.

2020 is the year when my travels came to halt and I gained new appreciation for travelling vicariously through the books I read, what I watch and things of that nature. I read quite an eclectic mix of stuff as is evident in the picture above.

I read Boyhood by Coetzee this year because I selected it as a new text to teach my students. It transports the reader into the experience of young Coetzee struggling to find his identity in the context of racial divisions in South Africa. It is rich with visual and emotional imagery and speaks to the internal conflicts that many of us find, with trying to know who we are in while in different places. I read Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime next. This book is also engaging and sheds light on some aspects of South Africa that Coetzee did not delve into. It was interesting to juxtapose the experience from these two males who write about their childhood in the same country. They have far more differences than similarities though. Both books are rich though and shows the resilience of us human beings. They are also heavy in many sections but worth reading.

The Life of Rebecca Jones is set in rural Wales during the early to late 20th century. I came upon this when looking for a book to add to those we explore in my course. It is a delightful read and the plot twist made me chuckle. I could see bits of myself in the main character and again her story line pulled at my heart strings in some places. I teach it along with From Harvey River by the Jamaican Lorna Goodison. Every Jamaican should really read this book. I love how she weaves Patois into different sections to make it that more authentic. It hints at some important historical happenings in Jamaica too and shows the strength of the extended family structure. Of course it is beautifully written and interspersed with proverbs, poems and songs from the Jamaican culture.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison is just gripping. It took me back to darker times in the American south and showcase the characters so realistically. I really felt their struggles and started feeling sorry for the women, who all were curtailed in some way in the society. I enjoy reading her books but they evoke some strong emotions because they often deal with slavery or early post slavery injustices. They are heavy.

Notwithstanding the fact that these books deal with some less than pleasant happenings in the past, I enjoyed going to these places vicariously. It is good to get away from my reality and see life through other perspectives, in other time periods. Anyway I have some lighter reads to get to on my Kindle for the winter break. These will balance out the above.

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