Thoughts/Notes:I read Jazz in college and fell in love with Morrison's prose. I've been wanting to read more of her work since then, so I recently picked up Beloved. Inadverdently had the book spoiled for me while reading Belonging. Rating pending (but I'm enjoying it so far).
The Wretched of the Earth
Thoughts/Notes:Reading this for my book club this month (Nov '22).
A Wizard of Earthsea
Author:Ursula K. Le Guin
Belonging: A Culture of Place
Thoughts/Notes:Okay, so - I've read All About Love (my copy is well worn and well read). Arguably her most popular title, but I wanted to try reading more from her, something not as well known. I settled on Belonging. I didn't anticipate that it would hit so close to home.
hooks writes as a rural Kentucky transplant that left home to pursue higher education in the city: "I was being forced to leave... my native place because it would not allow me to grow, to be fully self-actualized." I left my home state for the same reason. In my mind I always likened it to a plant wilting in depleted soil. There was nothing more that Georgia could offer me. My moving away from home was a repotting, if you will. But Belonging is largely a book about hook's homecoming: "...we realized, as we made lives elsewhere, that this was the landscape... that most nourished our spirit." hooks is also writing as a black queer woman: the book deals in depth with the cultural and spiritual wounds inflicted by racism, segregation, and what she refers to as "dominator culture" (ie white supremacy). She also discusses at length issues of landownership, the importance of communion with the earth and reclamation of agrarian practices, especially as it concerns black americans. My favorite essay was Inspired Eccentrincity, about hooks' maternal grandparents. I found myself entranced with the portraits she painted of them, the world they inhabited together.
Overall, a valuable and thought-provoking read. Being born and raised in the southern US, I think it's important to consume histories such as this. And it's also forced me to think about my own "exile", the circumstances of my leaving, and where I stand right now. But that's all stuff better kept for a journal entry.
Author:Edwin A. Abbott
Thoughts/Notes:This one I read for a little book club I'm in with some friends. I have to say, the premise (and execution) is funny: what if we were all flat and there were only 2 dimensions...? Interesting to see how Abbott fleshes that premise out. A short read that functions as a satirical commentary/critcism on victorian society.
The Woman of the Dunes
Genre(s):fiction, magical realism
Thoughts/Notes:I was craving some magical realism a lá the Murakami I loved reading in high school. Found this title and and the premise was interesting enough so I picked it up. Ultimately unremarkable. Heterosexual.
Temple of the Golden Pavillion
Thoughts/Notes:This one I picked up at the recommendation of a friend after learning about Yukio Mishima (google him, give him a read). This work in particular is based on a real event. The interest in this work (and in Mishima in general) lies in the exploration of a questionable guy, a fucked up guy. A guy with issues. But the thing is, guys like that are a dime a dozen. From chapter seven: "I do not want to labor my point." Buddy, consider it labored. If labor laws were relevant here, they'd be broken by now. I get it, you have psychosexual issues that you've projected onto a shrine. Please just get to the part were you burn the damn thing down!!
Genre(s):fiction, sci fi, satire
Thoughts/Notes:"No damn cat, and no damn cradle."
Genre(s):fiction, sci fi, satire, dark comedy
Thoughts/Notes:"And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.
So she was turned to a pillar of salt. So it goes."
The Way of Tenderness
Author:Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Thoughts/Notes:Bought this book from my local metaphysical store when I first moved into my current place. I had trouble with the concept of “Multiplicity in Oneness” and it will probably take another reading for me to grasp. The author is a zen buddhist priest and I’m completely unfamiliar with religion and spirituality, so I think that contributed to my confusion. But the concept of liberation through tenderness is one I understand and very much like.
Some quotes that I liked:
"We have bodies so that we can engage in life... If the body can withstand the arising and ceasing of pain and suffering, there is no need to transcend it. We need to transcend, instead, our belief that spirituality does not include the body."
"The complete experience of tenderness is to acknowledge that within the seamless life shared between us, we cannot parcel out hate to some without affecting the whole of humanity."
"We are all a part of the collective injury of hatred."
"Might our woundedness be transformed from a persistent soreness into liberated tenderness?"