Here are some books I finished in November going into December. I can’t believe I’ve gone through an entire year reading at least 21 minutes per day! Even after this year is over, I can’t imagine a day when I am NOT reading something.
Something Wild by Hanna Halperin
“You talk about my family like we’re characters on a TV show. My hot stepmom. My prick dad. My pathetic mess of a mother. And to make assumptions about me. Just because I’m not spilling guts and crying my eyes out doesn’t mean I’m not feeling things. Why are you here? If you’re here to judge us and make yourselves feel better — that this isn’t your fault — you should go.”Hanna Halperin, Something Wild
This book took my soul for a wild ride. I wanted to read this book cover-to-cover in one night, but I told myself I have work the following morning so I need to sleep at a reasonable time. I can tell Halperin has a background working with women experiencing domestic violence.
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this. But there are so many deserving of retribution…and there is so little time.Alan Moore, Watchmen
I’ve heard about Watchmen the graphic novel when I was in university. I never got around reading it until now. I’ve seen the movie and it does follow the graphic novel well for a 2.5-hour theatrical format. If you’re looking for a feel-good-rah-rah-rah Marvel superhero, this isn’t it — there’s moral ambiguity. The graphic novel is very cerebral and it’s a lot to absorb — not something I could read in one sitting because there was a lot symbolism around human nature and American culture.
Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian
“Maybe that is why I hate here,” she says.
“Here?” he asks.
“The nursing home. It’s everywhere. They won’t let you forget it. It’s in the music, the damn sculpture in the garden, in schools and living rooms. You can’t open a book or sip a cup of coffee without confronting it.”
“Confronting what?” Orhan asks.
“The past.” The word comes out like an ancient curse. Everything is soaked and mired in its bitter liquid. Our young people want us to live it. They can’t get enough of it. Where did you come form? How old were you? How did you survive? They make you tell it over and over again, write it, record it, make videos. It’s exhausting,” she says. And he believes her. She looks thoroughly exhausted.
“Maybe they think it’s therapeutic,” Seda continues, “this sharing of past horrors. But not for me. I don’t want them poking their fingers into my wounds…All these years, I was praying for a scab, a hardened piece on dull skin that would cover it all up. But I’m ninety years old, and still the thing festers like an open wound in my chest.”Aline Ohanesian, Orhan’s Inheritance
I grew up in Los Angeles and I am very familiar with the Armenian community but not with the Armenian genocide in the early 20th century. When Seda shares her frustration around the younger generation’s obsession with gathering stories around the Armenian genocide, it made me think about my years working at a senior living facility. We would have university students who would pitch us projects and activities they would like to do at the senior living facility. These activities would range from tech-heavy (i.e. trying out a new app they designed for school) or it could be creative (i.e. hosting an art class) or simple (i.e. performing a Christmas concert). Storytelling was (and still is) a very popular project. I see and I agree with the appeal; storytelling is a powerful vehicle for social connections, empathy, and mental stimulation. I recalled a terrible activity proposal when a student (who I believed had good intentions) wanted to facilitate an activity where she wanted the residents to do an artistic depiction of their “most defining” life moment. We stopped her there because the “most defining” life moment could mean a traumatic moment and the above quote explains why,
Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
A simple cookbook of vegetarian cuisines. I’ve been exploring more vegetarian dishes lately due to budgeting and health reasons. I am happy to know that vegetarian dishes do not mean just salad.