To curb any depression that has been sneaking in occasionally during the pandemic, I have taken to walking in the morning. I joined my public library book club but found it difficult to find the time to sit down and read while I was already struggling to do the same for my own books. One of the librarians mentioned that she walks and listens to the audiobook. So, I tried audiobooks in the car but apparently I cannot pay enough attention to both the road and the book.
So, instead, books accompany me on walks. It’s a nice way to drown out the traffic noises on Long Island. The Libby algorithm was in my favor when I searched for audiobooks available. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me was the first title to pop on the list. Now, this book has been out for five years, during my “grad school” period of not reading. However, this book has gained popularity or at least came back to everyone’s radar recently with the Black Live Matter movements marching across the streets.
I cannot recommend this book enough especially the audiobook narrated by Coates. I don’t read much nonfiction, however, this is unlike any nonfiction. Toni Morrison praised the book. Well, if Morrison loved it, I don’t see why the rest of us won’t!
Coates’s book is a letter to his teenage son with an underlining theme of the black body throughout history. Coates writes about national history and events through the stories of his life and memory. And as any person recalling memories to make sense of the world, Coates expresses his confusion and continuing process to makes sense of his attitude and actions. He does not sugar coat his stories or opinions for his son nor the readers.
For drink pairings, I would pair this with a cold brew coffee. A refreshing and caffeinated drink to keep you cool these last few weeks of summer while awake during the long days of remote work.
We have all been in that funk, when we stop reading. There is no shame in it. Go ahead, raise your hands how many of us are in a reading funk. I’m currently there now as I read Beloved by Toni Morrison (which is amazing btw). One reason for my pause on reading is because it’s too hot. It’s too hot to read in the living room, too hot to read outside, and too hot to read in the bath. I’ve gone back and forth in my mind, is the heat a good enough reason to stop reading. Well, yes.
The Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. While America was focused on the current COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism and police brutality continued to murder Black men and women. The morning after the march in Seattle in response to George Floyd’s murder, I was reading Jane Eyre with an incredible sense of guilt. It wasn’t just my white privilege guilt it was also the guilt of reading an even more white privileged author and fictional character.
I read a lot of books and I like to think that I am a fast reader. However, this book proved me wrong. It took me about two months to finish this book, over three hundred pages! I’ve read long books before, mostly academic which makes them more skim-able. The past two months of reading this book has taught me that fiction books are harder to skim, at least for me.
I’ll work on my puns but for now a new book needs a new drink! And yes, I am one of those heathens that reads two books at once (maniacal laugh).
While I was reading Carrie by Stephen King and enjoying delicious Bloody Marys, I started reading Solaris by Stanisław Lem. Since this book recommendation is not from Tim Federle list, I was on my own for pairing a cocktail.
This week’s literary cocktail is a Sea Breeze for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, another feature from Tim Federle’s book Tequila Mockingbird.
Another summer cocktail in February, wow, do I know how to pick ‘em?! Luckily, with global warming making February in the upper 50’s and rainy, it isn’t hard to imagine it’s cool enough to enjoy a sea breeze. I really chose this cocktail because I already have cranberry juice from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that needed to be used up and I wanted to read the book (win win). While the book is very long and can take a while to get into, it’s easy to have more than one sea breeze.
When I was in high school, my mom and I were in a mother-daughter book club. One of the books we read was about a young girl who joined the wrestling team. It was written by a man and the absolute worst book I’ve ever read. He had no clue what it was like to be a teenager and had the audacity to write about her period. After reading such an atrocity of a book, I vowed never to read a book with a female protagonist written by a man. And I did pretty well up until now.
If the title wasn’t a big enough hint, the drink and book pairing this time is Bloody Mary with Stephen King’s first book, Carrie. I’ve read Carrie recently as my first introduction to Stephen King’s writing (like most horror fans, I’ve only seen the movies) but I’m excited to read it again!
I always like to read a little background on a book or author before I sink my teeth into their work. As a good researcher, I looked to Wikipedia for some quick insight into Kesey’s influence and motivation to write One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. According to Wiki, Kesey had worked at a Veteran’s hospital while in college and much of his influence on the book came from his conversations with the patients (and his own imagination under hallucinogenic drugs).