May. 16th, 2017

sarahmichigan: (reading)
Book #23 was "The sound the stars make rushing through the sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft," edited and with historical introduction by Robert Dale Parker. My regular readers know that I try to make sure my reading list each year is diverse and includes authors of color. I was especially interested a few years back in adding authors who are not only Native American but are from the Great Lakes region specifically, since that's where I live and it's the Native culture I'm most familiar with. This book is a gem in that regard: the complete writings of the first known American Indian literary writer, who was raised in Sault Ste. Marie. JJS was the daughter of an American Indian - specifically Ojibwe - mother and an Irish-American father, married to Henry Schoolcraft, an early Michigan politician. writing in the early 1800s, approximately around the same time the Bronte sisters were writing their novels, maybe a little earlier. Robert Dale Parker provides an 80-ish page introduction that includes a mini-biography of JJS and her family and some analysis of her place in literary history. To be honest, I liked the mini-biography and the folk stories she translated from Ojibwe better than most of her poetry. A lot of the verse is rhyming doggerel, though I really liked a handful of her poems, including "To the Pine Tree" and a couple poems she wrote about her son William who died when he was a toddler. Also, it's not every day you run across a poem written to console a family who has lost a son to cannibalism! This was an interesting chapter in history and I'm really glad I read it.

Book #24 was "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I wasn't a little hesitant about this book, worried it was a "classic" that you were supposed to admire but that might not be that interesting to read. I was pleasantly surprised at what a fun read this was. It has a lot of heavy themes, such as betrayal, and finding love again when you're elderly and think you're done with that part of life, but it is infused with humor, wonderful descriptions of animals, and a deep understanding of human nature. I really liked this story of Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza, two young lovers whose romance is ended before it really takes off. She marries a wealthy doctor instead of the poor poet, but he pines for her his whole life. Their lives intersect again after they are both very old and Fermina's husband has died. I ended up enjoying this a great deal and would like to read more by Garcia Marquez.

The other books I've read so far this year: )

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