March was quite a busy month for me. For the past month, Hawaii has been mostly grey and rainy. I began to wish the sun would replace the gloom, but it did provide me with a good backdrop for writing. I’ve spent countless hours writing short stories and finishing applications and trying to read in the quiet moments in between. So here are a few books I’ve read recently:
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
“Perhaps that’s what all human relationships boil down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it?”
This story follows the life and coming of age of Macon “Milkman” Dead III.
Toni Morrison has such a brilliant way of making people rise from the page and become moving images in front of me. I could picture Milkman, our sheltered and flawed protagonist; the wealth obsessed father; the joyless mother; the eccentric and devoted aunt; the tragically devoted lover. I was forced to witness their struggle and feel the burn of their longing, anger, and misery. It was so utterly human in the way that people, and their choices, could be so unlikable, yet I could trace and sit with the root of all of them. There was a reason and a consequence for every action– some that even span generations.
The magical realism in this book weaved through the story in such an interesting way. I began with endless questions that I couldn’t comprehend coherent answers to, but by the end I was wrapped in the intricacy of all the threads coming together– mysteriously and irresistibly coming together.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”
I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this book, and by this point there are endless reviews out there. But even after everything I’ve heard about it, it met my expectations. I felt so deeply for the characters in this novel, even the main character, Amir, who I thought was mostly unlikable until the end. The story veered in ways I didn’t expect and tugged at my heart like it was a kite on a string.
Personally, I liked Hosseini’s AThousand Splendid Suns more, but this book is absolutely still worth the read.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
The first word that comes to mind with this book is interesting. It was so genuinely interesting. This story is a first-person tale told by Christopher, a clever, brave boy with autism who wakes up one night to find his neighbor’s dog murdered on his front lawn. But who killed Wellington? This mystery is the catalyst for his account of his detective work (or, as his father would say, being in other people’s business). However, as he draws closer to the truth, he discovers more about his personal life than he expected.
While reading, I was transported back to high school when I read Catcher in the Rye for the first time. This book, told by such a blunt, honest boy with such a particular voice, reminded me of the feeling Catcher in the Rye gave me. I felt as though I was gaining a special, intimate look into a mind whose perspective I may never have imagined otherwise. To Christopher, the world has a precise order, words are always literal, and prime numbers are the best ones. I enjoyed being on an investigative journey with a character that is so naturally devoted to truth.