Six bookish links for the week:
But first! Kindle editions of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther are on sale today. Get the first volume free and pick up the next two for $0.99. (My review of volume one will be posted soon.) Now, on to the links…
by Nelson Mandela, 1994
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
“The bold man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
by Ali Smith, 2017
Winter is the second book in Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet, and I excitedly picked up my hold from the library the same week it was published. Following the same style of writing as Autumn, Winter is a meandering tale that ponders the meaning of familial connections and art. In her 70s, Sophia is mildly disconcerted to see a head floating about and following her throughout her house. She is a prim sort of woman, taking pride in her otherwise perfect vision and her standing as a “Corinthian account holder” at her bank. Things start to unravel when the head will simply not go away and a Christmas dinner forces Sophia to confront her feelings about long-estranged members of her family.
Six bookish links for the week:
by Madeleine L’Engle, 1973
narrated by Jennifer Ehle
This is the book that taught me the word “mitochondria”!
In this second installment of the Time Quintet, we find Meg Murry worried about her younger brother Charles Wallace. He’s being bullied at school over his intelligence and his penchant for speaking about complex subjects like an adult. At home, Charles Wallace is seeing dragons in their back yard, and he and Meg discover some unusual feathers. Meanwhile, Charles Wallace appears to be getting sicker and sicker, suffering from some sort of malady that affects his breathing. Their microbiologist mother believes it may be a disorder of his mitochondria and their farandolae. Later, Meg teams up with Calvin O’Keefe, and the two engage in a cosmic battle involving good and evil and a Fantastic Voyage-like journey inside Charles Wallace to save his life.
by Celeste Ng, 2017
I loved Everything I Never Told You, so I was supremely excited to get my hands on Celeste Ng’s second novel. Like her debut, Little Fires Everywhere focuses on suburban life, both the promise that it holds and the prison that it can become. Elena Richardson has a seemingly idyllic life with her husband Bill in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Bill is a successful attorney, Elena is a respected local journalist, and their four high school-aged children – Lexie, Trip, Moody, and Izzy – complete this portrait of a perfect American family. Well, except for Izzy who, at the beginning of the novel, has set fires in each of the bedrooms of the Richardson home. Izzy has always been Mrs. Richardson’s greatest struggle and she will be her ultimate undoing.
by Paul Kalanithi, 2016
There has been an enormous amount of press surrounding neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi’s memoir of his terminal cancer diagnosis at the age of thirty-six. Making the press even more poignant is the knowledge that the book was published after Kalanithi’s death. This wasn’t a memoir from someone writing years later, who looked death in the face and vowed to beat it. This was from a person who looked death in the face and did the only thing they could: accepted it. It’s not by any means an easy topic to grapple with, but Kalanithi’s clear, direct writing renders this difficult journey one that should not be missed.