Life off the Grid: A Few Summer Reads

August 12th, 2011 § 0 comments

Amber,

I loved your “Life from off the Grind” suggestions – the hallway episode of The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl cracks me up every time. I still have to finish watching Black Panther (and I blame you for my sudden interest in superhero/anime type series).

I have also been living out this summer “off the grind,” but, for half of it, was forced to live off the grid as well. No internet, iffy cell phone service. Almost gone crazy? Even now I suffer from a broken laptop and rely on the mercy of others.

I read. A lot. It’s actually been wonderful and I’ve found some treasures. So, if you’re looking for some reading material, here are three I recommend:

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

On the cover there’s a quote from USA Today, “Readers entranced by The Help will be equally riveted by Wench.” I have yet to read The Help (getting it today since we plan to blog about it), but I feel pretty confident that readers of The Help will be more greatly challenged, in addition to entranced, by Wench.

The book follows four enslaved women, one in particular, who are “mistresses” to their white masters. The primary voices (really the only) are these four black women. The book offers a nuanced and varied approach to their relationships and perspectives. It exposes not only the physical, but psychological and emotional tragedy of a system that views humans as property. Heartbreaking and compelling.

Room by Emma Donaghue

What can I say about this book? It was like watching a thriller. I couldn’t put it down. Told from the perspective of a five year old (yeah you heard me), the book is about a mother and her son held prisoner in an 11X11 foot room. The only world he has known. Hats off to the writer for her exceptional skill. I will give nothing more away.

Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd

This is the only non-fiction I’ve read this summer (I’m a big novel fan). My sister recommended it to me and I am presently in the middle of it. It is a series of letters between a father and son over the course of three years in which the father (not a Christian) asks every imaginable question about Christianity. Why is the world so full of suffering? Does God know the future? Why would an all-powerful God need prayer? Aren’t the Gospels full of contradictions?

I mean, seriously, good questions. Questions that made me go, “yeah, answer that!” So whether Christian, curious or questioning (or all three), I highly recommend this book. It doesn’t shy away from issues (the father does not hold back – “why did God not spare your mother?”); there’s no “just don’t worry about it” type of answer. It is an open and thoughtful conversation between father and son, and therefore us as readers.

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