In Palo Atlo, a man deals with the fact that his wife is paralyzed from the waist down due to a rare condition called Guillian-Barre syndrome. She listens to Nirvana day in and day out and he talks to his digital version of the recently assassinated president as they navigate the sorrow and grief that comes along with her condition.
In Lake Charles, Indiana, a UPS driver goes about his normal deliveries carrying along his two and half year old son who was left in his van after hurricane Katrina and hurricane Rita left the city in ruins. They work, eat, and sleep in the UPS van as Nonc tries to find Geranimo’s mother and discover what their lives will look like post-hurricane.
In current day Berlin, the prior warden of a Stasi prison thinks about his past: Still living in the staff homes close to the prison that now acts as a tourist location, Hans ponders the conditions of the prison and whether he and his staff were as bad as all the now-released inmates claim they were.
These short stories (along with three others) will have you thinking about life and all its players in a completely different light.
I am a firm believer that a writer whose work helps you to see life from a completely different perspective is a fine writer indeed. This collection of short stories from Adam Johnson is truly remarkable. His characters are often on the fringes of society, but Johnson writes in such a way that I kept thinking about how I most often judge before considering why a person might be the way they are and do the things they do. This book was chosen to be the 2015 National Book Award winner and Johnson’s previous novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 (just added to my reading list). I am looking forward to reading more of his work and hoping that they are as great as this beautiful collection of short stories.
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Over the past months, I've learned that I have a lot to learn concerning the history of our country and the issues of systemic racism. I've recognized that I, too, have biases that I was unaware of. Waking up to this reality has felt a little like grieving or at least going through the grief process. It hit me hard in the beginning and I was sad and angry. Then I didn't know what to do with the pain of it and was overwhelmed by it all. And now I'm accepting the fact that I have a lot of work to do and that this is a marathon, not a sprint...
"For me, becoming isn't about arriving somewhere and achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn't end. I became a mother, but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with another person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are moments still when I feel insecure and unheard. It's all a process, steps...
Have you heard??? I'm hosting a COVID-19 Reading Challenge and I want you to join me!! Click here to get a printable copy of the challenge. Feel free to email it to a friend and invite them to join as well. Below you'll find the categories plus book suggestions!