Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Here's a new edition of Literary Links for your perusal. I've been collecting all these stories to share with you for what seems like weeks now. I had originally planned to post this last week but it seems I've fallen behind. I've also fallen behind on my TBR pile. I've been reading (and rereading) the same book now for the past month. It seems my focus isn't what it once was, and the terrible news cycle these days seem to be fighting for my attention. I find myself scrolling through news sites for updates rather than picking up the Fredrik Backman. (Man Called Ove is the aforementioned book collecting dust on my side table). Anyone else feeling this way?
It's not surprising, there's a lot on our collective minds: worry, fear, frustration, the list goes on. In light of the recent senseless violent attacks in America I found myself one night looking to Michael Moore's commentary on social media. He said something that stayed with me. He asked, in context of post-election and hope on the horizon for managing the pandemic, if this is life going back to normal? Meaning, are these attacks just life going back to normal? Maybe America needs a new normal. But how to get there? This new book caught my eye as it asks the question: How America became so Violent?
And it's not just what's happening next door that concerns me, but sometimes right under my nose. I learned recently of the mental anguish and struggles a few friends of mine, both regionally and a bit further down the 400, have been experiencing this past year due to anti-Asian slurs and verbal attacks. Doing simple errands now cause high anxiety and logistical planning, their mental health has taken a toll. Keeping it a secret, withdrawing, explaining their existence in the grocery line, all ways to cope with the racism they were facing. I was floored. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Was this really happening in our hospitals, our schools, our communities? I felt sick. It made me mad. I still don't know what to do, but talking about it helps. In schools the discussion around bullying focuses on the bully, the bystander, and the upstander - the person who stands up to the bully with courage and compassion. May we all inspire to be upstanders.
The month of May is Asian Heritage Month.
Here's an Asian-Canadian reading list from The Toronto Public Library:
And here's an Asian-American reading list
It's not all doom and gloom, and I find myself often searching for the heartfelt and hopeful. John Cena, a wrestler known for his uplifting messages on Twitter, has a new pick-me-up book out called Be A Work in Progress: And Other Things I'd Like to Tell My Younger Self. He credits the South Korean boy band, BTS, for inspiring him to embrace his vulnerability and embrace self-love.
I found myself reading certain books this past year that in previous years I may have overlooked. Untamed is one example. I devoured it. It resonated for me. I believe there is a time and place for books in your life. I also read a lot of classics this year, or contemporary classics - books that are more than 20-25 years old. I stayed away from newer books. I stayed away from books about the Spanish Flu. I avoided contemporary American books. We find comfort in books, and for some, rereading a favourite book falls into that category. Author Claire Cameron writes about reading the Canadian classic Bear three times during her life, each at pivotal transitional times, and how it changed with each reading.
Have you heard about BookTok? Neither did I, until recently. If you're curious, I suggest reading this.
Were you always a reader? Were you raised a reader?
Reading can offer connections. I was happy to come across this story. Cincinnati Police officers are hoping to build positive relationships with their community by reading books to kids. Hopeful.
And I had so many more links to share, but I think I'm going to end it here instead with this hilarious Twitter feed where people reveal their favourite damning literary critiques of classic literature.
Ok, one more, in case you're dreaming of faraway locales to travel to once we can...soon.
Have a great week.