On The Docket: Rosalie Wahl and North Korea (But Separately, Not Like Anna and The King, or Anything)

Welp, I (almost) finished up my whole last batch of books – all but Her Honor, which I’m taking my sweet time with. Reading about Rosalie Wahl and the First Wave Minnesotan Feminists makes me feel like a wounded Superman flying into outer space to be rejuvenated by the sun: magnificent and astonishing to behold, awesome and terrible to experience. I’m going to savor that. (Individual reviews for The Butterfly Mosque are here and here, and for Oryx and Crake here.)

I also finished that book about Lizzie Borden, and don’t plan to review it separately. All I’ll say about it here is that it was interesting, longer than it needed to be, that some sort of monster from the sea was the reason for the Borden murders, and Lizzie was a lesbian. Somewhat surprisingly for a monster story, it turned out to be my preferred bedtime reading (owing, in no small part, I’m sure, to the fact that I had it on my Kindle, so I could read with the light off and not disturb Husband).

I give it a B-. Not bad at all, really, but not particularly good, either.

I give it a B-. Not bad at all, really, but not particularly good, either.

In addition to Her Honor, I’m also reading Without You, There is No Us, by Suki Kim, recommended by one of the great readers at Kindles & Wine.

suki kim

I’m not very far in, and already completely hooked. Kim’s writing is open and direct, but leaves me feeling slightly off-center in a way I can’t quite figure out. Kim is a native of Seoul, and came to the United States in her early teens. At first I thought the off-kilter feeling might be due to the subtle strangenesses that are peculiar to the writing and speaking of a fluent, but non-native, speaker. But that’s not it; Kim’s English is flawless, effortless, and fully Americanized. No, I think it might just be the subject matter itself. North Korea is so strange, so foreign to someone like me, safely ensconced in my middle-class American life, that everything about it seems half-impossible. I’m so fascinated, that I’ll probably end up leapfrogging from this to other books about North Korea and China – I’ve got Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, and The People’s Republic of Amnesia, Tiananmen Revisited already on my Kindle, ready to go.

What else should I add to my current reading pile? I’ve got two non-fiction books, here, and I’d like to add some imagination to the mix. I’ve been on a sci-fi/fantasy kick for a little while, so something different might be nice. I’ve got a copy of Villette that’s been sitting, unread, on my shelf for a shameful number of years. Or, what about kicking off a children’s/young adult series? I could go back and re-read the books of my childhood that made me into a Reader (the Little House books, Nancy Drew, Caddie Woodlawn, The Giver, Bridge to Terabithia, The Phantom Tollbooth), and finally pick up the ones I haven’t gotten to, yet. *Ahem, Harry Potter.* (In my defense, JK Rowling makes it way more difficult to buy these fuckers than it needs to be. You have to go to a whole separate website, and set up an account, which, really, is a bridge too far, IMHO.)

What’s on your docket, dear readers?

4 comments on “On The Docket: Rosalie Wahl and North Korea (But Separately, Not Like Anna and The King, or Anything)

  1. A book I want to recommend to everyone,* with the caveat that I have not finished it yet, is Above the East China Sea, by Sarah Bird. The book is so far haunting and mystical, and I am really liking the voices that each of her characters have. (She tells the story primarily from the perspective of two teenage girls, both living in Okinawa, 60 years apart. One is an Okinawan girl who is a part of the Japanese resistance in the last parts of WW2, and the other is a part-Okinawan military brat trying to deal with her unclear roots, the death of her sister, and her overbearing military mother.

    I don’t know how it ends, but I do know I’m totally loving it right now. It’s maybe one part creepy and otherworldly (there are dead characters who narrate portions of the book) and two parts modern and this-worldly. Perfect for Fall!

    *Except maybe Amy? Amy, you might hate this book. You will either think it’s beautiful or cheesy.

  2. Amy, if you want to read Harry Potter the old-fashioned way, I have at least two copies of each of the seven books, plus the Tales of Beetle Bard. Just saying.

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