I have come to the conclusion that I’m stuck in a rut. I get up in the morning at the same time, follow the same routine–right down to watching the same TV shows when I knit, and doing laundry on the same day every week. Who is this person I’ve become? What happened to the spontaneous, interesting “me” who had things to talk about? Took road trips on a moment’s notice? Read great literature? Went places at night? Oh yes–I had kids.Well.
All worth it, of course, blahblahplatitude, but I’m still boring myself to death. I need a change. After some thought, I’ve decided the easiest answer lies in what I’ve been reading. I haven’t read anything that stretched me or made me laugh or, heck, even grabbed my interest in at least six months. It’s really sad.
Lately, I’ve been chatting about books with my friend Trina on her blog, An Old Flame. Reading a couple of her posts has made me realize just how pasty-white my literary experience has been all these years. I went to college at a first-rate university, no denying that. As an English major, I read all kinds of English and American lit, and diversity of time periods I got. But racial diversity? Not so much. There was some Langston Hughes, some Maya Angelou, some James Weldon Johnson in there. But, er…regarding any other cultures? Well, let’s just say that if the Leatherstocking Tales were in any way representative of the Native American experience, then I’m Natty Bumpo. (Also, that is some CRAPPY excuse for literature. Whew.)
Since then, I’ve read plenty of Chinese- and Japanese-American lit, but no actual Asian literature, and I find myself lately fascinated with India. There must be some good Indian authors out there, no? But how to go about finding them? I think I’m headed on a quest.
Trina’s pointed me in the direction of Africa, and Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, who wrote Things Fall Apart, which is my next to-read book. I’ve also got The Color Purple on my list. I really don’t know how I’ve managed to miss that one all these years. I’m going to go back and pick up Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, as well. I started it, but right on the heels of another book (poorly written) that had coincidentally been about exactly the same subject, so I put Balzac aside. Written by a Chinese author, however, and highly recommended, I think its time has come.
Thus begins my multicultural literary experience. If anyone has any good recommendations, please feel free to pass them along!