What I’m Reading: Beyond the List

It’s been a while, so I’m playing catch-up.

Finished up with Misty Copeland’s memoir as news of Prince’s death hit the airwaves. He was just as much her muse and she was his. There’s a wonderful video where they performed The Beautiful Ones. Prince is probably the only person in the world who loved purple more than me. One evening I hopped on the subway train and sat next to an adolescent Latina. As soon as I pulled the book out of my bag, she said, “I’ve read that book! I hope to be a ballerina one day!” And I said, “Well, I hope to see you perform on stage one day!”

And, speaking of young ladies, the thought occurred to me that maybe I should buy the Misty Copeland Barbie dolls for when my granddaughter is comes of age. (As of this writing, the doll is on backorder.) Along with the one for Ava DuVernay. And I should see Ms. Copeland perform in person. Get my hands on a ticket to ABT.

Books on Film: The May 1 edition of the New York Times Book Review had an article about Whit Stillman’s latest vehicle, Love and Friendship, both a novel and a movie. It’s based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. I’ve watched a few PBS adaptations of her work, but the last time I actually read Jane Austen was back in grade school. So I downloaded the e-book and gave it a go.

The story is a chronological series of letters from different characters, so it’s a multiple first-person narrative (whatever the technical term is for that!). I saw the movie trailer for the film, and it’s looks like a riot of a comedy. I’m not sure if I saw the humor in the story. I had to re-read it because I couldn’t pick up the relationships between the characters. I was able to sort it all out on the second read. As an adult, I’ve rarely read a book twice. The last one was Mama Day by Gloria Naylor, back in the ’80s.

Another book on the work pile…my co-worker Desmond had just finished reading America’s Hidden History by Kenneth C. Davis, which he borrowed from William, another co-worker. So William and I made a swap. I gave him Misty Copeland’s book for America’s Hidden History. I just started on the history book, but William finished up Misty Copeland’s book, which is now on Desmond’s desk. Have no idea when he’s going to read it.

And speaking of books on film, my Navy son got the chance to see The Jungle Book, and he liked it. I mentioned that I’d read the book—or at least started the book—back in grade school. There’s a lot of Oscar buzz for this film. I have yet to see the movie; but I saw one of its stars, Lupita Nyong’o, in Eclipsed on Broadway. A powerful play, and a great performance.

Also finished reading Island Beneath the Sea. Things are starting to come full circle now in the story. This book would be a great companion book to read along with Master of the Crossroads by Madison Smartt Bell. While Bell’s book which is part of a trilogy, focuses on the Haitian Revolution from the perspective of Toussaint L’Ouverture, Isabel Allende’s book deals with those who fled to Cuba and New Orleans. One can draw parallels to the revolutions and rebellions going on in countries like Syria, Libya, Egypt, and more, all with varying degrees of success—or failure, as the case may be.

And started on the next audiobook, Alan Lomax: A Biography by John Szwed. It’s time now for the summer shows in the parks season, so I figured it would be good to listen to a book about a musical figure.

In memoriam: Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, passed away on June 30th. I was just entering high school when I read his book in 1973. My best friend Yolanda and I talked about it. And Elie Wiesel passed away today. I’ve read his book, Night, as I listened to the audio. (Thanks, Professor Paul Dolan.) It was almost as if I was there. Almost, because no one but a Holocaust survivor knows what it was really like. I have a peripheral interest; I worked at a job with a Holocaust survivor, and my stepfather fought with Patton’s Black tank brigade in WWII. Both had little to say about their experience, but left me to wonder how such things can happen? And if we will ever learn the lessons of history?

So now we’re all caught up. Looks like a year where books just happen to find me, no rhyme or reason. Or so it seems…

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