Summer Reading

Oh summer reading, that thing that I dream about doing when it’s not summer. I think about the stack of books I’ll get to post on Instagram and be like those people who are like- yeah NBD, here’s all the books I’m reading this weekend. This weekend. I don’t know who these people are but they’re 1. Childless and 2. Liars. 

Here’s what I’ve read this summer: 

-180 pages of Obama’s latest book, A Promised Land. Then the library casually mentions that they’re considering the book “lost” and that if I don’t bring it back, I’ll owe them $45 and I won’t be able to use the library anymore. I think they think this is a good alternative to the old-fashioned late fees, but the mind games are way worse IMO. I returned the book and they pretended like nothing ever happened. Am I in an abusive relationship with the library? Maybe. (PS- in case the library is listening, I will love you forever, you pillar of civilization and real-life sliver of utopia.). I only got it from the library because the copy my sister got me from Amazon ended up being a weird bad-quality photocopy bootleg of the actual book. I only figured that out because I posted about it on Instagram BECAUSE CREDIT. I took a selfie with it, posted it, searched my own hashtag and saw that everybody else’s books were long and narrow, not short and stout like mine.

If you want to buy a teapot-shaped-bootleg copy of his book for $31.99 (instead of the actual book for $17.99), it’s the second search result on Amazon. I’m not going to link it here, because I don’t want to encourage/condone the buying/selling bootlegs, but the title of the listing is “By Barack Obama A Promised Land Hardcover 17 Nov 2020.” It doesn’t have a dust jacket- it’s just like a squished photocopy of the cover printed on adhesive paper and attached to the cardboard. I feel like I might be okay reading a bootleg copy of like a YA novel but I just can’t bring myself to do it for the biography of someone who I look up to mainly for holding to his Values. I contacted Amazon about it and they were like “OK, thanks for letting us know” which translates to “We don’t care” since it’s still listed. I’ll finish it someday… I’ll also have the bootleg copy forever because I don’t want to give it away and be partially responsible for someone else reading a bootleg copy. I have some dense psychological layers with this thing… moving on… 

(Here they are side-by-side… the bootleg and the library copy- bad quality image bc this is a screenshot of the picture I took because my phone doesn’t have enough storage to bring back the original image file in order for me to email it to myself to add to my blog- because I’m from the past, apparently.)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This was my pick for book club. Holy crow. I was aware of this book like a decade ago when it came out and it’s been on my mental list of “Books I should stop looking at my phone and read sometime.” Stop looking at your phone and read this book. It’s about how all of cellular biology and vaccine technology was made possible because of some cancerous cells that came from Henrietta Lacks and her family didn’t know anything about it until 20+ years later (all the while, of course, they were never compensated for anything and all struggled to get medical care themselves- AND John Hopkins subjected them to testing because of it and were misleading about their reasons). It’s yet another thing you should read if you’ve grown up privileged bc it will have been left out of your historical education. 

Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes. This was an emotional rollercoaster for me… I read it with Spotify nearby to listen to all the random references to songs I wasn’t familiar with (and also songs I was very familiar with). Difficult to read about how Petty helped produce new work from older artists he’d grown up with (like Del Shannon and Roy Orbison)- when his own sunset career wouldn’t happen. And really difficult to read about how he’d overcome a big drug addiction only to die of an overdose 2 years after the book was published. Warren Zanes wrote a follow-up article in the Rolling Stone a year after Petty died- and it was all about coffee for some reason. Side note- if my dad had been alive, he would have gone through as many steps as possible to get his coffee made the same way. 

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. Currently in the middle of this one. It was a recommendation from a communication coach I’d been in touch with over the course of the school year who specifically helps people be more present when speaking since over 90% of people or so report that their mind “goes blank” when speaking “off the cuff.” The first couple chapters are about the internal monologue that’s constantly happening in your head- which gives me lots of thoughts, specifically about how there are some people who report not having that monologue. Also some thoughts about whether or not language in general limits our experience omg but maybe that will be another post… 

Natural Language Acquisition on the Autism Spectrum: The Journey from Echolalia to Self-Generated Language by Marge Blanc. Another post awaits- but I do want to at the very least make sure to note that echolalia is part of language development for autistic people and trying to train it out or punish it out of a person directly inhibits their language development so STOP and also, UGH. 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I have a week until book club to read it and I haven’t started… you think I’ll make it?? We’ll see… 

Here’s a book stack for Instagram brought to you by Kix:

I’ve written this post while fending off my kids demanding screen time and me saying “no” and defending my own screen time by saying “I’M WRITING. I’M CREATING CONTENT INSTEAD OF PASSIVELY CONSUMING MEDIA.” I told my son if he wanted to hand write his own story and then come type it up, he could. So that’s why he’s in the background of the picture. 

Here’s what he wrote: 

“Cars tv… I love cars cars are cool I love cars so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo* (eleven lines of o’s have been omitted) 

much cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I also had to tell him “Stop licking chairs.” 

And then I had to ask my husband to take a break from his work so I could finish a blog post. I didn’t even have the mental bandwidth to figure out how to get two images to post side-by-side. Here’s a reminder for when I berate myself for not having a long detailed blog with regular content. And not getting through the entire stack of books (there are another four that I put on my TBR list for this summer).

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