Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: A Week With the Poor in Mexico and India






What I Read Last Week





     I can't wait to tell you about the two books I read last week. 

     It was one of those wonderful serendipitous times where you read two similar books in one week and can't stop thinking about the connections between the two. The Distance Between Us is a memoir by writer Reyna Grande. Grande tells the story of her childhood in Mexico, as her father illegally enters the US for work; as her mother follows him after years in which he does not return; as Grande's grandmother reluctantly raises Grande and her siblings; as her mother learns her father has a girlfriend in the US and bitterly returns to Mexico; as Grande's mother leaves with a new boyfriend and again abandons the children; as Grande's other, poorer grandmother takes in the children; as her father returns for Grande's siblings and reluctantly agrees to take Grande as well; and as Grande and her siblings adjust to life in the US. The Distance Between Us is one of the most powerful stories I've read this year. I'm still thinking about Grande's poverty in Mexico, about her father's abandonment of the family, and about the difference between Grande's eager embrace of the opportunities available in America and the faltering of her siblings. It's a beautiful, heart-crushing story of gain and loss. At what cost do we leave our home and family? 

     I also read The Village By the Sea by Anita Desai. The family in Village By the Sea is deeply poor in India. The father, like the father in Distance Between Us, mentally and emotionally retreats from the family through alcoholism. The mother mentally and emotionally retreats from the family through illness. Like Distance Between Us, the children are left to fend for themselves for the most part, with some taking on work and some caring for the other children. Village By the Sea has a child audience, so the pain of poverty is often glossed over, and the story is fiction so the author is able to bring about a magical happy ending. I think these things weakened the story for me as a reader. I was nevertheless taken with the details of life in a small poor village in India.

     Poverty is such a foreign idea to many of us here in the US. I feel like my heart has expanded with my reading this week.



What Arrived Last Week


      It was another great week at my mailbox. I've been reading Walk in the Woods slowly (it's such a good story) but now I'm eager to finish and dig into some of the books that have just arrived.
                   



What are you reading today?!








What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week.  It is now being hosted here.

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! As part of this weekly meme Book Journey loves to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. 

21 comments:

  1. Your two books about poverty sound sooo good. I could totally engage in these books. Thanks for sharing...and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. It seems to give me compassion for others when I read widely.

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  2. The distance Between Us sounds so good. Is it fiction or nonfiction? It sounds a little like THE SAME SKY which we read for book club earlier this year but none of us thought it was that well done.

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  3. It's amazing when you read a really great memoir and realize how fortunate your life actually is.

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  4. Looks like you read two great books this week, with several exciting ones on the way!

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  5. Very interesting book choices this week.

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    1. Odd how sometimes your books line up, thematically speaking.

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  6. Poverty is something far from most of our minds.

    ENJOY your reading week this week, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you get to read Three Story House.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

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    1. It's all around us, yet we don't want to see it.

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  7. "one of the most powerful stories I've read this year" ... wow, putting it straight on my wishlist. Have a great week and happy reading :)

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  8. These both sound very good. I love when consecutive books have a common theme... especially when you don't plan it that way!

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  9. I love synchronicity like that- it adds much to the experience of both. The Distance Between Us sounds intriguing.

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  10. I hadn't heard of either of those books, but they both sound like great reads! I'm going to have to put them on my list!

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  11. I love it when I read books that have connections. It adds so much to both books. Glad you had that experience this week!

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  12. Now I regret not reading The Distance Between Us when I owned a copy! I have The Art of Memoir too. Most likely, you'll get to it before me. I hope you enjoy it. Happy reading.

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  13. I do love it when books I read close together have something in common, however small. Your books sound great. I love the cover of The Library at Mount Char as well. Enjoy your week!

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  14. The Mary Kerr book would be very interesting

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