Books Read: November 2020

Not too much read this month because I read a trilogy and am now in the middle of a long novel. And, to be honest, I’ve been reading a lot of articles online, thinking through them while knitting, and so books took a bit of a back seat. So it goes with the ebb and flow of life. I also spent a lot of time with the Oankali and Lilith, slowly reading, thinking, savoring.

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

I really enjoyed the first volume of this series and the second picks up right where it leaves off. Satrapi is in Vienna and trying to figure out how she fits in there, not knowing German, but speaking English and French while attending a French school. But what I enjoyed most was the story of her return to Iran. How hard it was to go back, to figure out how she fit in, and how much her parents wanted her to suceed in life, but also to leave Iran. Her clear eyed writing about how a dictatorship uses fear to oppress and how to overcome those things also felt very relevant for now.

The more time passed, the more I became conscious of the contrast between the official representation of my country and the real life of the people, the one that went on behind the walls. (p. 150)

Lilith’s Brood

I’ve read this trilogy already, back in 2016, but so much of it stuck with me that I decided to read it again, to see what I think now, to see how it hits me now. I’m not a big rereader, but this may be the start of something for me.

And all I can think about with this book, reading it during this weird, awful, strange year, is about the contradiction that Butler highlights about humans. The Oankali reach Earth when a horrible war has occurred, making it uninhabitable. They save humans, heal them, put them into a stasis of sorts, save Earth and make it habitable again, and then slowly wake up humans to populate it with them. They see a contradiction in humans, great intelligence and this need for hierarchy that causes them to destroy themselves.

I found in this read through the book, as Lilith makes her way through working with the Oankali and sharing life with them while so many humans run from them and move back towards grasping onto the old way of life, that it resonated so much. So much of what’s happened this year has been a struggle between collectivism and individualism (as Anne Helen Peterson has been writing about) and the contradiction that the Oankali see in humans is part of why I think that struggle exists. I’ll be reading this one again or at least picking it up to read certain passages soon.

And Then There Were None

I’ve watched a lot of Agatha Christie stories that were made into shows (all of Poirot and quite a bit of Marple) but I haven’t read as much. The premise of this book, all ten people end up dead, intrigued me. How in the world did she do it? This is one of the most clever mysteries I’ve ever read and it kept me on my toes. A perfect bit of light reading to balance all of the election stress.