So this is my first in what will hopefully be a weekly post. WWW Wednesday. The questions are: what are you currently reading? What did you just finish reading? What do you plan to read next?
What I’m currently reading?
I’m currently branching out from fiction novels into some more heady nonfiction. Right now I’m working through Stephen Greenblatt’s Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics. I know what you’re thinking. It’s dreadful, boring literary analysis. Technically, yes, it is literary analysis. But I am thoroughly enjoying it. Greenblatt is a renowned Shakespeare scholar and literary theorist. His books are informative but his writing is conversational. The connections to contemporary life are especially prevalent in this book. I’m about a third of the way through it so far, and he has managed to discuss both the trilogy plays of Henry VI and Richard III in reference to the rise of tyrants and public response/opinion when that happens. This book certainly isn’t for everyone. It demands some prior knowledge of Shakespeare, the Renaissance era, the Wars of the Roses that preceded the Tudor dynasty, and the plays discussed. But he introduces things clearly that I think anybody who has any interest in politics could read this book with occasional references to Wikipedia for quick background knowledge. I can’t wait to see where he takes his discussion next.
What did I just finish?
I just finished the novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Listen, folks. This book was nothing short of a revelation. The characters were complex and engaging and so real. It presented a scenario we have seen a lot in the past several years, the killing of a black man by a white police officer. And yet this novel was more than just an ‘activist’ book or an ‘issues’ book. It interweaved that scenario with issues of identity, poverty, community, values, and safety. Thomas wrote in a thoroughly conversational style that gave glimpses into the ways that how we speak and act plays such an integral role in how the world perceives us. The protagonist is Starr Carter. She lives in an impoverished urban neighborhood primarily populated by African-Americans. One night she is the sole witness to her oldest friend, Khalil, being shot and killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. What she must decide is how she can and should use her voice to stand up for her friend, her community, and ultimately, herself. If you have not read this book yet, please please please read it. If you can find it, I recommend the newly released collector’s edition. In addition to a small map of Starr’s community, it has a short story written by Thomas that was one of the original stories that would eventually become the novel. She also includes some information about characters’ names and meanings. It’s so worth it if you enjoy a reading experience that really envelopes you in the world. Read it. You won’t be sorry.
What do I plan to read next?
This is the tricky question, I’d say. I’m never 100% sure of what I will read next. Sometimes I take a suggestion from a friend. Sometimes I happen upon a book featured on Goodreads or Instagram. I think my current plan is to read a book I’ve been meaning to read for some time now: Welcome to Night Vale the novel. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a couple years. I love the podcast and I love that the world is so steeped in H.P. Lovecraftian inspiration. It never takes directly from Lovecraft but the entire otherworldly tone of the podcast is very Lovecraftian. So, I’m thinking that’s th book I want to read next. Often I am a multiple books at a time reader, so I may add another book to this list, too. We shall see.
So that’s my first WWW Wednesday! Happy reading, folks!