I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2021
I am not sure if anyone noticed that I skipped an update about my reading progress at the beginning of October. Truth is, my reading was all over the place. I only read one book in September, hadn’t finished the second book that I had started, and then basically decided to just wait until I had more reviews to offer. Now I have one leftover book from September (because my library loan ended and I am back on the waiting list) and one that I haven’t finished in October to catch up on. But hey, here are two books that I did finish in the last 8 weeks.
The Rosie Project (Don Tillmann #1) by Graeme Simsion (★★★☆☆)
This book was a quirky, fun read, although I am always a little wary of books that use mental illness – here, Don’s Asperger syndrome, which he doesn’t realize he has – as the central point for a story, missing the opportunity to do a little bit of advocate work in the process. Yes, while people on the Asperger spectrum do exhibit some of the same behaviors and character traits that are outside of what people consider ‘normal’ (define normal!), this only perpetuates stigma and stereotypical thinking.
Don’s character – endearing and likeable as he is – is painted with a very stereotypical brush. He is socially awkward, doesn’t understand sarcarsm, lives by a strict schedule, and has very high expectations of a potential partner. He embarks on The Wife Project, trying to find a life partner by passing out a questionaire to potential dates, as to not waste time with someone who isn’t a “perfect” match. But love does not adhere to science like that.
You can see where this is going. Despite my reservations, I found the book entertaining and heart-warming, and I did appreciate that the author showed that the Don’s of the world, despite their short-comings, have value and worth and a lot to offer. Also, the insights on what society accepts of human behavior depending on who you are, where you are, and what situation you find yourself in, were astounding and, come to think of it, after all, relatable. Maybe we just have to accept that there is no “normal” and we all fall somewhere on that large spectrum of humanity.
Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (★★★★★)
This is a MUST-READ. It’s not an easy read, but absolutely eye-opening (and shocking) at the same time. And sadly, it all makes so much sense. If you haven’t thought about slavery and racism in the sense of a perpetuated caste system, think again!
Wilkerson draws comparisons to the old caste system of India and the caste system established during WWII in Nazi Germany. This book is very well-written, well-argued, and compellingly provocative in its presentation. If it doesn’t make you feel embarrassed to be a white person, I don’t know what will. It also clearly communicates a sad truth: that despite all the blunt facts, change is really slow and hard to come by.
While India’s caste system exists to this day, as a German, I was particularly intrigued by the comparison to Nazi Germany and the very different way in which Germany has dealt with its gruesome past. It only confirms: humans, especially in this country, have so much work to do. Read this and recommend this to your friends.
What did you read lately? Anything you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.