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What We’re Reading: Books for Our Current World

2016 July 28

What We're ReadingLife, am I right? It’s been especially catching up to many of us lately in all of our spheres: National. Global. Local. Personal. With so much heartache, I am struggling to find a way through it, to a better place. We all have our own way of dealing with struggles, and soul-searching. My way of soul-searching? Reading, of course. Here are three books that we at Hazel & Wren have reviewed in full before, but are finding new meaning and urgency with recent events. There are so many more, and I hope you’ll share with us what you’re reading in these troubling times.

citizen cover

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Full review here. As reviewer Timothy said, “This is poetry as documentary, as news story. At worst, poetry like this can feel dated, but Rankine has a knack for highlighting the stories that need to be remembered and turning them on us so that we see them differently.” Rankine focuses on microaggressions of racism within these pages, and again, Timothy said it best when he wrote: “This is the power of literature, to distill a lifetime of small frustrations into one body that will carry and enact those frustrations on the page.” It’s powerful language, that puts all of the things we hide underneath the surface on the page, where we can’t ignore it.

Tiny_Beautiful_Things_book_coverTiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Full review here. I’ve been struggling in my personal sphere lately, and this book is one I go back to often to gain some perspective, levity, and understanding. It’s a collection that Cheryl Strayed penned under the column “Dear Sugar” for The Rumpus. Sugar responds to life’s chaos and universal questions with zinging humor, brutal honesty, and heartaching clarity. I found it refreshing to bounce between the different columns and questions, between dark depths and light-hearted sass. Each of Sugar’s responses is a glimmering gem that is so spot on that it’s hard to look straight at it without wanting to melt into a puddle of YES. As reviewer Taylor put it: “It is a rare and special feeling when a book can both fill you up and cleanse you.”

truthA Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota edited by Sun Yung Shin

Full review here. This collection of essays from writers of color in Minnesota hits home yet again with the murder of Philando Castile in our state. Please read this, and listen to the human stories told by these talented writers. Absorb the different perspectives, and own up to your own prejudices that arise while reading them. Own up to them, so we can change that way of thinking. From the review: “Each writer is telling their own individual story, and as a composite, this collection provides a larger, more honest and complex picture of race in Minnesota, which we as the reader, start to see with more clarity through each essay.”

Which books am I missing? (There are so many!)

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