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Grief is a subject that we tend to avoid. It is experienced uniquely and carried alone despite its universality. Grieving people are reminders of what tiny, fragile creatures we are. For many, reading offers some consolation. Personally, I’ve found peace from reading favorite poets like Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver. For others, religious texts may comfort.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood is an amazing book. I read it for the Broken Arrow Library book discussion group, and while I was reading it, I was thinking, "Man, this is a good book." Then my book group discussed it. By the end of the discussion, we were all sitting there with our mouths hanging open thinking collectively, "Mind blown."
Yesterday as I was driving back to my office from a meeting I heard the news that a new book by Harper Lee will be published this summer. I almost wrecked the car! Part of Lee’s mystique is that she wrote one perfect novel, a book that is beloved by generations of Americans, then was silent for more than 50 years, living a quiet life in Monroeville Alabama with her sister.
I’ve tried to embrace Nancy Pearl’s rule about tossing a book if I don’t like it after the first 50 pages, but I must admit that I’ve always been reluctant to give up on a book too quickly. I’ve read many wonderful books that didn’t really captivate me until long after I’d turned that 50th page. The Book of Salt, by Monique Truong, was one of those books.