This batch of books took me a while to read. They were very descriptive and I always want to make sure that I don’t miss anything when I’m reading. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of forgetting what happened in a story or forgetting the book entirely. I’m not a re-reader so I want to make sure I have a full grasp and then be done with it. I’m making it sound like reading is painful and I just want it to be over with. Not so. I just don’t want to re-read stories because I want to read new ones! Plus, ain’t nobody got time fo dat.
The first book I read since my last literature post was The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. If you’re into learning more about women in the bible, this is your book. Diamant weaves the tales and lineage of those mentioned in Genesis 34 and by doing so, brings life to that biblical chapter. It was really amazing to get a different perspective on what happened to Abraham and Issac and his children after that. I have no idea how Diamant did her research, and some of it is “historical fiction”, but she really takes the audience into the ancient Middle East and Egypt.
The story’s narrator is Dinah (pronounced Dee-nah…like from Jersey Shore!) who is the youngest child and only girl born of her mother Leah. Dinah’s family is big and has many members (about 14 kids) all raised by her father and his 4 wives who all happen to be sisters. FUN TIMES. So Dinah is raised by her mother and aunts and is welcomed into their red tent at a young age simply because she is the only girl. The red tent is where women would go to “be in their moon” or menstruate in the company of other women away from men. It is there that Dinah hears the gossip and stories from her mother and aunts and learned to become the strong woman that she was. The book follows Dinah through her entire life of hardship and struggles but she finds happiness in the end which is comforting.
After that I picked up Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. At the beginning of the year I read Sedaris’ Naked and really enjoyed it. This one was good and very similar but I think I enjoyed it less than the other one. It’s just my personal preference I guess. Don’t get me wrong though, some stories in this one were great and made me laugh out loud (which is rare). But overall I thought the stories in Naked struck a chord with me more. Corduroy and Denim just didn’t seem as succinct. I guess it’s not fair for me to compare both of them. If I’m just looking at this one on it’s own then yes, it’s a good book.
What makes David Sedaris’ snippets from his life enjoyable is his wit. And his family. I especially like whenever he talks about growing up with his 4 sisters and brother in rural North Carolina. It brings me a lot of joy. Especially when he sprinkles his stories with lines from his abusive mother, it becomes extra comical. He also talks about growing up gay and how no one knew, yet everyone knew.
Some of the stories that he includes don’t captivate me that much, but that also happened in Naked as well. I guess that’s something that I like about his books. It’s very real. Not every story that someone tells is going to appeal to everyone in their audience. But most of his tales have an endearing quality to them. In fact, a movie is being made from some of his stories in Naked. It’s called C.O.G. And if any of you say that I need to read Me Talk Pretty One Day, I already know.
And the book that I most recently finished was The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. This one is also a historical fiction novel that my mom picked out for me. I feel like I know a lot about early European history and ancient history, but I know almost nothing about the Italian Renaissance era. And that’s when this book takes place. Because I was unfamiliar with a lot of the names of key political players of the time, I had to pay extra attention. But besides that, it’s pretty easy to follow.
The story is of a privileged fourteen year old girl named Alessandra Cecchi. She is a strong headed teenager who is more interested in the arts and literature than getting married or learning to dance. Because of the approaching French armies, Alessandra will be forced to join a convent and leave Florence or get married because it’s dangerous for single women to be around during such times. Alessandra’s brother arranges a marriage for her and the secrets begin to unravel.
I can’t really say any more than that because it will ruin some of the juiciness of the story. I liked this book but I thought Dunant could’ve expanded on some parts of the story line. There’s a whole murder aspect that nothing really comes of. But otherwise it was good–and you learn a lot about Florence and how unruly the townspeople become when they blindly follow leaders in their church.
Have you read any good books lately?