Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Reading

I get really, really, really busy at work during the school year.  In fact, even after the school year ended, I've had several rather large projects I've had to deal with and so I just feel like "summer" started for us yesterday!  I usually do some consulting work in June and August...but I try to keep July pretty much drama-free. 

The boys and I usually take the whole month of July and have a proper summer, involving swimming and picnics and too much togetherness (resulting in getting on each others' nerves!) and lots of projects around the house, too.  But, like I said, this year got off to a slow start...we went swimming last week at a local...what would I call it?  It's not a lake, for sure, it's probably not what would be termed a reservoir, but definitely it's not a pond.  It's probably closest to what you would call a lagoon, actually, but I'm not certain people really use that word.  Let's.  We went swimming at the lagoon! 

Anyway, circumstances being what they were, the boys went swimming while I sat on a blanket on the grass (away from the sand!!!) and typed into my laptop for a workshop.  Ugh. Still, they had a blast.  What with the beach-y Fourth of July weekend, and add swimming once and visiting the county fair once (that was almost three weeks ago, and our digestive tracts are still recovering) and sneaking in two picnics, we're managing to cobble together a worthy summer experience.  So much of parenting ends up like this...twisting yourself into pretzel-like contortions in order to create an experience for your littles.  The problem is that you expend so much energy making sure they have a great time regardless how hard it is on you, then you hide all that work from them, because hello, childhood, and it's not their fault you have a deadline, and next thing you know, you're yelling into a pillow because they can't possibly appreciate what they don't even know is happening, and, well...maybe that's just me. Ahem.

So.  Oh, right!  Summer started.  My friend Michelle bought a book for me to read, it's called Lil Bee.  I've only read about sixty pages yet, but it's really getting to me!  So far, I'm in love with the writing.  There are certain passages that are just...perfect.  Oh gosh.  Seriously, I could just swoon because the words and the tone and the pace are like the perfect storm and I want to linger on these and reread them and I want to remember them so I can take them out of my memory and enjoy them long after the book is through.

Lil Bee is a Nigerian refugee in a British detention center.  She narrates the experience (exquisitely) and she spends some time describing the clerk at the front desk.  Later, she and three others are walking out of the detention center, and here she refers to desk clerk who is releasing them:
While I looked, he moved his arm over the page to cover the headline.  He made it look like he needed to scratch his elbow.  Or maybe he really did need to scratch hs elbow.  I realized I knew nothing about men apart from the fear.  A uniform that is too big for you, a desk that is too small for you, an eight-hour shift that is too long for you, and suddenly here comes a girl with three kilos of documents and no motivation, another one with jelly-green eyes and a yellow sari who is so beautiful you cannot look at her for too long in case your eyeballs go ploof, a third girl from Nigeria who is named after a honeybee, and a noisy woman from Jamiaca who laughs like the pirate Bluebeard.  Perhaps this is exactly the type of circumstance that makes a man's elbow itch.
I have no idea about the story itself (I'm not even to the INCIDENT on THE BEACH my goodness, the foreshadowing!) I just know that there are certain points ~ a word, a sentence, a paragraph ~ that already own me. 

It's so sad, too.  Most of my reading occurs in the "library" (read:  bathroom) a paragraph (and occasionally a page...or two *cough*) at a time, and keeping with yesterday's theme of ABSURDITY, you can now find me crying while sitting on the toilet and I will conclude by letting you know, that's no way to spend your summer.


  1. There is no shame in crying on the toilet. Or in the tub. Just probably not in the shower, as it's easier for the pages to get wet. :)

  2. @Carmen ~ HA! "There is no shame in crying on the toilet"...I am *totally* embroidering that onto a pillow! haha!

  3. However, "There's no crying in baseball" Moose

  4. I really liked that book! I agree with you that the writing is beautiful and startling and perfect. I would read a sentence and think to myself, "Yes, it's exactly like that, but who would have thought of describing it that way?" The story is good, but the writing is better. Enjoy! Even if you can only enjoy it in very small bits.

  5. @Moose ~ hehe That's one of my favorite movies, actually, and some of my colleagues and I do a pretty decent Tom Hanks impersonation, but it's always, "There's no crying in math!" lol

    @Kelly ~ Yes, perfectly stated...the story is good, but the writing is better. It's great that you feel similarly...I had thought it must be the frustrated writer in me that hooked into it like that!