Reading is my “giving up” at the end of a long day. Perhaps “giving up” is the wrong expression since reading does take some mental effort. But when it’s 9 PM and I have a book in my hands, I experience a delicious surrendering to the ending of the day, to my languid limbs, and to the amusingly worn-down corner of our ancient couch where I always sit.
I’ve got some real goodies for your reading list.
1. Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom, Colleen Saidman Yee. Former fashion model turned renowned yoga instructor, Yee shares moments from her life’s turbulent adventures, from health challenges to drug addiction to divorce, and discusses how yoga helped her find her way. Yee illustrates yoga sequences corresponding to the themes of her chapters (like Roots, Trauma, and Forgiveness).
Mom, I know the tears you shed for your apple tree were about being in touch with your genuine heart. I’m still the little girl curled up in the box watching you cry. But now I’m a mother, too, standing at my own window, observisng a maple tree, and feeling my own heart…
When we know we’re enough, the world shows us her beauty. Thank God, yoga is my companion on this journey. ~Yee
2. California, Edan Lepucki. This seductive, mid-apocalypse dystopia kept me glued to the couch. Lepucki’s first novel is about a young, married couple living in the wilderness of California after consumerism–as a practice and a concept–pretty much implodes, leaving uncertainty, scarcity, and even pirates in its wake. California would be a smart buy or borrow for any fan of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Perhaps the best feature of the novel is its ability to conjure an acute, ominous feeling that something truly dreadful is crouching in the pages to come.
For months the exhuastion and fear tick-tecked in her body like a dealer shuffling cards. ~Lepucki
3. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra. Art, including literature, inspired by war often directly references the distinct ugliness of war zones and war-torn lands. Marra’s Constellation is riddled with grim images from the Second Chechen War that your mind’s eye can’t unsee. But it shouldn’t. For me, this novel taught me about a tragedy I never learned about in school or from the U.S. news (not that I was an avid follower as a high schooler). But the point is that art about war is just as necessary as the more objective accounts. Marra’s work deftly re-instills the achingly tender human element into this brutal chapter of history. Despite their many quirks and, in some cases, grave errors, each of the principle characters inspires empathy.
Havaa, Havaa, Havaa–and those who witnessed would remember how here, in Pit B, a man who had lost his freedom and his fingers, and would soon lose his life, had found in that name an immese, spinning joy. ~Marra
4. The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror, Laura Wright. Veganism was something that I stumbled into, which may sound strange since we usually describe being vegan as a life choice–something that a person comes to with a great deal of consciousness (in every meaning of the word). After reading about nutrition, I become increasingly interested in eating plants until one day, I realized that I’d stopped eating meat and other animal products–and I had no desire to eat them again. The more I became involved in my new lifestyle, the more I realized that being “vegan” went way beyond food. In a lot of ways, food is the easy part. As what some would call a “health vegan,” I found myself defending (in my internal monologue) my reasons for going veg and trying to find the words to explain that “health veganism” and “ethical veganism” are not mutually exclusive. Wright’s text, written for vegans, academics, and academic vegans, further complicates the matter in the best way possible by throwing into the mix, gender, post-9/11 politics, pop culture (including vampire- and zombie-philia), and the vegan “brand.”
Because the vegan body poses various threats to the status quo in terms of what it eats, what it wears, what it purchases, and how it chooses not to participate in many aspects of the mechanisms that maintain what constitutes the mainstream, the discourse that has emerged with regard to veganism seeks, among other things, to bully it out of existence…or, conversely, to constitute the vegan body as an idealized paragon of health, beauty, and strength.
…our understanding of veganism is in many ways based on various binary oppositions that seek to situate it as either one thing or another. ~Wright
What have you been reading lately?