What's better than regular reading? READING IN WINTER! All books chosen and reviewed by charvermont
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead (Realistic fiction)
This novel centers on crime and family, as the main character, Ray Carney, finds his way along a fine line that sometimes bends and cracks as he steps. Carney, the owner of a Harlem furniture store, is set on making money and a good life for his family, but almost accidentally gets involved with his cousin Freddie’s crimes. As he delves deeper into this new world, what will happen to his reputation? His family? His life?
Bliss Montage by Ling Ma (Short stories, Magical realism)
The bugs are dying at night, I say to my cousin as we sit by the pool in the pitch black heat.
She laughs and says, I’m going to steal that line for a poem. I say nothing and splash my legs in the cool water.
We watch creature after creature throw themselves into the pool’s clear surface (do they wonder if they will go to another world?), only to thrash about in the water, until, eventually, they die and are pushed by jets towards the edge of the pool.
There is one who fights for what feels like hours. After some time, though, it dies, and we decide that that is enough, and it’s finally time to return inside and sneak more of the tiramisu the chef left behind, abandoning the dead and dying things to their long night ahead in the pool.
on a pink legal pad because this one time I read about a black-haired middle aged white woman who lived in Manhattan and produced films and took all of her notes on pink legal pads, and the photographs of her apartment looked so stylish, and whoever wrote that profile of her made everything
we've finally entered the thick, humid heat that accompanies early summer rain [(everyone says they feel so good)(so alive)(oh, yes, I say)(but the concrete walls continue to inch towards me)(they're closer every hour)
(where)(oh where)(is the breath that was just in my lungs?)]
the sun shines and fluffed cottonwood seeds float freely down from the trees and circle around my body, carried high by the light breeze [(but I have never felt more trapped)(my throat is burning)(hot humidity) ––
(when is the phone going to ring?)(soon?)]
everything aroud me is suddenly green, and it's beautiful [(and I'm sitting in the middle of it all)(watching the walls move in)(crying)(withering among blossoming flowers)(crying)(in this colorful field of flowers)(the harsh walls
On Halloween, my friends and I dressed up as Donna & the Dynamos (from Mamma Mia!) and I wore this tight purple shirt with wide sleeves that draped around my arms, leaving me swimming in purple
and when everyone saw me, they saw, ooo, purple is your color! and I was happy at the compliment but somewhat miffed since I don’t normally wear too much purple (maybe never?)
like, I’ll wear all the shades of blue, green, pink, yellow, white, or black, but only two of my shirts are purple (including the Halloween one), and I keep them at the bottom of my drawer where they are rarely seen (everyday the other clothes push them farther back into my drawer)
I took the candle from my postage-stamp sized nightstand, cradling it between my hands and letting it guide me into my sister’s empty room.
There was a better view of the stars from her window than mine, and I could see the reflection of the candle flame in the window, all orange and hot and repeating the same silly dance over and over again.
But now the heat has disappeared: it snowed today, in the early morning – the first snow, which brought such a fullness to my heart that I fear I could not explain it without bursting into tears (the kind of winter tears that fall slowly).
I look back out the window.
The stars are always much clearer when it’s cold out, I think. The air thins itself to make space for them.
I sigh. Giving the stars one last reconciliatory look, I scoop up the candle