How are you? I'm officially on break -- whoohooo! And while there are so many things I want to share with you, I thought I'd tell you something extra special...
Months ago, when I heard the news about Afghanistan, I went directly to my brother who lived and worked there as a civilian for over five years. He also was stationed there when he was in the army. I didn’t want to read about the events through another conglomerate or government-owned news source.
Without getting into the politics, I learned that most of guys Larry knew were already out, but for the ones who were not, he was writing “letters of recommendations” because it was important in obtaining a special immigration visa. Although, it was discouraging to read that he had no idea if anyone was reading them as the Dept of State’s inbox was shutdown.
Then on September 11th (of all days), Larry sent me screenshots of a text exchange with a former colleague of his, Zee, who wanted to say how speechless and thankful he was over Larry’s letter because Zee was now in Germany on his way to America with his wife and kids out of a “very bad situation”.
My brother then goes on to warn him that it won’t be easy for him as an immigrant, and I can’t help but wonder if he was thinking of our mom. The conversation later continues to say Zee is in Texas, but we’re not sure if he will end up there, but since Larry’s in Tennessee, I do hope they get a reunion! I’m so proud of my brother, even though he attributes Zee’s escape to his good English, I can’t help but feel he’s downplaying the role his letter had in this.
Books Read in 2021 ~ a quick review
🧑🏫 Read with my students
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - Hinton wrote this when she was in high school, yo.
The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares - I finally understood why this was so popular.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - and this one too. Banned in Singapore where my student was living.
George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl - 8 year old boys approve.
⭐Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie - two of my colleagues also read this at my recommendation and enjoyed it.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - a nice reminder that all we can do is live the life we are currently living.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - it's a classic for a reason
Breath by Tim Winton - NOT appropriate for teens (oops)
West with the Night by Beryl Markman - beautifully written
Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison - over my head, will need to read it again
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr - good 101-type book
The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick - see Meander
📚 Fiction (mostly historical)
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See - depressing, fascinating, important
⭐ The Last Samurai by Gail Tsukiyama - easily one of my all-time favorites
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis - Sometimes old sci-fi hits the spot.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang - horrible book that starts off YA-fun and ends with "justifying genocide".
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah - loved The Nightingale, so I read this one and really liked it.
Romanov by Nadine Brandes - Magic + history = entertaining
Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes - wanted to like it more
The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska - more Polish, English, Scandinavian, Danish, and Norwegian 10th cent history than you ever thought you needed... waiting for book two.
⭐ As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner - Spanish flu + undertaker family = new favorite author
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman - good laughs over geriatrics solving a murder
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick - another light-hearted read
Starflight by Melissa Landers - part of a trilogy, but couldn't get through the second one, this one's a fun sci-fi though.
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner - see new favorite
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo - I love everything she does.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - Reminder that I need to read another from her...
Well, I'm a few short of my reading goal for this year due to abandoning several novels halfway through. Grrr. But there's always next year, right? For more detailed reviews you can go to my blog.
”I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” — Maya Angelou
Big thanks to Content Catnip for turning me on to Omar Rayyan. I love his whimsical style. He's known for animal subjects, which are super cute, but I chose these two because I instantly gasped at Contessa with squid, and I thought Grackles needed the love, too.
Wishing you and your family the very best,
No Girl is an Island
Thanks for being here, and loving me more than all the other letters you get. Ha!
You are receiving this email because you were most likely coerced by me.