I love Lillian Boxfish! What a wonderful character. She's brilliant, sophisticated, feisty, funny, creative, and vulnerable. Now a wealthy 84-year old woman whose son wants her to move to a safer place, she meanders through her beloved New York City on New Year's Eve, reminiscing about her life: from a 20-something advertising copy writer for RH Macy's , to the peak of her career as the most highly paid woman in advertising, and through her marriage, divorce and retirement. This beautifully written book is funny and poignant and will leave you wanting to join Lillian at Delmonico's for a steak next New Year's Eve.
The Island of Sea Women is the life story of Young Soo, the best haenyeo who ever lived on Jeju Island, "...an island known for Three Abundances: wind, stones, and women." On Jeju Island in South Korea, the women work as haenyeo. They dive in the ocean to harvest sea creatures to sell so they can support their families. The men on the island take care of the children and cook. The haenyeo risk their lives every time they enter the water, and they do it without extra oxygen. Young Soo tells her story from her perspective in 2008 as an old woman, reflecting on her joys, sorrows, and regrets and the intense relationships that develop among the women who do this for their living. It's a story you won't forget about an extraordinary woman living an unusual, dangerous, and fascinating way of life during harrowing times.
When Stars Are Scattered is the story of an orphaned Somali boy named Omar living in a Kenyan refugee camp. It's written by Omar and a well-known graphic novelist, Victoria Jamieson. Omar lives with his foster mother and his younger brother, Hassan, who is disabled and can only speak one word: hooyo, which means "mom" in Somali. Omar and Hassan fled from Somali after their father was murdered and their mother disappeared. They are still waiting to find out what happened to her or if she is still alive. Omar takes care of and protects Hassan, attends school and desperately wants to be relocated out of the camp. Hearing his story as he recounts it in his first interview with a UN officer to determine if he is deserving of relocation made me cry. I don't cry easily. I listened to this book on libro.fm and haven't yet seen the printed version. I can't wait to revisit this story visually.
I loved being immersed in the authors’s deep search for his identity through this grueling 6,000-mile run from Canada to Guatemala. I loved hearing the stories of his fellow runners and the intricacies of their relationships and alliances that developed. I am constantly intrigued by the lengths we will go to unearth our authentic selves and our journeys to find where we fit in the world.
Gods of the Upper Air was a fascinating and highly readable treatise on the origins of anthropology and the scientists who started it, such as Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Franz Boas, and Zora Neale Hurston. I was shocked to learn that it was a commonly held belief in the early 20th century that one’s intellect and character were pre-ordained by one’s race, gender, or nationality. The story of how these brave and intellectual giants fought to debunk those beliefs inspired and fascinated me.