The Last Three

The kids put on Barbie and the Fairy Secret, so I thought I would sit and write a while. Things have been busy this weekend, so a dumb movie and a blog post are great ways to wind it down.

I’ve been faithfully filling my bingo card for our library summer reading program. Last week I had three more books to finish, and was reading them all at the same time (“I don’t know how you do that,” Aliyah says. It’s just like watching two or three shows at once. Very doable.). Reading them simultaneously wasn’t the difficulty; it was the big book, the one on my bingo card that was described by having more than 500 pages- Les Miserables. I wasn’t sure if I could read it all before the end of July, and two books besides. But I was able to pull out the win, with time to spare.

Les Miserables was one of the free books on my Kindle, so I don’t know how many pages it actually is. But it was a lot! I already knew the plot, so this helped me figure how far along in the book I was, and it helped me skim through some parts that were long and uninteresting to me. LM serves as a type of historical novel, and includes lengthy explanations of the faulty penal system at this time period in France, the battle of Waterloo, the mindset of the revolutionary and the bourgeoisie, and the plight of orphans (gamin), to name a few. I leapt over whole chapters, gratefully, when I realized the author was going into detailsville again. On the other hand, I found so many great phrases and passages to highlight, both from his opinion pieces and from the things characters said and did. Time goes by, but humans are all the same, in many respects. I appreciated reading Les Miserables, and would highly recommend it.

Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison, kept me wondering what was going on. One doesn’t see the word Solomon until page 283, and never did it share meaning with the book of the Bible, like I thought it would. It is a coming of age novel about an African American man, and the challenging relationships he has with family and others. This is in the early and mid-1900s, when racial tensions were high. (Many would say they still are, of course.) Maybe because I’m white, maybe because I have led a pretty easy life, I don’t relate to books like this. But occasionally I will read one, and strive to finish it, knowing I have lots to learn about others and their struggles. This book satisfied my bingo square “something with ‘song’ in the title”.

I also needed a book to fulfill “something you should have read in high school”. Aliyah recommended a book she had just finished, and I laughed at how this would work! Party of One is written by a single girl about the misconceptions and realities of being single. All too often we look at singleness as a bad thing, as a lonely season just to be survived until marriage, and we can look at single people with poorly placed pity and even be found guilty of thinking there is something wrong with them! When the truth is, God’s plan for any human can be accessed and embraced right now. None of us should ever put off doing things or thinking we’re just getting by until the next life happens. There is no such thing. A single person isn’t flawed any more than a married one, either. This book was an eye opener for me in a lot of ways. I was glad to have read it now, when I am raising my daughters. But it would have been great for me to read in high school. I might have avoided some heartache and gone after other opportunities with more gusto. Singles have unique privileges.

Bingo! I felt such accomplishment when I collected my prize tickets. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone with each of these books, but it was time well spent.