My thoughts are so jumbled up right now it’s almost impossible to unravel them, put them in coherent order and call them “musings”. It’s been like that most of this week. I’ve been writing but I don’t think I’ve written anything that I thought would be suitable for a blog post. And then I’ve been beating myself up for it because I made this commitment to myself to post every week and I really don’t want to break it.
But that was mean and unnecessary, and I don’t deserve that from myself. Nothing about life right now is normal. Expecting your body and mind to behave “normally” during this is just silly (my mind cannot come up with more apt adjectives right now, sorry). When I started my blog a month ago, I had no idea that this is what its first month would look like. That I wouldn’t really have the opportunity to muse about the variety of topics I had imagined initially, because my mind is simply not capable of dealing with our rapidly (and by rapidly I mean by the minute) changing (changing or deteriorating?) world and also produce anything creative/interesting/entertaining simultaneously. Addressing the panic and anxiety I’m feeling takes priority. It’s not the same for everyone, some may be at their productive peak somehow right now, learning new languages and mastering new dishes – but that has not been me this week, and it’s okay. So I’m going to forgive myself for not being able to post as planned today and go seek refuge in a book set in a different time in a different world, preferably as far away from the one I’m in as possible.
A few book recommendations for those who would like to join me in some well-deserved escapism (well-deserved because I think we all deserve a break right now):
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
I discovered Celeste Ng’s books last month – I realize I’m quite late to this party. But now I’m in love. She’s such a great storyteller; you really get a feel of world the novel is set in. There’s mystery, there’s interesting family dynamics, there’s subtle conversation about race, and there’s characters who are anything but one-dimensional.
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Like I said, I am now in love with Celeste Ng’s work. I adored this book. It has all the elements that Everything I Never Told You has – another great suburban domestic fiction novel with an air of mystery.
- Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
This is one of the rare non-fiction books that I really enjoyed. At a point in my life when I’m trying to figure out how to both write and do this life thing better, I felt like I could really do with a manual. Anne Lamott’s writing is so flowy and comforting, it feels more like a conversation with a close mentor than a memoir style read.
- Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
This debut novel deals with so many interesting themes – the struggles of post-graduation twenty something life, the subtlest of racial conflicts. It satirizes the white pursuit of “wokeness”, and in the process, makes you reconsider many of the interactions you’ve had throughout your life.
- It’s Not About the Burqa edited by Mariam Khan
This is another non-fiction book, a series of essays actually, by a collection of Muslim women living in the Western world. Each woman writes about an issue that matters to them, narrates an experience that affected them profoundly, or simply discusses their thoughts on navigating a world where they have for so long been the “other”. Some of these women are religious, some are not. The point they all try to make is that they are sick of not being able to tell their own stories in their own ways, without having people make all sorts of assumptions about them.
These are all books I’ve read in the last month and found worth recommending. I realize it might be hard to get your hands on new books right now – these are all available digitally though, so that’s always an option. These books have brought me comfort and entertainment during these uncertain times and I hope that they can do the same for you.
And if you have book (or life) recommendations for me, they’re very welcome.