📚 WWW Wednesdays #7

What Are You Reading Wednesdays is a weekly book-blogging meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The concept is simple, answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

  • What did you recently finish reading?

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

You can join in to! Just leave a comment with your link at Taking On's blog and then go on an adventure to find what other people are reading.


What are you currently reading?

Synopsis: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

So far in this journey I find myself wrestling with the fact that the subject matter at hand is viscerally upsetting. This is compounded by that fact that we are still, in 2017, having conversations/protests/conflicts over issues of racial justice and equality. As a result, the story is heavy and I have occasionally taken small breaks to process it but I am enjoying it. At first I was a bit worried after hearing that there was something sterile in the tone that made it hard to engage with, but I found that it was exactly this chilling, matter-of-fact attitude in the narration that makes it even more horrifying and powerful. In addition, there is nothing one-toned about the writing, I find that Colson Whitehead has an ability to accommodate both realism and allegory- he can conveys the routine brutalities that result from life on the plantation so plainly whereas he also uses an underlying almost fable like tone to convey the horrors of slavery and jump forward and backwards in time cutting to different characters.

(You can get your own copy of The Underground Railroad, as well as several awesome "history" inspired items by purchasing a History Ink Crate! Find it and other past boxes here.)

What did you recently finish reading?

Synopsis: Hollywood in the 1960s: the studios are in decline; aging moguls are frantic to attract an audience distracted by TV; and, in severe contrast, an explosion of creative energy in European cinema is shaking the foundations of film-making convention. By the 1970s, Hollywood falls to a new generation of filmmakers who usher in a renaissance of bold and influential films. But, as the personal visions of this "New Hollywood" flourish, drug abuse and egotism threaten to overturn its rule.

This book is an absolute must for anyone interesting in film, filmmaking or just an avid fan of popular culture. For me personally, with a history of being obsessed with cinema, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how a young Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas developed Taxi driver, Jaw and Star Wars. I find that as a result of this extremely well researched and thorough examination of the film industry and how it was shaped by a time period and a group of individuals, I think about movies with an extra layer of consideration- I wonder who wrote it, and how it was pitched and how much over budget it went.

Check out the full review here

What do you think you'll read next?

Synopsis: The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds – Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant ‘girlfriend’ Mimi – Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

Tracy Chevalier’s retelling is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project, where well-known authors are asked to write novels based on Shakespeare’s plays. The series, which began in 2015, now includes Anne Tyler on “Taming of the Shrew” and Margaret Atwood on “The Tempest” just to name a few. This seems fitting seeing Elizabethan playwrights didn’t hesitate to “borrow” well-known stories and characters, (for example, Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’ was based on Cinthio’s ‘A Moorish Captain’).

While I don’t generally like retellings and am naturally drawn to “original works”, I must admit there is also a certain appeal to discover another person’s interpretation of a work. With that in mind, and the fact that Othello is one of my favorites of the Shakespeare tragedies, I have decided to keep an open mind and give it a try.


And that's it for my three WWW's this week! If you've read any of the books, have heard about them, or just want to discuss bookish goodness, feel free to comment below!

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