July 2020 books read

  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo, 2018. I read this with an Amherst College group and got more out of the conversations than I did from the book. It is a useful book in many ways but critiques of how DiAngelo ends up centering whiteness aren’t wrong, plus most of her anecdotes end with “…and [person exhibiting racist behavior] left in a huff” which isn’t very helpful.
  • A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers – Henry David Thoreau, 1849 – Quotes marked but lost
  • Let the Great World Spin – Colum McCann, 2009. Quotes lost
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy, 1886. Quotes lost
  • Maia – Richard Adams, 1984. Umpteenth comfort re-read. The mythology of Bekla is thoroughly a part of my inner landscape. This set me off on another Adams kick – more to come – and re-awakened an idea of writing an essay about how half his books are my favorites ever that I never get tired of (Watership Down, Maia, The Girl in a Swing) and the other half I could barely get through once (Shardik, The Plague Dogs, Traveller).
  • Middlemarch – George Eliot, 1871. Re-read; quotes pulled, TBD.
  • Flesh of Her Flesh: In Search of Goodness – Slavenka Drakulić, 2006. Drakulić got a kidney from a non-directed/”Good Samaritan” donor and went on a quest to interview such donors. Not a great book but an interesting one – she’s from Croatia and theorizes that people in socialist countries are less likely to do altruistic acts for strangers because that’s the role of the state.