What Are You Reading This Winter?

You may have heard that there was a big snowstorm in the Northeast over the weekend – I think our final tally here in Brooklyn was about 10 inches, but don’t quote me on that. We told the kids when they went to bed Friday night – oh, who am I kidding? Jackson hasn’t gone to bed before me in years, so we told the kids before I went to sleep – that when they woke up Saturday morning there’d be tons of snow on the ground, and there was. Joanie wanted to immediately bundle up and go sledding (it was still snowing, with 30 MPH winds, and a “feel like” temp of zero degrees, but we took her out anyway and are now waiting for our parenting medals in the mail); Jackson, who has finally realized my dream for him of becoming an avid reader, decided that a snowstorm was the perfect opportunity to have a “reading marathon” and proceeded to spend the day reading as many pages as he could, interrupting himself only occasionally to ask for a snack and to see how many pages I’d read since he last asked. And I read a lot, mostly because I checked out a page-turner from the library on Friday

Recommended to me by someone on Instagram (who maybe reads here too?), I checked out Pachinkoa nearly 500-page tome that initially intimidated me in its volume, but quickly became my weekend obsession. Pachinko follows the saga of four generations of a Korean family living through the 1900s, much of it in exile in Japan where they faced discrimination and poverty. Having lived in both Japan and Korea during the ’70s and’ 80s, it’s especially interesting for me to get a peek at some of the history of the two countries in relation to each other. I don’t know how things are these days – I haven’t been back to either country since 1989 – but even in the ’80s, there was still a lot of tension between the two countries / the two groups of people, and this novel has helped but some of my childhood memories of that tension into context.

“Pachinko” is my third book of 2022. Before it, I read two very different books: Punch Me Up to the Godsa memoir about growing up gay and Black in small-town Ohio in the ’80s, and a history book about slavery called How the Word is Passedwhich taught me more about slavery than any history class I’ve ever taken and honestly should be required reading for every American (but considering where we are in the country with banning books that make people feel uncomfortable, I know that’ll never happen ).

What are you reading these days?

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