“Tracking Ivory” by Bryan Christy and Brent Stirton from the September 2015 issue of National Geographic was a thoroughly depressing article. I hadn’t realized how much worse the poaching situation for ivory had gotten over the past several years. And as I closed the magazine, I couldn’t help but feel a profound lack of hope.
There is a reason Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is such a well-loved author. I’ve yet to read any of her novels (I know, what the hell am I waiting for, huh?), but I’ve read her non-fiction essay/book We Should All Be Feminists and I’ve read a few of her short stories. “Imitation” is the second story in her collection The Thing Around Your Neck, and I loved it. Nkem is the young wife of a very wealthy Nigerian businessman. She, and her two children, live in the U.S., and she only sees her husband when he comes to visit for two months in the summer and again for a few weeks when she travels back to Nigeria for Christmas. Is this the life she’d have chosen for herself? Or has it just worked out that way, with it being easier to go along than try to change things? Nkem is forced to confront these questions when a friend tells her that her husband has moved a new girlfriend into their home in Nigeria.
When I started reading “High Tide in Tucson” by Barbara Kingsolver, I thought I was going to be reading a nature essay, and to a certain extent it was. But it turned out to be more of a personal essay. Or really more of a blending of the two. I loved essays of this sort. I’ve never read any of Kingsolver’s fiction (again, what am I waiting for?), but I connect a great deal with her essays, even in the rare instances where I don’t completely agree with her.
Oh my goodness. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. I LOVED this book. Loved loved loved loved loved. And I never would have imagined myself saying that about a book where basketball plays such a major part. A coming of age story. A story of a son’s love for his father, and vice versa. A story of twin brothers, and how much it can hurt when they necessarily have to find that they are people separate from one another. A story of forgiveness. It was wonderful to hear this book read, and I’m sure it would be wonderful reading the words on the written page as well. It made me sob.