Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Remember this book?

It perfectly captured a kind of crankiness that we all probably feel sometimes.

That's the kind of week I had last week, and this week has been more of the same. I woke up in the middle of the night  knowing I was sick. The system that allows teachers to call in an absence in our district was working when I tried to call, so a few hours later I dragged myself out of bed and went to school with a fever of 101. That was Tuesday. The rest of the week I lay feverish in bed, unable to do anything but read and sleep. After a visit to the doctor, I got some antibiotics and cough medicine I still didn't feel much better. Now, I week and a half after first getting sick, I'm starting to feel human.

When I'm sick I always feel like I'm living in some other country, far from the land of the well. I know of the activities of these well people, but it's hard to summon up the energy to care about them. All I really want when I'm sick is to feel better. I want my body and mind to be able to do what they normally do.

Laying in bed for five days is not my idea of fun, but there was one thing I could still do, and I think you probably know what that is. Here's what I read.

Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High by Melba Patillo Beals. This Young Adult memoir by Melba Patillo Beals is compelling and will keep you turning the pages in empathy, disbelief, and fear. The author, one of the original "Little Rock Nine" writes of her year as a student at a previously all-white school. Searing.

A Wreath for Emmett Till is a beautiful, and beautifully illustrated "crown" of sonnets by Marilyn Nelson. A crown of sonnets is a sequence of interlinking sonnets, in which the last (fifteenth) sonnet is made up of the first lines of the preceding fourteen.

Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe. This is an excellent Young Adult nonfiction title, filled with research, factual material, and plenty of photographs. This book is written for a younger audience, but adults will find it gripping.

Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marshall Frady. This brief biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. is part of the Penguin Lives series. It is far from comprehensive, but touches on the highlights of King's life in the Movement. The author is a journalist who interviewed King and was present at many of the historical events he writes about. What I especially appreciated about this biography is that Frady doesn't shy away from the less savory aspects of King's character, but he treats the great man's weaknesses with compassion. As a journalist, Frady is adept at making the reader feel as though she has witnessed history in the making. And the language is just beautiful: Frady is a gifted writer.

Casebook by Mona Simpson. I will be publishing my review of Mona Simpson's new novel on Monday, May 6th, but here's a spoiler: I loved it.

Hey, thanks for listening to me whine! Have you had any terrible, horrible, no good, bad days lately? If so, did books help?


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I love the Alexander books, especially this one, which my kids and grandkids also adored.

His voice so perfectly expresses our feelings on those "horrible" days.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Oh, wow. I'm sorry you had such a terrible week. Boo!

At least you got some reading done, though. One of the most delicious things for me is when I'm too sick to go to work but not too sick to recline in bed all day with books and tea.

Andi said...

That sounds terrible! I'm so glad you're feeling better. :)