I read a lot in June. This is mostly because I made a 24 hour car ride (let's be honest, I didn't drive) from Austin, Texas to Toronto, Canada and I learned I outgrew my motion sickness. I pulled out all the books I had and just read most of the way while binging on mediocre trail mix. Anyways, I picked out three books I really enjoyed from this month.
Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai: This book really stuck with me probably because a gay Eelam Tamil man wrote it, and it is a navigation of him coming into adolescence and gaining comfort with his sexuality, all while living in Sri Lanka during the beginning of a genocide. He is understanding all these things in the midst of a genocide of Tamil folks, and there are very taunting stories about the annihilation and discrimination that Tamil folks experienced embedded within the novel. He also interrogates his relationships with various people in his life who are affiliated with the Tamil Tigers, and his Tamil mother's relationship with a Burgher man. I have yet to visit Sri Lanka, and this gave me a gauge of all the trauma and memory that is left there for me to find. I cried a lot, just knowing that there are people like me out there-- a part, yet apart.
Favorite quote: "Yet those Sundays, when I was seven, marked the beginning of my exile from the world I loved."
The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: To be quite honest, I am not very educated on indigenous populations and this novel exposed me to the reality of reservations and the incredible dehumanization that indigenous populations experience. Sherman Alexie has some incredible words that really speak to alcoholism, racism, white saviorism, and survival that indigenous populations experience. He speaks through the protagonist Junior, who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and is an aspiring cartoonist. The book has cartoons drawn throughout the novel, which helps readers understand what goes through the mind of this high schooler entangled in tragedy.
Favorite quote: "Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community."
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari: Aziz Ansari does a good job of telling the tale of how internet and social media has changed the dating scene. I feel uncomfortable that Aziz is considered a sociologist due to this text, because there are many examples of him asking focus groups incredibly leading questions and is far too involved in the personal lives of focus group members. I also feel uncomfortable about his going to Japan, France and Argentina to interrogate how dating works there. Reddit seems like an odd mode of making sociological conclusions? However questionable his findings are, I find that the book itself is pretty funny and interesting to ponder. I also wrote this critique on Aziz Ansari in general, which you should read!
Favorite quote: "When I've really been in love with someone, it's not because they looked a certain way or liked a certain TV show or a certain cuisine. It's more because when I watched a certain TV show or ate a certain cuisine with them, it was the most fun thing ever."