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Friday, July 11, 2014

What I'm Reading: Vol. 2

I intended for these "What I'm Reading" posts to be relatively frequent, but it's been over a month since my last one and I blame the library for that. It took forever to get The Invisible Man and since it clocks in at just under six hundred pages, I barely finished before it expired.

It's hard to say exactly how I felt about it. I had read the first chapter for an American literature class back in college. I remember I was visiting Tyler in Berkeley and could barely finish reading without vomiting. An African-American boy graduates from high school and is invited to perform his graduation speech for a group of white, community leaders; however, it turns out that he has to fight in a battle royal with the other black young men of the town. The whole thing is degrading and disturbing, and when the men finally do allow him to give his speech, they simultaneously ignore and heckle him throughout. For most of the book, the narrator has the best of intentions and is always honest, but he is constantly cut down until he becomes desensitized and resolves himself to accept his "invisibility" to the people of society.

While I was waiting for The Invisible Man from the library, I read a few other books, including the complete series of Mary PoppinsBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, and Familyhood by Paul Reiser. When I read Breakfast at Tiffany's, I loved seeing the many differences between the text and the film. There is no Hollywood romance in the book and although some of the dialogue was verbatim, many offensive parts (at least according to the film standards of 1961) were left out.

Familyhood was just fun. I remember listening to audiotapes of Couplehood and Babyhood with my sister (frequently while we were avoiding cleaning our room or some other chores) and laughing at Paul Reiser's delivery of jokes that we didn't actually understand. What did a fourteen and eleven-year-old know about relationships and marriage and babies? I remember a part where he talks about how as soon as you get married, the pressure is on from everyone... "So, when are you gonna have a baby?" Back then I laughed at the hilarity of it, but only now do I really empathize.

One of my favorite parts of Familyhood was when he talked about the family dog. They have a chocolate lab and everything he wrote reminded me so much of Zora. Overall it was a fun, quick read. I also have a strong desire to watch Mad About You re-runs.


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