Currently reading

Paul Hanley
A Month in the Country
Michael Holroyd, J.L. Carr
A Tale of the Dispossessed: A Novel
Laura Restrepo, Dolores M. Koch
Mesabi Pioneers
Jeffrey Smith, Russell Hill
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
Jon Rothschild, Amin Maalouf
Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Nayomi Munaweera


Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Well, Adichie was successful. She wrote a book about race that I actually want to read. Or rather, that I'm happy to have read. There's no question that race, and the difference between being an African immigrant in America and an African-American and all the messiness that comes with those categories, is the main focus of the book. But for it to work, the main character had to be unusual, and she is. She's blunt and speaks her mind. She's not entirely sure she knows herself, but she claims to know those around her. She makes mistakes and sometimes she's rude. But I'm very comfortable with her and loved that she's the one telling this story.

On top of all that, there is a wonderful love story and a living, breathing (though, yes, necessarily incomplete) Nigeria scattered throughout the pages. All in all an amazing read.

An amazing read worth discussion, though. I did not swallow everything Adichie had to say with a bunch of nodding. This doesn't count as a spoiler because it's in the first 30 pages of the book -- but Ifemelu's relationships with Americans (the white guy, the African-American guy) don't work out. The best relationship is the easiest one, the one with the person most like her, the one that requires the least explaining. Individual personalities are always most important when it comes to romance, but there's no mistaking that Adichie meant her message to be somewhat general on this score. It's food for thought, but not necessarily an unavoidable conclusion.