Lately I’ve been reading…

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.

Katherine Boo meticulously researched this book for years. It is the true story of a handful of  women and children, all residents of the Annawadi slum in Mumbai, India. Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a true book, a horrific book, a necessary book. I was in awe of how Katherine was able to sift through the poverty of the slum and portray the finer points of politics, families, and the pecking order that would be easy to just to place under one label, “abject poverty”. I was driven past the Annawadi slum twice, once in 2003 and once in 2006; anyone arriving at the Mumbai International Airport will have driven past it as it’s right outside the gates. While traveling in India, it’s almost necessary to become blind in some ways to the poverty. It’s endemic, it’s impossible to understand completely, and there is little I can do about it. Katherine’s book pulled back the curtain and gave me a glimpse at what was happening in the lives of some of the women and children I very well could have seen when I was there. Her prose reads like a novel. Her descriptions are vivid and specific. I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

Brenda’s book was breezy and personal. I didn’t know much about the book when I picked it up; a friend who knew I was reading a lot about writing had recommended it. I wasn’t surprised when I realized it was an older book. The writing just didn’t have the modern feel to it. Of course, in my opinion, this is a huge plus! It wasn’t a life-changing book, but it was encouraging to me and I needed that.I liked that she pointed out that her advice would cross over to any art form, not just writing.

And last, but not least,

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best

This was a required read for our adoption education credits. I have to say I really hated the first chapters. There was a lot of “are you really sure you want to do this” which was not what I wanted to hear months after we made our final decision. We are not in the mood to be questioned yet again if this is for us. We’ve decided. We’re sure. We’re done. Yes. 100%. Please just let us go get him. That said, I really enjoyed some of the later chapters. There is a section on toddler grief that I thought was an important addition to the adoption literature genre. And the section on Attachment was good – full of practical advice – although I think The Connected Child would still be a necessary book for a full understanding of attachment and its role in parenting adopted children.

That’s a good sampling of what’s on my nightstand, table, desk, counter, couch, etc. lately. I currently have 4 or 5 books going. I’ll write up some more reviews in a week or two.

What are you reading lately?