Okay, so… I vanished for two months. Hi, I’m not dead!
It’s kind of a funny story… except for the part where it’s not funny at all. Long story short, my mom and I were in a car accident in early August, and we both got pretty banged up. I’m going to be in physical therapy for quite some time (at least another two months according to my therapist) and will probably still need to have surgery on my knee, which sucks. But we’re both alive and didn’t sustain any life-threatening injuries, which is the important thing.
So, yeah, that’s why I’ve been ignoring the blog. It’s incredibly difficult to sit down and write anything more substantial than “knee hurts; do not like” when pain keeps you up all night. Does anybody have tips for getting comfortable with a bad knee? Because nothing I’ve tried has helped so far.
Anyway, I’m back now, but I’m still getting around at a snail’s pace, so a lot of my previously planned posts are going to have to take a backseat to my current full-time job: physical therapy. Today we’ll be talking about one of my favorite things (not to mention one of the few things I’m able to enjoy right now with my less-than-stellar mobility).
While I admit I have a penchant for darkly inclined literature — Gothic horror, true crime, and anything Neil Gaiman writes always top my favorites list — I’m sure there will be something for absolutely everybody in my recommendations.
1.) Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking: Does God exist? Will humanity survive on Earth? Are we all alone in the universe? The final book from famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking tackles with his characteristic humor and passion the important questions that keep us awake at night. (Release date: October 16, 2018).
Personal note: Reading this is going to be difficult for me because I know it’s his last book. Stephen Hawking has always been one of my biggest inspirations. I read A Brief History of Time in school and became enamored of the world of physics. One of the blurbs on the back of the book claimed Hawking married the wonder of a child with the intellect of a genius, and that remains true of all of his books. You feel like he’s in the room with you explaining it in terms you don’t have to be a genius to understand. I’m really going to miss that.
2.) The World of Lore: Dreadful Places by Aaron Mahnke: A collection that includes some of the most popular stories featured on the popular podcast Lore, Mahnke takes us on a journey through places touched by evil. From my home base of New Orleans to the ancient castles of the English countryside, readers travel from one unsettling destination to the next… if they’re brave enough. (Release date: October 9, 2018).
3.) The Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini: Written in the form of a letter from a father to his son, The Sea Prayer is Hosseini’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. As the boy sleeps, his father paints a vivid portrait of their life in Syria before the war and documents just how quickly a city can be transformed from a home into a treacherous war zone. (Release date: September 18, 2018).
Personal note: I have to admit the first time I ever experienced a true “book coma” was after reading Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. It so felt sacrilegious to leave behind the world he created and the characters I loved so much that I wasn’t able to read anything for close to a month. Anyone who knows me knows that’s completely unheard of because I’m usually reading two or three books at any given time. I look forward to reading The Sea Prayer, but I know it’s going to be a tear-jerker.
4.) The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King: Hailed as the definitive work on one of televisions most influential icons, The Good Neighbor is the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers. King draws on decades of archival footage, interviews, and oral histories to learn more about the man who used Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a platform to promote compassion and equality while addressing the fears of children in a serious manner. (Release date: September 4, 2018).
Personal note: I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Fred Rogers in 1996. I helped out at a little deli my grandmother took my brother and me to after school by shuttling orders from the counter to the table. I brought Mister Rogers a bottled water and growled at a couple of younger kids who thought they were being cool by yelling “Mister Gaywad!” as they ran by him.
With his trademark calm, Mister Rogers told me that children often act out when they’re really afraid, and we should be patient with people who are afraid because we all know how it feels to be scared. I won’t lie and say I always adhere to his advice — hey, I’m human — but every single time I falter, the first thing that pops into my head is, “You are not being the person Mister Rogers thought you could be.” I’m in my thirties now, and the thought of disappointing Mister Rogers is still enough to deliver a healthy dose of Act Right.
5.) The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman: Much loved by some and much loathed by others, Nabokov’s Lolita drew inspiration from the real-life abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner in 1948. After an exhausting investigation of legal documents, public records, and interviews with Horner’s remaining family members, Weinman reveals just how much Nabokov knew about the Horner case — as well as the lengths he went to in order to conceal that knowledge — without losing sight of Sally Horner and countless other girls who endured the same fate. (Release date: September 11, 2018).
Well, those are the books I plan on snapping up soon. I’m very excited to read all of them, but… this may sound weird, I am a little more hesitant to read The Good Neighbor because it feels like I’m being intrusive. Has anyone else felt that way about reading a biography of someone they’ve always respected?
What are you guys currently reading?