Kenmore Library user Gabriela L. recently finished this year's 10 to Try reading challenge! She agreed to answer some questions about the books she read and share her list with us.
What was your favorite category this year?
My favorite category was a book about history. I typically prefer fiction, so this year, looking at the categories, I saw them as a great opportunity to challenge myself to read a lot of nonfiction books instead. For a book about history, I chose Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann and I really enjoyed the read. I liked how the author not just told the history, but also tried to investigate further to link apparently unrelated crimes to the ones investigated at the time.
Which category was the most challenging for you?
The most challenging category for me was a book about poetry. I like stories and I don’t mind if it’s written in verse or prose, really, but it needs to be telling a story in any case. Last year I read a book by my favorite poet (Edgar Allan Poe) and didn’t want to reread it, but rather try something new.
At first, I chose to step away from the classics and read a contemporary book. But although the book was small, and despite my stubbornness to finish the books I decide to read, I could not finish that one. Instead of telling a story, the poet was verbalizing her inner thought, and that just didn’t work for me. Then I remembered I had The Portable Chaucer by Geoffrey Chaucer, edited and translated by Theodore Morrison, since my college days. At college, I had to read parts of it, but only small parts and it was very difficult at the time when my English was not that strong. So, for 10 to Try I challenged myself to read that book in its entirety. I ended up loving it. The book has 3 parts: 1. The Canterbury Tales; 2. Troilus and Cressida; 3. Selections and Short Poems. I really enjoyed parts 1 and 3, for its wit, fun, and rhythm. Part 2 was what took my level of contentment a bit down. "Troilus and Cressida" not only does not have the same rhythm but it’s so much drama that it annoyed me a bit. But overall, the book is totally worth reading.
Did you read anything out of your comfort zone for 10 to Try? What was it, and what did you think about it?
The category a book about a subject that can be difficult to discuss was the one who took me out of my comfort zone.
For this category, I chose to read So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
Being what she would call a privileged white, it made me realize how sometimes things that we say or do can affect people negatively even if we never intended to do so. I grew up in Brazil where most of the population is mixed, and I have family members of color (both African Brazilian or Asian), so I never (and still don’t actually) considered myself a racist. But after reading the book and reflecting on my interactions with people of color, I do recognize a few events in which I acted racist, even if not really on purpose. And THAT is what made me feel really uncomfortable. I guess that was one of the author’s goals, to raise this awareness for the little things (for us) what can turn into a big problem (for other people) without us even noticing. It worked with me. And I appreciate it.