Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Days

I started work last week, and things are good so far! Everyone in the office seems super nice and the research is fascinating. Plus last Friday was 'Bring Your Dog to Work Day' so I spent much of the morning playing with puppies, which felt like a good omen.

Otherwise, I am doing my best to stay busy and entertained. College City is having a strange stretch of beautiful weather which we all know won't last long, so I'm trying to enjoy it while I can. While taking Dr. A's "no strenuous exercise for at least 1-2 years" to heart, I've been going for walks around my new neighborhood to explore the streets and soak up the sunshine. For the most part, my pain levels have been very tolerable and I want to make the most of it.

On the weekends, I've been going back to that food bank where I worked last summer for AIDS and cancer patients. It never fails to amaze me how much need there is in the world—right outside my doorstep, practically. How many times have I holed up at home and cried because of how goddamn unlucky I am to have been hit with so many health crises? Then I go spend three hours in a North College City shelter packed with people dying of incurable diseases. And they can't even afford food. So in reality, when you think about it, I'm probably among the luckiest people in the world.

Aside from that, I've also been tutoring a couple of Chinese graduate students in ESL, doing random crafts, cleaning/organizing/decorating my apartment, and reading. No joke—between my Kindle and the public library, I've probably read at least 20 books since graduation two weeks ago.

Books of the week:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid—Really interesting take on 9/11 from a Muslim immigrant's point of view. It's a quick read but pretty thematically complex. I'll definitely be checking out this author's other work.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer—My friend has been begging me to read this book for years. I suppose I've been a little slow to get on the JSF bandwagon; he seems to have a bit of a cult following and I'll admit that he's a good writer, but I wasn't in love with this book. The little boy totally stole my heart and I very much related to the story, as I was about his age (couple years older) and several of my friends lost parents on 9/11, but the story-within-a-story and other narrative gimmicks stuff got to be a bit much.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich—Well-written and heartbreaking. The story takes place on a Native American reservation and takes some concentration to follow, as there are a ton of characters and several overlapping subplots. I could have done without the mythical tangents, but overall this book was a win.

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