Lydia’s Library Books

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Fiction Books category.

First World/Third World

Right now I’m reading The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. It’s wonderful, and it’s accomplishing one of the most important things that I think a book should do: putting theory into story. The theories and ideas at work here are those of globalization, racism, immigration, poverty and more: topics that INTEREST me academically but COMPEL me personally and in reality. 

I’m not done with the book, but so far I’ve been struck by a certain passage so much that I’ve thought about it almost daily. Probably because I’m part-time job hunting. Biju, the person mentioned in the excerpt, is a recent Indian illegal immigrant working in New York City restaurants. 

Biju at the Baby Bistro.

Above, the restaurant was French, but below in the kitchen it was Mexican and Indian.

Biju at Le Colonial for the authentic colonial experience.

On top, rich colonial, and down below, poor native. Colombian, Tunisian, Ecuadorian, Gambian.

On to the Stars and Stripes Diner. All America flag on top, all Guatemalan flag below.

Plus one Indian flag when Biju arrived. 

Continue reading this entry »


I don’t think that blogging is my Personal Legend…

Yes, I know. I rarely blog. Maybe this isn’t the thing for me? The idea of a blog about books means that I have to be reading books, and while I always am, I’ve been a little slow lately with finishing books. My life is a little insane at the moment.

I did, however, just read a really good (and short!) book called The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. If I had the book on me right now, I’d write about it. (Although I am at work, so maybe I shouldn’t be saying that…). It was a wonderful story about how everyone has their own ‘Personal Legend’ that is intended for them to carry out, and while most people know theirs, they do not seek it out and instead settle for a stable, boring, socially respectable life. It was a great book for me to read because when I think about my future, I do tend to struggle- should I go for the already established (possibly high paying) yet potentially not as exciting job, or should I set out on my own and try to establish something just for me based on what I think is important (a path that wouldn’t pay..)? In The Alchemist, the main character found that when you set out to fulfill your Personal Legend, the world will help you on your path- because what you are doing is what you are supposed to be doing. The book had a lot of very religious elements, which I liked. It was also written in a beautiful, simple style. A perfect book for the metro! 

Huh, looks like I just wrote about it without meaning to! I’ll continue my little housekeeping bit in another post…

Lydia and the Annual Re-read

Harry Potter is a great series. Yes. Yes it is. It may not be brilliantly written, but it’s imaginative, funny and it has a lot of depth. I’ve decided that the Half-Blood Prince (6) is my favorite. Horcruxes! Voldermort! Pensives! Woo!

…We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled slightly-academic-or-at-least-better-than-this-entry entries as soon as my head gets out of Harry Potter Land and lands back in the real world. Give it a few days.

The Bluest Eye

Today I read The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.

What was the secret? What did we lack? Why was it important? And so what? Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness. Jealousy we understood and thought natural- a desireto have what somebody else had; but envy was a strange, new feeling for us. And all the time we knew that Maureen Peal was not the Enemy and not worthy of such intense hatred. The Thing to fear was the Thing that made her beautiful, and not us. (Pg 74)

This was a book about “racial self-loathing” and “how one learns that.” (Quote from Toni Morrison’s afterward). That’s something that white privilege prevents me from understanding truthfully, though I do hope and try to be an ally in solidarity. This book was sad and beautiful. The way I see it, negative body image is a powerfully harmful force that we inflict upon ourselves willingly, and this book showed me that it’s a far more destructive, lively and complicated force than I ever imagined, like a mass of poisonous and beating flesh inside of ourselves that we take care of. The Bluest Eye really sought to find these complications, and more importantly, find the humanity that nourishes them.

In equating physical beauty with virtue, she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self contempt by the heap. (Pg. 122)

Read this book.