Anna Funder’s All That I Am introduced me to a band of brave young people, Germans who tried to warn their countrymen about the perils of growing Nazism. Horror, betrayal, heartache, love, death, hatred, jealousy, and just about every other theme known to mankind were included in the novel, and this morning I can’t stop thinking about Dora’s demise, Hans’ bruised ego and duplicity, Toller’s dogged determinism, and Ruth’s loyalty to her country and her friends, especially her cousin Dora. Not only were these people real figures (I just took a look at Toller’s book on Amazon.com), but they were also “real” to me as I read their stories.
Josef and Lenka, characters in The Lost Wife have my in attention as of yesterday. Separated by the Holocaust, the couple is reunited in New York City after more than half a century. Amazingly, the reunion takes place at their grandchildren’s wedding rehearsal. Although I’m not that far along in the book, I know the story line because I read it on Amazon.com after my brother recommended the novel. Right now, Lenka and Josef are in that sweet stage of young love, and my heart aches for them because of my foreknowledge of what’s to come.
When I want to switch gears and read something suspenseful and closer to home (Southern lit), then I go back to Lowcountry Bribe by Hope Clark. A South Carolina native, Clark weaves an intriguing tale of kidnapping, disappearances, suicide (or is it?), and a hog farmer that appears to have more than hog sales on his agenda. Slade, Alan, Jesse, the investigators, and a host of other characters make this a fascinating story, especially with the author’s descriptions of the lowcountry area.
When I find myself getting just a little too caught up with Ruth, Lenka, and Carolina (Slade’s first name), I take a break and leaf through South Carolina, an explorer’s guide to the state written by Page Ivey. Since I bought this book a couple of weeks ago, I’ve learned a lot about the Palmetto State and have zeroed in on some plantations, state parks, and museums I plan to visit SOON. In the words of St. Augustine, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Why am I sharing this? Because as I think of the people I’ve met lately, the places I’ve traveled, and the things I’ve learned in books during the past week or so, I find myself wondering what people think about who don’t read. Any ideas on this one? Any ideas on how to awaken them to the joys of reading?